Jonny Briscoe, Managing Director of Perfetti Van Melle UK talks to Editor Caitlin Gittins about sugar confectionery, a growing category, and being excited for the future
Please introduce yourself and what you do?
I’m married with three young kids and live in Surrey. I’ve worked at three companies in my career and started in sales at Procter and Gamble. There I worked about 80% of my time externally with customers, and the remaining time on internal strategic roles running the feminine hygiene and family planning category. I then moved to Mondelēz International doing a variety of roles in the snacking business ending leading the Northern Europe business for their chilled brands including Philadelphia and Dairylea.
I have been in my current role as Managing Director of Perfetti Van Melle UK for just under two and a half years, and my responsibilities include leading the company’s vision and strategy, managing business operations, people and ventures and overseeing the company’s plans to accelerate growth across the portfolio. I am a big believer in people led businesses and spend a large part of my time focusing on building culture with my team.
Perfetti Van Melle was first established in 2001. In that time, what have been significant milestones for the business?
Over the last decade, Perfetti van Melle has surpassed many a milestone, almost too many to count! Most notably, the acquisition of Chupa Chups in 2006. More recently, we’ve delivered £100m sales in September 2022 and continue to grow from there.
What areas of Perfetti Van Melle are you focusing on as head of the UK business?
Innovation is at the heart of what we do at Perfetti Van Melle; it’s how the Perfetti family has grown the business over the years, and it is critically important for us now as we continue to grow. Our innovation starts with our consumer through extensive consumer research and understanding; it is also closely linked to our UK category vision to ensure it is fit for purpose for category growth.
Through Covid, we were forced to go back to basics and focus on our core range with products including Fruit-tella Strawberry stick, Mentos rolls and Smint – ensuring they were front of mind with our retailers and ultimately our consumers. Post-Covid, we have continued our focus on core as well as adopting the right innovation in the right places, focusing on fewer, bigger, better launches. Fruit-tella Berries and Cherry and Mentos Fanta are two of our most successful innovations to date.
What are the challenges facing the confectionery industry currently and how are you addressing this?
There are numerous challenges facing the confectionery industry, especially within the UK. We’re still feeling the repercussions of Brexit and navigating the challenges around import costs and complexities, as a manufacturer which brings in all products from abroad.
Government legislation such as HFSS also proves challenging, as it becomes increasingly difficult to gain space in store for the indulgent products our consumers want and love. However, our portfolio already included a number of HFSS compliant products compared to our competitors…
Read the full feature in our magazine.