From M&S to milkshakes: Mr Sherick's

Four years ago, self-confessed dessert fanatic Andrew Sherick identified a gap in the milkshake market. While there were already premium offerings alongside the mass-market shakes on shelf, he couldn’t see any that ticked the super premium box - or were inspired by luxury desserts.

At the time, Sherick was a full-time buyer in Marks & Spencer’s ‘food on the move’ impulse team, so could only work on developing his idea in the evenings and at weekends. Now, however, the former chairman of The British Sandwich Association (BSA) has called time on 22 years at M&S (15 of which he spent in the food group) and is ready to shake up the milkshakes market with his five-strong Mr Sherick’s Shakes range.

These are milkshakes with a difference, he claims. “This is a truly indulgent, unashamedly luxurious product,” he says.

The indulgent part comes from the ‘inclusions’: Cookies & Cream has pieces of cookie and chocolate chip Pot au Choc contains Belgian chocolate chips Strawberry Pavlova has pieces of meringue Softly Banoffee features soft toffee pieces and A Hint of Mint contains mint choc chips.

“This is a truly indulgent, unashamedly luxurious product”

Andrew Sherick

“Everything needs a USP - something that makes it stand out from the rest of the market - and there’s no doubt in my mind that the inclusions add something special,” says Sherick.

His ultimate aim is to create a new premium milkshake sub-sector, which explains the £1.99 rsp (250ml) - a good 70p more than 330ml bottles of Shaken Udder. Given the price tag, Sherick says it’s vitally important that when people drink his shakes they feel that they’re getting value for money. “I want to deliver luxury, but in an affordable way,” he explains.

This may sound similar to the ethos of his former employer and Sherick admits that the crucial lesson he learned in M&S’s food group was how to make good food. “M&S gives you a fantastic grounding,” he says. “Hopefully I’ve applied some of those fantastic skills to this product.”

Discussions with retailers about listings are about to get underway, and Sherick is hopeful that his past track record and bulging contacts book will smooth the path. “The great thing about the position I’ve come from is I’ve worked for M&S for a long time and I was also chairman of the BSA up until June this year, so I’ve worked with all the high street retailers,” he says. “As a result, I expect them to open the door to me, but it will still be about the product and whether it delivers for them.”

Mr Shericks shakes

A key part of these discussions will surround where the products should to be placed in store to maximise their sales potential. “These types of products sell better in certain channels than others,” says Sherick. “For me, it’s very much about impulse and ‘treat me’. So I need to talk to the retailers and agree the right strategy.”

Given that he’s sat through hundreds of discussions about the listing of products in M&S from the other side of the fence, you’d have thought that this would be the easy part. But Sherick knows only one thing will determine whether or not his range is accepted by retailers.

“The most important thing that it always came back to at M&S was product,” he says. “Product quality, product safety and delivering what the consumer wanted. These are the three biggest things and I don’t think that’s changed. It will be the products that decide whether this brand is a success or not.”