The Grocer launched the competition in association with Food Manufacture as a means of recognising the heroic efforts of grocery plants to maintain supplies to consumers as the pandemic raged on. Entries were submitted via an online survey.
Judges included Waitrose technical manager Jonathon Bayne, Katherine Thomas, chief executive of consultancy Brighter Capability, and Denis Treacy, chief executive, Culture Compass.
Entries for the new award spanned small and large operations across every grocery category and included jaw-dropping and emotive stories on the part of the factory managers involved, making the judging extremely challenging.
However, at last the panel reached a verdict.
Factory Manager of the Year finalists
- Jo Taylor, Arla Foods Aylesbury
- Sabine Hill, Blue Skies Corby
- Sam Pearl, Cranswick Milton Keynes
- Triona Garvey, Nomad Foods, Naas
- Rachel Matheson, Premier Foods Lifton
The winner will be announced online on 10 November at 3pm, as part of the ‘Golden Week’, The Grocer’s week-long celebration created to crown the winners of The Grocer Gold Awards 2020.
All other trophies for The Grocer Gold Awards will be announced on the web from 9-13 November.
The publication of the Factory Manager of the Year shortlist follows the announcement of the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards 2021 finalists. The winners of these industry Oscars will be revealed in a virtual broadcast held at 5pm on 11 February.
Commenting on the Factory Manager of the Year competition, Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer, said:
We were blown away – and deeply moved – by the entries for The Grocer’s Factory Manager of the Year competition. There were a huge number of entries, and what shone through was the commitment, bravery, resourcefulness and sense of duty that has been displayed across the entire supply chain since the outbreak of the pandemic to deliver such extraordinary outputs and impacts.
"It was so hard to pick out the outstanding entries amidst so many outstanding candidates and such outstanding performances, but as much as it was onerous to pick the shortlist it was also an honour and my panel of judges have taken our responsibilities very seriously. I’m therefore delighted to announce the shortlisted entrants for the Factory Manager of the Year, and look forward to announcing the winner on Tuesday 10 November at 3pm.”
Rod Addy, editor of Food Manufacture, said:
It was great to see so many varied entries from such a wide selection of food categories completely demonstrating just how much effort and behind-the-scenes work goes into food processing, and how much genuine concern not just for the people in the factory, but also the wider community.”
The judging panel
Rod Addy, editor, Food Manufacture
Jonathon Bayne, technical manager, Waitrose
Geoff Eaton, chairman, New England Seafood
Adam Leyland, editor, The Grocer
Jon Poole, chief executive, Institute of Food Science & Technology
Katherine Thomas, chief executive, Brighter Capability
Denis Treacy, chief executive, Culture Compass