Inside… Anglia Crown

22/04/2015 - 07:24
In Cost Sector Catering’s series of Q&As with suppliers, we talk to Nick Clarke, managing director at Anglia Crown.

Cost Sector Catering: As the new managing director of Anglia Crown, what are your goals and aims for the business?

Nick Clarke: It’s an exciting time to join a business such as Anglia Crown. Internally, I have embarked on a programme to reshape the business, focusing on core values of modernisation, integrity and innovation. A principle goal of that platform has been to integrate the business more intuitively into its group company, Bakkavor.

In turn, this has helped secure a significant capital investment for a factory refurbishment in 2015, including the installation of a new blast freezer. Supplementary investment and modernisation is a significant development for the business, and will continue to support Anglia Crown as being one of the most competitive prepared-meal providers in the market.

What have been the company’s challenges and main drivers in the healthcare sector?
The recent introduction of the new Food Information Regulations has certainly increased the challenges of delivering excellence in foodservice for healthcare. I have been extremely fortunate to inherit a strong in-house nutritional, technical and commercial team that has met the allergen regulations head on.

Our response has seen significant improvements in food labelling, increased information on our packs, and the ongoing exploration of a bespoke online system to provide nutritional data that is accurate and immediate.

Are you currently working on any new initiatives?
Our premium range, Crown Advantage with Smartpack technology, has been a revolutionary product for Anglia Crown. Shortlisted for this year’s Cost Sector Catering Innovation Award, it is a range of 39 individual frozen meals that use market-leading technology such as the removable base to improve presentation, satisfaction and uptake of meals.

Unusually, the unique packaging actually enables us as a manufacturer to have a positive impact and influence on the way our food is eaten and prepared in the ‘final nine yards’ of delivery, and, indeed in NHS trials of Crown Advantage, patient satisfaction was up 10%. We will continue to develop Crown Advantage but, additionally, we will also be launching ten brand new vegetarian products in our Crown Choice multiportion range at this year’s HCA Conference in April.

What next for Anglia Crown?
Anglia Crown’s heritage and success to date has been drawn from its hospital range of prepared chilled and frozen meals. As a business, we serve more than 100 hospital sites nationwide and feed several thousands of patients every day. Part of my strategic development platform is to expand our marketplace into other cost sectors such as care and education.

Therefore, over the next 12–36 months, I will be unlocking capacity through investment and modernisation, and building strategically on our recent entry into the care sector. We Crown Advantage into this market in 2014, and for the first time as a business, we are supporting various supplementary sector initiatives, such as sponsoring the Cost Sector Catering Care Award and becoming actively involved with the NACC.

Entering into the care market is not without its challenges. Our traditional hospital volume delivery approach is at polar opposites of that required in the care sector, so to that end, last year, we broke with our traditional direct-only purchase route and entered a partnership with wholesalers Bidvest 3663 to deliver Crown Advantage to lower-volume sites. Furthermore, our recent win with North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and its partners has led us to developing a more expansive, logistical and one-stop approach to our customers.

What trends do you see emerging in this sector?

Within healthcare, we are noting a strong trend in growth and demand for quality care establishments. Within these establishments, we are seeing an increasing demand for speciality diets as care homes look to meet the individual’s medical and personal requirements more closely. Accordingly, we continue to develop our ranges with individual and speciality needs in mind.

Our ranges include dishes that meet the needs of smaller appetites, energy-dense, alcohol-free, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and renal-suitable meals. As a business, we understand the need to put patients and residents first while continuing to deliver best-in-class nutritious prepared meals.

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