Food Manufacture Excellence Awards

Mash Direct in monster win at manufacturing Oscars

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Mash direct Food manufacture excellence Industry Manufacturing

Mash Direct, the Northern Ireland-­based ready meal and prepared vegetable supplier, has won the coveted overall Food Manufacture company of the year at the food and drink manufacturing Oscars, alongside the title Chilled, fresh and dairy manufacturing company of the year.

The firm’s double win was celebrated at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards (FMEAs) during a glittering awards celebration at The Hilton, Park Lane, London on Wednesday (November 2).

Watch an exclusive video interview with Mash Direct director Jack Hamilton above, filmed just after he received his award.

Genuinely a field-to-fork family farm and factory business, Mash Direct makes vegetable side dishes and ready meals using its own food plant equipment.

Last year the business achieved turnover of more than £15M​, compared with £14.1M previous year. It has also delivered reported year-­on­-year sales growth of £2M since 2013, with an increasing emphasis on unlocking the sales potential of the US and Middle East markets as well as consolidating sales in the UK and Ireland.

Stiff competition

To win the Chilled and fresh category award, the business beat stiff competition from five other firms including Samworth Brothers and S&K Foods. Read the full shortlist in the category below.

But when it came to the big one – the Food Manufacture company of the year – the independent judging panel – led by Paul Wilkinson, chair of National Skills Academy – was tasked with the selecting the best of the best from the category entries.

“The job of selecting one company from all the category winners​ just gets harder every year,”​ said Wilkinson. “In the end, Mash Direct clearly stood out at as the best of the best in food and drink manufacturing.”

Factors behind the win included: its relentless commitment to new product development, category management, marketing and production inefficiencies.

“Its concept of mashed vegetables and what you can do with them is incredible,”​ said one judge. “Every year the firm has new production and marketing ideas coming through. Mash Direct always delivers.”

​Mash Direct always delivers

Mash Direct’s double win was celebrated in front of hundreds of food and drink manufacturing sector guests with two FMEA trophies in the Venice-themed awards ceremony hosted by star TV presenter Carol Smillie.

The firm’s Jack Hamilton received the overall Food Manufacture Excellence Award from Louise Mcreynolds (pictured), associate director, with Michael Page Engineering and Manufacturing.

Earlier in the evening, Hamilton received the Chilled and fresh produce trophy from Kevin Haynes, md of category sponsor KDH.

Meanwhile, the Food Manufacture Personality of the Year title went to 2 Sisters Food Group technical learning and development manager Janette Graham​ for her pioneering work in developing the government’s new Trailblazer apprenticeship programme for the food and drink sector.

Could you match Mash Direct's win in the 2017 Food Manufacture Excellence Awards? Why not find out by registering your interest​ today? 

Read the full list of winners and finalists here​.


FMEA chilled and fresh category shortlist

  • Bradgate Bakery (Samworth Brothers)
  • Davidson Canners
  • Mash Direct Category winner and overall winner
  • Quinfresh
  • Samworth Brothers
  • SK Foods

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