Meet the finalists: The Community Award

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Five firms have been named as finalists for The Community Award
Five firms have been named as finalists for The Community Award

Related tags Food manufacture excellence awards

Find out who is in the running for The Community Award at next year’s Food Manufacture Excellence Awards.

Action Against Hunger – The Compleat Food Group

Unearthed is a Mediterranean snacking and deli brand which was born from an enjoyment of world food and flavours. Part of The Compleat Food Group, its products are inspired by travels and a mission to bring favourite holiday foods home.

Through its discoveries, Unearthed recognised that for many people across the globe, food remains a necessity that is in short supply. That is why the brand set up a partnership with global organisation and charity Action Against Hunger to help with its vision for a world without hunger. Action Against Hunger is a pioneer in its mission to prevent and treat life-threatening hunger in more than 51 countries around the world, saving lives and offering support to malnourished children.

Unearthed first joined forces with Action Against Hunger UK in 2010 and started by setting up a penny per pack pledge, a message that was displayed on the packaging of all Unearthed products with the Action Against Hunger logo.

Over the last 12 years the Unearthed brand has seen significant growth from three olive lines, expanding into new categories and offering more than 100 lines. Throughout this, the brand has been committed to the penny per pack pledge and its support for the work of Action Against Hunger around the world.

Blue Dragon Children's Foundation & TNA Solutions

Over the last 20 years, TNA Solutions has partnered with more than 30 charitable organisation in over 20 countries through its philanthropic arm, the Nadia and Alf Taylor Foundation. With a mission rooted in making a tangible impact, the foundation has not only extended financial support but also offered strategic consulting services to empower partner beneficiaries in their quest to create a positive change in the lives of countless individuals worldwide.

While TNA has several ongoing projects across the globe, one standout partnership that exemplifies the foundation's remarkable work is its collaboration with the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, an organisation committed to eradicating trafficking and exploitation in Vietnam. Blue Dragon's multifaceted approach involves the rescue and rehabilitation of children and young adults who have fallen victim to homelessness, sexual exploitation or forced labour. The charity’s comprehensive support ranges from immediate necessities such as emergency accommodation to vital psychological counselling and educational opportunities.

As the foundation embarks on the next phase of its mission, its commitment remains unwavering. Over the next 12 months, the foundation will continue to forge partnerships with organisations across the globe, including its ongoing collaboration with the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation. These collective efforts will focus on the rescue and repatriation of trafficking victims, emergency care provisions, educational and vocational opportunities and essential psychological counselling sessions.

One Feeds Two – Mindful Chef

Mindful Chef is aligned to a number of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals where the firm believes it can have the most material, positive impact, with tackling hunger becoming a core focus. In 2017, Mindful Chef partnered with the charity One Feeds Two and adopted the one-for one-model. This means, for every meal the company sells, it donates a meal to a child living in poverty. These meals are distributed throughout schools in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world where over 500,000 Malawian children face the risk of malnutrition.

These donations are distributed by a local organisation using ingredients from local farmers, providing jobs and empowering the local community. By distributing the meals in schools, they help to drive attendance, as well as increasing the children's ability to concentrate and learn while they are there. In addition, the hot nourishing meal reduces the children's risk of diseases.

Mindful Chef is now One Feeds Two’s largest donor, having donated more than 18 million meals, equal to feeding 95,000 school children for an academic year. The team and customers care deeply about this partnership and it is something that the firm is committed to as it grows.

Project Surplus – Charlie Bigham's

Charlie Bigham’s believes that food is too good to waste, especially when there are people in the UK who regularly go hungry. As a result, when the brand is left with a surplus, it makes sure that the food finds its way to someone else’s plate. As well as finished meals, Charlie Bigham’s has pledged to donate any surplus it generate during the production process. Whether that’s rice, sauce or chicken, it's broken down into suitable serving sizes, packaged and redistributed.

By working closely with the charities, the manufacturer has developed an approach and format that makes its food accessible to a far greater number of people. After City Harvest approached Charlie Bigham’s, the firm began started a pilot project donating fresh chicken wings. Approximately 100kg of chicken wings were going to waste prior to this initiative and since August 2022 the ready meal maker has donated the equivalent of 189,121 meals.

Working together to provide surplus, has had a massive impact on Londoners at a time when one in four households can’t afford meat or other nutritious food items,​” said Jamie Dyck, food sourcing manager at City Harvest.

In January 2023, Charlie Bigham’s also began donating surplus food to FareShare South West, which is dedicated to tackling food waste and hunger. By working closely with the FareShare team, the firm has donated the equivalent of 48,000 meals so far.

Work For Good & B1G1 – Fudge Kitchen

Fudge Kitchen operates around three pillars – product, people and planet. Over the last few years, it has streamlined its product offering, putting the onus on quality over quantity, and has looked to increase the levels of transparency on its social and environmental footprint. Meanwhile, in 2022 the business became fully employee-owned, putting the future of the company in the hands of the people that helped get it to the position that it is in today.

As part of its commitment to the planet, the firm has introduced a two-pronged approach – minimising its environmental impact and focusing on becoming a business for good. Its shops now source ingredients locally when possible and work with local dairies and suppliers. The packaging used is either fully recyclable or compostable, while the manufacturer is consistently looking at ways to reduce its carbon footprint.

In 2020, Fudge Kitchen began working with the giving platform B1G1, as part of its bid to have a positive impact on local and community initiatives. In addition, it joined forces with Work For Good, which operates as a bridge between small businesses and charities to facilitate fundraising while providing transparency for those donating – making sure funds get to the right place while protecting either party.

The winners of this prize will be announced at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards 2024 on Thursday 8 February at the London Hilton Bankside. You can buy tickets here.​​​

Thank you to our headliner sponsor Menzies, alongside event sponsors Quor, HSBC, and CAS Recruitment.

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