Not sure which category you fall into?
Have a read below, remember you can apply for more than one!
Alcoholic Drink Entrepreneur of the Year
The alcohol industry is a major part of the UK’s economy, worth an estimated £47 billion a year. Recent years have seen a new wave of alcoholic drinks companies come to the market. Consumers have gravitated towards new and independent brands thanks to unique flavour combinations and bold, in-your-face branding that are perfect for the Instagram age.
Animal Food Entrepreneur of the Year
With an estimated 58 million pets in the UK, the pet food market is big business. Nestlé estimates we spend nearly £400 million a year on treats alone. And not only have we become more conscious of the products we consume, but we’re also more aware of what we feed our pets. More and more brands are championing the case for fresh and natural alternatives, free from artificial preservatives, fillers and colourings.
Baked Goods Entrepreneur of the Year
The bakery industry is one of the largest in the UK’s food market, worth an estimated £3.5 billion. According to the Federation of Bakers, the UK sells the equivalent to 11 million loaves of bread every single day. Whether its breathtaking biscuits, killer cakes or puffy pastries, consumers are spending more time looking for fresh, natural and handcrafted products that do more than satisfy.
Confectionary Entrepreneur of the Year
From chocolate and ice creams to snazzy sweets, the UK’s confectionery industry is worth a HUGE £11.5 billion. But the choices consumers make are changing. In 2019, Grenade’s Carb Killa protein bar became the UK’s second highest-selling chocolate bar on the market, sitting only behind Kinder Bueno. Now, quirky branding and out-there flavours are coming to the fore.
Export Entrepreneur of the Year
For food and drink businesses, local or even national success aren’t enough. To earn real acclaim, they often look to overseas growth. The UK’s food and drink businesses now sell products to more than 200 countries around the world and play a vital role in the country’s wider export income.
Health Entrepreneur of the Year
Over the past four years, the average shopping trolley contains 12% fewer calories, 13% less sugar, 12% less total fat, 10% less saturated fat and 14% less salt, according to the Food & Drink Federation. With greater focus on living a healthy lifestyle, more and more healthy food and drink brands have become serious players in their respective markets.
Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year
Innovation is crucial to continued success. No business has ever stayed successful by doing the same thing it has for years and years. Innovation is new, creative thought. It’s pushing the boundaries of what we thought was possible. It’s creating the same product in a new way. It’s imagining something completely new and bringing it to life. In food and drink, it’s the innovators that stand out from the crowd. This year has been challenging for food and drink businesses, we'd love to hear from companies who have pivoted during the pandemic, using innovation as a tool to stay afloat and even thrive.
Non-alcoholic Drink Entrepreneur of the Year
Ever not been able or wanted to drink alcohol and grown tired of ordered a mundane orange juice? Recent years have seen a raft of new brands creating fun and unique non-alcoholic drinks, bringing something new and interesting to the market. Whether it’s tantalising soft drinks or non-alcoholic versions of the ‘real thing’, consumers now have a range of options they want to order.
Restaurant or Cafe Entrepreneur of the Year
A great restaurant is more than just good food and drink. It’s the setting, the design, the decoration. It’s friendly, welcoming service. It’s the mood, the atmosphere. A great restaurant isn’t just determined by the quality of its product, it’s determined by what sets it aside from every other restaurant and cafe on the High Street.
Service Entrepreneur of the Year
From food delivery companies to manufacturers and marketing superstars, the winner will demonstrate commitment and flair for the food and drink sector, and exhibit industry-honed skills to innovate and offer something unique in their field. Central to their success will be a sustained customer experience and satisfaction that makes them stand out from the competition.
Start-up Entrepreneur of the Year
While undeniably tough, starting a business creates its own energy of resilience, while overcoming obstacles and learning by doing forges the experience needed to conquer bigger and better things. The Start-up Entrepreneur of the Year Award reaches out to those who have given everything to guiding their business through those all-important nascent stages. The winner will have responded to the many inevitable drawbacks with an attitude that feels for the best in every situation with a heart that will not give up.
*Please note, company must have been launched within the last five years
Sustainability Entrepreneur of the Year
More than ever before, consumers really care about the impact they’re having on the planet. From palm oil to plastic packaging, people are steering clear of brands that don’t fit with their commitment to tackling the climate crisis. Instead, they’re actively seeking out a new wave of brand that has sustainability at the very core of its mission, whether it’s locally-sourced, uses 100% recycled packaging or only contains responsibly and sustainably sourced ingredients.
Food and Drink Hero of the Year : People's Choice
The Food and Drink Hero of the Year award is the top award presented to the entrepreneur(s) whose commercial success is matched only by the essence of their entrepreneurial story. The winner(s) of this award truly encapsulate what it means to be a food and drink entrepreneur, exhibiting all of the hard work, determination, creativity and resilience required to rise above the rest.
*Please note, the winner of this award will be chosen through a public vote