Food manufacturing awards

Ichiban UK wins food manufacturing industry Oscar

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Sushi firm Ichiban UK wrapped up the trophy for Small and medium-sized enterprise innovation of the year
Sushi firm Ichiban UK wrapped up the trophy for Small and medium-sized enterprise innovation of the year

Related tags Food manufacturing excellence Industry Food manufacturing excellence awards

Stowmarket-based sushi firm Ichiban UK has wrapped up a coveted award in the industry’s Oscars – the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards (FMEAs) last week. 

Ichiban UK won the title Small and medium-sized enterprise innovation of the year – part of the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards (FMEAs) – at the London Park Lane Hilton during a glittering award ceremony on the evening of Thursday November 20.

The firm’s achievements were recognised in front of hundreds of top industry professionals, as its head of commercial Karen Green collected the award from category sponsor Columbus IT's business development director Matt Drewett. They were joined on stage by the awards host and star TV presenter Mark Durden-Smith.

Most innovative

The award celebrated the achievement of the most innovative small-scale food or drink manufacturer – typically employing fewer than 100 staff with a turnover of lower than £10M a year.

The FMEA awards’ independent judging panel – led by Paul Wilkinson, chair of National Skills Academy and chairman of Thorntons – praised the firm’s success in popularising sushi in the UK.

The judges highlighted the sushi maker’s authentic Japanese production methods, used to produce traditional products with a modern twist. “Their biggest achievement has been in working closely with retail customers to drive the uptake of the sushi category,”​ said the judges. “Ichiban has made significant progress in what is a difficulty in the UK, overcoming significance to eating sushi based on raw fish.”

Key client Tesco

Ichiban has grown sales and driven the sushi category in both own-label and branded products. Working with key client Tesco it reversed a -9% fall to year-on-year growth of 13%. This followed extensive analysis of the category and competitors’ activity. The firm had improved range clarity, while eliminating product duplication and some products perceived to scare consumers.

Also shortlisted in this category were: Savse Smoothies, Raynor Foods and Windyridge Cheese. 

Ichiban UK was also short listed in the category Chilled Food & Dairy Manufacturing Company of the Year.

Meanwhile, Patrick Coveney, ceo of sandwich specialist Greencore, won the coveted Food Personality of the Year title.

Read the full list of trophy winners and finalists here​.

Will your food and drink manufacturing business be among the FMEA 2015 winners? Register here​ for next year’s food and drink manufacturing Oscars.

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