Convenience food manufacturer Greencore has appointed Jonathan Hodgson as commercial director of its cakes and desserts division.

Hodgson was previously account group director at Young's Seafoods, where he managed a team that looked after Tesco, Morrisons and Somerfield.

His responsibilities at Greencore will include driving sales growth and overseeing the marketing and NPD of Greencore's £100m cakes and desserts business.

Hodgson, who also held sales roles at Kellogg's and Northern Foods, knows where the challenges lie in his new role.

"Cakes are in a very traditional market but have suffered from low growth for some time," said Hodgson. "The challenge is obviously to reinvigorate the market and increase our appeal to younger consumers. Ultimately, I believe we can get growth back through innovation and category development."

With the festive season approaching, Hodgson has entered a category that is at its busiest at this time of year. Greencore claims it is the UK's market leader in Christmas cakes and produces more than four million festive cakes each year.

"Obviously Christmas is a massive part of our business, as you only get one shot at it. But a good 40% of our seasonal cakes and desserts have already been delivered to our retailer customers and we are starting to plan for next Christmas."

Hodgson will be working under the former commercial director, Paul Rhodes, who was appointed MD of the cakes and desserts category in December last year. The 10-month wait for a replacement was necessary, said Jonathan Grant-Nicholas, Greencore's communications director.

"Cakes and desserts is a specialised business and we were willing to wait for the perfect candidate. Jonathan has the experience and skills to fit the bill."