In conversation... with Des Thurgood at WK Thomas
WK Thomas, now a division of Bunzl UK, is set to crank up innovation in food packaging solutions. Des Thurgood, sales director, explains how
In the last 12 months we've invested heavily in our in-house design studio with a new team of structural designers. This is critical to innovation and driving the business forward. It allows us to create new products and add flair and flourishes to our existing products.
We have strengthened our proposition around retail-style packaging concepts that can be used in many services. This is important, as retail brands are becoming ever more prevalent in the airline sector. It will give us an edge by enabling us to put a continuous stream of ideas and innovation in front of our customers. In a sector that is constantly evolving and changing this is vital.
Our core proposition is now stronger than ever as we build on specialist packaging in both complimentary and retail services across the transport sector.
The market is increasingly segmented but fantastically exciting. Every survey indicates passenger numbers are growing, driven in part by millennials with the income and thirst to travel. Low-cost carriers continue to offer an ever-expanding range of food and drink options and we see opportunities to add value in this sector, around pre-ordered meals. Retail products continue to tap into high-street retail brands but there is also an emergence of artisanal brands that are perhaps less well known.
Looking ahead, we are working on ideas for the long-haul sector where at the point of buying your ticket you can upgrade the experience by purchasing things like comfort kits or blankets. We are also working with train operators on the way products are presented.
All-inclusive concepts from the likes of TUI, Thomas Cook and Jet2, look set to remain strong, especially with families, and all projections for railway and shipping sectors show demand growing.
The onboard packaging market will continue to evolve, change and grow.
Our services will evolve and grow too, meeting increasing demands. We expect the sector to become even more dynamic as customers seek to differentiate their services and products from competitors.
One area with a lot of potential as yet untapped is ferries – I often travel this way to Europe with my family and in my view there is huge scope for innovation in this sector. •