"Top of my list is health," said Eaton. "Our purpose as an industry is to keep the nation healthy. With the National Food Strategy coming out, we want to keep in control of our destiny. The more we can do to improve the health of our recipes and our food for consumers the better."
He also singled out the importance of training at this moment. "Young people have been through a terribly difficult time and as an industry we can offer so much opportunity. When we get to the apprenticeship part of our judging, it's always exciting to see the amazing things young people are doing."
Sustainability and ethics were also growing in importance for the industry and consumers, he said.
Listen to this exclusive five-minute video to hear the other themes Eaton expects to see coming through from the entries, as well what he considers to be the next big emerging challenge for the industry.
Key dates to remember
5 July 2021: Awards open for entry
6 September 2021: Entry deadline
10 February 2022, from 7pm: Awards ceremony, London Hilton Bankside
Eaton said the past year had been challenging for the industry, particularly for those supplying the hospitality and foodservice sectors. "When you think back to the chaos of last year with the COVID pandemic, few of us would have thought that we would still be in the grip of it a year later. On top of that we have had Brexit, which has caused a lot of trouble for our industry - a lot of extra cost and greater uncertainty."
However, he added: "I think we can feel really proud of our industry and the way we have kept food on the shelves and kept our people safe."
Online entry for the industry Oscars opened on 5 July and will close on 6 September. They are now simpler to enter than ever, companies can enter as many categories as they want and there are two new categories this year: the Sustainability Award and the Future Talent of The Year Award. Read our handy guide on how to win. For more information and to enter, visit www.foodmanawards.co.uk.
Due to the Government's COVID-19 restrictions, this year's winners were announced in a virtual ceremony on 11 February.