If you missed the call to enter, don't fret: the free online entry process is easier than ever, so there's still time to highlight your company's story and achievements over the past year. Naturally, this year more than most has been the setting for some exceptional achievements in the face of adversity and the judges are taking account of the inspiring work done by companies to tackle the coronavirus crisis.
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, while representatives from Campden BRI, the Institute of Food Science and Technology, the Society of Food Hygiene and Technology and Waitrose are among other panellists.
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.
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.
- Ambient Food Manufacturing Company of The Year
- Bakery Manufacturing Company of The Year
- Chilled, Fresh and Dairy Food Manufacturing Company of the Year
- Free-From Manufacturing Company of The Year
- Frozen Foods Manufacturing Company of The Year
- Ingredients Manufacturing Company of The Year
- Meat, Poultry and Seafood Manufacturing Company of The Year
- Plant-Based Manufacturing Company of The Year
A host of further categories also allow businesses to highlight other areas of outstanding performance.
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.
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 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.
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.
These awards are all about celebrating your story, so for more information or to enter the awards, log on to www.foodmanawards.co.uk.