Andrew Taylor reflects on another strong year for our Food & Beverage Solutions business, and his new role as President of our Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America business in our Annual Report 2021.
WHAT’S BEHIND THE GREAT RESULTS THIS YEAR?
In this challenging year, we kept the team moving forward with a very clear message: keep people safe, support customers, keep the business going. That’s the playbook we’ve been running all year. By doing that, and by staying close to our customers we’ve delivered great results, and I’m incredibly proud of how our people responded. I believe our purpose is a key reason why we grew our business strongly this year.
Our goal of supporting healthy living by making food and drink healthier and tastier really motivates our people, and it’s what our customers and consumers want. The last four or five customer CEO conversations I’ve had, have all started with our purpose – it’s only afterwards that we start talking about what we’re going to do. And yet our purpose is about more than just what we make and sell.
I think of our purpose of Improving Lives for Generations as the glue that holds us together. Even though customer demand held up, it was incredibly tough to deliver, and when things got tough, our purpose guided us and kept us on track.
WHAT WILL THE TWO RECENT ACQUISITIONS BRING TO THE BUSINESS?
The two acquisitions we made this year are both in Asia, and I’m very excited to have them join our company. Stevia (our acquisition in China) is very important to us because it’s the sugar reduction ingredient of choice in many applications, while tapioca (our acquisition in Thailand) is the starch of choice across much of our higher growth Asia markets.
We are delighted to welcome our new colleagues in these businesses to the Tate & Lyle family.
This year our people proved just how agile they can be and, in doing so, deepened our relationships with our customers.
Andrew Taylor. President, Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America
WHAT CHANGES ARE YOU SEEING IN THE MARKET?
We are certainly seeing some short-term shifts as a result of the pandemic; for example there’s a move by consumers to core brands, people are cooking and eating a lot more at home, and demand from the food service sector is much lower.
The timing for when this returns to pre-pandemic levels is still not clear. What is clear is that the pandemic has accelerated people’s desire to eat and drink more healthily, and we are well-positioned to benefit from that trend.
We are also seeing demand for ingredients that reduce cost as people look for better value without compromising taste. With our wide reformulation expertise, we’re well placed to help with this shift. The sustainability of our ingredients is also increasingly important, so the work we’re doing on caring for our planet, particularly around sustainable agriculture, is a key priority.
HAS THE PANDEMIC CHANGED HOW CONSUMERS VIEW FOOD?
To some extent, yes. We’ve all seen, sadly, that many of those who suffered most from Covid-19 had key risk factors, such as diabetes. Before the pandemic, people mostly understood that what you ate affected your health, but the pandemic has really shown people the importance of ‘getting healthy’ and ‘staying healthy’.
That’s why I believe the trend for sugar and calorie reduction is set to grow even further as we emerge from the pandemic as consumers look for healthier choices when they eat and drink. Taking sugar and calories out of food, while still making it taste great, is a key expertise for us and that’s why I am excited by what’s ahead.
WHAT DOES YOUR NEW ROLE HEADING UP ASIA, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA AND LATIN AMERICA MEAN FOR THE FUTURE?
My role was created to accelerate our growth in some of the most dynamic markets in the world. While food is inherently local, our customers in these markets have similar consumer, technical and operational challenges which we can address better as one region. These markets require fast and decentralised decision-making, because that’s how our customers operate, and that’s the customer-centric approach we are developing in these regions.
WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES FOR THE COMING YEAR?
Continue to deliver top-line growth, integrate our two acquisitions and get even closer to our customers so we remain their partner of choice, building on the great work the team did this year. Customers work with us because of our technical expertise in sweetening, mouthfeel and fortification, the wide range of solutions we offer and our focus on innovation.
This year, we have also shown we can be fast and agile, and that we are totally committed to serving their needs. It’s been amazing to see what our people have achieved in incredibly challenging circumstances – working at home, educating their kids, worrying about family and friends and doing their day job. Despite all this, they’ve found creative ways to meet customers, ship samples to them, and find Covid-safe ways of interacting. And it’s also brought us all closer together as people. I look back with a lot of pride and look forward with a lot of confidence.
Read Andrew’s full account, including volume and revenue results by region for our Food & Beverage Solutions business, in pages 32-35 of our Annual Report 2021.