Organisers of the 2009 Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards have revealed the shortlist of East Midlands firms and organisations in the running to receive an accolade.

The awards celebrate the uptake and implementation of innovation in the East Midlands food and drink industry, and are being held for a second year.

The winners will be announced by entertaining writer, presenter and foodie Hardeep Singh Kohli at a gala dinner at Athena, Leicester, on November 17th.

Now organisers have announced the shortlist of firms and organisations that are through to the finals.

• 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.


– Cupcake Corner, Ashbourne, Derbyshire – producer of luxury, handmade cupcakes and specialising in gluten-free products, launched by coeliac sufferer Charlotte Marsh.

– The Pickled Village, Bulwick, Northamptonshire – producer of quirky, spirited preserves using innovative flavours and combinations, founded by Camille Ortega McLean.

– Thornbridge Brewery, Ashford in the Water, Derbyshire – producer of high quality craft beers launched in 2005 in a ten barrel brewery, which has just opened a new 30 barrel brewery and bottling line after demand outstripped supply.

• 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.


– Eistechnik, Loughborough, Leicestershire – for the development and advancement of eutectic refrigeration units for trucks, which are more environmentally friendly and less noisy than traditional transport refrigeration methods.

– Limited, Nottingham – for the development and delivery of one of the world’s first environmental reviews of the UK’s top 100 consumer brands known as the EnvirUP Green Index.

– QADEX Limited , Sileby, Leicestershire – for providing web-based solutions for food businesses to gather, assess and manage supply chain and product specification information. Since launching in 2006, QADEX Supply Chain Assurance has grown to manage more than 7,000 sites on behalf of more than 100 food businesses.

• CenFRA 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.


– eminate Ltd, BioCity, Nottingham – for the research project to develop an innovative coating for the increased life of food processing blades, which it undertook in collaboration with The University of Nottingham. It is now being used in the manufacture of salads.

– Nottingham Trent University, School of Science and Technology – for adapting existing technology to create an innovative solution to solve leaching problems in bottles, and for taking the technology a step further by adding antimicrobial properties which kill or lessen micro-organisms.

– University of Nottingham, Division of Food Sciences – for the development of Cold Atmospheric Plasma or CAP, which is a plume of gas in a beam designed to kill both pathogenic and spoilage bacteria on surfaces and products which leaves no residue on foodstuffs or equipment. This technology demonstrates potential not only in reducing microbial load and inactivating spoilage microbes, but also in extending the shelf life of foods including soft fruits and raw meat.

• 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.


– Marshalls (part of the Produce World Group), Butterwick, Boston, Lincolnshire – for the development of a sweeter tasting broccoli, known as bellaverde® and launched in July 2009, created in conjunction with Seminis, the largest developer, grower and marketer of fruit and vegetable seeds.

– Marshalls (part of the Produce World Group), Butterwick, Boston – for creating the From My Farm range of regional fresh products with provenance, and setting up a supply chain to make it simple for retail buyers to source products from all regions via a single point of contact.

– QV Foods, Holbeach, Lincolnshire – for the development of its Inspire brand, now fronted by MasterChef presenter and judge Gregg Wallace, which offers quick and convenient fresh prepared potato lines.

• 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.


– Biondi Bistro Caffe Bar, Gunthorpe, Nottinghamshire – for the way in which the business has developed and evolved from a tea rooms into an enterprise that’s offering more to customers, including special events.

– Gourmet Raj, Leicester – for the way in which the business developed a high quality Indian food takeaway and created an image and packaging to ensure they stood out from the crowd.

– Mem Saab, for the establishment of their own tandoori and Indian cuisine skills centre to train chefs for their five tandoori restaurants in the Midlands, including the latest addition to the group, High Cross Restaurant in Leicester. The group has Mem Saab restaurants in Leicester, Northampton, Leamington Spa and Banbury, and trades under the name of City Buffet in Friar Lane, Nottingham.

• 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.

“We had a very good response to this year’s awards, and the standard of entries was very high, which is a measure of the innovation that is going on across the East Midlands in the food and drink sector,” said Peter Maycock, Project Director for the Food and Drink iNet. “The shortlisted firms and organisations can feel justifiably proud of being selected to go through to the finals.”

David Wallace, Innovation Director of East Midlands Development Agency (emda) which funds the Food and Drink iNet, added: “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.”

Tickets are now on sale for the Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner on November 17th, which is expected to be attended by representatives of scores of food and drink firms from around the region. Individual tickets are £65 plus vat, while table sponsorship, which includes ten free tickets, and the opportunity to feature company logos on admission tickets, table signage, rolling presentation, event programme, and winners’ directory, costs £650 plus vat.

The Food and Drink iNet is aiming 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’s also hoping to stimulate new processes, services and ways of working in the industry to help boost the sector.

Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda), the Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by the Food & Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham.

Contact Jo Stevenson on 0115 975 8810 or for ticket and sponsorship information.