Ways to win a food or drink manufacturing Oscar

By Matt Atherton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food manufacture company Mash direct

Showcasing innovation, answering each question individually and using award entries to measure year-on-year improvement were Mash Direct’s top three tips for winning a Food Manufacture Excellence Award (FMEA), after the business triumphed at last year’s Oscars.

In this exclusive video interview, Mash Direct director Jack Hamilton said showcasing innovation was crucial to the Northern Ireland firm’s success at last year’s FMEAs. In November, Mash Direct was crowned Food Manufacture Company of the year​ at the awards.

Hamilton said: “For us, in terms of awards, we always see ourselves as being at the forefront of innovation. Not just being a company within the UK where we’ve got a very pressurised retail environment, where it’s innovate or die. But, on top of that, just looking to export and looking to the rest of the world.

‘Innovation is absolutely crucial’

How to win an Oscar

  • Showcase innovation
  • Answer each question individually
  • Measure year-on-year improvement

“Innovation is absolutely crucial to what we do, and with that we’ll look to show it off with awards entries.”

Hamilton warned against copy and pasting the same answers for each entry question.

“The best way to win an award is first of all looking at the entry itself,”​ he said. “You need to answer the question on the paper; you can’t just stick in a prepared answer for every single award entry you do that year.”

Entering into the FMEAs was also the best way of assessing improvements within food and drink manufacturers’ own business, said Hamilton.

‘Answer the question as a business’

“Make sure you’re answering the question as a business. That you’re actually delivering year-on-year. By entering the awards, it’s actually giving you a criteria to measure yourself against year-on-year,”​ he added.

The FMEAs are judged by an independent panel of industry experts, chaired by National Skills Academy for Food and Drink chair Paul Wilkinson.

Meanwhile, the closing date for receipt of entries is Monday July 17. The winners will be revealed at a stellar awards evening at the Hilton on Park Lane in London, on November 1.

To find out more about entering the awards, visit the FMEAs website​, or call Catherine Lyne​ on 01293 610439. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Katie Tyler​ on 01293 610493.

Food Manufacture Excellence Awards: Which categories will you enter?

Manufacturing company of the year category

  • Ambient
  • Bakery
  • Beverages
  • Chilled foods
  • Dairy
  • Fresh produce
  • Frozen foods
  • Meat, poultry and seafood

From the winners of the individual category awards, one company will be selected by our judging panel to be crowned Food Manufacture Company of the Year​.

A series of other awards will be presented and these are open to those companies that have entered the main category awards.

Other FMEA awards

  • Best new use of food ingredients
  • Environmental initiative of the year
  • Supply chain initiative of the year
  • Training programme of the year
  • Judges’ star performer: presented to a company selected from all entries, which the judges believe deserves recognition for one particular area of its activities
  • SME innovation of the year award: presented to the best small company whose turnover is less than £10M and employs fewer than 100 staff

FMEAs for individuals

The Me and My Factory – editor’s choice award​ recognises the company from those featured under this regular and popular section within the pages of Food Manufacture​ over the previous year that our editorial team considers stands out from all the rest.

Young talent of the year award​ will be made to the individual aged 25 years or under, who the judges assess to be the most promising new apprentice or graduate in food and drink manufacture.

The closing date for receipt of entries is Friday July 14. The winners will be revealed at a fun-packed awards evening at the Hilton Park Lane in London on November 1.

The awards are free to enter and the winners are selected by an independent panel of leading experts from the sector.

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