The winners of the 2021 Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Awards were announced at The Royal Lancaster in London last night, Thursday, September 16.

The event, which celebrates the UK food and drink industry, brought together over 500 guests. This year, the awards show was hosted by celebrity restaurant critic and food journalist Jay Rayner.

The winners of the 2021 FDF Awards are as follows:

Apprentice of the Year: Cherri Chan, Unilever UK and Ireland

Cherri Chan is a Packaging Developer within the Ice Cream category at Unilever. Not only is Cherri impressing her colleagues with her rapidly developed expertise, but she is also a fantastic pioneer for the Packaging Apprenticeship programme.

Cherri has also gone the extra mile in sharing her passion as part of Unilever’s school outreach programme.

Brand Launch of the Year: Macphie, Simply clever food (sponsored by Potter Clarkson)

Despite a challenging year for the foodservice industry, Macphie gave its brand an incredible overhaul, revaluating everything from its purpose, its core values and its packaging suite.

Working with a Glasgow-based creative agency, Macphie worked with everyone across the business, digging deep to reassess what the business is all about.

Business Resilience: Kanes Food Limited

Kanes Foods had successfully delivered a turnaround programme in 2020, during which headcount was halved, operational footprint was reduced, and overheads were cut by 40%. Due to the pandemic, the business was forced to initiate another rapid response. Kanes worked with key stakeholders and customers to keep production lines running while maintaining high levels of customer service to customers.

Campaign of the Year: Coca-Cola Great Britain, Coca-Cola: Open Like Never Before (sponsored by Omron)

Following a seven month pause due to the pandemic, Coca-Cola launched their Open Like Never Before campaign to mark a moment of social and cultural change. The campaign had the aim to encourage people to be open like never before and embrace a positive, resilient mindset, while also appreciating what was perhaps previously taken for granted.

Also read: Farmers’ views sought on post-Brexit labelling standards

Community Partner: FareShare

2020 was both a challenging and momentous year for FareShare as the charity faced unprecedented demand for its redistributed food. The network pulled together with staff and volunteers working flat out on the front-line throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to get food to vulnerable people.

Throughout 2020, FareShare was delivering the equivalent of over two million meals, every week.

Diet and Health: Eurest (Compass Group UK and Ireland), Food to take you further (sponsored by Taste Wales)

Eurest’s nutrition and culinary team executed the recipe reformulation programme, also known as ‘Nutrition Nudges’. An engaging marketing campaign introduced the healthier purpose to customers as they launched The Good Stuff, which signposts their most nutritious dishes, and Wellness Wednesdays, which raises awareness of nutrition, lifestyle and sustainability.

Digital Transformation: Addo Food Group (sponsored by Siemens)

This year, Addo Food Group have transformed group-wide data-led decision-making practices. Bridging the divide between Industry 4.0, sophistication and practical actionable performance insight have led them to achieving line throughput increases of up to 55% across eight of their highest volume lines.

Education Initiative: Chilled Food Association, Chilled Education

Chilled Education has acted as an inspiration for students, teachers and university colleagues to think about food as a science subject, a classroom resource and, ultimately as an exciting career option. Its blend of innovative resources, backed up with solid industry expertise, has been inspiring career choices and providing support to science and food teachers.

Emerging Business: Moorish

Profitable since day one, the Moorish brand has gone from strength to strength. After securing an immediate listing in Waitrose in 2012, the brand has now grown to reach shoppers in Sainsbury’s, Ocado, WH Smith, Booths and more.

In the last year, Moorish won a very successful listing in Spinneys, UAE. They also export to Park n Shop in Hong Kong.

Environmental Leadership: Muntons, Bioenergy Plant (sponsored by Clarke Energy)

Muntons is nearing completion of a bioenergy plant at its Stowmarket site, transforming the business by reducing its carbon emissions by over 50%. In 2021, Muntons Stowmarket will become self-sufficient for heat by switching from already best in class natural gas systems to efficient and almost carbon zero biomass-fuelled boilers and will cogenerate electricity.

