Hosted at Trowbridge Civic Centre, the leadership forum is an annual event, organised with the aim of bringing the company’s leaders together and showcasing how apetito is consistently working with its key values in mind. This year there was a focus on digital; both in terms of working internally as a business and integrating with customers, partners and suppliers to be fit for the future.
In his opening address, Paul Freeston praised the company’s successes citing apetito is entering its 19th year of successive profit growth, that the company is a Living Wage employer and a founding member of the Ethical Trade Initiative – in both cases a unique feat within the sector. However the CEO did not just look back – he contemplated the year ahead. He spoke of the challenges to come in the face of Brexit and its economic effects, of the difficult choices to be made in order to push forward, and, of the huge opportunities open to apetito as a market leader.
These opportunities became only clearer as the conference broke out into a series of four workshops. Each of these was designed to give the leaders an insight into how recently developed products will function, as well as demonstrating upcoming innovations.
- The ‘Great Food to be Proud Of’ workshop was addressed by Rosemarie Hoyle, Head of Healthcare and the winner of this year’s ‘Leader of the Year’ award. A large conference room was transformed into a branded restaurant, highlighting apetito’s new dining experience where a variety of meals from the new staff and visitor catering system were served.
- The ‘Enhancing Health and Well-Being’ workshop was a chance for apetito to introduce new ranges of food developed with special dietary requirements in mind. Guest speakers Sophie Williams of Allergy UK and Edith Bass of Coeliac UK spoke to groups about the effects of food related allergy and disease and the importance of pre-prepared meals for sufferers.
- The ‘Passion for Service’ workshop explored the advantages of working in an agile fashion. This session showcased a variety of new technologies developed to improve customer and employee experience in the digital age. These included the new quick order app for Wiltshire Farm Foods, a customer relationship management system and a Nutridata app which allows healthcare professionals to easily access extensive nutritional data about all apetito products.
- The ‘Ethical and Sustainable’ workshop heard from Babs Harris, Chief Executive of local charity Alzheimer’s Support, one of the many organisations supported by apetito throughout the year. A video montage demonstrated the amazing work the charity does to support those suffering with dementia and their family carers.
The message of the day was clear – that apetito is moving forward fast. In a final address Paul Freeston said:
“It’s a company to be proud of, it’s a company which you’ve all made successful, and it’s a company which makes a real difference.”