Top HFMA awards for Graham Keen and Rachel Symonds

The Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) has recognised two very prominent industry figures with awards at its AGM, held in London yesterday. 

Graham Keen, received this this year’s Maurice Hanssen Award of Honour. The award is presented in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding contribution to the industry.

Martin Last, HFMA director general, commented: “Graham is the well-deserved winner of this year’s Maurice Hanssen Award of Honour having given a full 15 years to the HFMA as executive director. In that time, he has put HFMA on the map and made a significant contribution to both the Association and the Industry.’

Graham Keen’s career spans four decades in the natural products industry, beginning with Northumbrian Fine Foods through to 15 years at the helm of the HFMA. Noting that his “dedication and passion for this industry has shone brightly through all his roles” the HFMA highlights its former executive director’s success in persuading the Government to grant health store personnel key worker status during the pandemic, allowing health food store to remain open and ‘keeping the lights on’ for the stores and this trade as a whole.

Graham commented: ‘I’m very happy to be the 29th winner of this important award, and fiercely proud of this wonderful industry and the role I played in helping it become the dominant and positive force that it now is.’

Rachel Symonds, editor of Health Food Business, received this year’s Health Journalist of the Year Award, recognising “the best of journalism and writing covering the natural health industry”.

Martin Last, said, “We are delighted to present Rachel with this award, her dedication to and enthusiasm for the industry shines through in her writing. Whether reporting on issues affecting the trade or interviewing industry specialists, she brings the facts and insights to the page, keeping all areas of the industry informed and updated.”

Rachel Symonds started her career as apprenticeship with her local newspaper, the Hertfordshire Mercury where she learnt the journalism basics of media law and government, shorthand, and general reporting. She progressed to chief reporter, where she had the opportunity to interview the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, face to face. 19 years ago, she moved to Target Publishing as deputy editor, then quickly became editor of Health Food Business magazine, which she has led editorially ever since. 

Rachel commented: ‘“I am deeply honoured to be the recipient of the HFMA’s Journalist of the Year Award and take pride in joining the names of those who have won the award before me. Over many years working in this special trade, I have enjoyed a supportive, productive and collaborative relationship with all at the HFMA, a mutually respectful relationship, one where I have been able to challenge when needed, but where I have also been able to learn and take guidance from the organisation. I would like to thank the HFMA for awarding me this special accolade and I look forward to many more years of positive collaboration.”

Main images: Left, Graham Keen receives the Maurice Hanssen Award of Honour from Steve Mann. Right Rachel Symonds receives this year’s HFMA Health Journalist of the Year Award

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