Continuing our series looking behind the scenes at some of the major suppliers to the hospitality market, we catch up with Simon Clarke, group director, Young's Foodservice
Q What are the company's objectives?
A We want to build a closer relationship with caterers to fully understand their menu needs by channel, and to be their first port of call for support, advice and inspiration on fish and seafood. Our strategy is also to grow our core business by concentrating on "fewer, bigger and better" when it comes to our product range - and, while we will continue to focus on wholesale, this will be much more far-reaching in terms of channel and distribution.
Q What are the current issues facing your food service customers?
A The onset of the credit crunch has put a real squeeze on consumers' purses, which has created a dining-down situation. Pubs focusing on food rather than wet sales, restaurants and a whole mix of other establishments are, therefore, likely to see many changes in the eating out-of-home landscape over the next year. Many caterers are already telling us they are thinking about deskilling their kitchens to save on costs, which could have a dramatic effect on the industry.
Q How do you help them address these issues?
A It has never been so important to help caterers offer quality fish and seafood dishes, even with a lack of skill in the kitchen. We offer menu solutions through our "For Chefs" range, and use the expertise of acclaimed seafood restaurateur Mitch Tonks to create recipes for all types of caterer. We can also offer advice from master fishmonger Duncan Lucas. So our customers can start to feel more confident about making a healthy profit from fish and seafood.
Q What are the questions your customers ask most regularly?
A Our customers ask us about value proposition in the current climate and how to make fish and seafood more accessible to their customers. Caterers are now also far more in tune with the importance of sustainability and want to learn more about our fish sourcing. They are intrigued by the many alternative species out there and want to be educated on the environmental, social and lucrative benefits of investing in them.
Q What do you think the next big trend in your market will be?
A Caterers' interest in alternative fish species is definitely growing. However, the good news is that, because of impressive sustainability efforts in the industry, quotas for cod and haddock are starting to increase again and we believe there will be a shift back to these traditional favourites.
Q Where does the company stand on green issues?
A The sustainability agenda is becoming more and more important and, in fact, the latest Mintel research shows sustainability is the third reason consumers would pay a higher price for food. Some of our products are certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) internationally recognised scheme, while every Young's product is responsibly sourced according to the company's award-winning Fish for Life programme and its 10 strict principles.
Q Long term, where's the business going?
A We will see growth in our core business area, while exploring new food service channels and untapped product areas to ensure we continue to offer a valuable and profitable point of difference for caterers, gleaned from 200 years in the seafood business.
Company name Young's Foodservice
Address Ross House, Wickham Road, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, DN31 3SW
Tel 0800 132096
Area of operation nationwide
Products fish and seafood products, from battered fish fillets and scampi to shellfish and natural fillets
Brands Young's Seafood, including new Chip Shop for Chefs
Market sectors restaurants, hotels, cost sector, pubs
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