Interview with David Field, Managing Director at Nestle Foodservices
The article presents an interview with David Field, managing director at Nestle Foodservices. When asked about the factor in the food sector that appeals to him, he referred to partnering with clients and suppliers to find the right solutions to develop the hospitality industry at large. He stated his stand on the issue of vending machines in schools being branded as unhealthy. He cited the importance of market research to the company. Section: INFOZONE SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT Nestle Foodservices It’s almost a year since David Field joined Nestle Foodservices as managing director from research company Fusion FSM.
Diane Lane spoke to him about market trends, nurturing young talent, and breakfast beverages Caterer So David, you’re a food service veteran — what is it about this sector that so appeals to you? DF Across which other industry would you find such commitment, diversity and passion? It’s an industry where I feel a real difference can be made. That difference might be in partnering our clients and other suppliers to find the right solutions to develop the hospitality industry at large, or in developing products of the future that, at present, you and I can’t even start to imagine.
It’s exciting, it’s fast-moving, it’s flexible — and no two days are ever the same. Caterer Like most of us, I’m sure you need the odd confectionery fix to get you through the day. What treats does the managing director of Nestle Foodservices keep in his lunchbox? DF Naturally, I choose our very own favourite break, Kit Kat. Did you know that in Japanese Kit Kat means “good luck”? And sales rocket at the time of student exams… Caterer Many Nestle confectionery products are sold in vending machines.
Where do you stand on the issue of vending machines in schools being branded as unhealthy? DF In my school days balance seemed to be much more in evidence than it is now. Lifestyles were undoubtedly different, and there are many influencing factors to today’s situation, but I do believe that it is now the responsibility of us all to encourage young people to make the right choices. We have been working very closely with our education customers in recent years to help children make healthy vending choices and have recently introduced the Refuel:Pod.
A ending machine developed specifically for schools which contains a choice of healthier items, including water and cereal bars, and features graphic images of young people involved in physical activity to remind youngsters how important it is to achieve the right balance of exercise and food intake. Caterer Having been spotted recently drinking a cup of tea at a breakfast in Glasgow, what actually is your favourite morning beverage? DF Every day is different… and, yes, I do admit to enjoying a cup of tea on occasion.
Like everyone, my choice of beverage will depend on my mood and the time of day, and that will dictate whether I choose tea, coffee or, at times, a soft drink or something stronger. Caterer Don’t you have a research background? Tell me how important market research is to Nestle Foodservices. DF It’s massively important. Our whole philosophy is based around listening to what our customers and their end consumers are telling us. One of our largest financial commitments is to research, and we have a bespoke research team which focuses on establishing out-of-home trends to support our customer needs and product development for the future.
Caterer In your opinion, what are the key trends or issues that will affect the market over the next couple of years? DF I would say that health and wellbeing are by far the biggest issues affecting all sectors of the food industry at present. The old adage “You are what you eat” is being widely accepted, and we are all becoming more aware of the need for balance. This, together with more stringent Government legislation, means that anyone involved in the supply of food products needs to deliver products and ranges which are as healthy as possible.
Caterer How can food service operators benefit from market research, and how can they get hold of it? DF Every company, whatever its size, can benefit from market research. Publishing houses, the internet and research companies all offer operators a chance to access valuable research data, and even though operators may not have the resources of bespoke research facilities at their fingertips, even top-line research that can be undertaken at relatively low cost can be a good indicator. Caterer This year’s Nestle Toque d’Or competition showcased some fabulous catering talent from around the country.
Why does Nestle feel it’s important to nurture young talent? DF This industry faces a potentially huge skills shortage in years to come. Initiatives such as Nestle’s Toque d’Or benefit the whole market because they help develop emerging young talent and prepare students for the real world of work. Catering colleges across the country are doing an excellent job educating the next generation of talent, and Nestle Toque d’Or provides us with an opportunity to support this education, recognise the amount of hard work that is going on and reward colleges and students accordingly.
These are very exciting times for the hospitality industry, and if the UK is to maintain its well-deserved place on the culinary world stage, we need to ensure that we continue to develop young talent and promote the sector as a whole. Caterer What’s your favourite dish to whip up in the kitchen? DF Sadly, as my wife will testify, my love of good food does not translate to skill in the kitchen.