Visibility in decision making was one of the attributes most admired in our six best petfood buyers, as chosen by suppliers. Newly married Linda Whitaker, née Groves, at Morrisons was particularly singled out. In her varied retail career she has always been involved in petfood buying. “She is straightforward and very easy to deal with, never putting up barriers,” was one supplier’s view, while another added: “A typical Morrisons’ buyer - no fuss, just gets on with it. She makes a decision and stands by it and is a tenacious negotiator.”

Safeway’s Alan Dardis was described as being very knowledgeable, not only about petfood but buying in general. “He
has an air of gravitas and is always prepared to listen,” said one respondent.

Tesco’s Dan Maltby is not afraid to make a decision and is considered tough but fair. “He has never gone back on his word,” said one supplier.

Both Asda’s Ayaz Alam and Sainsbury’s Tim Mooney were praised for their genuine interest and passion for the category. “He is highly motivated and motivating,” said one supplier of Alam, while Mooney “keeps his promises and makes decisions visible”.

Waitrose’s Nicola Manners is the new buyer on the block, but “has adapted remarkably quickly to both Waitrose and petfoods”, said one manufacturer, who added: “We find her extremely helpful.”