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Meridian Foods

The Company

Meridian Foods is a privately-owned food manufacturing business and the UK's leading producer of nut butters. It is owned by the 3V Natural Foods Group. The Group operates from a Head Office in Hampshire and production facilities in Devon and North Wales, where they employ around 100 people. Their focus is on manufacturing healthy, palm oil free and fair-trade products including organic ranges. The business has been growing steadily for 30 years, with the pace of recent growth increasing, with a doubling of staff in 2016. Meridian Foods manufactures natural protein rich products made with the finest ingredients.

The company was acquired by Greencore in 1999 but returned to the previous ownership in 2005. The heart of the business remains at Corwen, North Wales, the birthplace of the Meridian brand, where the founder built the enterprise into a pioneering health food business. The Company’s best-known products are its Meridian brand of nut butters including peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter which are listed in Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Morrisons and Holland & Barrett. 

The Challenge

Recruit an Interim Technical Manager

An Interim Technical Manager was required to take on a diverse range of responsibilities associated with establishing a new food manufacturing and storage facility at Wrexham, North Wales. In what was a demanding role from the onset, the Interim Manager was required to facilitate a new storage & raw material warehouse operation in conjunction with the Operations Director, Factory Manager, and QA Manager.

As the new site developed and the production facility was commissioned, the Interim Technical Manager was required to establish technical competency and implement robust technical systems. There was also a necessity to set up from scratch a laboratory for routine testing, raw materials reception & sampling, and be involved in the recruitment of personnel to cover Laboratory, Raw Materials, and QA.

Due to the nature of the assignment, a ‘start-up’ approach was needed and the Interim Manager appointed was also required to take steps to ensure the site would attain the BRC accreditation within a challenging timeframe.

The Result

We searched for Interim Technical managers with experience of taking food manufacturers through the commissioning and start-up phase of an operation and sought to engage with applicants with experience of implementing technical systems, HACCP, procedures and regulatory compliance. Within a 2-wek period a candidate we identified had commenced in the role.

Although the assignment was originally expected to last for a 6-month duration, much to the satisfaction of the client, the Interim Manager quickly bedded into the role and was able to meet the project deliverables expected in less than 3 months, including the technical support of two new factory start up projects and the recruitment of a full-time technical team.

Tasks successfully delivered by the Interim Manager included, initiating the approval process for two new sites with local Environmental / Trading Standards departments, the design and implementation of procedures for the intake and sampling of raw materials with appropriate escalation protocols, full-scale review and recommendation for HACCP plans for a new processing operation, coaching and development of the new permanent Technical Manager to understand the role, responsibilities and technical priorities.

Wednesday Jan 30, 2019