Organisers of the Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards 2010 have revealed the short-listed East Midlands firms and research teams that are in the running to receive an accolade.

The awards are designed to recognise and reward the most exciting developments in the region’s food and drink sector. Being held for a third year, they celebrate the uptake and implementation of innovation in the sector.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony and dinner supported by Derby College at The Roundhouse, Pride Park, Derby, on November 25th.

Co-hosts journalist John Sergeant and weather presenter Des Coleman will be revealing the winners of the five award categories, plus The Food and Drink Forum Innovation Champion 2010.

The short-listed entrants for each category are:

• University of Lincoln Award for Most Innovative Small to Medium Sized Food and Drink Manufacturer

AB Produce, Measham, Derbyshire –

The potato and prepared vegetable supplier used advanced mathematical modelling techniques to improve yields, reduce waste and make thousands of pounds worth of savings.

Taste of the Moorlands, Warslow, near Hartington, Derbyshire –

The bakery is using the latest smart phone technology to connect itself with consumers of its biscuits and tarts, and is championing the use of smart tags on food packaging which, when scanned, link the consumer to a video message from the producer.

Thornbridge Brewery, Bakewell, Derbyshire –

The brewery employed a centrifuge process more commonly used in the wine industry to manufacture fresh beer in a bottle, which is neither filtered nor pasteurised.

  •  Food Processing Faraday Award for Most Innovative Large Food and Drink Manufacturer

British Sugar, Newark, Nottinghamshire –

British Sugar used the widely acclaimed and well researched thinking system called Go MAD to enhance its business performance, and introduced it in a training programme that has allowed employees to achieve greater clarity of thinking, increased speed of thinking, improved creative thinking and consistency in achieving personal and business goals.

QV Foods Ltd, Holbeach Hurn, Spalding, Lincolnshire –

The firm, which grows, packs and processes fresh and prepared produce for the UK retail and foodservice sectors, has launched a new private brand of produce, the Inspire brand, into the typically own-label dominated produce sector. Fronted by MasterChef presenter and judge Gregg Wallace, it is the only celebrity endorsed brand of produce on the market.

• Nottingham Trent University Award for Most Innovative Business in the Wider Food Sector

Charbecue Ltd, Sleaford, Lincolnshire –

The company was formed to develop the Charbecue, an outdoor cooking appliance capable of cooking large volumes of food at three stations from a single heat source. It is now developing and bringing to market various versions of the device and associated accessories.

Cookies of Oakham, Oakham, Rutland –

A sandwich bar and catering company, the firm has diversified to develop a range of fruit-based sauces which are poised to be launched under new brand name “Purple Pepper”. The company sought specialist advice from Nottingham Trent University to establish consistency and to extend the shelf life of the range in order to create commercially viable products.

Fairfield Plaice, Buxton, Derbyshire –

This small fish and chip takeaway has made great strides in improving its environmental credentials by installing a new dramatically more efficient frying range, using only recyclable packaging, procuring fish from sustainable sources and pre-prepared chips from a supplier which recycles waste water. Environmental considerations were also taken into account when selecting the electricity and oil suppliers for the business.

• Campden BRI Award for Most Innovative Business Across the Food and Drink Supply Chain

Food Processing Faraday, Rearsby, near Leicester –

The independent provider of services to help the food supply chain turn knowledge into business solutions worked alongside Sapcote Engineering Ltd on the development of a new depositing system for use in the manufacture of a wide variety of food products. This innovative design is the only one of its kind on the market and offers food companies the opportunity to enhance their business operations by increasing efficiency, reducing changeover time and improving hygiene whilst minimising and simplifying the cleaning process.

Fresh Logistics, East Midlands Airport, Castle Donington –

The firm of chilled parcel couriers identified a gap in the market to provide a service for food manufacturers looking to distribute small quantities of high quality products requiring careful handling and temperature controlled conditions. In response, the company created a bespoke network which caters to the needs of small craft producers bringing together the best food from around the UK and delivering it safely and securely. The service includes the UK’s first overnight temperature controlled parcel delivery network.

Primopost, Buxton, Derbyshire –

The printer of flexible packaging solutions for the food and drink industry has engaged with a number of partners including Miller Graphic Corniche to collaborate on development of flexographic printing technology. Whilst flexographic printing is more environmentally friendly, energy efficient and less costly than its main rival gravure printing, many retail customers choose gravure for the better technical definition it offers. Primopost’s innovation project aims to improve the technical definition of flexographic printing in order to offer customers increased quality along with the added benefits of short runs and quick turnaround which flexography can also provide.

• CenFRA Award for Most Innovative Research Project

eminate Ltd, BioCity, Nottingham –

The company has successfully completed a research project involving the manipulation of salt crystals that has resulted in the development of a new ingredient for the food industry known as Soda-Lo. Soda-Lo enables a reduction in salt use of between 25 and 50 percent across a wide range of food products. This has been achieved by altering the size, form and structure of salt particles in order to increase their saltiness thereby reducing the amount of salt needed to achieve the same flavour profile.

Nottingham Trent University –

Working in collaboration with Enigma Diagnostics, a research team from Nottingham Trent University has created a fully automated test for Salmonella and Campylobacter, the two most common causes of intestinal infection. The new technology created provides farmers with a rapid and cost effective means of carrying out testing for Salmonella and Campylobacter on poultry flocks and premises, improving their ability to quickly detect and control spread of these bacteria and subsequently reduce the entry of Campylobacter into the food chain from infected poultry.

Omniceutica Ltd, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire –

The firm specialises in the research and development of nutriceuticals, food and drink products, and has set up a flexible facility for the production of functional food and drinks at laboratory and pilot scale. For this research project the company has partnered with Sports Agility and Quickness International Ltd. (SAQ) to develop a range of sports nutrition products that complement and enhance SAQ’s physical and psychological training programmes. The range of products will include drinks for pre and post training along with an in-training drink for use during extended training sessions.

One of the short-listed organisations will also be crowned The Food and Drink Forum Innovation Champion 2010.

Tickets for the awards ceremony, which runs from 6.45pm to midnight on November 25th, cost £65 plus vat per person. Tickets are available by emailing or calling 0115 9758810.

“I am delighted to see such an interesting range of organisations named in the shortlist for the Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards 2010. They are all demonstrating how important innovation is to the food and drink sector, and the many different forms it can take,” said Food and Drink iNet director Andrew Butterwick. “I’d like to congratulate them on becoming finalists in the awards, which are now an established date on the food and drink industry’s calendar in the East Midlands.”

Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Food and Drink iNet co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands. One of four regional iNets, it has developed an effective network to link academic and private sector expertise and knowledge with local food and drink business innovation needs.

The Food and Drink iNet also aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes. It is managed by a consortium, led by the Food and Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region.

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