A key part of my role as a specialist recruiter is to keep my eyes and ears open at all times for candidates who can help my clients achieve the business objectives they have described to me. Getting the right 'fit' with established candidates at middle and senior management level is a challenge in itself, but identifying and attracting the bright young things that everyone needs on board in order to sustain our industry in the future is an even more challenging task.

Many articles have been written in this magazine and others over the past few years bemoaning the dearth of young talent coming into the food and horticultural sectors and in my area of expertise in particular - SME own-label supermarket suppliers, where companies don't have the 'glamour' of a sexy brand to stimulate interest .

I have spent many hours trying to ascertain from graduates and young managers what it is that is putting them off careers in food and drink. They come up with lots of reasons, such as a lack of any discernable identity, the industry's lack of sophistication or the absence of a clear career path. But are these reasons or just excuses? Is there something else going on?

I'm a father of teenagers and a school governor, so I should be able to get down and be 'hip' with the young people and understand what motivates them - shouldn't I? However, talking to them and trying to broach the subject of career choice - my expert field after all - leaves me bewildered and fascinated in equal measure. The feeling I get from many of them is that they want it all and they want it now. Academics may have labelled today's under thirties as the Generation Y, but to those of us who have to manage them, they might as well be called generation What.

Pop Idol, The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent all help foster the impression that you can 'make it' with the minimum of effort. Whatever happened to apprenticeships and learning a trade from the ground up?

We all know that the food industry can be a tough place to be. It's fast moving and full of active, enthusiastic, fast-thinking, take-no-prisoners, demanding people - and they're just the ones on your side. Customers and consumers have ever-growing demands, so it's never going to be an easy ride. However, for those of us who have built a career in it we know what a stimulating and rewarding place it can be.

So could it be that the next generation of young managers are just a little too scared of the amount of effort that they'll have to put in to build a career in food? Has generation Y turned into generation 'Y bother'? There's a thought to ponder.

Guy Moreton is director of recruitment practitioner MorePeople