Honorary Doctorate - 2010
Foster is Managing Director of Barnsley-based Fosters Bakery, the small family business he started working in at the age of five, and has since grown it year on year to its current £10 million annual turnover. He also founded Wellfoods Limited, a subsidiary that produces functional and health-based foods.
Under John's leadership Fosters has won several food industry and business awards including Barnsley Employer of the Year (Working with Schools), the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce Best Overall Business Award, and John himself was named Food Personality of the Year in the Food Manufacture Awards 2009.
He works tirelessly to promote the regional food industry and he is well known here and abroad for his inspirational speeches. He has represented the Yorkshire food industry during many international missions and he shares his expertise with food companies in developing countries to help improve their operations.
Among John's many roles on a variety of regional and national organisations, is one on a Home Office project for the rehabilitation of criminal offenders. Inmates are trained in bakery skills then helped to find employment in bakeries, including Foster's, on their release.
John has built very strong links with Sheffield Hallam University in recent years, working with students and academics on a number of projects to build important links with the food manufacturing industry and create opportunities for research and knowledge transfer.