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And the factory of the year award goes to…

The next time you’re sipping on a mug of Galaxy hot chocolate, take a minute to raise the cup to the family business that makes the drink.

The next time you’re sipping on a mug of Galaxy hot chocolate, take a minute to raise the cup to the family business that makes the drink.

UK-based Aimia Foods, owned by the Unsworth family, has been named the factory of the year in an awards ceremony organised by Cranfield School of Management and Works Managementmagazine.

And that wasn't the only accolade given to the family-owned group, which traces its roots back to the 1980s. The food and beverage-maker and distributor was named best household and general products plant, won the small and medium enterprise award and was also recognised for its people management at the ceremony last week.

“Being family owned, the business has been able to retain flexibility and speed, which means it can react to events and progress [with developing new products] and investment decisions perhaps faster than larger competitors,” a spokesman for the company told CampdenFB.
 
Aimia makes, sells and markets hot and cold beverages such as Juicebreak and Weight Watchers’ drinks. It first began to manufacture Galaxy and Maltesers hot chocolates on behalf of Mars in 2001.

But the group hasn’t always been owned by the Unsworths. Founded by family members Gary and Ian in 1981, the business was sold in 1986 to Nichols, a British company focusing on soft drinks. But the family continued to run Aimia until buying it back in 2004.

Second-gen Rob is also currently involved in the business, which has sales of around £60 million (€75 million). Marek Szwejczewski, director of the Best Factory Awards, said Aimia’s facility is a “factory of distinction and provides a benchmark of manufacturing excellence for others to strive for”.

The Aimia spokesman added: “Certainly a key factor behind the company’s success is its independent ownership status.”

Others winners included Entek International, which received the best process plant award, Renishaw, recognised for its electrical plants, and Benson Box, acknowledged for its focus on skills development.

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