PrimulaFollowing a hugely successful 2016 to date, Gateshead’s Primula Cheese has announced the creation of a new dedicated Innovation Department within the business, ensuring the brand is focused on the ever changing needs of the consumer.

Peggy van Rooyen joins Primula in the new position of Product Innovation Manager. This forward-facing role will focus on the future of the company including identifying new processes and spotting opportunities for both growing Primula’s place within the spreadable cheese category but also how it can move into adjacent categories.

Originally from South Africa, Peggy is a trained chef having studied at the esteemed Ballymaloe Cookery School, in County Cork, Ireland, following which she worked as a sous chef at celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurant group in London, before becoming a private chef catering for events and high net worth individuals across Europe. Peggy also established the ground-breaking Glamour Puds, manufacturer of award-winning gluten, dairy and soya-free desserts, listed across UK supermarkets and within food service.

Peggy joins Primula having completed a series of short freelance innovation projects in the UK, USA and Ireland, including for one of the UK’s largest confectionary producers.

Speaking of her new role at Primula Peggy said: “I’ve got my ideal role. I’m creative and passionate about food so this role truly plays to my strengths.

“What I’m great at is the ideas – what we can do, what processes we have that we can exploit to the benefit of the brand. Primula is such a strong product to start with that it provides us with a multitude of opportunities, all of which I’m excited to explore.”

Joining Peggy in the new innovation department is Product Process Developer, Jamilee Coull, originally from Hartlepool. A qualified nutritionist who gained her Masters degree at Northumbria University, Jamilee’s role is the vital link between the NPD team and the production process, ensuring creative ideas can become commercial realities.

Jamilee’s role will see her working closely with both Peggy in the Primula development kitchen and also the in-factory production manager to make NPD a more workable process from the offset. She said of her position: “My role acts as the bridge between creativity and creation meaning I’ll be able to work closely with both teams to develop outstanding new Primula products.

“I’ll be working hands-on with the production team so will have a working knowledge of the capabilities we have onsite here at Primula which will benefit Peggy’s product development process.”

The two new innovation roles are announced as Primula finalises a two-year long period of company, product and category research, during which it conducted an in-depth customer profiling exercise to further define its place in the market.

Lisa Thornton, Head of Marketing at Primula, said: “Primula is an ambitious company, however to develop our growth plan we knew we needed to invest in getting under the skin of how we are perceived and where we sit within the category. It’s been an incredibly insightful process which has meant we now have a clear vision of where we want to be over the coming years which will become a reality thanks to Peggy and Jamilee joining our team.

“Our new innovation team is central to Primula’s business strategy and, while we’ve had NPD teams previously, we see this as a vital element to our business so are exploring a different approach and we can’t wait to see the results.”

Both Peggy and Jamilee will be based at Primula Cheese’s UK headquarters on Team Valley in Gateshead.

Kavli UK is wholly owned by the Kavli Trust, a charitable trust committed to supporting good causes. Annually it donates profits to charitable causes, supporting research, humanitarian and cultural projects within the UK and worldwide.

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