Premier Foods' audacious £1.2bn purchase of RHM, a company that normally finds itself on the bidding side of any takeover, has sent out a clear signal that the company means business. Schofield may have lost out on United Biscuits to a private equity consortium, but Premier is now arguably the UK's leading food and drink supplier, (rivalled only by ABF), and must be hoping that its dominance in key categories can now negotiate from a position of greater strength with the supermarkets.

Unlike Premier's previous acquisitions, which tended to be bolt-on brands, including Quorn and Campbell Soup Company's UK operations, the RHM deal has demonstrated there are only a handful of companies too big for Schofield to court and sends a clear message to rivals, such as Heinz and Warburtons, that the company is a force to be reckoned with again.

Schofield has a strong track record of integrating brands and extending them into new categories, as he has done with Branston, and this is expected to continue with some of the newly acquired RHM brands, such as Sharwood's and Bisto. As one analyst says: "Premier is aggressive, good at acquisitions and good at integrating businesses."

However, there is no shortage of challenges and the bigger Premier becomes the higher Schofield's standards are likely to become. He will no doubt measure his success with RHM on whether he can reinstate Hovis as the UK's biggest-selling bread brand.

Premier has not taken its eye off the ball with its existing brands, however, and continues to innovate. It recently launched an oversized variant of baked beans and this week launches baked beans with Omega-3, the first of its kind on the market.