Gareth McAnlis, Fresh food Development Manager at Henderson Wholesale
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
As fresh food sales continue to grow, and the way it is consumed continues to change in Northern Ireland, my role is to ensure own-brand products and local supplier partnerships are continuing to meet demand and continuing to be innovative and improved.
BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR BACKGROUND
I have almost 20 years’ experience within the food industry, 10 of which were spent as a chocolate and sweet developer with Nestle, and I also spent eight years as a potato developer with McCain.
WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE?
We have three main things to do as a team:
1.Check the quality of products delivered by our suppliers is what they promised to send us (it almost always is).
2. Check we are as good as, or ideally better than, our competition when tasting product blindly.
3. Work with our suppliers to develop new ranges – this involves me eating a lot!
WHEN DID YOU TAKE UP THIS POST?
WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?
The best has to be developing a new range of puddings! The worst is probably not having enough time to do all the things we want to do; we’re an innovative bunch but there are restrictions to everything and time can be ours.
BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY
Review (and add to) the to-do list first and foremost.
Meet with project teams – launching new products is a team effort and is managed through a process to ensure the product is safe, good value, easy to use, has a shelf life and looks/tastes amazing.
Sampling (existing products and our development work) – someone has to do it!
Shopping/meeting our suppliers – important to keep relevant with the changing world around us and keep up to date with what is working out there and why.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?
It is happening right now. Relaunching our enjoy local range to include new products and branding, and extending The Kitchen range with an excellent range of new pizzas and desserts.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?
Whether on a kayak, dinghy or boat, I love being on the sea. So much scope for adventure. I have sailed all over the world, but the west coast of Scotland is my favourite place (when it isn’t raining).
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW
In my early career, I managed to temporarily shut down a KitKat factory by blocking the main chocolate line. I was not popular. I also know how many layers are on the chocolate centre of Smarties and how long it takes to make a Rowntree’s Fruit Pastille (you would be surprised).