Dairy manufacturers were asked this month to nominate their favourite yogurt buyers and one name cropped up again and again. Naomi Hanfell from Asda was so popular that several suppliers refused to nominate any other buyer.

One said: “In 20 years of dealing with buyers across many different categories I have never come across a buyer who is so sharp and so considered with her analysis. I am not easily impressed when it comes to either the tactics or some of the individuals within the dairy market. However, Naomi is truly exceptional and as far as I am concerned nobody else within the category comes close to her.”
Despite the number of nominations for Hanfell, Tim Wykes from Morrisons also received his share of votes for his fair and straightforward manner and knowledge of his market.

Batleys’ Kate Luscombe was praised for her approachability, professionalism and willingness to listen, while Ian Cameron from Costcutter was singled out for his ability to make things happen and his understanding of the category.

Kevin Barber from Netto was praised for his easy nature and sound mind, which make negotiations clear and simple. Although Orla Forde is new to her role at Somerfield, her openness and speed of response were said to be refreshing.

Six of the best yogurt buyers
>>nominated this month

Naomi Hanfell
Yogurts and desserts buying manager, Asda

After doing an agribusiness degree, Hanfell qualified in chartered accountancy. She joined Asda seven years ago as a business development analyst. She moved into produce buying, then into customer planning management, for vegetables, salads, potatoes and then fresh produce.
Category buyer, fresh dairy products, Somerfield

Orla Forde
Category buyer, fresh dairy products, Somerfield

Forde has been a buyer with Somerfield for six years and has worked within several categories, including produce, traditional non-food and health and beauty, before joining fresh earlier in the year. She joined the company after completing the Sainsbury trainee manager scheme.
Fresh food buyer, Morrisons

Tim Wykes
Fresh food buyer, Morrisons

Wykes joined Morrisons’ marketing team in 1998 as an own label packaging co-ordinator before joining the fresh food buying team as a trainee buyer two years later. He was promoted to fresh food buyer after 15 months. His current buying responsibilities include yogurts, chilled desserts and hot eating desserts.
Trading Director, fresh, frozen and produce, Netto

Kevin Barber
Trading director, fresh, frozen and produce, Netto

Barber joined Netto 14 years ago as trading controller of fresh and frozen foods and produce, and has since bought most products within the category. Before his move to Netto, Barber was a trade controller with Safeway and prior to that he was a buyer with Sainsbury.
Buyer of provisions, bread, cakes and meat, Batleys

Kate Luscombe
Buyer of provisions, bread, cakes and meat, Batleys

Luscombe joined Batleys in February 1996 as an assistant buyer, involved in all areas of the business. She was promoted to buyer in the petfood market a year later before moving into her current role. Prior to joining Batleys, Luscombe was a marketing assistant at Pedigree Masterfoods.
Trading manager at Costcutter

Ian Cameron
Trading manager at Costcutter

Cameron has used his 11 years as a trading manager for the York-based symbol group to good effect as he was complimented for his good negotiating skills.

Before joining Costcutter, he was a store manager at Tesco and has also worked with the c-store chain Alldays. His hobbies include golf.