The company froze its new product development (NPD) when the pandemic hit, apart from its NHS donation pack - 10p from every sale going to support the NHS, said Smith. “That was extremely well received by many groups, from the Co-op, Budgens, farm shops and many of our independents.”
Fortunately, Smith said, Fatherson signed off its Halloween and Christmas NPD before the pandemic struck, so all that remained was for the company to press go on those plans. “Easter was railroaded due to the pandemic and everything closing down just as stores were gearing up for Easter. So the feeling we have out there is that people are hoping that they are going to be able to have a bumper Halloween and a bumper Christmas as a result.
“In terms of milestones, we were on one roadmap and plan for 2020, which almost weeks after the awards had to change with COVID-19 kicking in. We had to look at how we were going to – and can we – get through this pandemic.”
Earlier in the year, Smith shared his business’s switch to direct delivery. “That allowed us to service consumers directly, which we were planning for a couple of years.”
Fatherson was able to benefit from many of its customers, such as convenience stores and farm shops, switching to online delivery as well. This helped offset the loss of foodservice markets in lockdown, said Smith.
The temporary loss of the foodservice sector had also been counterbalanced by new business. “While some customers have been closed, we have had other customers who have come on board with us.” New site openings and delays in customers securing distribution from wholesalers as a result in unprecedented retail demand had helped to drive that trend."
Food Manufacture Excellence Awards
Responding to the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards win, Smith said: “Myself and the team were absolutely delighted. Internally, we have really been able to celebrate as a team the great success of winning the award. It’s been able to allow us to recognise a number of people in our business and thank them for the opportunity to win.
“Externally, we have been able to share the success with our customers. People recognise the Food Manufacture Awards reassures them they are working with a good partner in the industry.”
Listen to this podcast to hear Smith share details of Fatherson’s Christmas NPD, as well as Halloween plans, which have already been revealed.
- Food and drink manufacturers seeking to be contenders for the 2021 Food Manufacture Excellence awards should get their entries in by 14 September. Prospective entrants should visit the awards website for more information.