The panel of dragons is made up of key figures from the UK food and drink industry and includes industrial, governmental, professional and media representatives. The dragons will judge each entry on ten areas.
Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Coca-Cola Western Europe
Fiona provides regulatory and claims support for a range of new and existing soft drink brands for GB and Ireland and represents Coca Cola externally in stakeholder engagement and trade association technical committees. She joined the company from Leatherhead Food Research (LFR) in December 2009, where worked in a variety of information, sensory and consumer science and nutrition research roles. She holds an MSc in Nutrition from the University of Surrey.
Fiona has previously been a judge for Food and Drink Excellence and served on the Scotland Food and Drink Awards judging panel for two consecutive years. She was also a judge for the Ecotrophelia UK competition in 2014 and 2015.
R&D Director, Refreshment Category, Unilever
After leaving school at sixteen, John began his career working in an analytical laboratory. He soon realised that this wasn’t the career for him and returned to full time education, where he ultimately obtaineda degree in chemistry from the University of Reading.
He joined Unilever in 1983, working in the Global R&D Centre based in the UK. His initial focus was on understanding the science behind ice cream - an extremely complex material. After a range of operational roles abroad, John recently returned to work in the UK, where he leads the Global Ice Cream Technology programme - still his true passion after 33 years!
Regulatory Affairs, Marks and Spencer
Patrick has enjoyed a 15 year career with M&S and is currently responsible for regulatory affairs in the UK, EU and Asia Pacific regions. He is a food science graduate from the University of Reading and has worked as a food technologist, buyer and technical manager within M&S.
Beyond M&S, Patrick has held significant commercial roles at Starbucks (Head of Category, UK & Ireland) and Brakes (Commercial Director – Drinks & Impulse categories) as well as roles within Iceland Foods.
These roles have enabled Patrick to lead teams in the management of global supply relationships, significant business change and integration projects and regulatory accountability in significant markets at home and abroad. In addition to this, he has also led major customer facing category management initiatives in own- label and internationally branded environments. Patrick is also a Fellow of the IFST.
Chair of the Scientific Committee at the IFST and a Board Trustee
Professor Cooper is an internationally renowned carbohydrate expert. During his 35 year career in the sugar industry he developed extensive experience in process and product development including reformulation and research and development in the food sector.
R&D Senior Director, Global Foods Innovation, PepsiCo
Tim is currently R&D Senior Director Global Foods Innovation, leading a team of scientists and engineers focussed on creating business growth through the development and application of New Science and Breakthrough Technologies. Since graduating as a Biomedical Scientist, Tim has worked and led R&D teams in a number of global multinationals including Smithkline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline), Sara Lee, Unilever and now PepsiCo. As part of these endeavours Tim has worked across the globe and lived in Holland, Ireland, Serbia, Turkey in multiple categories and for brands as diverse as: Impulse, Sure / Rexona Antiperspirants, Ribena and Lucozade, private label and branded Dairy and now Lays, Doritos and Cheetos snacks. However, he never has worked as a Biomedical Scientist.
Senior Group Leader, Ingredients Research, Mondelez
Victoria joined Mondelēz International 13 years ago. Her key responsibility is leveraging the expertise of external academic and industry partners to create strong r esearch collaborations, mindful of the health and wellness requirements in new innovations.
Her previous role at Mondelēz International involved leading a team of scientists developing new technologies capable of transforming the sensory and physical properties of gum and candy, biscuit, and chocolate products under brands as diverse as Cadbury, Milka, BelVita, Oreo and Maynards. She has also managed analytical laboratories at RSSL in the areas of Stability Testing, Physical Sciences and Metals Analysis.
Victoria is an inorganic chemist by training, with an MChem and a DPhil from Oxford University. She has also completed an MA in Applied Management from the Henley Business School. With a passion for communication, previous interests include free-lance editing for international scientific journals.
Head of Product Quality, Safety and Supplier Performance, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd
Alec's responsibilities include quality & safety management, supplier management and performance monitoring, customer complaints, nutrition and health and product quality inspection. He also manages Sainsbury’s Food & Innovation Centre, their technical training programme and Sainsbury’s Technical Management Academy.
Alec has worked at Sainsbury’s for 22 years prior to which he worked in the manufacturing industry.
He is a member of a number of industry and government committees, and is a Member of IFST. He is the co-author of a variety of technical books on food safety.
Editor, Food Manufacture
Rick is the editor of Food Manufacture, Britain’s leading monthly magazine for the food and drink processing industry. His career as a journalist and editor has spanned more than 30 years in a variety of roles and working on a number of trade and technical magazines – predominantly in the manufacturing and engineering sectors.
He is a Chartered Engineer and metallurgist by training and obtained a BSc and PhD from the University of Leeds. He is a Trustee and Council Member of the British Nutrition Foundation and a Fellow of the Society of Food Hygiene and Technology. Rick has edited Food Manufacture for the past 16 years.
Head of Product Research and Academy, Tesco
Richard originally trained as a Chef and worked in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in London’s West End and France, before moving into the world of food manufacturing and retail.
He has over 25 years’ experience in the food industry gained working mainly in food development roles for Marks & Spencer, Unilever and Tesco, although he also has experience in buying, marketing and operations.
Richard joined Tesco in 1997 where he has held several roles, first working in food development, then setting up and then leading The Quality Team which is responsible for researching product quality with customers. Most recently he has taken on a new role to create and run the Tesco Food Academy. The Food Academy is responsible for educating Tesco teams across the world in culinary arts and retail food skills and provides long-term food research to support Tesco’s commercial teams around the world.
Director General, Campden BRI
Steven obtained his degree in Food Science and PhD in Microbiology from the Queen’s University of Belfast, before joining the Microbiology Department of Campden BRI in 1986. In this role he worked extensively on predictive microbiology and chilled foods microbiology. From 1994 to 2004, Steven undertook the newly created role of Director of Research, which guided, directed and managed the company’s research programme, funded by membership subscriptions, UK Government, the EC and industrial consortia. Following four years as Director of Cereals and Cereal Processing, where he led and managed the research, consultancy, analytical and training activities of the division, Steven was appointed as Director-General in 2009.
During his 31 years’ service, Steven has played a major role in both the scientific and commercial aspects of the business, working closely with senior technical, operational, financial and political representatives from the agri-food and allied industries and funding bodies in the UK and overseas.
Executive Director, Warburtons
Brett has help mainly operational roles at Warburtons Limited and was appointed Joint Managing Director (Operations) in 1991, becoming Managing Director in 2001 until May 2006, when he took up his current role of Executive Director.
Brett holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, is Pro Chancellor of the University of Bolton and was Chair of Campden BRI Council from 2011 until June 2016.
All entries will be carefully reviewed and then shortlisted by a panel of judges with expertise in new product development:
Head of Vendor Assurance, Compass Group UK & Ireland
Managing Director, Meadowbrae Technical Services
Owner, Titanic Consulting
Owner, Pinnacle Food & Drink Services
Business Manager Ingredients Export, Leathams