Aggie Morrell is head of food at Pod. A new speaker for 2018, she’ll be taking part in the show’s first ever ‘Head of Food panel’, alongside Martyn Clover (Tortilla), Arnaud Kaziewicz (EAT) and Aubrey Thomson (Taylor St. Baristas).
Which food-to-go operator do you particularly admire and why?
Pret for consistency and LEON for accurately targeting customer need.
What do you feel is the key for operators to successfully compete against their competitors?
Top of the list is customer service and speed of service, especially in lunchtime London where everyone is time poor. Ensuring menus are easy to navigate and the ordering process is simple helps.
What do you see as key trends for food-to-go in the coming year?
Healthy twists on classics and old favourites, e.g. burrito-less burrito bowls. Continued rise in vegan and free/from, with the continual shift in those moving to flexitarian eating showing it’s not a phase. Value added products proving a main driver in purchasing decisions as customers expect function from their food e.g. high protein/gut friendly.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
It’s always gratifying when new products do well, especially if it’s a completely new product category to the food-to-go market. Also, working with inspiring and fun people makes the day-to-day stimulating and enjoyable.
And the most challenging?
Striking the balance of creating innovative and delicious products that are also commercially viable and operationally simple.
How important is lunch! to the food to go sector?
It’s a brilliant place to catch up with suppliers and meet new ones. I always come away from lunch amazed at the level of creativity in NPD, and it’s great to see how far some of the small start-ups have come in a year.
Describe the lunch! trade show in 3 words:
Inspiring, energetic and delicious.
Who or what inspires you to be even better?
When you see big operators launching niche and inventive products and doing it consistently. It’s exciting that the whole market is moving towards more explorative trends and ingredients that wouldn’t have been considered a couple of years ago, and that ultimately is being driven by customer need.
See Aggie at lunch! 2018
Head of Food panel: 3.45pm in Keynote Theatre 1 on Friday 21 September.