Ken Morrison, the executive chairman of Wm Morrison Supermarkets, joined the ranks of Richard Branson, Sean Connery, Norman Wisdom and Henry Cooper after being awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

The award, which follows his inclusion as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1990, was given in recognition of services to the food retail industry and means he will now be entitled to be called Sir Ken. The knighthood was the most prestigious award to be handed out to prominent figures in the food industry.

Gordon Summerfield starts his new job as chairman of Food from Britain this month with a CBE, given for his services to food and dairy processing during his time as chief executive of Unigate European Foods. CBEs also went to Richard Cowan, head of MAFF’s beef and sheep division, and to Maule Dewar-Durie, chairman of Allied Distillers.

The Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath, otherwise known as the KCB, was handed to Richard John Packer, formerly the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture. Other members of the food industry were honoured this month. A CBE went to Norman Simmons for services to the promotion of food safety.

And OBEs were awarded to John Campbell, chairman of Glenrath Farms, for services to the poultry industry; Colin Maclean, director general of the Meat and Livestock Commission, for services to the British meat and livestock industry; and Stanley Bernard, md Sco-Fro Foods, for services to the food industry.