The birth of former Tesco health guru Hamish Renton’s son two years ago inadvertently led to the creation of one of the supermarket’s biggest initiatives. The ritual of the 4am nappy changing shifts had led to sporadic eating habits and an expanding waistline, so he chose to go onto the glycaemic index (GI) diet. It was so successful – Renton has now lost four stone – that he persuaded Tesco to let him set up its award-winning GI labelling scheme.

Last month Renton turned his attention to sweet new pastures and joined Uniq Prepared Foods as commercial director for desserts. His new job had a bit of a tumultuous start – one week in and the company’s managing director, Jed Kenrick, resigned, which meant a senior management team restructure and yet another new job for Renton. 

Now, as MD of Uniq’s Paignton desserts unit, Renton’s ambitions are being let loose. He said: “Uniq has been pouring capital investment into the site, which means we will be able to produce many more product lines – we will be capable of producing about 80% of the desserts in the chillers of the major retailers. But we will also be able to provide a far better service as we will be focusing on five customers.”
Renton said that he has a huge project ahead of him and has three main goals: developing individual ranges to suit each customer; spending the investment in the site wisely; and bringing about a culture change at the factory to become customer, rather than product, focused.
About leaving Tesco, Renton says: “It was a really tough decision. Tesco is one of a handful of UK companies that are genuinely world class and it was great to be working with real legends, but I felt it was time to go – four years was a good innings.”