The Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) has been shortlisted for two accolades in the Association Excellence Awards: the UK Trade Association of the Year award and the Best Lobbying Campaign or Advancement of a Cause During COVID-19.

The awards come in response to the HFMA’s successful lobbying of Westminster and Whitehall to classify health stores as essential retail, allowing them to remain open throughout the pandemic ‘as a priority for the nation’s health’.

Graham Keen, executive director, HFMA, comments: “It is an honour to be shortlisted for the Association of the Year Award. It is a direct recognition of the contribution our very dedicated team has made to the industry throughout an extraordinary year. I’d like to thank all our employees, advisers, members, and Council for their continued support and engagement.”

At the HFMA’s recent AGM, the Association handed out its own awards, with Jenny Akers receiving the Maurice Hanssen Award of Honour. Robert Taylor, Chair, said Aker had made ‘outstanding contributions’ to the HFMA and wider natural health sector.

Receiving the award, Aker commented: “I am very humbled and honoured to receive this award, and proud to join the list of previous recipients. I’m also pleased to see that CLEAR CHECK, and before that LAPAD, has been recognized for all its hard work as the regulatory landscape continues to evolve. I know that both the HFMA and CLEAR CHECK will remain at the forefront of regulatory issues, managing the challenges arising from Brexit.”

Health Journalist of the Year went to Faye Smith. With a ten-year career in health journalism behind her, Smith is now the Wellness Editor at TI Media. Taylor described Smith’s work as showing ‘a strong passion and dedication towards health and nutrition’ and thanked her for ‘using her voice to help us make our nation healthier’.

Smith commented: “I’m truly grateful for such an honour, especially when I look at the names of all the past winners. Health has been dominating the headlines for the past 18 months in a way I have never seen before in my career as a health journalist, or even in my lifetime. The past year has highlighted the benefits of supplements such as vitamin B, C and D, which is thanks to the research that has gone into that area. In a world of fake news, it is great that the HFMA is there to help ensure concise information is available about natural health, which makes my role a whole lot easier.”

Passion and progression

With HealthyDoesIt being one such source of concise information, the HFMA took the opportunity at its AGM to launch two new awards: HealthyDoesIt Volunteer Writer of the Year and HealthyDoesIt Highly Commended Volunteer Writer, each in recognition of ‘the hard work and dedication of the new team of writers assembled for this new initiative’.

Esther Mills-Roberts, communications manager, HFMA, explained that when HealthyDoesIt was launched – ‘at a time when accurate nutritional education became more important than ever’ – the HFMA set out to ‘create a framework for those within the nutritional arena … to develop their writing skills’. “Our friendly and progressive team now supports HealthyDoesIt, all with a passion for sharing key nutrition messages, in a form that consumers can trust.”

This year’s recipient of the HealthyDoesIt Volunteer Write of the Year was Laura Higgitt, who said: “Thank you so much for this award. Working as part of the HealthyDoesIt team has given me a real confidence boost as I progress my career in nutrition and food writing. I love the challenge of sharing the science of healthy eating in a simple and engaging way.”