The award notes Lewis expanded Tesco’s delivery slots from 600,000 to 1.3 million a week

Former Tesco CEO Dave Lewis has been knighted in the New Year’s Honours List for services to the food industry and business.

Lewis, who led Tesco through the outbreak of the pandemic before leaving the supermarket in September, is one of a number of supermarket figures to be recognised in a New Year’s Honours List that highlights the industry’s efforts to feed the nation during the pandemic.

As well as his successful turnaround of the business during his six years at the helm, he has been credited for being “particularly keen for Tesco to make the difference in getting food to the vulnerable, prioritising availability over commercial objectives and working closely with the government to achieve this”.

The award notes Lewis expanded Tesco’s delivery slots from 600,000 to 1.3 million a week, providing nearly 600,000 vulnerable customers with access to priority slots.

Co-op Food CEO Jo Whitfield and Ocado Retail CEO Melanie Smith both received an OBE for services to retail and the food supply chain during the Covid-19 response.

Chris Tyas, former Nestlé executive and chair of the Food Resilience Industry Forum, received an OBE for services to the food supply chain. Tyas was recruited by Defra following the initial wave of panic buying in March to act as an ‘industry trouble shooter’ and help keep the nation fed. He came seventh in The Grocer’s Whitehall Power List in December.

Tyas said: “I am humbled with the recognition I have received for my contribution to what continues to be a massive team effort from everybody who contributes to keeping our nation fed.”

He added: “We are now facing the need for renewed resilience as we progress through the winter months and the challenges of the EU transition.”

Asda’s senior health, safety and environment manager, Paul Miller, and online grocery development manager, Daniel Owens, both received MBEs for services to retail customers during the pandemic.

Miller was behind Asda’s PPE programme while Owens played a crucial role in increasing delivery capacity to help serve the shielding and vulnerable. The pair were among nine Asda employees to be recognised in the awards.

“I cannot express how proud we all are to have nine colleagues recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List,” said Asda CEO Roger Burnley.

“These colleagues, key workers along with thousands of others, have done an amazing job looking after our customers in phenomenally challenging circumstances during 2020. I want to extend my thanks and gratitude to them all for the way in which they have risen to the challenges of the pandemic and how they continue to play their vital role in feeding the nation.”

The awards also recognised the work of wholesale to keep the nation fed during the crisis.

Brakes supply chain and operations director, Alex Mayfield, and lead solution designer, Ricky Sercombe, both received MBEs recognising their services to the vulnerable. The pair worked with the government to create Brakes’ food box delivery service for the clinically vulnerable.

Brakes CEO Hugo Mahoney said: “I’m very proud of how they drew the business together to deliver such a valuable service so quickly, at a time when many supermarkets were displaying empty shelves and were not able to provide delivery slots.”

Bidfood wholesale MD Steve Clarke and supply chain and technical services director Jim Gouldie also received MBEs for services to the vulnerable.

Bidfood CEO Andrew Selley said: “Jim and Steve worked tirelessly to ensure continuity of supplies and service to customers whilst dealing with the unknown.

“All of us at Bidfood are immensely proud of what Jim and Steve have achieved.”

These are the other seven Asda employees to be recognised, all of whom received a British Empire Medal:

  • Rachel Webber, community champion, Asda Gosport
  • June Walker, community champion, Asda Donnington Wood
  • Connor Wilkinson, online grocery – senior manager data science and pptimisation
  • Rafal Olbert, e-commerce data scientist
  • James Cameron, online grocery data scientist
  • Sarah Cairns, senior programme manager – online grocery
  • Sarah Joyce, superintendent optometrist