Blog: Andy CoyneThe heat is on at Hobnobs HQ

Andy Coyne | 13 May 2019

I always knew that working in certain professions meant keeping a careful eye on the weather - farmers, fishermen and window cleaners spring to mind - but biscuit manufacturers? Who knew?

But it was brought home to me at the Annual Biscuits Review 2018, staged by Pladis' UK and Ireland division at its west London base recently.

Stuart Graham, the customer marketing director for the McVitie's owner in the market, pointed out 2018 wasn't a great year for biscuit makers.

Firstly there was the football World Cup, when the UK at least goes barmy for beer and crisps at the expense of tea and biscuits, and then there was the small matter of the sweltering summer the UK enjoyed when thoughts more likely turned to ice cream and ice cube-laden cold drinks than a cuppa and a digestive.

“We were definitely impacted by the hot weather,” Graham says.

Things should be better this year, given there's no summer football tournament and the UK has such changeable weather that most people over the age of 40 can easily rattle off the hot summers they've enjoyed during their lifetime on the fingers of one hand.

Not that Pladis seems to be worrying overmuch - it is the largest player in the category in the country after all - and journalists attending the review were given plenty of opportunity to sample what's coming through in its product pipeline.

Away from sales figures and new product development, Pladis should also be given credit for joining forces, via its McVitie's brand, with the mental health charity Mind.

In an initiative driven by the tragic suicide of one of its employees, Pladis has launched the ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign aimed at promoting positive mental health by encouraging people across the UK to get talking.

It has also made an internal employee commitment to promote mental health and well-being in the workplace

As part of the partnership, the McVitie’s brand will support Mind with the opening of eight new Time to Change Hubs and training hundreds of new Mind champions in the UK.

The campaign will be supported by in-store partnerships with leading retailers and 7,000 convenience and impulse outlets.

Nick Bunker, managing director of Pladis' UK and Ireland division, says: “Our partnership with Mind is the biggest initiative in our business right now and we want it to have as big an impact as possible.”

The importance of such an issue leaves concerns about footie tournaments and 'phew what a scorcher' headlines in the shade.

Sectors: Bakery, Confectionery, Snacks

Companies: Pladis

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