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

Onboard Hospitality - - Inside This Issue -

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.

Fu­ture gaz­ing

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. •

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