The food and drink SME
sustainability awards

The Foodies are a celebration of sustainability achievement among 290,000 small and medium-sized enterprises that make up 99% of Europe’s food and drink industry.

Small scale, big impact

What food and drink SMEs mean for the EU

290,000 SMEs

which represent


of food and drink companies in Europe

2.6 million

people employed

436 billion


representing nearly


of the industry


We have three categories, find out which is right for you.

For an SME committed to reducing its environmental impact. This could be by way of an innovation, idea, activity or charitable commitment. It could be something that has led to reduced carbon emissions, sustainable sourcing, improved packaging or indeed any other commitment to a greener planet!

Winners announced in September


For an SME committed to helping consumers access more nutritious food and drink. This could be an innovation, idea, activity or charitable commitment. It could be a community initiative, a new nutritious product, a reformulated product or indeed anything connected to improving nutrition.

Winners announced in September


For a young person or team with a startup innovating in the food and agriculture space with an aim to create more resilient, sustainable, and safe food systems.

Winners announced in September




Who can enter?

In the hat to win are the 290,000 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that make up 99% of the food and drink manufacturing industry in Europe. Entrants must represent an SME based in a member state of the European Union. An SME is defined as follows:

– Employing no more than 250 people
– Generating a turnover of no more than €50m or a balance sheet total of €43m

For the Next-Gen Innovator award, entrants must be 40 or under with a start-up based in the European Union.

Why should your organisation enter to win?

We want you to look at The Foodies as an opportunity to showcase the amazing work you and your team are doing to build a more sustainable food future. If you make it as a finalist, your story will be showcased to the people shaping our food future here in Brussels, including policymakers, global and European food and beverage manufacturers, retailers, and more. Not to mention, you can count on plenty of exposure across FoodDrinkEurope’s online channels, an easy entry process AND every entry will automatically generate a donation from FoodDrinkEurope to local food banks.

What does the judging process look like and who is on the jury?

Stage 1

A FoodDrinkEurope staff panel will select a long list of up to 5 finalists in each award category from the initial submissions. These stage 1 winners will be asked to send a detailed submission as outlined below.

Stage 2

A ‘final’ independent judging panel will select the winners in each category, based on the selection criteria below.


What are the judging criteria?

The stage 2 judging panel will judge the detailed submissions based on 6 criteria. Each will be scored 1-3, with a final mark out of a maximum of 18.

How do we define an SME and impact start-up?

An SME is a micro, small, or medium-sized enterprise (SME) which employs no more than 250 people and which has an annual turnover not exceeding €50m or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43m.

An start-up is an innovative new business, in the early stages of growth. You fall into this category if you are a small nimble team that kickstarts change through innovative approaches and by disrupting the status quo. A start-up usually starts with an idea – big or small – and with the help of self or external funding you turn this idea into a small business ready to tackle big problems.

When will the finalists and winners be announced?

The competition launched in February 2024. Entries are collected from February until 31 May 2024. The awards ceremony will take place in September 2024.

I have another question, where can I find an answer?

Please download the slide deck on this site for more details. If you still don’t find what you’re looking for reach out to


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