New IFST Member Guy Moreton owns his own company, HuntMore Ltd. Find out more about his biggest professional achievement, his involvement with IFST's Student LaunchPad events and why you should attend the 2013 Spring Conference.
Since becoming a Member of IFST, what do you now know about the Institute which you didn't before joining?
GM: I knew a bit about the Institute before I joined as I have known Jon Poole for a number of years and in addition my business, MorePeople, works within food (as well as the land based and horticulture sectors) and so had some awareness of the brand from market research. Since I have joined (and become more actively involved) I have been very impressed with the range of services and advice provided by the Institute but more specifically about the plans for the future which are very exciting and will help make the Institute an even more positive force within the Food Industry.
Tell us about your current role, what do you most enjoy?
GM: I own a company called HuntMore Ltd,which in turn owns and operates three separate “people solutions” businesses called MorePeople, Imperium Executive and MorePerformance.
Briefly (which will be a struggle for me !), we are a recruitment and training group working exclusively within the food, land based and horticultural sectors and recruiting management and director level roles…this covers graduate trainees right up to CEO's. The technical function is one of the roles that we cover (in addition to sales, procurement, operations, etc) but is a major part of our business and one that we are constantly trying to grow.
Quite simply I think I was born to do this role and love it...anyone that knows me knows that I love talking to people and getting to know them and the businesses that they work for, so a role that involves constantly meeting and talking to new individuals suits me down to the ground! But also, the ability to connect people and help our candidates and clients fulfil their needs is a very satisfying thing to do. Also, and I know it is a constantly mentioned anecdote, but every day is different…and I mean it!...we have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow regarding who is going to call which makes the whole thing very exciting with a constant need for activity and new business and new candidate development.
What's your biggest professional achievement?
GM: I have two. I was involved in the development and actually the creation of the supermarket flower selling concept. I joined a flower marketing company after university with a specific brief to help create a business selling flowers to UK supermarkets …at the time (1985-ish) the multiples did not sell any flowers and today EVERY retail food outlet has a range of flowers and plants on display and the industry is worth c.£1 billion AND I was involved in that….and am proud of that.
Also, obviously, I am extremely proud of my business and what we have achieved over the past 12 years….there are approx 20 people actively involved/employed by me (and my business partner Peter Hunt) and we have built a great reputation within our market for excellent service BUT have more to do to grow the business and I am a real fanatic about “customer service” and therefore am always trying to make us better at what we do! We have helped hundreds of people find a new job, some of which were in a desperate situation and that is always a great thing to do and I am justifiably proud EVERY time we help someone move or find something of interest.
MorePeople have been active supporters over the last couple of years in many activities, but especially providing mentors for the Student LaunchPads – why has MorePeople been so keen to support these?
GM: This is easy!.....quite simply to help secure the future for our sector…and obviously I have a vested interest in that! In more detail, the food industry is a fabulous place to work BUT I am a big believer in the fact that we (as an Industry) are very poor at selling our sector from a career point of view. We all need to do more to help promote OUR industry and know that this is one area that Jon and his team at IFST are intending to do….this would mean getting at school children more than graduates of course.
With regards to the Student Launchpads, we think this initiative is brilliant and have supported it since day one and intend to keep supporting it as it develops and hopefully continues!...the simple reason is we must all engage as much as possible with people who have made a decision to work within food to ensure that they stay within the industry and grow a fulfilling career within the sector and the IFST Launchpads will help do just that….the opportunity for people studying a relevant subject to meet a large range of people from within the sector but covering retail, wholesale, foodservice, manufacturing, government, research etc.. is unique and one which we are extremely excited about.
MorePeople have also been actively involved in the planning for IFST'sSpring Conference in April – this year on an Agri-Food theme. Why should people attend?
GM: Quite simply anyone involved in food oragriculture with a technical interest and a desire to learn about new things and to engage in a debate and discussion about the food industry's future!…..sounds fairly dramatic of course, but actually the topics on the agenda are not just important but vital with regards to how the food sector grows to support the population growth across the world….some of these topics are going to be, quite bluntly, a matter of life or death, and it's great that the IFSTare actively promoting dialogue on these matters. Also, it's a great opportunity to meet fellow professionals from a range of different sectors within the same overall industry and network/meet new friends.
You must see first-hand the difficulties employers have in attracting new talent into the sector – what do you think industry needs to do to ensure it attracts and retains the very best?
GM: Wow, I could talk all day on this one question so not sure I can do it justice in 60 seconds. The food sector must do a number of key things if it wants to attract the best. First of all it must ensure that it behaves itself and acts/works in an ethical and honest way…the recent “horse burger” debacle which made national headlines does nothing to promote the positive and professional aspects of our industry...so we MUST all try and work together to ensure that we minimise “national” food scares as much as possible…obviously every industry has disasters and this will never be eradicated but some of these can be eliminated if we all do our jobs properly.
We must also do more collectively and individually to help promote ourselves, and therefore the sector, locally and nationally, to the overall consumer and specifically to schools and colleges. Food is a fundamental thing! Everyone needs to eat and food is everywhere. It is not difficult to get youngsters to think about food but we need them to understand and appreciate the absolutely massive range of roles that exist and that the food industry does not just mean a job flipping burgers or stacking shelves but can involve a huge multitude of functions and jobs across a huge range of categories and products and in fact countries! TheStudent Launchpad concept is brilliant BUT we need to come up with an initiative as AN INDUSTRY that gets the food industry into the minds of children thinking about GCSE and A level options and this is a whole different topic.
I have a particular “soap box”topic which I rant on about at every opportunity and that is that if we as an industry ALL just adopted our local school and invited children to visit our premises or visit them and talk about what we do then we would revolutionise the awareness and impression of our sector overnight!
Lastly and with specific regard to recruitment, and I am at the forefront of this of course, so many businesses do not help themselves enough with regards to their own individual image and how they go about attracting talent. Businesses need to shape up and critically look at themselves, their offices, their reception, their premises, the local reputation, how they treat potential candidates and what they offer that makes them better than other businesses. Every company in the sector is after the best and the numbers of talented individuals doing food relevant topics at college, etc, is not big enough to cope with the future requirements of the industry and therefore EVERY business will absolutely have to work harder in the future to get the right calibre of individual.
And finally…..Tell us something about yourself that few people know
GM: I am a very active and dedicated supporter of Peterborough United and have become a bit obsessed I am afraid to say….much to the annoyance of my wife! It started out as a way for my son and I to spend a bit of male bonding time but has turned into a weekend ritual as we go to both home and away games all over the place!