Industry insights from our colleagues and partners
In our new monthly blog series, we’re taking the time to introduce you to some of the amazing people and organisations we are proud to work with, including some of our colleagues across the businesses and our Partners alike – putting a spotlight on the incredible people and businesses that help us connect food with people all over the country.
This month it’s Jon Sheppard, Commercial Director at TSC foods.
Can you tell us a bit about your role and industry background?
I’ve worked in the food industry for over 20 years, but also have worked in the Automotive and Management Consultancy arena. Originally, I did a Hotel and Catering Management Degree at Manchester Polytechnic and prior to joining TSC I have since worked for Uniq, Greencore and Dalehead Foods.
What is it about the food industry that interests you most or that you enjoy?
I have a love of food, so that’s a good starting point, and I really enjoy cooking! It’s fantastic to work in an industry creating something that people get real joy out of. There is nothing better than sitting down with friends and family and enjoying some food, whether it’s at home or in a restaurant, and we play a part in that!
How has the last year changed interest and demand for different foods in general, and for soup specifically?
Obviously the last year has had an enormous impact on the Food Service industry and this has completely changed consumer demand. There has been a huge shift into eating at home and so delivery has become an ever bigger part of the total food chain supply solution. According to market data fresh soup continues to be a category that is in slight decline in the retail world, however health, vegetarian/vegan and exciting food combinations are driving growth and this is where Glorious! Is positioned. Our brand also appeals to a younger consumer and we need to continue to tap into this.
What are the biggest challenges facing your industry right now?
The impact of Covid and the numerous lockdowns have obviously been enormous. As a business we have to be ready to emerge stronger and better when we reach the end of this very challenging tunnel.
What are the biggest opportunities?
As the world returns to the new normal, there will be loads of great opportunities in the Food Service sector, including areas like Food to Go. There are also lots of opportunities in our Business to Business sector where we supply sauces into other food manufacturers. Within retail, we need to continue to evolve our fantastic brand and grow our supply in the Own Label sector.
What would you say to someone starting out in the industry?
If you love food, get ready for the ride! It’s fast moving, but extremely rewarding.
What trends will you be keeping an eye on in 2021?
The growth of vegetarianism and veganism which will continue to be big trends, but this is underpinned by consumers being more health conscious. The home delivery sector is also going to continue to grow as consumers have realised how easy it is to have groceries and take away food delivered to their doorstep.
Who would be your dream brand or product to collaborate with?
I always love emerging brands as they start to push the boundaries and cause disturbances – so one of my favourites at the moment is BrewDog. Their recent marketing campaigns have been very clever and I love some of the cultural things they’ve done in the makeup of their business. I’m not sure about collaboration, but I really admire them!
What is your greatest career achievement at The Billington Group to date?
I was immensely proud to be offered a job to work for The Billington Group.
Work/life balance is incredibly important, what are your favourite things to do when you’re off the clock?
Spending time with family and friends. Enjoying food. Watching sport, especially football (Liverpool), cricket and rugby. Listening to music, although my family aren’t that polite about my particular music tastes! I also love a personal challenge and have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and completed the Marathon du Medoc!