PrepWorld is celebrating success at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards after improving quality standards and boosting customer satisfaction at its factory in Southfleet, Kent.
The BerryWorld business picked up the Judges’ Star Performer trophy at the industry magazine’s awards ceremony in London, dubbed 'the Oscars' of food and drinks manufacturing.
The judging panel, led by Paul Wilkinson, chair of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, praised PrepWorld’s management record.
He said: “PrepWorld dominated this category from the start with its truly inspiring turnaround story, headed by the new management team dedicated to delivering improvements at the firm’s Southfleet factory.
“A big factor behind its success was a relentless commitment to improving customer satisfaction scores through its 24/7 quality assurance programme.”
Established in 2012, the business has quickly established itself in the fresh-cut fruit market, enjoying fast growth and improving its factory operation since purchasing its manufacturing facility from a third party in early 2016.
The Southfleet factory had previously been run as a service provider to PrepWorld but struggled to deliver on volume and quality standards.
According to PrepWorld, the turnaround “was achieved thanks to the appointment of a new management team, a focus on improving culture and standards, and significant investment in all areas of the business.”
The new team is said to have significantly improved satisfaction levels and reduced the number of customer complaints by moving to a new quality assurance (QA) system, led by a team that operates 24 hours a day.
Production teams now complete their own quality checks, supported by the QA team.
Managing director Ben Olins collected the award from Food Manufacture editor Rick Pendrous in front of hundreds of food industry guests. They were joined on stage by awards host and former England rugby captain Matt Dawson.
Olins said: ‘We are delighted to have won this award, which recognises the hard work of the whole team and the support of the wider BerryWorld Group.
“While we are continuing to invest in developing our factory operations, we are now in a position to keep delivering quality and innovative products in the future’.
The other finalists in the Judges Star Performer category were Fudge Kitchen, Kettyle Irish Foods and, Mash Direct – last year’s winner of the overall Food Manufacture Company of the Year.
The award for Fresh Produce Manufacturing Company of the Year went to Ireland’s largest bagged salad processor Willowbrook Foods.
“We remain focused on growing our presence across the UK and Ireland by delivering the very best in fresh foods, from mashed potato to bagged salads, prepared vegetables to salad bowls,” said managing director John McCann in Agriland.
“Innovation is at the core of our business as we seek to create convenient, high-quality solutions to meet the needs of the retail and foodservice sectors.”