Food Manufacture Excellence Awards: how to win

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

To win one of these, you don't have to be perfect. You just have to tell your story.
To win one of these, you don't have to be perfect. You just have to tell your story.

Related tags Training & recruitment

Keen to enter the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards, but not sure what it takes to put a winning entry together? Look no further than our handy guide.

If you're considering putting an entry into the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards and are unsure what details to include or concerned that your company simply hasn't done enough to merit an entry, don't fret.

The key message is to submit an entry anyway - you can't lose anything by doing so. You're guaranteed not to win if you don't.

Beyond that, the most important thing for main category entrants to do is take the judges on a journey, to tell the story of your successes and how you overcame challenges in the past year.

Key dates to remember

5 July 2021: entries open

6 September 2021: deadline for entries

10 February 2022: Winners announced at the Hilton Bankside, London

Turned things around

Many of our past category winners did not start a year in good shape. Some owned factories that were gutted by fire and had to be rebuilt. Some were struggling with low performance metrics or weak financial results. Then they turned things around and that made an impression.

The second thing to remember is not to underestimate your achievements. To you, what you have delivered over the past 12 months may be business as usual and nothing special. However, your factories may be just be setting high manufacturing standards without realising it - exactly the sort of business these awards are designed to recognise: those striving for excellence are likely to be hardest on themselves.

Remember too that your entry is being judged only against others who have entered - and no one is perfect.

The only thing that should disqualify you from entering is if your business does not manufacture food, drink or ingredients in the UK. The exception is the Technology Partnership Award, for which service providers may enter on behalf of manufacturing clients.

What makes a winning entry?

1: Tell your story about overcoming challenges;

2: Don't underestimate your achievements;

3: You are only judged against other entries - you don't have to be perfect, just better than the rest;

4: Give an overview with examples - we don't need a comprehensive dossier;

5: You don't have to cover all six criteria for the category awards - just as many as you can;

6: You can enter as many categories as you like;

7: Enter early to avoid running out of time at the end.

For your company to have a shot at winning the overall award of Company of The Year, it must have entered one of the main product categories. They are Ambient; Bakery; Chilled, Fresh & Dairy; Free-From, Frozen Foods; Ingredients; Meat, Poultry & Seafood and Plant-based.

Each main category entry is judged on six criteria. They are: business growth; innovation (process as well as product); quality control; customer relationships; environmental and efficiency initiatives; and people, perks and training (how is your company encouraging skills development and a positive workplace culture)

Your entry doesn't have to be outstanding in all areas to win, although the more your cover, the stronger it will be. Again, we're not looking for a entire dossier of hard evidence, just an overview plus any evidence you want to include, with examples. It's worth saying that any sensitive details you do include will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

Managing directors and factory managers are the best people to provide most of this overview.

A big thanks to our sponsors

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It's also worth stressing that people have also always been an integral part of our awards. We have a separate set of awards dedicated to them (Apprentice, Site Team and Future Talent). A win in the nationwide set of awards widely recognised as the industry Oscars does a lot to boost the morale of these individuals and incentivise them, making an entry definitely worthwhile.

Entering one category, even a main category does not stop you from submitting as many entries to other categories as you want.

Entries are made purely online, so there aren't great swathes of paperwork to fill in (you get enough of that already!). We have made the process as simple and straightforward as possible.

You can start an entry, save it on our system and come back whenever you need to update it. However, always leave enough time to complete your entry, especially given that the summer holiday season is upon us. There's nothing worse than starting the process and running out of time.

So don't delay: open your entry today. Visit​ for more details.

Award categories

Overall Award: Company of the Year

Main Categories

  • Ambient Manufacturing Company of the Year
  • Bakery Manufacturing Company of the Year
  • Chilled, Fresh & Dairy Food Manufacturing Company of the Year
  • Free-From Manufacturing Company of the Year
  • Ingredients Manufacturing Company of the Year
  • Frozen Foods Manufacturing Company of the Year
  • Meat, Poultry & Seafood Manufacturing Company of the Year
  • Plant-based Manufacturing Company of the Year

Industry Initiative

  • Export Award
  • Service Provider Partnership Award
  • Training Award
  • Sustainability Award

People Awards

  • Apprentice of the Year
  • Site Team of the Year
  • Future Talent of the Year

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