'How, when and where we eat is changing rapidly'

Consumers are increasingly tech savvy, health conscious and open to diverse food flavours, says food chief

10th May, 2017
Hilliard Lombard, Managing Director of Valeo Ireland.

What's your name?

Hilliard Lombard.

What position do you hold?

Managing Director, Valeo Ireland.

How long have you held the position?

February 2016.

What are your day to day responsibilities?

I lead a c.600 strong team which produces and innovates numerous iconic food brands (such as Jacobs, Kelkin, Odlums, Batchelors and Chef) at Valeo Foods Ireland. The business is also focussed on growing and developing its specialist foodservice division (across hot beverage, culinary and bakery solutions, wine and spirits). Our focus on innovation, organic growth and acquisitions, means my role is varied, with no two days ever the same.

What is your professional background?

After graduating with a Degree and Masters in Business, I went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant and Tax Advisor. After five years at KPMG, I was hired by IAWS Group Plc, which ultimately became ARYZTA AG. There, I held a range of senior management roles, culminating in being appointed CEO for the company’s European and Asia Pacific interests. Since then I have become Managing Director of Valeo Foods Ireland.

Tell me about yourself away from work?

We’ve a young family, so spending time with my wife and children is important to me.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

I’m an open book!

You are speaking at the forthcoming National Food Industry summit. What is the focus of your talk?

My presentation will explore consumer food trends. I’m fascinated with the factors that influence how we consume food. How, when and where we eat is changing rapidly. Eating occasions are evolving. There is a greater emphasis on value and premium. Consumers are increasingly tech savvy, health conscious and more open to diverse food flavours. These dynamics are informing how we as food providers think, act and trade, and my talk will explore these dimensions in greater depth.

What will be the main impact of Brexit on the Food and Drinks sector?

The Food and Drinks sector is going through a transformational period of change, and Brexit adds another dimension to that. At a macro level, especially for countries like Ireland with a strong heritage in agriculture and trade, Brexit presents big considerations. As we start to address these in the period ahead, there will be many opportunities for both our sector and the country as a whole, and I feel we should be confident about what we can achieve.

What changes do you see in 10 years’ time with regard to customer preferences?

The biggest change will be an increase in the number of daily eating occasions, reflecting the changing nature of lifestyles, greater emphasis on experiences, and the influence of technology.

Hilliard Lombard, Managing Director, Valeo Ireland will be speaking at the Food Industry Summit on May 18 at the AVIVA Stadium in Dublin. For more information on the summit visit FoodIndustry.ie

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