Earlier this year, Premier Foods joined our business partner scheme and we’ve loved working with them. The team has thrown themselves into supporting the Institute with a webinar, industry research and sponsoring our prestigious awards.
As part of our latest spotlight, we caught up with foodservice marketing manager, Sarah Robb to learn more about the business and the inspiring work they are doing to help our industry.
Tell us more about Premier Foods
Premier Foods manufacture a range of products which are used by chefs and caterers across the foodservice industry from schools, hospitals and care homes to pubs, restaurants and cafés. We pride ourselves on providing our customers with expert advice and work hard to develop products that all chefs and their consumers will love.
As one of Britain’s biggest listed food companies we’re committed to the UK, employing over 4,000 dedicated colleagues at 15 manufacturing sites and offices up and down the country. Around 96% of what we sell is made in the UK from quality ingredients, wherever we can source sustainably from British suppliers and farmers.
Some of our iconic brands include Bisto, Sharwoods, Ambrosia, McDougalls, Homepride, Bird’s, Angel Delight, Paxo, Smash, Oxo and Batchelors.
How do you support chefs working in hospitality?
We have a dedicated culinary team who are on hand to help chefs in all sectors with product information, recipes, culinary advice and insight. On our website we have an extensive recipe section with information freely available for chefs to use as part of their menu planning.
We also regularly publish expert guides which include advice and insight that will help chefs fulfil their roles. Examples include our Perfect Christmas Party Guide, Festive Feast, Desserts through the Decades, Carvery Guide and Summer Sizzlers. You will find these online here and Institute of Hospitality members are welcome to download them. All of the guides we produce are backed up with independent research to provide valuable insight to the hospitality industry.
You have been working on an interesting piece of research called Premier Social Chef, can you tell us more about it?
We have been delving deeper into the world of social media to help the hospitality industry learn more about how consumers are using online channels to make decisions about food. Part of the project has involved listening to chefs to find out how they are currently using the channels to build-up a big picture of the benefits of social media for driving footfall.
Ahead of the survey results being revealed in 2020, here are some of the consumer insights we have discovered.
- The best time for you to catch the eyes of consumers is early evening with a quarter of respondents saying this is when they are most likely to be online. This is followed by late evening for 23% of consumers.
- When looking for somewhere to eat out the channels which consumers are using most are Facebook (26%), TripAdvisor (25%) and Instagram (12%).
- The top five dish types that consumers most like to see on social media are cake, chicken, healthy snacks, chocolate puddings and a roast dinner.
- 6% of consumers have cooked a dish at home which they have seen on social media.
- Just over half of consumers (50.4%) use TripAdvisor to decide if they should book a restaurant or not.
- More than half (52.8%) agreed that seeing food images on social media makes them want to try new places to eat.
- 4% agreed that seeing a menu on social media helped them decide on a place to eat.
- When looking for healthy eating advice YouTube came out as the top social channel to visit.
How can the industry attract more people to see hospitality as a valuable career choice?
It’s important everyone working in hospitality is doing all they can to talk about the benefits and opportunities. There isn’t one organisation or person that can help attract talent alone. All hospitality businesses need to play a part, starting at school level with the inspiring work that school chefs do.
Through competitions, our chef spotlights, sponsorship of events, research and PR we are doing everything we can to put hospitality on the map. Earlier this year we started a foodservice podcast which every month focuses on a different topic using industry experts. This has got people talking and sharing their own views. Plans are already well underway for our 2020 podcasts and you can find out more by subscribing and following our social media channels.
You have supported, sponsored and run many industry events over the years, why is this so important?
We believe it’s vital that the industry celebrates and promotes the huge amount of talent we have in different sectors. It’s no secret that hospitality has been struggling to attract young people to see it as a first career choice. However, through events like the McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year we are showcasing what exciting opportunities are available to young people. Seeing the passion that children have for cooking, and the confidence it gives them, really makes it the highlight of our culinary calendar.
The care sector is sometimes overlooked in hospitality. However, our sponsorship of the NACC Care Chef competition as well as our own, Bisto Care Caterer of the Year allow us to showcase the amazing work that goes on across the nation. We are also proud headline sponsors of the LACA School Chef of the Year and feel this is one of the most important competitions in our industry. These chefs are feeding the next generation whilst giving young people a love of good food that will potentially affect their future health and career choices. It’s key these chefs get the opportunity to showcase their talent and this year we saw all finalists featured on The One Show ahead of the final.
We also put the spotlight on chefs on a monthly basis via our ‘In the Kitchen’ series to showcase and highlight key people and issues within hospitality.
What do you think makes the hospitality industry so special to work in?
It’s the people! You get to meet some of the most passionate, hardworking and dedicated staff, who all want to provide the best experience possible whether that’s in the food they serve or the service they offer. People will always need feeding and so there will always be work in hospitality. It’s a profession that can take you anywhere in the world with so many different job roles, sectors and organisations – that makes it a very exciting industry to work in.
Premier Foods is an Institute of Hospitality Business Partner, why did you decide to get involved?
Becoming a business partner has enabled us to talk to new audiences and connect with like-minded people. We’ve already run a webinar about our Social Chef survey, and it was fantastic to be able to help those working in hospitality with their career development. We also supported the Outstanding Contribution category at the Institute of Hospitality Awards, and this provided some excellent networking opportunities. This is our first year as a business partner and it’s been fantastic to align ourselves with such a highly regarded organisation.