Food firm targets major expansion across the border

Monday 10th January 2022 8:30 am
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Matt Flynn is Harlech Food’s new head of purchasing and marketing ()

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An ambitious Gwynedd wholesaler is planning a major expansion into England’s North West and West Midlands.

Criccieth-based Harlech Foodservice Ltd are taking aim at targets across the border and have appointed a globe-trotting executive to spearhead their drive for growth.

Matt Flynn, who has managed olive oil shipments across the Mediterranean, tuna canning in the Indian Ocean and food purchasing in the Netherlands for Prince’s, is Harlech’s new head of purchasing and marketing.

The 41-year-old leads a 10-strong team with Harlech having opened an office at Chester Business Park and a distribution centre at the Chester West Employment Park, just off the city’s Sealand Road.

Matt, originally from Barrow, in Cumbria, comes with an impressive CV having worked for global mining colossus Anglo America before switching to the food sector where his job with Liverpool-based Prince’s took him across Europe and to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.

For the last four years he has been purchasing director with Cotswold-based food innovation company Green Gourmet Ltd, who develop and manufacture bespoke products for global airlines, UK foodservice and retail.

He said: “Harlech is a very different kind of business – I was managing 200 products, but this is more like 4,000, so this is a bigger enterprise and a bigger challenge.

“The most attractive thing was the idea of growing the business geography, developing a new team and launching the Chester branch.

“Despite the hospitality sector staging a strong recovery from Covid-19 lockdowns, through demand created by UK staycations, there are still a number of headwinds we are fronting into.

“In the face of a perfect storm of supply chain issues that have been well documented in the media, I’m creating a cross-business task force in collaboration with the leadership team, to mitigate current and forecast issues.

“My longer-term plan is to focus on providing excellent service for our entire customer base and to optimise our range giving people what they need, when they need it, at the right price.

“I and the new Wales and Chester teams are embarking on a number of innovative and challenging projects as part of our own build back better initiative.

“Our geography in North Wales means we are perfectly placed to service the tourism trade, who can use our website to order food right up until 10pm for next-day delivery.

“But to expand into the North West and Midlands, which forms part of our future strategy, we need a depot here in the Chester area, close to the M6 corridor.

“I’m a few months into my new tenure and am well on the way to building a world class team with a vision to be long-term and strategic, rather than just short-term and operational and that’s one of the things that attracted me to the job.”

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