Wanted: Food Manufacture Personality of Year

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Searching for a Food Manufacture Personality of Year

Related tags Food manufacture Food Chief executive

The Food Manufacture Group is searching for a Food Manufacture Personality of Year. We need your help to celebrate the man or woman who has proved to be a top achiever in the field of UK food and drink manufacturing over the past 12 months.

The winner could have worked hard to improve the safety of British food or guided his or her business to stunning business success over the past year.

Part of the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards (FMEA), the Personality of the Year award showcases the skills, charisma and talent of one individual. The Food Manufacture Group editorial team has shortlisted six candidates.

Only one winner

But there can only be one winner and we need your help to find that individual. Simply read the profiles of each of the shortlisted candidates before placing your vote.

The winner will be unveiled at a gala celebration dinner at the Lancaster hotel, London on the evening of Tuesday November 3.

Also unveiled on the big night will be various manufacturing, skills and environment awards – together with the big one: Food Manufacture Company of the Year.

So, don’t miss your opportunity to vote​ for your favourite candidate. See you at the awards.

Kevin Brennan, chief executive, Quorn Foods

Kevin Brennan, Quorn Foods’s chief executive, aims to build the meat substitute Quorn into a global brand, while notching up sales of £200M this year.

After announcing a 7% rise in annual sales to £150M in January this year, Brennan is within striking distance of his target. Another boost to help him achieve his ambition was the £40M investment programme announced in March. This year-long investment plan – including £3M earmarked for research and development – will be directed towards furthering the firm's global expansion.

Quorn Foods currently exports to 15 markets across the globe, with sales in Germany, Finland and Denmark expected to double over the next 12 months. The business plans a £30M investment at its Billingham plant near Middlesbrough to supply the projected rise in global demand.

Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, founder, Genius Foods

Genius Foods was born out of Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne’s need to provide tasty gluten-free bread for her son, who had been diagnosed as gluten intolerant. After striving to find suitable products, she decided to create something herself.

Genius bread hit the supermarket shelves in 2009 and today sells more than 1M loaves a year in the UK. The firm has even begun selling baguettes to the French.

Last year, Genius Foods had a £40M turnover, 73% year-on-year growth, 450 staff and had 20 products on the market, with more being launched this year. The firm claimed to account for 52% of the gluten-free bread market.

Jeremy Hall, group technical director, Bernard Matthews

Jeremy Hall has campaigned to encourage retailers to adopt new processing measures to cut the high incidence of campylobacter on fresh chicken. An ardent supporter of rapid surface chilling technology, he believes it could slash campylobacter contamination levels, for the modest price of about 10p on the price of a chicken.

Hall joined Bernard Matthews 15 years ago and has played a role in the British Poultry Council technical committee for over 20 years. He has worked with the British Meat Processors Association technical group; has jointly chaired the white meat policy group in the Food Standards Agency and now chaired the Campden BRI member interest group for meat and poultry.

Christine Tacon, Groceries Code Adjudicator

Christine Tacon became the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) in January 2013 and regulated the interactions between the 10 largest supermarkets in the UK, with an annual turnover of £1bn, and their direct suppliers.

Earlier this year, she was granted the power to fine retailers 1% of turnover if they were found to be in breach of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP). Tacon launched an investigation into Tesco in February, following evidence about delayed payments.

Last year, Tacon wrote to Food Manufacture readers, asking them to help her by providing evidence of breaches to the GSCOP.

Chris Thomas, chief executive, Tulip

Tulip boss Chris Thomas is a qualified chartered engineer and has worked in the food industry for more than 30 years, holding senior management positions with PepsiCo, St Ivel, Geest-Bakkavor and most recently as chief executive of Adelie Foods.

Joining meat processor Tulip in May 2013, Thomas has championed the pork industry and has spearheaded a series of investments in Tulip’s UK factories via its owner Danish Crown.

That included more than £37M poured into its Ashton, Spalding and Westerleigh abattoirs last year to support a major export push into China.

Significant investment elsewhere has led to hundreds of new jobs. For example, Tulip launched a recruitment drive for 145 people for Westerleigh alone in February, following its £16M investment there.

Roger Whiteside, chief executive, Greggs

Roger Whiteside’s tactics – as chief architect of a strategic plan centred on growing the food-on-the-go market – have paid off for Greggs. The plan has boosted sales and earned the praise of retail analysts after several difficult years for the high street baker.

Whiteside has directed investment in new stores, shop refits and new product development over the past 12 months.

The baker’s pre-tax profits have soared by 40% to £58.3M, the highest in its 66-year history. Reported total sales rose by 5.5% to £804M and own-shop like-for-like sales were up 4.5%.

As well as opening new stores in Britain, the baker also opened its first store in Northern Ireland, just off the M2, in a partnership with forecourt and motorway service operator Applegreen in April.

So, now you have met the candidates, who will you vote for? Make your choice here​ to select the Food Manufacture Personality of the Year.

Previous Personality award winners

2014: Patrick Coveney, Greencore, ceo

2013: Richard Clothier, Wyke Farms, md

2012: Perween Warsi: S&A Foods, founder and chief executive

2014: Christine Bense, Kraft Foods, plant director Banbury

2013: Jimmy Doherty, TV personality and farmer

2009: John Foster, Fosters Bakery

2008: Philip McIvor, Farmhouse Biscuits

2007: Helen Colley, Farmhouse Fayre

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