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“The future of bakery in China is promising.”——Interview of Garth Weston, Regional President – AB Mauri China &North East Asia by Modern Bakery Magazine

2013-06-30

Garth Weston—GW

Modern Bakery Magazine—MBM

AB Mauri, as a division of Associated British Foods and one of world’s top 500 enterprises, has contributed to the development of Chinese bakery industry since the first day entering the Chinese market.

Each year, AB Mauri’s elite team impresses us on the Shanghai Bakery Show with its unique booth design and quality products. Over past 25-year operating in China, AB Mauri has won itself a reputation as professional, devoting and concentrating.
This year, we are privileged to interview the man that contributes greatly to the success of this company – Mr. Garth Weston to talk about the future of bakery industry.

Garth Weston—GW

Modern Bakery Magazine—MBM

MBW: What’s the growth point in bakery market?

GW: Long-shelf-life product is always a growth point.

From my understanding of the data, although in the past year the overall growth in the Chinese bakery market isn’t fast, but new bakery products like French bread, pastries with a shelf life as long as six months have enjoyed a three-digit growth.

Of course, all consumers like the taste of freshly baked bread. And Chinese bakery chains have proven capturing market share by successfully supplying a full range of freshly baked products. But when people travel or go out, long-shelf-life products that are easy to take with are more convenient and more desired. Besides, in terms of sales channels, freshly baked products of good quality and taste may sell well in big cities, but sales channels narrow with these products in small cities. While long-shelf-life products of high mobility can be carried around with. And they are at no risk of going bad in a short time. They make a handy choice for traveling. These factors create a favorable living space for those products with a long shelf life and storage period, and long shelf life products will always have a market.

In order to get this market, end product suppliers need to give more thought to improving the quality and taste of those products with longer shelf life. For consumers, fresh products are mostly on-site production and consumed soon after made, so they taste good and come in many varieties; while long-shelf-life product are more mobile and storable, so consumers may try more to find the ones meeting their needs.

MBW: How to make popular products?

GW: Meeting the taste and needs of customers is the fundamental way to make products popular.

For both raw material suppliers and end product suppliers who want to sell more, first of all, they must pay full attention to product quality, taste and customer needs since no one wants bad taste, and no one would pay for things they don’t need.

Secondly they need to find a balance between taste and quality, and make their products healthier. Finally, encourage and guide customers to try, because they are likely to stick to what they’ve tried and liked.

MBW: What makes AB Mauri a success?

GW: Our aim makes our success. We apply the global expertise to local service to guarantee our product quality and to lead the industry. Also we keep close touch with our customers and our competitors as well.

AB Mauri is a global manufacturer of bakery ingredients. Its parent company Associated British Foods has accumulated a wealth of experience in food production through its long history in the food industry, and AB Mauri has inherited that glorious tradition. AB Mauri’s philosophy is to invest for the future and positioned for the long-term industry ruler. So whether it is oil, yeast, or other bakery ingredients, AB Mauri always put quality first, honestly make everything. AB Mauri keeps active touch with customers, and aims to get in-depth understanding of their development and needs to help customers grow.

Chinese customers and those in other countries are essentially the same; it is how you communicate with them makes the difference. First you have to do more listening than talking, put yourself in the shoes of your customers, get to know what they really want, then put forward the proposals , and move on together with them. Of course, all mouth and no action leads to no business goal, it’s foremost that we do what we say, and keep our promises.

Furthermore, for any manufacturers, it is important to not only look at their own development, those of other companies should also be closely watched, so that they can get the best experiences, ways and methods. Which is to say, care about your friends and more about your enemies; this is a necessity for all successful companies.

MBW: What’s the next step of AB Mauri?

GW: We’ll invest to enhance our overall strength, especially to team development, and keep up with the development of the industry.

At present, China is in a stage of rapid development, the future bakery market will be very challenging. Therefore, in the aspect of products, we will continue improving baking oil, yeast and other raw materials. We will bring in new expertise, technologies and products from overseas, and bring out more products that suit Chinese customers’ taste to keep AB Mauri vibrant and dynamic. In the aspect of customer service, our company will keep closer touch with customers so we can think from their point of view, meet their needs, and grow together with them. Meanwhile, the company will be focusing on its internal forces. We’ll increase investment in human resources, including staff training and recruitment. And more money will go to production plants. We’ll keep up with the development of related industries in order to get the latest skills and technology.

MBW: How do you like working in China?

GW: Working in China is exciting and challenging. With a great team and hard work, the future is promising.

China is exciting. The Chinese market is full of choice which you can not find in any country. The development pace and trends in mergers and acquisitions of the Chinese baking industry are very promising. I see a lot of ambitious and visionary people in this field. I am happy to work together with them.

I am lucky to have a great team of employees who helps me to understand the Chinese market better and makes working here so much fun. And I’m grateful to our customers whose candidness makes AB Mauri grow faster and better.

I believe that hard work comes before everything. Work here is often busy and tough, but I’m always looking forward to the sense of accomplishments out of it. I will surely work harder and more happily with my team in the future.

Editor: After interviewing with Mr. President, I feel fortunate to be a reporter, or else I would not have a chance to talk so happily with such a strategic, market-oriented and customer-conscious senior elite manager. We see wisdom and strategy from his words and decisions. We can learn that AB Mauri is among the world’s product top 500, and also the world’s talent top 500.