Hovis ceo Bob Spooner collected the award from category sponsor Justine Fosh, ceo of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, at the London Park Lane Hilton in a glittering award ceremony on the evening of November 20. They were joined on stage by the awards host and star TV presenter Mark Durden-Smith.
The FMEA awards’ independent judging panel – led by Paul Wilkinson, chair of National Skills Academy and chairman of Thorntons – praised the firm’s Inspire training programme. The programme was designed to improve the engagement of its employees and lift bakery skills across the group, while improving the quality of its baked goods.
“Hovis captured the results of its Aspire training scheme brilliantly,” said the judges. “Its entry showed the clear product quality improvements achieved by the programme.”
Aspire aimed to improve the bakery skills of about 600 workers across its nine sites. Despite the success of TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, the firm recognised the diminishing levels of bread and baking skills across the nation.
The baker fought off stiff competition from fellow short-listed firms: Arla Foods, Chilled Food Association, Fairfax Meadow, Kinnerton and meat firm Tulip.
Hovis was created in April 2014 and is jointly owned by US firm The Gores Group and Premier Foods.
10 bakeries, six flour mills
The company, head-quartered in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, employs about 3,800 people at 10 bakeries, six flour mills and two regional distribution centres nationwide.
The business was also shortlisted in the Judges’ Star Performer category.
Meanwhile, Patrick Coveney, ceo of sandwich specialist Greencore, won the coveted Food Personality of the Year title. Thornton’s line manager Jodie Adcock won the inaugural Young Talent of the Year award.
The overall winner was Dawn Meats, which won the Food Manufacturing Company of the Year trophy, after first landing the Environmental Initiative of the Year earlier in the evening.
Read the full list of winners and shortlisted firms here.
Could your food and drink manufacturing business be among the winners next year? If so, register your interest for next year’s food manufacturing Oscars here. Winning an industry Oscar could provide just the boost your business needs in 2015.