Home' FMCG Business : FMCG NOV 2015 Contents [Q&A]
Please tell us about your role as
Managing Director, New Zealand
& Fiji at Coca-Cola Amatil.
It’s a very exciting role, in an even more exciting
industry, in one of the greatest parts of the
world. I am exposed to remarkable diversity
in my role given the Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA)
business plays a role in so many categories,
including, soft drinks, juice, coffee, beer, cider
and liquor to name just a few. We are also lucky
enough to have some of the world’s, and New
Zealand’s, most loved brands, as part of an
ever-broadening portfolio. CCA New Zealand
operates across New Zealand and Fiji, with our
head office based out of Auckland, so there is
plenty of travel, not to mention the opportunity
to meet and engage with interesting, diverse
customers and employees. It’s a very busy role,
but our organisation has a truly energizing and
engaging culture that’s all about getting things
done and showing the rest of the beverages
world what’s possible. I am also very fortunate
that I get to lead one of the most talented
and engaged groups of people from across
the Pacific, providing me with the very best
position to lead from.
What are the biggest challenges
for the beverage industry?
Responding to consumer preferences is
one of our biggest challenges and ensuring
we play a role in the broader obesity issue
across the community. The great thing is -
we have responded to the changing diets
of consumers for decades, dating back to
the early 80’s with Diet Coke. The major
challenge for us is ensuring that we continue
to develop new and exciting products
that meet the needs of our consumers and
provide the appropriate range of choices.
As a major beverages company we
understand the role that diet, including our
products, can have on health and wellbeing.
The beverage industry is often front and
centre of the conversation at a time when soft
drink consumption is declining.
That said, we know we have a role to play
and we have been educating consumers as
MEET CHRIS LITCHFIELD
MD Coca-Cola Amatil
Chris Litchfield, Managing Director,
New Zealand & Fiji at Coca-Cola Amatil
to what is in our products, providing more
than 50 low and no calorie options across the
portfolio and encouraging consumers to make
the right choice to support their lifestyle. I
think most New Zealanders would prefer to
be educated and make informed choices for
themselves, rather than be told what they are
allowed to eat and drink.
Is it fair to say that CCA is the
number one beverage company
in New Zealand?
If you define number one by turnover, or quality
of brands, I would have to say yes. But I like to
think the number one beverages company is
defined by how customers rate and talk about
a company. If they consistently tell us that we
are the company they most want to do business
with, then I would say that is success. We do
really well with our customer feedback and
satisfaction measures, including a raft of awards
this year, but we are always looking to improve.
Please tell us about the new
Coca-Cola and Beam Suntory
Coca-Cola Amatil is privileged to service
tens of thousands of customers every
week. Beam Suntory has more than 200
different products, some of which are
market leaders, by a long way. By our two
companies coming together, building on the
Australian partnership, we ensure an even
more profitable and sustainable future with
even greater avenues to market and an even
broader portfolio of world-class brands.
You have also recently acquired
the distribution for Stoke – what
does this mean for retailers?
We have been very vocal about our intention
to widen our Alcohol portfolio and bringing
in such a great local craft range, from the team
at Stoke, was an opportunity too good to pass
up. They are obviously about as qualified as
you can get when it comes to Kiwi craft beer
and we can offer a very effective and efficient
selling and supply chain to help retailers
provide that choice that Kiwis want.
What can you tell us about
CCA’s plans for 2016?
In a word: invest. We will unveil our
new $50M juice plant early in the year,
conveniently located at Auckland Airport.
We will continue to invest in technology and
our people to further advance our customer
service levels. We will also be announcing
some really exciting long term partnerships.
Your top tips for FMCG industry
leaders in New Zealand?
Listen! To your consumers, your customers
and your people. They are often as passionate
and engaged with your business as you are.
What are your predictions for
the industry, for 2016?
It’s a dynamic and competitive industry
operating at the sharp end of consumer
demand, so we need to be prepared for
anything and everything. That’s what makes
the industry such an enjoyable place to work. I
have confidence in the New Zealand economy
and we have great consumers that appreciate
quality, engage with brands and like innovation
so our business will have permission to try new
and exciting things, which I have no doubt will
bring even more happiness to the marketplace.
After 5pm we would find you...
Hopefully at home with the family, playing cricket
or football with the kids before relaxing with an
ice cold Diet Coke, or Stoke beer, maybe even a
Jim Beam Small Batch on the weekend.
14 FMCG BUSINESS - NOVEMBER 2015
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