Category knowledge and ability to co-operate with suppliers are the key qualities shared by the speciality and fine food buyers who join the ranks of The Grocer’s Six of Best this month. One buyer has made it into the hall of fame for the second year - House of Fraser’s Dominic Weston who received accolades from manufacturers when we covered the same category last year.
This year he was widely praised by suppliers for his understanding and appreciation of speciality food.
Harvey Nichols’ Sue Cloke earned plaudits for being “champion at promoting small speciality food producers, helping them improve
their standards”, while Fortnum & Mason’s Jonathan Miller was singled out for his product knowledge and direct and honest approach.
Sainsbury’s Michael Rimmer was praised for being flexible and responsive to specialist suppliers’ ideas.
Waitrose does not have a dedicated speciality food buyer, but despite this dairy buyer Chris Dawson, responsible for speciality cheeses, was singled out for his work. One manufacturer told us: “He has spent time visiting cheesemakers to understand manufacturing processes and systems.”
An open mind to new ideas and products, plus good people skills, earned Booths Supermarkets’ David Smith a place at the top.