Ferguson is also honorary vice-chairman of the British Nutrition Foundation and the lead non-executive board member for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
He will replace Paul Wilkinson, a former chairman of Rank Hovis McDougall and Thorntons, in the role.
Ferguson takes up Wilkinson’s mantle following the announcement that the 2018 awards will be bigger and better than ever, with a total of 18 categories.
Nine awards will cover the main food and drink product categories, with winners in each category competing for the ultimate accolade of Food Manufacture Company of the Year.
This time around, Beverage Manufacturer of the Year has been split into Drinks (Alcoholic) Manufacturing Company of the Year and Soft Drinks Manufacturing Company of the Year. Other new main categories are: Ingredients Manufacturing Company of the Year; Frozen Foods Manufacturing Company of the Year and Foodservice Manufacturing Company of the Year.
All categories will be awarded at two levels: one tier for small firms chalking up less than £10m in turnover and one for companies boasting £10m or more in sales.
Industry Initiative, People Awards
Two further groups of awards have been created: Industry Initiative Awards – designed to celebrate achievements in key areas – and People Awards, which have been created to reward individuals achieving excellence in the industry.
The first group recognises initiatives in training and exporting as well as supply chain and technology partnerships. The second group features trophies for factory site teams and a promising business leader of the future, in addition to the Food Manufacture Apprentice of the Year and Food Manufacture 2018 Business Leaders Award.
The FMEAs judging panel, which consists of food industry experts with a total of more than 100 years’ experience in the sector, makes the final decision on all awards.
Entries are now made online, to avoid excessive use of paper and to simplify the process. Judges assess these entries remotely in a preliminary phase, before meeting face to face to vote on winners from a shortlist for each category.
Business Leaders 2018
The Business Leaders 2018 award is unique in that a small number of contenders is put together based on opinions canvassed from industry experts. A final judgement is then made. The award is meant to highlight the positive impact of an individual on the food industry either through their position within a food business or on a wider political stage.
The FMEAs have been running for 18 years and were set up, as the name would suggest, to reward and inspire excellence in food and drink processing.
The entry deadline is 30 July, giving prospective contenders just over two more weeks to complete their submissions. The big-top-themed awards night will take place on 7 November at the London Hilton on Park Lane.
For more information on how to enter and on registering your interest as a potential sponsor, click here.