The pie’s the limit

The Four’N Twenty Pie is an Aus­tralian icon. It is what you ate at the footy at half time, along with your hot jam donuts. And af­ter the footy, if you were lucky, your mum would put a Nanna’s or Herbert Adams pie (if she wasn’t bak­ing her own) in the oven

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That was the per­fect Satur­day for most Aus­tralians: sport, pies and the fam­ily din­ner at home. And Pat­ties Foods Lim­ited, the man­u­fac­turer of those pies, has played a ma­jor part in it.

Pat­ties has a long history. In 1966, hav­ing worked at the lo­cal bak­ery, Peter and An­nie Rijs bought Pat­ties Cake Shop in Lakes En­trance. Over time, Peter and An­nie’s six sons came to work for the busi­ness, which pros­pered and grew.

To­day, Pat­ties Foods is now an ASX listed com­pany own­ing a high qual­ity port­fo­lio of iconic Aus­tralian brands that in­clude Four’N Twenty, Pat­ties, Herbert Adams, Nanna’s, Cre­ative Gourmet and Chefs Pride.

These brands have strong mar­ket shares and are sup­ported by con­sid­er­able brand in­vest­ment by the com­pany. Specif­i­cally, Pat­ties Foods has a num­ber one mar­ket share in the re­tail frozen savoury seg­ment (which in­cludes pies, sausage rolls, pasties and party goods) and a num­ber two mar­ket share in the re­tail frozen dessert seg­ment (which in­cludes fruit pies, cold desserts, dan­ishes/crum­bles, berries, snacks and cakes).

At the helm of Pat­ties Foods is Steven Chaur, who has only been CEO since April 2014, but has al­ready made a huge im­pact.

Steven’s pre­vi­ous po­si­tions in­clude ex­ec­u­tive gen­eral man­ager of Tip Top Bak­eries (South­ern re­gion), gen­eral man­ager of Findus Aus­trala­sia and gen­eral man­ager of Na­tional Foods Tas­ma­nia. Prior to this Steven held se­nior mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor roles on brands such as Pura Milk and Birds Eye. His most re­cent job was MD, Pa­cific, for the French pub­licly listed Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s top 100 in­dus­trial com­pa­nies en­gaged in man­u­fac­tur­ing, mar­ket­ing and dis­tribut­ing in­no­va­tive prod­ucts for the con­struc­tion, automotive, in­dus­trial and re­tail con­sumer mar­kets.

“I’ve been very for­tu­nate to have gained some good ex­po­sure to branded food busi­nesses over my 20 plus years ex­pe­ri­ence in FMCG, work­ing with some big con­sumer brands in high vol­ume food man­u­fac­tur­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion en­vi­ron­ments, so I was de­lighted when I joined Pat­ties Foods as it was a good fit in terms of draw­ing on that ex­pe­ri­ence,” Steven says.

For the last four years Steven’s MD Pa­cific po­si­tion with Saint-Gobain brought about a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. In the Pa­cific re­gion, Saint-Gobain’s prod­ucts are tech­ni­cal in na­ture and are sold ex­ten­sively through the B2B, end user and con­sumer chan­nels via In­dus­trial dis­trib­u­tors. Steven’s mix of busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence in B2B and B2C has been in­valu­able.

“What I learnt from the in­dus­trial sec­tor is how to deal with the com­plex­ity of the in­dus­trial mar­ket, tech­ni­cal ap­pli­ca­tion of prod­ucts and driv­ing in­no­va­tion,” Steven says. “That means in a Busi­ness to Busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, you fo­cus on build­ing deep re­la­tion­ships with cus­tomers and dove­tail that into your busi­ness and dis­tri­bu­tion strat­egy. I was deal­ing with com­pa­nies like Bun­nings, through to Bluescope Steel, through to Holden to small dis­trib­u­tors. It’s def­i­nitely not a one size fits all strat­egy if you want to win busi­ness and beat your com­pe­ti­tion. You have to be nim­ble and dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion is the key. Some­times in the FMCG sec­tor, it’s easy to fall into the trap of only pro­duc­ing a prod­uct that ev­ery­one takes. Cus­tomers in FMCG are all driv­ing hard for dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion be­yond price, that’s prob­a­bly the big­gest change I’ve no­ticed in my four years out of the food sec­tor... In the in­dus­trial sec­tor you are al­ways de­vel­op­ing tai­lored so­lu­tions, it’s less about price and more about part­ner­ships, prod­uct qual­ity, prod­uct ap­pli­ca­tion and our ser­vice lev­els. So I have strived to bring that thought mind­set and high cus­tomer en­gage­ment to Pat­ties Foods, to make it our com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage. We now look uniquely at all cus­tomers across many chan­nels to work closely with them where we can both suc­ceed, grow and dif­fer­en­ti­ate of­fers.”

Steven was brought into Pat­ties Foods to bring a new drive and re­spon­sive­ness to the or­gan­i­sa­tion, which to the be­gin­ning of 2014 had suf­fered a string of profit down­grades over a few years as price com­pe­ti­tion in the

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