AN INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN STEIN
Brian Stein, Chief Executive, Samworth Brothers
Brian Stein retired as Chief Executive Officer at Samworth Brothers at the end of March 2012. Read his interview with EFFP in November 2010, where he shared his thoughts on the future challenge of the food manufacturing industry and managing the supply chain.
EFFP: How big an impact has the recession been on the food manufacturing industry?
BS: I have never seen consumers’ behaviour change so quickly as it did during the recession. In 2008 we saw demand for some premium lines fall by as much as 20% within two weeks of the economy entering recession.
Because of that we saw an incredible focus by the food industry to respond to that change overnight, whether that was producing more promotional lines or economy lines to deliver what consumers’ found to be fit for purpose. That change was led by the retailers because they are closest to consumers. Because of that I think the food industry is a great barometer for the state of the economy. What we have seen since then is a gradual improvement in demand and some consumers trading up to value-added products again. However, as of July/August this summer we are getting the sense that this has started to change yet again and I am concerned that we are now seeing the start of a double-dip recession.
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