Although Chris White confesses that he is ancient, the enthusiasm he still has for his job shines through.
White is the managing director of the herbs, spices and home baking producer Fiddes Payne and says that his company’s commitment to new product development means that he loves his working week, which starts at about 8.30am each day.
At least one day a week for White is spent working on new product development, which he says is great fun and involves working closely with talented graphic designers on new packaging ideas.
One of the projects White has recently been enjoying has been working on a new royal icing decoration, which has a plastic capsule on the packaging in order to display the decoration.
“New product development is absolutely at the forefront of what we do. A small company cannot just march up to the big supermarkets and say ‘here I am’. It’s not enough to just match the bigger players, we have to be much, much better or we won’t get in.”
He surrounds himself at the office with products - not just Fiddes Payne products, but also those of his competitors.
And he makes sure he visits the supermarkets at least once a week to keep on top of what’s going on in the category.
“You cannot sit in an ivory tower - you have to get out and see what the competitors are doing. Visiting supermarkets is really stimulating - these guys are tough but they are great at what they do and you can learn so much all the time.”
White is also a great believer in the merits of a dictaphone and says that it’s one thing he can’t live without.
Letters, emails, memos-to-self will all go into his beloved dictaphone for his “poor Marion” (his secretary) to transcribe later.
He leaves by 6pm every day: “Quite civilised really.”
a devotion to npd makes a small player stand out