Our People: Melissa Penny, Product Development Manager

Name: Melissa Penny

Job title: Product Development Manager

How long have you been with Billington Group?: Five years

Describe a typical day in your role:

The day normally starts with a daily huddle where we get together as a team to discuss briefs we’ve got on and what we need to deliver that day. From there, no two days are the same, with lots of variation. The day could involve anything from presenting our review of summer to customers along with proactive concepts, assessing the viability of briefs, brainstorming product ideas, troubleshooting, reviewing products with the team before showing to customers, through to attending our gated process meetings or planning innovation days. Aside from the product development elements of my role, there is also a large part that is focused on the overall team leadership and their personal development.

What’s the best part of your job?

Nothing compares to seeing the team’s hard work come to life when products hit the supermarket shelves. After 21 years in the industry, that buzz never goes.

What makes the food/agriculture sector exciting to work in?

The ever-changing trends in our industry and the pace at which we need to work at to keep up with them. Consumers should be at the heart of everything we do and offering them products to enhance their meals in different ways is exciting to be a part of.

What do you think the next big thing for food/agriculture will be?

Mood food and Nootropics are definitely trends to watch – mental health and brain health are hot topics at the moment. Gut health and fermented foods also seem to be growing in popularity, and I’d expect this to continue following Covid-19 as 80 per cent of the body’s immunity resonates in the gut.

Can you describe Billington Group in three words?

Driven, Innovative and Passionate


Now a bit more about you….


Coffee or tea?


Best sandwich filling?

Smoked salmon and cream cheese

Favourite meal?

Middle Eastern – flatbreads, baba ganoush, cacik, lamb kofte and tabbouleh

Favourite weird food combinations?

I love an omelette in a sandwich – preferably one with pancetta and mushrooms and a drizzle of sriracha