Also read: UK to lead international food network tackling global obesity

Exporter of the Year: Taylors of Harrogate (sponsored by Ashbury)

In 2017, Taylors of Harrogate put exports at the heart of their future strategy, to build on the existing £6.3m export sales and transform a three-person team, contributing 4.3% of overall company sales, into an established international business for years to come.

Food and Drink Engineer of the Year: Robert Jabangwe – Jordans Dorset Ryvita (part of Associated British Foods)

Over the last two years, Rob has developed his team and established himself as a role model and mentor. He has improved overall engineering compliance across all of the aged assets at the site, creatively managed operational reconfiguration projects and ensured that people and plant safety are always ‘front of mind’ when finding physical and long-term solutions.

Food and Drink Scientist of the Year: Mark Auty, RSSL (sponsored by IFST)

Mark is a pioneer food microstructure scientist and a leader in his field, with an international reputation for food structure research. Mark originally developed new food imaging methods that are now widely used by academia and industry.

He has also contributed towards a deeper understanding of food structure as it impacts formulation, processing and consumer perception.

Food and Drink Scientist of the Year: Stella Cochrane, Unilever UK & Ireland (sponsored by IFST)

Dr. Stella Cochrane is a Science Leader in Allergy and Immunology in Unilever’s Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC). Stella is passionate about developing and applying new science and technology to prevent consumers from developing allergies and to better protect people with existing allergies.

HR Initiative: KP Snacks

KP Snacks has step changed their HR ways of working with four great initiatives that have delivered significant benefits to colleagues. By involving colleagues in the design of these initiatives, as well as the implementation, it has meant the uptake by KP employees has been high.

Innovation: Company Shop Group, The Luminary Programme

The Luminary Programme is a pioneering mentoring programme for industry leaders, shining a light on ways to make intelligent surplus management an asset for business, a benefit for the planet, and a force for good in communities everywhere. It has been conceived and developed by Company Shop Group specifically to help the Group’s bold ambition of harnessing hard to reach surplus.

Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist of the Year: Claire Baseley, Ella’s Kitchen

Claire is a nutritionist for Ella’s Kitchen as well as running a successful freelance business as an independent consultant to the food industry and media. She champions nutritional improvement and education across the business and has set challenging targets to deliver the company mission to improve children’s lives through creating a healthy relationship with food.

Rising Star: Beulah Davies, Premier Foods (sponsored by PepsiCo UK)

Since joining Premier Foods in 2017 on the Commercial Graduate Scheme, Beulah has had a meteoric rise at Premier Foods, impressing from day one with her drive, tenacity and commitment. Her multi-functional experience across field sales, supply chain, marketing and more recently national accounts, has given her invaluable insight across the business.

Sustainable Packaging Initiative: Britivic PLC, Britvic’s long-term commitment to recycled plastic and the circular economy

In October 2020, Britvic announced its intent for all plastic bottles made in GB to be 100% recycled plastic (rPET) by the end of 2022, surpassing its previous target of 50% rPET by 2025. Already in September 2020, Fruit Shoot Hydro bottles had made the switch to 100% rPET – saving 640t of virgin plastic a year.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Ian Wright CBE

Beginning his career in public relations, Ian Wright has worked as director of communications for Boots and executive director responsible for global reputation at Diageo before joining the FDF in 2015. In six years, Ian’s leadership has transformed the FDF, increasing membership from 164 to over 800 companies, and with it, the reputation and influence of food and drink manufacturing.awards.

Commenting on this year’s awards – during a year with particular challenges due to Brexit and Covid-19 – FDF chief executive Ian Wright CBE said: Congratulations to all our winners.”

Yet again, all of the entries for the FDF Awards showcased the excellence of the people, businesses, initiatives and innovation which exists right across our sector. Every single individual and company nominated should be extremely proud of the contribution they make towards to the food and drink industry.

“Following a tough few years, the industry continues to go from strength-to-strength. I am immensely proud of the way every person across the food and drink supply chain has responded to the challenges of Covid-19, our EU Exit and – now – the extremely tight labour market.”