Towards the end of 2021 we attended the FPC Fresh Awards, an annual award ceremony to commemorate achievements made in the fresh produce industry. The awards span across all areas of the industry, from fruit and veg producers and flower cutters, to produce packaging, supply chain and retailers.

We, at Scorpion Vision, were shortlisted for the category Innovation of the Year for our post harvest vegetable processing systems – automated trimming, cutting, sorting and portioning to ultimately reduce waste, improve quality and increase profits. 

These awards are judged by FPC members, a dedicated team of non-executive directors from across the fresh produce sector.

The ceremony was held at Old Billingsgate Market in London. Old Billingsgate is a Victorian Grade II listed building, originally a world famous fish market that operated until 1982 when it was then given an incredible transformation under the architect Lord Richard Rogers and is now one of London’s most prestigious event spaces.

The evening started in the Grand Hall, which was originally the market floor. As the guests poured in they were welcomed with festive welcome drinks and a lively Mariachi band. 

You can’t beat a mariachi band to kick start the evening!

We were then moved to our tables where we were seated with some of the fantastic team at Blue Skies, a fresh-cut fruit business with factories across Africa and South America, winners of Best Place to Work 2021. After a delicious 3-course meal and more drinks, we were greeted by our host for the evening, comedian and presenter, Patrick Kielty. 

He began with some stand-up before delving into the awards. Alongside Blue Skies, other interesting winners were G’s, an international farming business supplying customers across the UK, Europe and Asia. G’s won Sustainability Excellence for setting standards for the industry in reporting and reducing field food waste using the WRAP Target-Measure-Act principle, the three-step method designed to help businesses ‘Target, Measure and Act’ on food waste. Through participation in workshops, webinars and writing sector specific guidance, food waste has been reduced, new product specifications trialled and excess food donated. 

The winners of Innovation of the Year were Jones Food Company, leaders in ag-tech, for their highly efficient vertical farming. Vertical farming is capable of yielding up to 20 times more than a conventional farm, and has far greater automation potential. Their facility can grow any kind of fresh produce. This includes herbs and leafy greens which are not typically grown in our colder British climates and are consequently flown in from abroad. By growing hydroponically, inputs are reduced and the indoor facility has maximum control over growing conditions, allowing for greater nutritional values, a longer shelf life and less air miles!

Business Service Partner of the Year was won by MorePeople, a leading recruiter within the fresh produce, agriculture and horticulture sector. A huge feat in an industry with growing difficulty in finding labour! The belief that the fresh produce sector provides stimulating career opportunities is what drives their passionate team.

After awarding successful businesses and photo-bombing their photographs, Patrick Kielty bid the room farewell. With some questionable dancing and a few more introductions between peers, the night then drew to a close. We are exceptionally proud to have been shortlisted for Innovation of the Year, grateful to have connected with others in the industry, and already looking forward to what the new year brings. 

In summary, the awards highlighted the exciting developments taking place in the agricultural sector, particularly in agritech. Global events and more local geopolitical shocks to the agricultural supply chain in the UK are driving massive changes and the majority it can be argued, for the good, as sustainability and fighting food waste are just two areas where much work is being done.