Marc Thompson, head of retail for CFH Group, is used to a busy week. He’s been head of retail for the frozen foods manufacturer for two years and is responsible for the sales, marketing, printing and packaging side of the business.
Although Thompson was in Newcastle last week overseeing a photo shoot for a new product set to be launched in the autumn, his typical week is usually spent in meetings or taking part in tastings.
“We have lots of tenders going on which involve tasting and bench testing to see if the companies are happy with the ingredients,” he says.
Thompson is currently working on 12 projects, which he says are all part of CFH’s ongoing strategy to develop branded and own-label products. Eight of them are for the retail industry, involving clients from both the multiple and independent sectors.
The biggest includes a tender for six own-label Asda products, which has reached its third tasting, and a Sainsbury project for six own-label products.
Working with the multiples is challenging, says Thompson.
“The multiples are tough. They only develop their own brands plus one other branded
product, so we are always fighting for freezer space.
“They’re strict and specific, but once you’ve broken into a multiple you can redevelop your product for the independent market.”
Other projects vying for Thompson’s attention include an own-label project for wholesaler Makro.
“We currently supply Makro with seven labelled products, but Makro wants to go own label. They have asked us to supply different languages on the back of the packs for possible sale abroad.”
He’s also juggling a Spar contract for 14 own-label products, working on five new traditional roast platters for Musgrave Budgens-Londis, and examining new branded products for CoolTrader.
Busy in meetings or tastings, working on 12 projects