A Day in the Life of Eurostar Commodities’ Marketing Director, Helen Jones
Eurostar Commodities is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of fine ingredients. Helen lives in Huddersfield with partner, Phil and their family
I drive into the office and am usually at my desk for 8.30am. While our logistics team manage the complexities of navigating the global marketplace my day starts with a look at the current campaigns we’re running and how they’re being picked up by our customers in foodservice, food-manufacturer, wholesale and retail.
We have recently moved to a new warehouse and offices in Brighouse. It is great to be on site with the products so that we can see all of our goods going in and out. When I arrive the warehouse is already in full swing with a very vibrant atmosphere!
I never thought that I would be working everyday surrounded by tons and tons of flour and rice. My background is in marketing and research. I worked for ten years as a Market Analyst followed by a series of management and marketing roles, so my experience over the past 20 years is really in deep analytics and adding value to businesses by understanding their customers.
This is something that I have brought to my role. What we do as a business; the buying and selling of commodities is something that is quite traditional, and will have been done in Yorkshire for a thousand years. But the marketplace has changed with customers demanding quality and efficiency like never before.
We have increased our supply network which means more product coming through from producers in Europe and all over the world. We have upgraded our systems and processing in accordance with our growing business, ensuring that we are able to efficiently handle large volumes and be as responsive as possible in the service we give to our customers.
In the mid-morning I will brief our creative agencies and our in-house designer. We are working on the big launch of a new gluten-free flour under the brand, Spiffing. There is an increased demand for gluten-free and it is a huge trend for 2019 and Spiffing will have an entire range of gluten-free products. We are leading the way in terms of quality, so we have spent the last 12 months researching and developing a high-quality gluten free flour for manufacturing and industry. We look at the detail and aim to produce a quality ‘clean-label’ flour that will go on to be used in the food products that you buy daily from your supermarket or high street restaurant chain.
If most of the team are in we will often have lunch together. My favourite is sushi. We supply sushi rice to all of the UK’s major high street brands and many restaurants too. The products that we bring in are farmed and grown around the world, and as a result they are subject to the weather. It has been a challenge this year because most of the UK’s sushi rice is grown in paddy fields in Northern Italy and the hot weather has caused a shortage. Our unique sourcing network has enabled us to manage this and ensure supplies to all of those sushi brands to keep sushi on the menu for British sushi lovers – including me!
During lunch we are expecting a big delivery of Manitoba from Canada. According to our in-house technical team this is the finest flour in the whole world. It’s something that we get very passionate about and are excited we can offer it to our customers. It has the highest protein content and when used for high-end artisan baking produces the most delicious baked goods. Lots of artisanal bakers are small so we’ve got a challenge as a bulk supplier to enable smaller buyers to get hold of Manitoba and that’s where I will analyse the market, potentially look at specialist wholesalers and distributors who can access those markets in order to get served in local delis, cafés, bakeries and patisseries.
In the afternoon I work with our Technical Development Manager Davide D’Auria to assess and taste some of the new products that we are considering bringing to market. We go into the development kitchen. Davide may bring with him doughs that he has prepared in advance so that they are properly fermented. We have a great product called Lievito Naturale which is an improver and gives the effect of a long twenty four hour proof but in a much shorter time frame. We also have an extensive range of high quality Italian tomatoes and seasonings from very reputable producers in Italy such as Fior di Maiella seasonings, Donna Chiara pasta and Alfonso Sellitto tomatoes.
I regularly have a conference call with our partners in Italy, Grandi Molini Italiani, one of the best flour mills in Italy to discuss any events that we are doing for the pizza trade in the UK.
We are very excited about some of the more natural, healthy pizza offerings that we are creating. Especially a new to market product which we are about to launch, which is a gluten free pizza flour. This is an excellent product and we are delighted with outcome. There are massive challenges around extensibility and flexibility when making a gluten free pizza dough but we believe that we’ve cracked it.
Eurostar’s core brands include Kintaro sushi rice, GMI Italian flour, Confucius and Chinese Emperor long grain rice, Crispy Bite pizza flour and Eurostar own brand products. Visit our website http://www.eurostarfoods.co.uk or call 01484 320 516. Innovative products for 2019 include:
GMI Italian pizza flours – Pizza Italiana, Pizza Verace and Pizza Dorata
Eurostar Gluten Free flour - various sizes & options available
Spinach, sweet potato and beetroot vegetable flours
Della Terra Peeled Plum Canned Tomatoes & Della Terra Pizza Ready Sauce
Donna Chiara Dried Pasta Range – various sizes and varieties available