A Year in the Life of an FMCG and Food Headhunter

Another financial year has passed here at Collingwood, with a strong performance from the business, 11% growth on the previous year. We’ve seen strong growth in the infrastructure and building products sectors, in particular, but that hasn’t stopped Collingwood delivering some really interesting headhunt assignments in the FMCG and food sector. These have all been for businesses that have recognisable brands, interesting back stories and exciting growth plans. We have enjoyed working for them all.

Reflecting on the year, there have been some common themes, findings and stories over the last 12 months, through the delivery of our Director and Senior Management headhunts:

The Variety of Sectors

Collingwood’s FMCG practice has partnered a number of businesses, headhunted and interviewed candidates from a variety of sectors this year. We have really enjoyed developing our market knowledge and insights further and have also taken an interest in some of the products, which are now in our cupboards and sheds at home! We also enjoy some market stats that have been shared over the years around factory outputs, new products and stories.

A particular favourite, was learning the output of a nappy factory being over 1 million nappies a day! 

Sectors we have developed our knowledge further in this year include:

Gardening, DIY, stationery, cheese and dairy, sauces and spices, continental foods, meats, consumer electronics, leisure products, toys, gifting, beauty products and consumer packaging, to name a few. 

Trade Shows

We've attended a number of trade shows in the last year, including the Autumn and Spring Fair, GLEE (Gardening) as well as some food and drink shows, including the International Cheese Show, which was a cheese lovers heaven!

From these trade shows it is evident that there is such strong innovation coming from the UK market, along with the continued growth and reliance on e-commerce and technology in order to succeed. There is also evidence that the ambitions and opportunities to expand across Europe and internationally is still key to these businesses growing. With a number of UKTI seminars and advice available at the shows, there are some great resources out there to help businesses achieve this.

Working with European Owned Businesses

From assignments we have delivered this year, it is evident that European-owned businesses still see the UK market as key to their growth plans. Collingwood has recruited two FMCG UK Managing Director’s of note this year. One for a French-owned stationery business, as well as a Dutch-owned business supplying home improvement products to the DIY and trade markets.

Case Studies

Managing Director – European Home Improvements Business
Manging Director – European Stationery Business

Through our targeted headhunts we have not only provided strong shortlists, but also been able to provide invaluable UK market insights and research to the European owners, ensuring that they are targeting the right UK market sectors and chasing the opportunities that will add the most value to their business.

Through investing time at the European head offices, we were able to build a partnership to not only recruit but understand their values and culture. We also enjoyed some great European hospitality!

Through the introduction of our leadership coaching and consultancy we are now continuing to develop our long-term partnerships with these businesses, developing leadership transitions programs and helping them shape and define their UK values and ways of working.

Adding Value as a Trusted Advisor

Finally, it has been worth getting out of bed this year, purely for the feedback we've had from clients and candidates. The recruitment industry is often tarred with the same brush, which can be difficult at times.

We continue to add value to our clients by going that extra mile and not only finding the right people but providing valuable market insights. One particular client was impressed by the level of detail we give candidates about their business along with each candidate presented fitting the culture of their business. Something he had not experienced before.

When we first met him he was recruiting one particular role for 6 months and interviewed 14 candidates - this took up a lot of his valuable time in a fast-growing business which was acquiring other businesses. His valuable HR expertise was needed elsewhere, not stuck in interviews. Through getting the cultural fit right in our process, he is now able to interview less and recruit individuals on much quicker timescales. A welcome break from previous experiences.

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