Firms and organisations planning to enter this year’s Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards are being urged to submit their entries as soon as possible.
The deadline for entries to the awards, which celebrate and reward new and improved ways of working in the East Midlands’ food and drink industry, is October 2nd.
Tickets have also gone on sale for the awards ceremony event on November 17th at Athena, Leicester, which is expected to be one of the highlights of the region’s food and drink sector calendar.
The awards will be presented by entertaining writer, presenter and foodie Hardeep Singh Kohli.
“We’ve heard from some really interesting companies and organisations already, so we’re looking forward to going through the entries,” said Richard Adlington, Food and Drink iNet interim project director. “From our work with food and drink firms in the region, we know that there is a tremendous amount of innovation and research going on. The Innovation Awards are the perfect way to highlight and reward that work, which is so important to a vibrant and successful food and drink sector in the East Midlands.”
Organisers are searching for worthy winners from across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland. Entry is free.
Hardeep, a Celebrity Masterchef finalist, the author of Indian Takeaway, and a passionate food fan, will reveal the winners of five categories, plus the Food and Drink Forum Innovation Champion 2009, at the awards ceremony.
Last year’s champion was Belper-based fledgling food producer Rico Mexican Kitchen, run by Marcela Flores Newburn.
Entries are being encouraged for the following categories:
• University of Lincoln National Centre for Food Manufacturing Award for Most Innovative SME Food and Drink Manufacturer
This award will recognise small to medium-sized food and drink manufacturers within the East Midlands that have championed innovation projects in order to improve their business.
• Campden BRI Award for Most Innovative Business across the Food and Drink Supply Chain
This award will recognise businesses working in the food and drink supply chain within the East Midlands that have undertaken an innovation project that has benefited the food and drink manufacturing sector.
• Award for Most Innovative Research Project
This award will recognise the most successful research projects undertaken by universities and any other organisations conducting research within the East Midlands that have made a significant beneficial impact on the food and drink sector.
• Food Processing Faraday Award for Most Innovative Large Food and Drink Manufacturer
This award will recognise large food and drink manufacturers within the East Midlands that have championed innovation projects in order to improve their business.
• Nottingham Trent University Award for Most Innovative Business in the Wider Food Sector
This award will recognise innovation in a food or drink business that is not a manufacturer. Examples of businesses eligible to enter this award include primary producers, restaurants, caterers, delicatessens and local food retailers
• The Food and Drink Forum Innovation Champion Award 2009
The Innovation Champion 2009 will be selected from the winners of each of the above categories.
David Wallace, Innovation Director of East Midlands Development Agency (emda) which funds the Food and Drink iNet, said: “It is great to see the Food and Drink iNet leading the development of the innovation culture in the East Midlands’ food and drink sector. Innovation is difficult and daunting, but essential if businesses are to adapt to the unsettling changes in both the economic and natural environments. The Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards are especially welcome. Those businesses that innovate successfully deserve to be celebrated.”
For the purposes of the awards, innovation is defined as creating value out of new ideas, new products, new services or new ways of doing things. This does not have to be “new to the world” but must be “new to you”.
The Food and Drink iNet aims to foster innovation in the region’s food and drink sector by encouraging businesses to turn new ideas into new business through the development of new technologies and products. It also hopes to stimulate new processes, services and ways of working in the industry to help boost the sector in 2009 and beyond.
Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda), the Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by The Food and Drink Forum and including The Food Processing Faraday Partnership, Nottingham Trent University, The University of Lincoln, and The University of Nottingham.
Sponsorship packages are available for firms who’d like to promote themselves to the East Midlands food and drink sector. Individual tickets to the Innovation Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner cost £65 plus vat.
Any business, organisation or individual interested in entering one of this year’s categories or in sponsorship, or who would like tickets to the awards ceremony, should contact Jo Stevenson on 0115 975 8810 or firstname.lastname@example.org