Run the good race

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Related tags: Food manufacturing excellence, Manufacturing excellence awards, Industry

Run the good race
It's proving to be a year of mixed fortunes for those in the food and drink sector. Some small manufacturers particularly those in dynamic emerging markets such as the allergen-free sector are doing remarkably well. But, for the majority, it is a time of difficulty and sometimes uncertainty, with soaring ingredient and fuel costs and a retail customer base that is reluctant to accept price rises. The trouble is, hard-pressed consumers are starting to suffer the effects of government cuts, so no supermarket wants to be seen to be increasing their burden.

The widely held belief that the industry will always be safe under the 'people have always got to eat' security blanket masks a bigger truth that it is a highly competitive sector, with overcapacity in some areas and a squeeze on margins for own-label producers in particular.

Such business challenges are part and parcel of working in food and drink. And while problems may come and go, it is a sector that has proved very resilient and adaptive to changing market needs. There are some very impressive UK food and drink firms out there and even more impressive people behind them.

And that is precisely what the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards now in their 11th year are designed to recognise: the very best of the best in the business.

Entering the awards has been simplified in recognition of how busy working people are. To enter, visit to download an entry form and tell us why you think your company deserves to win an award.

You'll have to hurry: the closing date for receipt of entries is Friday July 29.

This year's awards presentation will take place at the Park Plaza Riverbank in London on November 8.

The Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards include nine individual categories and two skills excellence awards:




Chilled foods


Fresh produce

Frozen foods

Meat and poultry


Skills Excellence Awards

Training programme

Diversity in recruitment

From the nine category winners the judges will select The Food Manufacture Company of the Year. Last year Apetito won the award in recognition of its outstanding activities and passion for making appetising meals for people with eating problems. The firm was a great example of how having a true connection with a target market can make a difference to the bottom line of a business.

Our panel will make a Judges' Special Award to the firm they believe best deserves special recognition for a particular area of its activities. Askeys picked up the award last year for its project to reformulate ice cream to remove artificial colourings.

Judging for the individual categories covers: category management; marketing and new product development; supply chain improvement; quality assurance; health, safety and environmental management; process innovation; and human resources development.

In recognition of the importance of small companies to the industry, we will again be looking to make an award for Small Company of the Year. This is typically one that employs fewer than 100 people and has a turnover of less than £10M a year. In 2010 the Small Company of the Year went to Mash Direct for its particularly focused growth strategy.

Once again, Food Manufacture readers will also be able to vote for their Personality of the Year via an online poll (visit from our shortlist of candidates. Last year's winner was TV presenter and pig farmer Jimmy Doherty, who raised the profile of the food manufacturing sector among the general public through his BBC TV series, Jimmy's Food Factory.

To enter, visit our

site to download an entry form.

Alternatively, email Rebecca George at: or call her on:

01293 610422.

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