How did you get to where you are today?
I have worked for three companies in the past ten years, building categories and brands. I worked as a senior national account manager at Sara Lee Corporation's Douwe Egberts, as a sales manager at fine food importer and distributor Merchant Gourmet and as sales director at Dole. In my current role I manage Dole's Northern Europe channel, where I am responsible for co-ordinating sales and marketing, and tailoring consumer messages to the local market across ten countries.
Tell us a bit about Dole Packaged Foods
The roots of Dole Packaged Foods go back 150 years to Hawaii, where it started off as an Hawaiian pineapple company. It is now a leading international producer of fresh produce. In the US and mainland Europe it is a household name and in the UK our fruit pots are one of the fastest growing product ranges in the £50m ambient potted desserts category. Our products include three varieties of fruit parfait, fruit and jelly pots and fruit pots. They are listed in all the multiples.
What has been keeping you busy recently?
This year we are investing heavily and are spending £1.5m to launch a new product range of fruit parfait. We are taking the brand and category to a new level by extending healthy snack options to include a more indulgent, adult taste. We have invested in sampling, posters and PR and trade activity focusing on the taste, convenience and better-for-you aspect of our products.
What are your plans for 2006 and beyond?
The ambient potted desserts category currently only has 25% household penetration in the UK. This means that there are significant opportunities. This year and next year we will be investing in our core business, including new product development, to drive penetration and increase consumer awareness. We also want to make inroads into convenience, foodservice and vending.
What is your working week like?
My working week is very varied and challenging because all the markets in Northern Europe grow in a different way. I work with our sales and marketing teams to co-ordinate a consistent and tailored approach to each market. It is a real challenge because there are different cultures, languages and retailers to deal with. I am based in the UK, but I also have an office in Paris. I travel a lot and spend time in each market, covering ten countries.