The UK fresh produce industry celebrated the outstanding achievements of individuals and businesses at the Fresh Produce Consortium's (FPC) 2021 FreshAwards in London on Friday (19 November).
Around 500 guests attended the gala evening, which was hosted by comedian and TV presenter Patrick Kielty, at the Pavilion at Old Billingsgate.
The industry awards winners were chosen by an independent panel of judges and were announced on the night.
Head of the FreshAwards judging panel and FPC chief executive Nigel Jenney described the Fresh Awards as "the ultimate accolade from the UK fresh produce industry".
"We’re delighted to recognise strong leadership, innovation and business acumen among this year’s finalists and winners," he said. “All FreshAwards winners and finalists are trailblazers for the industry, setting a high standard of excellence."
The highest accolades were awarded to Denis Punter of Dole UK who picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Total Produce, which won Fresh Produce Business of the Year and was described as "truly a stellar business, with great people and brands".
This year, FPC created two special awards to recognise and celebrate a business or individual who made a significant impact and demonstrated relentless dedication in the challenging circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. London's New Covent Garden Market won the Hero Award – Business, while Ryan Parr of PML was given the Hero Award – Individual.
Other individual winners included Lauren Jenner of Berry Gardens (Young Person of the Year); and Richard Hoyte of PML (Manager of the Year).
Awards were also given to:
Supply Chain Excellence
• Total Produce – Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Supplier of the Year
• MorePeople – Business Service Partner of the Year
• Delifresh – Foodservice Supplier of the Year
• Compagnie Fruitière UK – Supermarket Fruit and Vegetable Supplier of the Year
• Bridge Farm Group – Supermarket Floral/Plant Supplier of the Year
• Tom Brown Wholesale Florist – Wholesale Flower and Plant Supplier of the Year
In addition, consumers and industry voted online during January to April for the winners of the following awards:
• Co-op – Convenience Retailer of the Year
• Aldi – Multiple Fruit and Veg Retailer of the Year
• M&S – Multiple Floral Retailer of the Year
• Tesco – Online Retailer of the Year
• Branston – Marketing Campaign of the Year
• G’s– Sustainability Excellence
• Jones Food Company – Innovation of the Year
• Blue Skies – Best Place to Work
Reacting to Total Produce's two company awards, Fresh Produce Business of the Year and Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Supplier of the Year, the company's UK regional director Nick Matthews said: “These awards pay testament to the remarkable dedication, commitment and professionalism demonstrated by our teams across the country throughout 2021.
“Amidst the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, our people triumphed over adversity, prioritising customer service above all else and consistently going the extra mile. This recognition is richly deserved.”
Commenting on Denis Punter’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the company’s CEO for the UK and Ireland, Francis McKernan, added: “Denis’ contribution to the UK fresh produce industry cannot be over-stated. Across the globe he is widely recognised as a progressive leader and a champion of innovation and best practices.
“He is someone who has garnered respect from peers right across the value chain throughout his illustrious career and it is my great pleasure to extend to Denis my personal congratulations and those of his colleagues throughout Total Produce on the award of this prestigious accolade.”
Meanwhile, Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA) welcomed its Hero Award, with general manager Jo Breare saying: “So many people went the extra mile and this award is recognition of the incredible work ethic and the selfless and caring nature of the amazing people in our market."
The FPC is the UK trade association for the fresh produce and cut flower industry. Extensive membership covers the whole spectrum of the industry, including growers, importers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, processors, packers, food service companies and other allied organisations.