Premier Foods, the UK's biggest food manufacturer, has named former United Biscuits director Will Carter as its new MD of ambient groceries after a restructure of its commercial management team.
In the new role, Carter will adopt the responsibilities of Premier Foods' two former commercial directors Stephen Bolton and Howard Beveridge, who left last month. It is not known whether the pair, who had been at Premier since 2002, had jobs to go to.
Carter joins Premier from healthy fruits, nuts and seeds supplier Whitworths where he was CEO. Prior to Whitworths, he was on the executive board of United Biscuits as MD of the merged KP and McVitie's snacks businesses.
In his new role, Carter will implement a variety of strategies to develop Premier's portfolio of ambient brands, such as Branston and Sharwood's. Although Premier warned in March it would have to up prices and cut back on promotions because of rising ingredients and fuel costs, Carter said consumers would still get good value. "Cost inflation of raw materials is a fact of life and we have joined other manufacturers in passing on some prices," he said. "However, we are working with our retail customers to guarantee best consumer value."
Joining the UK's biggest food manufacturer at a time when food prices were the subject of heightened scrutiny was not without its challenges, he added.
"Premier is a challenge in that it operates across a huge footprint of categories with a powerful portfolio of brands that consumers hold dear to their hearts," Carter said.
"My strategy is to put a sharper focus on each brand in our ambient stable and I believe in innovation. The penetration level of these brands is very high, but we can't take loyalty for granted."