This month The Grocer asked suppliers to nominate the very best buyers in crisps, nuts & snacks. Fiona McLelland reports

The Grocer polled suppliers of crisps, nuts and snacks to discover which buyers they thought were doing a great job. Tesco’s crisps, nuts and snacks buyer Allan Maxsted received the most nominations. He has been with the supermarket for just nine months, but has managed to impress.
Our suppliers valued his accessibility, his prompt reply to e-mails and calls, and his honesty. They said he always delivered on his promises, was open in all dealings and had a sound view of the bigger picture. “He is informal in style but knows what he wants,” said one. “Once we got the price right, he has been very supportive and our business with Tesco is growing strongly.”
Adrian Gash is senior buyer, grocery, at Waitrose and he came runner-up. “He is very supportive, proactive and challenging. When he commits to something, he’ll drive it through into store with perfect execution.” As well as having a strong understanding of the category, our suppliers said it was always easy to get in touch with Gash.
Musgrave Budgens-Londis category manager, impulse, Heidi Jackson, impressed our suppliers with her straightforward trading manner, which she combined with a “friendly, yet professional attitude”.
David Jenkins, category manager, at Texaco, was praised for his commitment and for his successful promotions and launches. It was said the culture at Texaco was very open, with a willingness to experiment.
Sainsbury’s senior category buyer, crisps, snacks and nuts, Andrew McTeare, was praised for fairness, accessibility and success at launching new products.
Although one supplier said that Asda’s buyer for crisps and snacks, Alison Pearce, was “frighteningly focused”, he added: “Alison has a great ability to agree to a plan and does everything in her power to achieve it without stumbling at the first hurdle.”
>>p41 Focus on Crisps, Nuts & Snacks
Gash started out as a buyer at Alliance Unichem in 1995. At Safeway he worked as a buyer in pharmacy, plant bread and morning goods, crisps, snacks and nuts. He joined Waitrose in October 2004 as buyer for crisps, snacks, nuts and long-life milk and now also buys mineral and flavoured water.
Jackson joined Londis in 1997, buying for confectionery and grocery. She has also been a buyer of soft drinks and became MBL category controller for impulse areas in 2004. Prior to joining Londis, Jackson was senior buyer for wine at Nurdin & Peacock and, before that, a buyer at
Jenkins started his retail career with M&S as a graduate and then worked for Victoria Wine and Texaco. He has been an area sales manager and has worked in category management for a range of impulse categories. He says his approach to category management has always been true
McTeare has worked with Sainsbury for 14 years, starting out part time on the shop floor aged 16. He has been a buyer since 1998. Prior to that he had been a category assistant in non-foods. Before taking up his current position as senior category buyer crisps, snacks and nuts in February last year, he held buying roles in meat and poultry.
Pearce has been with Asda for more than a decade. She has held several roles within merchandising and was a marketing manager for health and beauty before joining the buying team. She became snacking buyer and works alongside a marketing manager and her trading assistant.
Adrian Gash
heidi Jackson
David Jenkins
Andrew McTeare
Alison Pearce