Predictions that the UK food and drink manufacturing sector may need to recruit up to 130,000 new people by 2024 to replace existing workers likely to retire over the next five to ten years raises the importance for FMCG suppliers of embedding important skills in their businesses now.

Commenting on the projections, produced by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), category and shopper management specialist Bridgethorne, says that suppliers need to think now how to embed category management and sales experience into their businesses to pass on to future recruits.

“Food and drink is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK employing around 400,000 people. It’s an important industry for the economy and ensuring that it has access to the skills and expertise is increasingly important,” explains John Nevens, Joint Managing Director, Bridgethorne, which places outsourced individuals and teams in areas including account management, category management and shopper marketing.

“Outsourcing is growing as a business sector in its own right and the ability to bring in enhanced organisational capability across critical commercial functions, either on a short term tactical or longer term strategic basis, could be the best way to accelerate business growth for FMCG suppliers and plan effectively for future requirements.”

Across the UK Bridgethorne has more than a decade’s experience of placing outsourced national account managers with FMCG suppliers to manage retail sales portfolios, including branded and own label business, across the grocery, convenience and foodservice channels. They also place category management and shopper marketing teams who use Bridgethorne’s best practice tools and processes to, for example, conduct range reviews and develop NPD rationales to managing retail shopper activation and writing category based trade presentations across all trade channels (including on-line).