Sales and distribution quite differently – what does the Retail Department really do?
Formed in 2008/2009, our Retail Department is an indispensable element of our company today, and an important growth driver. Andrea Meissner and Thomas Muschler reveal what fascinates them so much about their job.
What position do you have in the Company, and when did you move into it?
Andrea Meissner: I have been a Senior Key Account Manager with Bösch Boden Spies since 2016, and Team Leader of the Retail Department.
Thomas Muschler: I have been Senior Key Account Manager, Retail, since 2016.
How is the Retail Area in Bösch Boden Spies defined?
Andrea Meissner: Our work is concerned with the sale of articles from the Bösch Boden Spies portfolio directly to the retail. That means Full Service from the product idea to the delivery of fully-packaged products
Thomas Muschler: That means we are responsible for handling all the European players in the retail trade and food retail. We offer raw materials and fully-packaged products for sale under private labels.
And what’s special about this approach to sales? Why is the retail so important?
Thomas Muschler: By means of this type of marketing (sales / distribution), we can position novel blends, articles and raw materials in an important market segment with a very high turnover. This gives our customers a contact person for all areas – the development of blends and concepts, raw materials procurement, design of layouts and finally the fully-packed finished product.
Andrea Meissner: I also find it exciting that we can intervene so directly to share in the design of the retail’s product range, whether qualitatively or through innovations.
So why did you decide to enter the retail area, and what aspect of it excites you?
Andrea Meissner: I am fascinated by the interplay between foodstuff suppliers and the retail. It’s wonderful to be able to exercise direct influence on the products that are on the shelf and which one also encounters on a daily basis as a consumer.
Thomas Muschler: Actually, I have always found working in the retail area very pleasing: interesting foodstuffs and shop concepts, combined with a wide variety of customers and a lot of teamwork for fresh ideas.
What does the work in your job involve on a daily basis?
Thomas Muschler: Processing customers’ inquiries, developing new concepts and calculating potential offers. We are quite simply the first contact point for all questions from retail customers.
Andrea Meissner: Not forgetting the coordination of various different projects, with a view to ensuring good management of all the tasks arising in the team.
That all sounds very diverse. Are there any trends in the food sector that are currently creating particular movement in the market?
Andrea Meissner: Increasing numbers of consumers want to eat a healthier and more sustainable diet, which is why the current trend is towards plant-based proteins. There is also a demand for more offerings for individual dietary behavior – e.g. snacks instead of big mealtimes.
Thomas Muschler: Important trends, including Clean Labelling, Reduced Sugar and Beyond Food also come to mind, as well as Sustainability and Healthy Snacking.
Which innovations await us in the near future in the foodstuffs area? Which current topics will remain?
Andrea Meissner: Sustainability will continue to influence the foodstuffs area, and many new fields will open up from it. Insects or other alternative protein sources will increasingly enter into the various categories.
Thomas Muschler: To summarize – our work will continue to involve all the trends that are oriented towards a conscious, healthy, modern, sustainable lifestyle.
Are there any particular countries and/or markets that are “trendsetters”, i.e. that develop especially innovative foods?
Thomas Muschler: For me, they are the Benelux countries and Scandinavia in the implementation of product and shop concepts, and the USA as a supplier of product innovations.
Andrea Meissner: The USA is regarded as a trendsetter, especially in our category of dried fruits and nuts. These trends often reach the European mainland via the UK after a few years.
On the subject of sustainability – which developments have occurred here in the food sector in recent years?
Andrea Meissner: Every retailer now has an organic segment of a certain size, which is steadily growing. Increasing amounts of products with a regional origin can also be found in the retail.
And what is the situation with sustainable packaging?
Andrea Meissner: That’s an important aspect with which the retail and consumers are preoccupied. Sustainable packaging is an ever-present topic because our department markets packaged products. It is very complex and is soluble only in conjunction with the downstream packaging industry.
Thomas Muschler: Our customers’ requirements are steadily growing. Nowadays, the retail already demands that sustainability aspects be taken into account to an ever-increasing extent, and attaches value to the recyclability of our packaging. Of course, this is of great concern to our department.
And what is generally important to the customers of Bösch Boden Spies when it comes to sustainability?
Andrea Meissner: Our customers know that our suppliers guarantee product traceability right back to the plantation. Therefore, we can improve directly on the basis of sustainability aspects along the supply chain. That is much appreciated.
What matters to today’s consumers? Which kind of nutrition do they want to have?
Andrea Meissner: Consumers are idiosyncratic. The retail must satisfy both the price-sensitive customers as well as those that are discriminating and health- and environmentally-conscious.
A question: and last but not least – will we all be eating a vegan diet in ten years’ time?
Thomas Muschler: I seriously doubt it, and I think it would also be a shame. However, I believe and hope that meat will be enjoyed more consciously and to a reduced extent than at the present time.
Andrea Meissner: I hope not. Nonetheless, I would prefer a consumer who deals more respectfully with food, and is also prepared to pay an appropriate price for it.