The Co-operative Group has appointed a development and innovation chef as it continues to overhaul its own-label range.
Graham Mairs joins from Morrisons, where he was head chef and innovation manager of the supermarket’s M Kitchen range, which was originally launched in October 2011 and relaunched in September last year.
Mairs’ previous roles include lead innovation chef for Kerry Foods and executive chef at Uniq.
Prior to that, he worked in the hotel and restaurant trade for more than 20 years, training at Ecole Lenôtre in Paris before taking positions at Brown’s Hotel and 90 Park Lane Restaurant at Grosvenor House in London and running his own restaurant in Cheltenham.
The Co-op is currently in the middle of a huge revamp of its own-label ranges in a bid to become the “best local food retailer” in the UK. Last summer, it rebranded and relaunched its standard own-label range, The Co-operative, as Loved By Us with new products, revamped recipes and new packaging. It rolled out 700 lines in 2013 and plans to launch a further 1,800 in 2014.
“This exciting new role is focusing on the development of innovative and exciting quality food to enhance The Co-op’s existing own-label range, which already has many award-winning products,” Mairs said. “I hope to inspire successful product innovation that delights our customers by delivering delicious food conveniently.”
Kate Jones, head of food product at The Co-op Group, added: “Graham is a welcome addition to our team. His love for food complements our own passion for food and his input will be invaluable in helping us to create some incredible new Co-operative brand products with real standout and appeal in 2014.”