I started on the shop floor at Sainsbury, working my way up over 12 years to store manager. After that I spent five years in foodservice procurement at Alpha Flight Services, Brake Bros and Arrowmark Caterers, and then I joined Tesco in June this year.
What are you doing at Tesco?
I have just sourced Tesco’s new Asian range – which is being rolled out to 64 stores in time for Diwali on October 25.
The 250-line range is entirely vegetarian and consists largely of pulses, rice and spices. Frozen foods such as kulfi are also included in selected stores.
There has been an exceptional reaction from staff and customers. Tesco’s large ethnic workforce is passing on news of the range into the Asian communities.
Areas such as greater London, Glasgow, Cardiff and Bristol have reported particularly strong sales.
How will you develop the range?
I will be extending and changing the range – like my colleagues I know the food industry never stops.
Talking to customers to see what they want is essential as the range is developed.
Feedback so far has suggested customers value convenience highly, they are looking for more convenience food.
I keep up to date with trends, attending trade fairs in the UK and abroad.
What does the future hold for the Asian foods section at Tesco?
We will also do seasonal products. For example we are doing Mathias for Diwali, a spicy poppadom made from gram flour. I see an opportunity for all Tesco stores in the UK to carry the Asian Food range. It appeals to a wide cross-section of society – including vegetarians and convenience shoppers. Not only Asians purchase the range.