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
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