Like everyone else, the team at Focused Nutrition is striving to stay positive in these difficult times. Having some positive news to share always helps, so we take special pleasure in announcing that Gary Beckett is joining the sales team on a consultancy basis.
Gary has been in sales and marketing for 40 years. We have no doubt that his knowledge, expertise and experience will be instrumental in Focused Nutrition’s future growth, and in taking our business to the next level.
We caught up with Gary for a virtual Q and A session to get to know him better…
40 years’ experience! Where did it all begin?
I started out as a sales rep for a wholesaler that was owned by the Trebor Group as the forecourt shop/convenience sector started to evolve. I certainly used to clock up the miles back in the early 80s! That first job gave me the ideal introduction to the sales arena and potential routes-to-market, in general. By the late 80s, I was splitting my time between driving and being behind a desk, as I moved into my first management role in 1986.
Have you always been in the healthy snacks sector?
Well, I’m not so sure about the “healthy” part, but I’ve mainly been involved with snacks, confectionery and food products, despite a couple of forays into batteries, film and cameras, and grooming products. I enjoyed a stint with PepsiCo Foods International, selling their market-leading snack range in the early 1990s, and was part of the team at Kettle Foods which brought phenomenal growth, £14m to £47m, to the business between 1998-2002. More recently, though, I’ve stepped away from the corporate world of the big global brands. Instead, I’ve been working with smaller independent businesses, helping them to raise their profile and develop their sales and marketing functions.
And so here you are at Focused Nutrition! What attracted you to the company?
The products are absolutely top-notch. So many times, I’ve seen product lines just cobbled together without rhyme or reason, but here, you can tell that the range has been developed with plenty of thought and planning. I really like what Martin has worked so hard to achieve over the years, and I also felt an instant connection with Neil and Warren. It seems to me that we all have a similar mindset. We want the business to be successful, but for growth plans to be mindful of market risks. I’m not one to throw caution to the wind!
Speaking of growth plans, can you tell us about your future hopes for the company?
I’m hoping to start building new relationships and distribution channels in a few different areas, such as the value retailers who want to offer a good product at a bargain price. There are also the symbol retailers, shops that operate under a well-known umbrella brand, where we can offer differentiation. I’ll look at how we can access those channels through working with wholesalers and cash & carry brands that want to qualify their offer with better-eating, better quality products.
Stepping away from business topics for a moment, what do you get up to outside work?
I have just started mentoring with teenage schoolchildren and feature on panels helping them with career selection and preparation for life post-school. On a personal level, I love my gym sessions, and go four times a week. Also, my daughter plays football for Watford Women, so I get along to support her as often as I can.
Finally, the most important question of all: What is your favourite flapjack?
That’s a tricky question. Can I choose two? I love the Caramel Flapjack, but the Get Active Lemon Drizzle protein flapjack is also absolutely delicious – it eats like a slice of cake!