Focus: A day in the life at Perfetti Van Melle

Having recently become MD of the UK division of Perfetti Van Melle, Jonny Briscoe, has plenty of work in his in-tray, as Neill Barston found quizzing the senior executive

Q: Having gained a strong range of experience in industry, what drew you to working with Perfetti Van Melle?

I love the brands. Who doesn’t?! In addition to being fun and exciting, Perfetti Van Melle’s products are really strong both globally and in the UK. What’s more, it’s a great organisation that has fully embraced its opportunity to grow further and faster, and I’m eager to leverage my experience to help drive that growth. Additionally, my career thus far has had me working with American-based, publicly traded global corporations. I was eager to work with a privately owned, European-based global business, especially one with such an impressive history and strong values.

Q: Several months into your post as UK Managing Director, what are your most significant challenges?

Having been with Perfetti Van Melle for just five months, I’m not sure I’m in a position to enumerate specific challenges quite yet. Although, like all confectionery companies, the issues around products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) presents will continue to present some interesting challenges. Of course, the HFSS issue always creates opportunity for organisations who are innovating in their sugar-free and better-for-you portfolios.

Q: How has the business coped with the impact of Covid-19 on its operations, and how has it changed your outlook?

At the very core of Perfetti Van Melle is a commitment to caring for our people. So the number one priority has been, and will continue to be, ensuring the healthy, safety and wellbeing of our employees worldwide. The company has done well in this regard and has adjusted its sails whenever necessary to balance product demand and employee safety in the face of pandemic. In regard to business, Perfetti Van Melle has a strong checkout and front-of-store presence. Covid-19 has made this challenging. To accommodate for this, the business has begun reshaping the portfolio to be more balanced between front and back-of-store. We’re are already seeing the benefits of this approach with Fruit-tella and Mentos in particular.

Q: Is there a typical day in your life? If so, what would it look like?

I can honestly say there is no typical day in my life. The only constant is the juggle! My wife and I have two young children; so, like many others, we juggle school, nursery and work as best as we can. At work, I am still getting to know the organisation, both here in the UK and globally. I’m spending as much time with colleagues as I can to learn and understand the opportunities we have, and how I can help.

Q: How has the sector most changed in your experience?

The consumer goods industry, particularly within food and drink, is always changing – whether it’s the retail landscape or the brands that are winning. One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is the rise of purpose-led brands. I think this is really important for the industry overall, given how impactful the food and drink industry is here in the UK.

Q : What is it you most enjoy about your role, and what would you most like to achieve with it?

I actually enjoy all the different aspects of my role, but I really enjoy working with people and brands the most. I’m eager to help support the post-pandemic turnaround so we can pick back up on those greater growth numbers. Perfetti Van Melle has so much great talent. I look forward to partnering with our people and helping develop their careers – helping them Unwrap Their Potential – to become future industry leaders.

Q: Beyond work, what is it that you most enjoy outside of the business – do you have any specific hobbies that you would recommend?

With young kids, any time not spent working is spent with my family. I love spending time with them and watching them grow, the latter of which is happening way too fast! In my moments to myself, I really enjoying running and keeping fit. It’s important for both my physical and mental well-being. In terms of what I’d recommend, no specific hobby, but I would always suggest doing something you enjoy rather than something you think you should be doing!

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