FMEAs 2017

Bakkavor on top form after winning training Oscar

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Top trainer: Mike Lambert, Bakkavor head of operations, collected the award from Matt Betty (right), business development manager with category sponsor Appetite Learning. They were joined on stage by awards host Matt Dawson
Top trainer: Mike Lambert, Bakkavor head of operations, collected the award from Matt Betty (right), business development manager with category sponsor Appetite Learning. They were joined on stage by awards host Matt Dawson

Related tags: Manufacturing company, Industry, Food

Fresh prepared foods manufacturer Bakkavor Hitchen Foods came top of the form, after winning the prized Training Programme of the Year trophy in the industry’s Oscars – the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards – at The Hilton on Park Lane in London on Wednesday November 1.

The firm’s achievements were celebrated in front of hundreds of food industry guests as head of operations Mike Lambert collected the award from Matt Betty, business development manager with category sponsor Appetite Learning. They were joined on stage by awards host, English Rugby Union World Cup winner and former team captain Matt Dawson.

Bakkavor landed the award after identifying the need for behavioural change at its Hitchen factory in Wigan, Greater Manchester. Top priorities were delivering big improvements in operational performance and management abilities.

Drawing on the support of training provider CQM, the business launched a training programme dedicated to teaching people long-lasting skills that they could apply every day, together with a recognised qualification. The result of the training initiative was a sustained improvement to business profit.

Long-lasting skills

The FMEA awards’ independent judging panel – led by Paul Wilkinson, chair of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink – praised Bakkavor Hitchen Foods’ commitment to equip its team with the skills they needed, not just to lift performance at work but to benefit other areas of their lives.

The judges said: “Bakkavor Hitchen Foods truly understood the importance of driving long-term improvement through developing workforce skills and confidence.

“Its staff engagement programmes – at all levels of the business – delivered impressive, practical and documented benefits to the bottom line.”

Finalists in the Training Programme of the Year category were: Alpen, Dawn Meats, Norseland and Weetabix.

The overall award Food Manufacture Company of the Year was snapped up by County Durham-based ethnic snacks manufacturer SK Chilled Foods​, after it first won Chilled Food Manufacturing Company of the Year.

The annual FMEAs, organised by William Reed’s Food Manufacture Group, now in their 17th year, have become the premier showcase for British food and drink manufacturing excellence.

Seven manufacturing awards

This year’s FMEAs included seven manufacturing awards: Ambient Manufacturing Company of the Year, Bakery Manufacturing Company of the Year, Beverages Manufacturing Company of the Year, Chilled Food Manufacturing Company of the Year, Dairy Manufacturing Company of the Year, Fresh Produce Manufacturing Company of the Year and Meat, Poultry & Seafood Manufacturing Company of the Year.

FMEA Oscars were also awarded for: Best New Use of Food Ingredients, Environmental Initiative of the Year, Supply Chain Initiative of the Year, SME Innovation of the Year and Judges’ Star Performer.

Thanks to all the FMEA sponsors: Columbus, DR Newitt, Lockton, Michael Page Engineering and Manufacturing, Celsius, Sanderson, SA Partners, PPMA and KDH Projects.

Read the full list of winners and finalists here​.

More information about the food and drink manufacturing Oscars is available here ​and how to register your interest for next year’s awards here​.

Watch out for more reports  – in words, photographs and video interviews – detailing all the winners and the award highlights at FoodManufacture.co.uk and in the December edition of our sister title Food Manufacture​.

Meanwhile, today (November 3) Bakkavor revealed plans to ditch its £1bn-plus stock market floatation​, due to “current volatility in the market”.

Training Programme of the Year finalists

  • Alpen
  • Bakkavor Hitchen Foods
  • Dawn Meats
  • Norseland
  • Weetabix

Related topics: Chilled foods, People & Skills, Services

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