food manufacturing excellence awards

Searching for a food manufacturing hero

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Who will you vote for? Will it be Premier Foods boss Gavin Darby or one of the other six candidates?
Who will you vote for? Will it be Premier Foods boss Gavin Darby or one of the other six candidates?

Related tags Chief executive Industry Food

Wanted: a food and drink manufacturing hero to showcase all that’s best in the sector’s leadership excellence.

The Food Manufacturing Group is searching for a Food Personality of the Year, to celebrate the best of the industry’s leadership. And there’s still time to make your vote count.

Who do you think has done the most this year to champion the best interests of food and drink manufacturing or to deliver business excellence in our sector. The Food Manufacture editorial team nominated seven candidates worthy of recognition and, now, it’s over to you.

We need your vote to help select the man or women​ who have achieved something very special this year in the field of food and drink manufacturing. So, will you be voting for Charlie Bigham – founder, Charlie Bigham's posh ready meals business? Will his energy, passion and business acumen to drive the premium end of this category win your vote?

Patrick Coveney, Greencore

Or has Patrick Coveney, Greencore’s chief executive, a stronger case to merit the crown? Coveney has helped to drive the business from strength-to-strength in recent years, as it expanded its US business along the country’s eastern seaboard.

And what about Gavin Darby, Premier Foods’s chief executive? He was widely credited with helping to consolidate the gains made by his predecessor in reviving the flagging fortunes of one of Britain’s biggest food manufacturers.

This year’s shortlist also includes Chris Elliott, professor of food safety, Queen’s University, Belfast, for his two seminal reports on the origins of the horsemeat crisis and his recommendations to combat food fraud.

Don’t forget, too, the Tse Sisters – Manchester-based, Helen and Lisa – founders of free-from Chinese sauce business Sweet Mandarin. We selected them to recognise their rocket trip journey from kitchen sauce manufacturers to multi-national food exporters with an order book worth millions of pounds.

Cook for the prime minister

Not only did the Tse’s cook for prime minister David Cameron and the Chinese premier in Downing Street over the summer, they persuaded the Chinese leader to promote their sauces​ back home.

Last, but not least, we’ve selected Dr Andy Wood, chief executive, Adnams, for his inspired business acumen leading the East Anglian brewery business.

So, that’s our selection. Now it is over to you. Vote for your favourite candidate here​.

Last year’s winner was Richard Clothier, md of Wyke Farms. Clothier was presented the award in recognition of his journey in navigating Wyke Farms to become the nation’s largest independent producer of cheddar, while implementing a 100% green energy organisation.

The identity of this year's winner will be revealed at the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards (FMEAs) celebration at a gala dinner, to take place at the Park Lane Hilton hotel London on the evening of Thursday November 20.

Meanwhile, don’t miss the shortlist of food manufacturing companies​ in running to receive an FMEA trophy – the Oscars of the food and drink manufacturing sector.

Be among the first to learn the identity of all the winners – including the top prize – Food Manufacturing Company of the Year, by booking your place at this year’s celebration dinner. Reserve your place by contacting Rebecca George on 01293 610422 or email


Personality of the Year: the shortlist

  • Charlie Bigham, founder, Charlie Bigham’s
  • Patrick Coveney, chief executive, Greencore
  • Gavin Darby, chief executive, Premier Foods
  • Chris Elliott, professor of food safety, Queen’s University, Belfast
  • Tse Sisters, founders of Sweet Mandarin
  • Dr Andy Wood, chief executive, Adnams

Please vote now​. Good luck to all the shortlisted candidates.

Related news

Show more

Related products

Carbon Reduction for Large Energy Users

Carbon Reduction for Large Energy Users

Content provided by ESB Energy | 12-Nov-2021 | Product Brochure

ESB Energy Business Solutions can help you meet your companies carbon targets by 2050. We offer a range of sustainable tailored solutions to reduce the...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast