PRESS RELEASE: Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards winners revealed
A host of East Midlands firms and organisations have been crowned winners in the first ever Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards.
The winners were presented with their accolades during a gala dinner at the National Space Centre, Leicester, hosted by BBC Working Lunch presenter Declan Curry.
Belper-based start-up firm Rico Mexican Kitchen was crowned Food and Drink iNet Champion 2008 for the way in which its founder Marcela Flores Newburn collaborated with experts along every step of the way as the company was launched.
The judges felt that this captured the essence of what the Food and Drink iNet is aiming to promote and achieve in the sector across the East Midlands, and is an inspiring example to others.
Rico Mexican Kitchen produces a range that includes Mexican chocolate and chilli sauce, and ready meals.
Winners in the individual categories were:
- The Food and Drink Innovation Network Campden BRI Award for Collaboration - Rico Mexiocan Kitchen
Rico Mexican Kitchen, Belper, for collaborating with Nottingham Trent University on ways to improve shelf life. The company’s approach to Nottingham Trent University experts early in its development helped resolve a shelf-life issue through packaging changes, and helped the new business get off to a flying start.
- The Food and Drink Innovation Network Nottingham Trent University Award for Research - Nottingham Tren University School of Science and Technology
Nottingham Trent University School of Science & Technology for creating an easy-to-use, colour-changing agar that detects a specific bacterium which can be dangerous in food. The Enterobacter sakazakii bacterium detected by the chromogenic agar is particularly risky for newborn babies. The agar can be used right across the food industry, by virtually anyone in a workforce…making it a simple but effective food safety tool.
- The Food and Drink Innovation Network University of Nottingham Award for New Product - DCS Foods
Leicester firm DCS Foods Ltd for becoming the first firm in the UK to sell a healthy low GI Maharani Rice. White rice usually has a high glycaemic index, but this particular type of white rice has a much lower GI – and is suitable for those with diabetes and IBS. The product is also organic and farmed ethically.
- The Food and Drink Innovation Network Clegg Food Projects Award for New Process & Environmental Awareness - ABB Drives
ABB Drives, of Derby, for applying existing technology to the food industry by developing ‘bolt on’ variable speed drive motors for refrigerators. These keep units running at regular speeds, and prevent peaks of energy use when something freshly made is put inside a fridge, thus reducing firms’ energy use and costs, and cutting carbon footprints.
- The Food and Drink Innovation Network East Midlands Fine Foods Award for Emerging Markets - Transfresh
TransFresh, Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, for creating a distribution network to allow hundreds of local producers in the area to supply to large retailers. The firm identified a gap in the market by realising that small firms needed help to distribute their products. It launched a distribution network which has enabled more than 200 local producers to supply around 500 lines to large retailers. As a result of streamlining the distribution process, local producers have gained valuable contracts with supermarkets such as Asda and Budgens.
- The Food and Drink Innovation Network Stafforce Recruitment Award for People in Food - University of Lincoln Holbeach Campus
The University of Lincoln’s Holbeach campus for developing a wide range of training courses for food manufacturing companies. Under the influence of head of the food manufacturing department Val Braybrooks, the campus listened to the needs of food manufacturers in the area, and devised a host of suitable training… from ‘English as a foreign language’ to graduate food courses. Lincolnshire firm QV Foods nominated Val and the team, saying how vital their work had been in helping local workers to improve their skills, and firms to develop and flourish.
“I am delighted that the Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards have been able to recognise and reward the most inspiring businesses, organisations and individuals connected to the food sector in the region,” said Richard Adlington, acting director of the Food and Drink iNet. “There is a great deal of exciting and stimulating work being undertaken in all areas of the food and drink industry in the East Midlands, from research and manufacturing to training and technology.
“I would like to congratulate the very worthy winners in all categories.”
Spearheaded by the Food and Drink iNet, the awards were presented during a gala dinner on December 4th attended by around 100 people connected to the food and drink sector in the region.
Exciting packages of support, including consultancy from The University of Nottingham food science faculty, Nottingham Trent University, Campden BRI, The Food & Drink Forum and East Midlands Fine Foods are among the prizes.
David Wallace, Director of Innovation at East Midlands Development Agency (emda) said: "The Food and Drink iNet is playing a vital role in providing expertise, help and support to businesses in the sector. These awards celebrate and recognise the achievements of some of the most innovative businesses in the East Midlands - businesses that are growing and creating jobs by exploiting new ideas, technologies and markets."
The Food and Drink iNet co-ordinates support for businesses, individuals and academic institutions working in the food and drink industry in the East Midlands, and was launched earlier this year.
It is funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and managed by a consortium including The Food & Drink Forum, the Food Processing Faraday Partnership, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln and the University of Nottingham.
Notes to editors:
For further information about the awards please contact:
Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards event organiser Jo Murphy on 0115 9758810.
Contacts for the winners are as follows:
- Rico Mexican Kitchen, Belper: Marcela Flores Newburn. Tel. 01773 880764
- Nottingham Trent University School of Science & Technology: Prof Stephen Forsythe. Tel. 0115 8483529
- DCS Foods, Leicester: Rikki Verma. Tel. 0116 270 1686.
- ABB Drives, Derby: Ron Macdonald. Tel. 01925 741111
- Transfresh, Nottingham: Clive Hallam. Tel. 0845 072 5740
- University of Lincoln Holbeach: Val Braybrooks. Tel. 01522 882000
Photographs of all winners are available. Please email Louise Duffield at Perfect 10 PR, firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like any other than those that have already been sent to you.
The Food and Drink Innovation Network (iNet) is one of four being developed by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and East Midlands Innovation - the regional Science and Industry Council. The aim of the iNet is to bring together partnerships of regional businesses, universities, the public sector and innovative individuals to drive the successful exploitation of new ideas.
Food and drink is the largest of the manufacturing sub-sectors in the East Midlands. It accounts for 5% of the region’s economy and just over 3% of employment in the region.
The food and drink sector was identified by emda in the development of its Regional Economic Strategy, as one of four priority sectors in the East Midlands that are likely to make the greatest contribution to the East Midlands’ economy. The food and drink sector in the East Midlands is also anticipated to grow more rapidly than nationally during the period to 2014. The forecast is for output growth of around 30% compared to 9% for the UK.
Based at Southglade Food Park in Nottingham, The Food & Drink Forum is leading on the delivery of the iNet. It is leading a consortium of partners with expert sector knowledge. They are the Food Processing Faraday Partnership, which provides a unique Knowledge Transfer Network, and the Universities of Nottingham, Lincoln and Nottingham Trent with their extensive expertise in food science and emerging technologies.
For more information about the iNet contact Richard Adlington on 0845 521 2066.
For more details about East Midlands Development Agency (emda) visit www.emda.org.uk
Press release issued by Louise Duffield, Perfect 10 PR
T. 0115 8462953
M. 07787 552647
Source: Food and Drink iNet
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