Remco Bol, the Managing Director of Unilever Food Solutions in South Africa, worked in a number of countries before joining the Unilever Food Solutions South Africa team. Passionate about food, Remco discusses some of his trend predictions for the industry, the opportunities available in South Africa, and engaging with the local market.
What is your story?
I have a passion for food and South Africa. Working for Unilever in China, Holland, UK, Singapore and finally ending up in South Africa running the Unilever Food Solutions Team. We free chefs to love what they do.
Explain who you are to the industry in a couple of sentences:
Managing Director for Unilever Food Solutions. We are chefs supporting chefs. We serve the food industry; not only with products but also with services and recipes.
How is the South African hospitality industry different from those in different countries that you’ve worked in?
There is more opportunity in SA vs Holland or the UK for example. A large part of the industry is still untapped, and digital is a key enabler to unlock this potential.
What are some of the overall issues that you’ve seen affect the hospitality industry in SA?
The biggest issue that I see is finding good people; but that is very similar to other markets in the world.
What are some of the challenges that Unilever Food Solutions is facing at the moment and how are you addressing these challenges?
The world is moving fast and we are supporting our customers in this fast moving world and the digital journey that is related to this change. Like Bob Dylan wrote: “You better start swimming or you sink like a stone, because the times they are changing”
Remco Bol’s Pop Quiz
What are some of Unilever Food Solution’s focuses at the moment?
We keep innovating the way we communicate with the industry.
How do you see Unilever Food Solutions fitting into the South African hospitality industry?
We are chefs supporting chefs.
Where do you think its place and brand is, and what makes the company unique in SA?
Our brands like Robertsons and Knorr have a long history in SA. It is all about the quality of our products and people know they can trust Robertsons and Knorr.
How do you engage your brand to the local SA market? Any engaging media initiatives and marketing campaigns that you run?
Check out our Facebook page!
What are the company goals for future excellence in the local industry?
To keep building a better understanding of the changing needs of the chefs in South Africa. Only then we can win.
Let’s talk Sustainability and the steps you have taken to make a difference here?
Sustainability is at the heart of all that we do in Unilever, it is are reason for being. A quick answer does not justify all the work that Unilever is doing, so have a look at the Unilever website for our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
How do you incentivise and motivate staff as an organisation?
By giving them a purpose, empowering them and making them collaborate.
Trend Prediction for the local industry?
Simplicity and quality will be rewarded by the consumer. This will happen in both premium and lower-tier restaurants. Keep it simple, stay local and focus on the right ingredients.