I started work in the cheese industry as a production manager for Western Cheese in Corsham, Wiltshire. From there I moved to dairy product manufacturer ULN (UK) in Westbury, rising from factory manager to operations director. I dealt with Marks and Spencer there which gave me a taste for sales. Then I joined Ilchester Cheese Company in my current role.
What initiatives have you been involved in since you joined the company?
Prior to my joining, the company’s supply to the major multiples was limited. Now we make a significant portion of our business from them with products ranging from mini cheeses to Christmas gift sets. We supply a mixture of branded and own label products, with our biggest brand being Applewood Smoked Cheddar.
What changes have you seen in the cheese market during your time with the company?
There has been massive growth in blended cheese – cheese with added ingredients – driven by growing consumer taste for different food types. We have a 35% value share of that market, which is worth £40m annually.
What is the most exciting thing about your job?
Keeping pace with changing consumer trends. The number of fruit variants alone in blended cheese rose from 80 to 127 in the last year.
What are your interests?
My major interests are drawing, sketching and painting with both watercolour and oils. If we have an idea for a gift pack that is easy to draw, that can come in handy. I’m also a great cartoonist and if anything funny happens at work, an ‘anonymous’ cartoon will appear about it.