>>Richard Marris, Category development director, Masterfoods

Next to Christmas, Easter is the biggest trading period for Masterfoods confectionery and plans for Easter 2006 are well under way.
A lot of work has already been done to develop next year’s range and in the coming weeks, category director Richard Marris will be studying this Easter’s sales and trading results to improve performance next year.
Marris looks after three different areas of Masterfoods’ total confectionery business - trade marketing, category management and activity management - in a role sitting between sales and marketing.
“I’m involved in the ongoing development of the availability, siting and display of the whole confectionery range, not just Masterfoods brands, for our big and independent customers,” explains Marris.
“Masterfoods is in a fortunate position in that we have six of the top 10 selling singles, so if we can drive the category as a whole, it will be of benefit to us.”
As category leader, Marris works alongside retailers to make sure each has the right products in the right place at the right time and at the right price to optimise sales.
He says: “The main
challenge of the week is about balancing how much time I spend internally with my sales and marketing teams developing lines, with the time I am out and about.
“It’s really important to see how our ongoing lines are being executed and how our competitors and customers are doing.”
In addition to checking the daily running of the confectionery category, Marris is constantly checking new product development and innovation, as well as running promotional activity and analysing consumer trends.
He says that if he can get the basic range, pricing and display right, and introduce innovative lines in addition to that, then extra sales can be achieved for everyone in the confectionery market.
Achieving growth in confectionery by ongoing innovation