The annual FMT Food Awards ceremony has been scheduled to be presented online this year for the first time as a virtual event.

For some time organisers had hoped to go ahead with a physical event, but the continued impact from Covid-19 has resulted in a review to ensure the ceremony is a success and reaches the widest possible audience.

Graham Yandell, publisher of Food Management Today magazine which organise the Awards every year commented: “With the continued uncertainty surrounding the staging of physical events brought about by Covid-19, we felt it was right to review the options for the forthcoming FMT Food Industry Awards ceremony.

”Our test kitchen product judging has previously been postponed twice, but I am pleased to report that we are at last full speed ahead for judging week commencing 19th April. We are later in the year than usual. However, this does mean we can at last schedule the Awards ceremony.

“It has actually been an excellent year for the Awards with record entry numbers and participation from all the major retailers and many leading manufacturers, reflecting the importance of these prestigious awards which go from strength to strength. Looking at all circumstances, we have now come to the conclusion that the sensible option is to stage and broadcast the ceremony online, which is to be scheduled for 1st July 2021.”

Yandell continued: “The simple fact is that we could actually risk staging a physical event, as in theory the government roadmap will facilitate that opportunity, but in the real world we have doubts about a sizeable amount of personnel from the food industry, in the shape of manufacturers and retailers, who might not be allowed to attend off site, or away from HQ. This has a serious potential to affect numbers and the character of a physical ceremony.

“Unfortunately, it is just a little too soon to stage a lunch or dinner with confidence, and we believe an online event offering new innovations, a slick format and the introduction of green screen technology plus comprehensive marketing will mean the ceremony will do full justice to the initiative and offer great value for our partners and everyone involved.

“Interestingly, audience reach and engagement is actually widened and enhanced with a virtual event with many more people involved, which means the ceremony is certainly not downgraded but simply different. I know that we can look forward to a really excellent presentation on 1st July.”

Yandell confirmed that other Awards later in the year specifically in the meat industry are currently still scheduled as physical events as things stand. He also stated that if all goes to plan the FMT Food Awards will return to its more traditional format next year in 2022.

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