In addition to her role at SOFHT, Kibby was head of regulatory and food safety policy at Tesco before becoming food safety lead at Amazon a month ago. Ryan is also co-chair of the Global Meat Alliance.
The judging panel combines more than 150 years of collective work in and with the food industry. Geoff Eaton, chair of the 2020 Food Manufacture Awards, is reprising his role.
Winners are scheduled to be announced at a gala dinner on 11 February 2021 at London's Hilton Bankside, which will also be the 20th year the industry Oscars have been held. They were launched in 2001, with the first overall winner being the Bass brewery in Burton upon Trent. Since then, a range of companies have claimed the honour of winning the overall title, from Coca-Cola Enterprises to Arla Foods and from Ginsters to Dawn Meats.
Previous Food Manufacture Excellence Awards winners
2001: Bass (AB-Inbev)
2002: Lightbody Celebration Cakes
2003: Coca-Cola Enterprises
2005: Tryton Foods
2007: Arla Foods
2008: Greencore Chilled Soups and Sauces
2009: The Seafood Company
2011: The Cheese Warehouse
2012: Iglo Foods
2013: Premier Foods
2014: Dawn Meats
2015: Moy Park
2016: Mash Direct
2017: SK Chilled Foods
2019: Awards were not held this year
2020: Raynor Foods
The free-to-enter awards, which are sponsored by Dawn Foods, Fowler Welch, Foodex, Foodman Jobs and The Ingredients Show and supported by associate sponsor KDH Projects, are now open to online entries, with the closing deadline being 14 September. The event does not primarily focus on new product development, but on excellence in manufacturing and is open to all food and drink own-label and branded processors with a manufacturing base in the UK (administrative offices or depots don't count).
This year sees the launch of a new category: Plant-Based Manufacturing Company of The Year. This is open to companies making meat-free or dairy-free food or drink or general plant-based dishes for sale in a retail, foodservice, catering or hospitality context. These products do not necessarily have to be suitable for vegans or vegetarians. Businesses that win this main category are also eligible to win the overall award on the night, as are the winners of all the other main categories.
Take a look at this year's winners photo gallery. Could your company scoop a trophy next year?
Entrants in all main categories aim to demonstrate significant achievement in their category in at least three of the following areas: customer relationship building, quality assurance; environment and efficiency, skills development and training and business development.
In addition to the occasion of the awards' anniversary, the 2021 awards ceremony, with its 80s theme, will act as a rallying point to enable the industry to celebrate its achievements under some of the greatest pressure it has ever faced. Entries will be judged with the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic taken into account.
The awards are specially geared towards small as well as large businesses, with scope for judging and recognising the different strengths of each size of business within different streams of entries.
Not only can the winners display their trophies for visitors to admire, but their achievement will put them on our editorial team’s radar and open the possibility for further magazine or web coverage. That’s in addition to videos posted on FoodManufacture.co.uk in the days following their win.
Entrants don’t have to be perfect to win, nor do they have to be investing vast sums of cash. But they do have to demonstrate genuine innovation, impressive achievements in the field of processing, a passion for excellence and an ability to go the extra mile to deliver what customers and, ultimately, consumers want.
For example, past winners have swayed the judges by resurrecting factories previously gutted by fire, dramatically increasing production capacity, launching significant product development programmes, successfully implementing major technology upgrades and executing major business turnaround strategies.
For more information or to enter the awards, log on to www.foodmanawards.co.uk.
Rod Addy, editor, Food Manufacture
Jonathan Bayne, technical manager, Waitrose
Simon Chattock, head of vendor assurance, Compass Group, UK & Ireland
Richard Clothier, managing director, Wyke Farms
Geoff Eaton, chair of judges and chair, New England Seafood International; executive chair, Butchers Pet Care
Chris Jones, director, Turner & Townsend Suiko
Fiona Kibby, food safety lead, online retailer Amazon
Craig Leadley, head of strategic knowledge development and process innovation lead, Campden BRI
Laura Ryan, global chair, Meat Business Women; co-chair, Global Meat Alliance
Rick Pendrous, former editor, Food Manufacture
Jon Poole, chief executive, Institute of Food Science & Technology
Nicola Thomas, managing director, A La Carte Consulting; manager, Food and Drink Exporters Association; director, Food & Drink Exportese