FMEAs 2017

Female FMEA entrants’ quality ‘surprising and encouraging’

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Industry body seafish Drink manufacturing sector The london hilton on park lane Manufacturing

The high quality of women entering the Young talent of the year category at this year’s Food Manufacture Excellence Awards (FMEAs) proved campaigns promoting the food and drink industry to females were working, claimed Appetite Learning’s commercial director Alex Bebbington.

In this exclusive video interview, Bebbington, also a judge at this year’s FMEAs, expressed her surprise at the 50/50 split of male and female finalists in this year’s young talent award.

“In terms of recognition of young people coming through, I found it quite surprising there was that 50/50 divide and encouraging at the same time,”​ said Bebbington.

She was also surprised by the area of specialism one female entrant was working in.

‘Capability and the ability’

“It’s really encouraging to see somebody coming through at such a high level with such capability and the ability to cut through in that sort of world,”​ Bebbington said.

Bebbington said that the number of female entrants in this year’s awards was a sign that campaigns to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills to females were working.

However, more needed to be done to promote apprenticeships and university courses that were appealing to both men and women.

Bebbington added: “I also think that manufacturing plants and food manufacturers need to recognise and understand that women need to be flexible in managing family and priorities.”

‘Women need to be flexible’

Appetite Learning is a joint venture between’s publisher William Reed and Virtual College dedicated to e-Learning solutions, tailored to food and drink manufacturers’ compliance and training needs. 

In June, a survey by industry body Seafish revealed prejudice against women remained a common problem in the seafood industry.​ It urged more women to join the sector.

Meanwhile, time is running out to book your place at this year’s FMEAs, which take place at the Hilton Park Lane in London on November 1. To find out more, and book your tickets, see the box below.

Food Manufacture Excellence Awards: time is running out

Now in its 17th​ year, the Oscars of the food and drink manufacturing sector celebrate excellence in Britain’s biggest manufacturing sector.

This year, 60-plus food and drink manufacturers and individuals are competing for top honours at our gala awards evening at the London Hilton on Park Lane on Wednesday November 1.

Book your table by contacting Catherine Lyne on 01293 610 439.

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