New categories for new opportunities

Time is ticking in the lead-up to the 5th Annual FOOD Challenge Awards. With more categories than ever before, now is the time to boost your products’ success, with an Award that truly rewards.

With the overwhelming success of the 2008 Challenge, this year’s line-up of categories is once again designed to bestow appreciation on those manufacturers making innovative leaps and bounds in their chosen fields.

Last year, after the very colourful acceptance speech of MARS Petcare Australia – who won the Soups & Prepared Meals Award – the team at FOOD Magazine realised that the time was ripe to give pet food manufacturers their own time and space to shine.

With the sector producing innovative products, increasing market appeal, and boosting sales and profits through new and interesting approaches, this year’s Challenge is set to honour the industry’s achievements with a separate Pet Food Award.

A second, exciting, new category to be launched in 2009 is the Sustainable Manufacturing Award, sponsored by GHD. With the world’s commitment to sustainability becoming a greater priority with every passing day, food manufacturers face new challenges, and approach these with innovative and inspiring results.

In 2008, the winner of the Health & Wellness Award, Pitango, was very notable for being the world’s first fresh meal manufacturer to become carbon neutral, earning CarboNZero credentials. This year, other companies that are aiming at ‘turning green to gold’ will compete against one another in a specific sustainable category.

While the winners will walk away with the pride of a FOOD Challenge trophy, the tips and innovations learned from one another will ensure that the overall winner will be the planet’s health.

The introduction of the Sustainable Manufacturing Award coincides with the first year for sponsor GHD to take part in the FOOD Challenge.

According to GHD corporate manager of sustainability, Bill Grace, “the company adopted a comprehensive sustainability strategy in September 2007, with elements designed to cover GHD’s social and environmental performance, in terms of improving both the company and its clients’ energy efficiency and commitments to carbon neutrality.

“As a consultant, we don’t actually have a huge environmental foot print as we essentially work in offices to produce reports rather than products. Our major contribution to sustainability really comes through our consultancy work, and the ideas that our clients are then able to put into practice on their projects,” Grace explained.

“For food manufacturers, the challenges in becoming more sustainable, are shared with the rest of the manufacturing industries, in terms of a need to dramatically improve water and energy efficiency, while cutting down emissions and effects on the environment.

“Although there has been a push for these improvements for some time, there is a new urgency, and a stronger forward, as awareness on climate change increases and makes significant impacts on the FMCG sector,” said Grace.

“Food manufacturers obviously have an increased interest in the transport elements of sustainability, and the reductions that can be associated with better transportation practices; while recognising the broader possibilities available throughout the supply chain.”

The FOOD Challenge Awards, in rewarding innovation in all levels of the production process, will be of particular interest to Grace when rewarding sustainability.

“I’ll be hoping and expecting to see some interesting things come out of the areas where there’s a lot of very visible effort in the industry: energy efficiency and a reduction of emissions to the environment, when it comes to the Awards. Those are the two big challenges to the industry, and it’ll be interesting to see how they’re dealt with.”

Deadline for entry in the 5th Annual FOOD Challenge Awards is close of business on 1 May, 2009. A gala event to celebrate the Awards will be held on 29 July, 2009 at Doltone House in Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

So if you’d like to enter the food manufacturing industry’s biggest Awards program, no matter how big or small your company is, don’t delay, and enter the FOOD Challenge today.

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