Elaine Higginson, managing director of http://www.allegrastrategies.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">United Coffee UK & Ireland](http://www.unitedcoffeeuk.com/), was recognised by her industry peers at the [Allegra European Coffee Awards 2011](http://www.europeancoffeesymposium.com/European-Coffee-Awards-2011.aspx) gala dinner recently held in Berlin.
Higginson was commended for her contribution to the European coffee industry for delivering outstanding achievements in her own business and for her leadership and innovation to the wider industry.
Jeffrey Young, managing director of [Allegra Strategies, said: "Elaine has given 20 years' service to the coffee industry and is as passionate today about the quality of the coffee in the cup as she has always been.
"United Coffee UK & Ireland was the first in the industry to launch Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certified coffee in the UK. Today they lead the way in bean to cup technology - in short they don't follow trends, they set the trends."
As managing director of United Coffee for UK & Ireland, Higginson is responsible for roasting over 7,000 tonnes of coffee and serving over 20 billion cups of coffee a year out-of-home to leading food service operators and retailers. Head-hunted in 1996 by First Choice Coffee, (later acquired by United Coffee in 2006), she swiftly rose up to board level and is the key driver behind the company's sales growth.
Higginson commented: "Being recognised by such respected peers in our industry made receiving this award even more special. But as we've heard in Berlin, our industry needs passionate people to keep raising the bar, and I have the support of the best team in the business which shares my passion for delivering great coffee to our customers."