If I had to sum up Justin King’s main attribute it would be ’enthusiasm’. I much enjoyed interviewing him for this week’s feature, and of course he has many other talents, but enthusiasm is a very infectious quality. And if you all share a leader’s vision you pick up on it and absolutely everything gains momentum. Yes, your vision has to be based on achievable goals, but Justin King’s vision to ’Make Sainsbury’s Great Again’ is going great guns and bakery has played a major part.
The effects of the overall vision have been seen in the surge of profits and the share price. But it is also evident when you talk to the staff. Those of you who attended our Baking Industry Summit last year and heard King speak about his family and their bakery background will know what I mean about his enthusiasm. In this week’s issue he also makes some sharp observations. One of them is on bakery training and the lack of trainees coming forward. Bakery may be a time-honoured profession, it may have grown to be the biggest single sector of the food industry in terms of daily production and distribution, but it has been almost completely ignored by government.
Justin King’s response to that dilemma: "It’s an industry responsibility first and foremost. I don’t hold truck with people bleating about it, saying something must be done and the government must do it. If we as industry wish to bake bread for our customers, because that is what they want, we have a responsibility to do our bit!"
Well, there you have it. Sainsbury’s started its own bakery training apprenticeship scheme and it is doing really well. The company advertised a launch evening where students came along with mums and dads; the directors were there and bakers explaining what a great career bakery is.
It’s a great idea and something that Cooplands of Scarborough does. Have you tried it?
Elsewhere this week Northern Foods’ sale of its bakery businesses has gone through as predicted. It will be a tense time for the employees but new owners, investment company, Vision, may like to bear in mind Justin King’s own ’vision’ of clarity, price and availability. It’s very competitive out there; we wish them well.