The new award – Young Talent of the Year – will celebrate the sector’s new entrants at apprentice, technician and graduate levels to encourage more young people to take up careers in food and drink.
Around 137,000 new recruits will be needed to replace staff due to retire in the coming years, according to the food and drink sector skills council Improve. With an impending skills crisis, recruitment and retention are crucial.
As the UK economy begins to pick up, competition to attract the brightest young talent will intensify. The food and drink industry will need to fight its corner and prove that it is an attractive sector offering good careers. The image it presents will be crucial and it will need to show excellent corporate social responsibility and sustainability credentials.
Against this backdrop, the FMEA awards for Environmental Initiative of the Year and Training Programme of the Year will put the spotlight on what UK companies are doing.
Once again, the FMEAs will be running the two awards introduced last year: Best New Use of Food Ingredients and Supply Chain Initiative of the Year. Both of these remain very topical, given the increasing focus on health, nutrition and reformulation and radical changes to the UK’s food supply chain that followed last year’s horsemeat contamination scandal.
Food Manufacturing Company of the Year
Other categories are: Food Manufacturing Company of the Year, Ambient Manufacturing Company of the Year, Bakery Manufacturing Company of the Year, Chilled & Fresh Food Manufacturing Company of the Year, Dairy Manufacturing Company of the Year, Frozen Foods Manufacturing Company of the Year, Meat, Poultry & Seafood Manufacturing Company of the Year, Environmental Initiative of the Year, Training Programme of the Year, Judges’ Star Performer, Most Innovative Small Company of the Year and Personality of the Year.
Entries open on Thursday May 1 and close on July 31. A shortlist will be published in September, following rigorous judging by our independent panel of experts. Winners will be revealed at a gala awards evening at the Park Lane Hilton in London on November 20.