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McCormick's managing director talks herbs, spices and the ins and outs of his career

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Daniel Moorfield, managing director at McCormick Foods Australia, the world's number one brand in herbs and spices, recently talked with Food magazine about his job, the McCormick brand and the world of herbs and spices
Daniel Moorfield

Company name
McCormick Foods Australia

Managing director, McCormick Foods Australia/NZ

What are your primary roles and responsibilities in your job? Give us a day in your working life.

My responsibilities include:

The safety and wellbeing of all McCormick staff
Making sure best practise approaches are used within all areas of the company, from manufacturing to packaging to HR
Maintaining the integrity and values of the McCormick brand
Ensuring we are a profitable, healthy company delivering innovative products the consumers need
In regards to a day in the life, the great thing about my role is that you are never quite sure what the day will bring. Within one day, I can be discussing new product innovations with our Test Kitchen, speaking with the production staff about the latest production run, meeting with the Asia Pacific president, visiting retail stores, discussing new innovations and reviewing our latest marketing campaign.

What training/education did you need for your job? 
While my background in Finance has been important for my current role, it is just as important to have an array of generalist skills ranging from good communication to leadership to problem solving. And of course knowing the FMCG industry and understanding the consumer is vital to success.

How did you get to where you are today? Give us a bullet point career path.
Auditor with Ernst & Young
Various finance role within Mars Confectionery which was the beginning of 15 plus years in the FMCG space
Finance director at McCormick Foods Australia
Finance director for McCormick Foods China
Chief financial officer at SPC Ardmona
Managing director at McCormick Foods Australia
What tools and/or software do you use on a daily basis? 
While financial literacy is certainly essential to my daily work life, the tools I value the most are communication tools.

Many companies have great strategies but they are not executed correctly. Part of my role is to ensure all employees know our company strategy and understand our vision. The only way to do this effectively is to communicate, communicate and, if in doubt, communicate some more.

The tools I use include regular face to face meetings with all areas of the company, the intranet and newsletters.

Listening is also an essential tool. I love seeing people develop and shine in their roles, so I try to spend as much time as I can listening and encouraging people, and helping them achieve their goals. It is also vital for us to understand the customer so we can deliver innovative products the consumer need and want.

Research is a great tool for supporting many decisions we make as a team.

What is the one thing that you are most proud of in your professional life?
I believe I am working toward that right now. Having the opportunity to take all of my learnings to date to lead my colleagues at McCormick Foods Australia to the next level is exciting.

As an innovative flavour company, we are well positioned to help our customers grow and that, in turn, will lead to growth for McCormick Foods Australia.

This is especially exciting as I was able to return to McCormick where I worked before in Finance in both Australia and in China.

Biggest daily challenge?
Consumer preferences continue to evolve and change daily. We need to stay on top of these changes in order to bring new products to the market successfully.

Biggest career challenge?
Moving from a professional speciality such as Finance to a managing director role has been my most enjoyable challenge to date. Honouring the responsibility I now have to McCormick Foods Australia staff, suppliers and customers is a career challenge I welcome.

What is your biggest frustration in your job?
My role is pretty simple – work out what the business frustrations are and then come up with solutions. So I tend not to get too frustrated about many things, instead I prefer to spend my time working out how to lessen others frustrations.

What is the biggest challenge facing your business?

There are two major challenges, which are both related. Firstly, the growth in the private label and secondly, the Australian dollar. I believe that in the long term, it will be in the interest of consumers, retailers, suppliers and the government to have a healthy food manufacturing base in Australia.

I think collaboration – among suppliers as well as between suppliers and retailers – will continue to increase as companies realise the need to share in sustainable profits. Given the concentration of retailers, I anticipate the same will occur among the supplier base, whether it is through mergers and acquisitions, joint-ventures or mutually beneficial alignments.

I also expect, and have started to see, retailers looking to work closer with suppliers. The ability to share information and better understand consumers has great potential and opportunity. This is especially important with the continued growth in private label.

Based on overseas experience, I also expect there will be continued growth in more mid-range/convenience stores, internet shopping, and continued growth in Aldi and Costco. All of these will make the grocery industry a very challenging, interesting and exciting place to be over the coming years.

Is there anything else about your job you want Australia to know about?
McCormick Foods is an Australian-based food manufacturer (a subsidiary of US-based McCormick & Company, Inc.).

As the global leader in flavour, McCormick Foods has an extensive range of convenient and innovative flavour products and solutions, including herbs and spices, recipe mix meal bases, marinades, sauces and gravies.

Customers include retail, foodservice and industrial customers.

In addition to McCormick, our family of brands includes the iconic Aeroplane Jelly and Keen’s Mustard and Curry, both of which are produced in Australia.

We are passionate about bringing together the art and science of flavour to help create memorable food experiences for Australians. This is also demonstrated through our annual Flavour Forecast report, which predicts future flavour trends and pairings.

Based in Melbourne, McCormick Foods Australia employs more than 200 people.

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