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December 17th, 2019

We’re into December, which means that Christmas is right around the corner! There’s a lot to look forward to at this time of year – from Christmas movies and shopping for gifts to huddling around with the family and spending time with your loved ones, it’s hard not to get swept up in the festive spirit. Of course, if you’re anything like us, there’s something else you’re probably looking forward to as well – the great food involved!

Who doesn’t love mince pies, gingerbread, chocolate, and of course the crowning event itself – your delicious Christmas dinner! Whether your favourite part of the meal is the meat, the cabbage, the cranberry sauce or anything else on the plate, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love a nice roast potato. There are a lot of different things to include in a Christmas dinner and everyone has something slightly different, but here at Futures, we think that a Christmas dinner isn’t quite complete without some roasties!

Working in recruitment across a number of different sectors, one of our specialisms here at Futures is recruiting for the Food & Drink industry. As such, we spend a lot of time getting an inside look at the people who work to bring food from the field to your fridge and beyond every day. There’s a lot of manpower involved in making your Christmas dinner possible.

The truth is that the roast potatoes that end up on your plate at Christmas are a lot more interesting than you think. There’s a wide range of processes, decisions, and work that goes into bringing you your Christmas spuds! From the growing and picking, all the way to final quality management and delivery, every stage has a bit of a story behind it. With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at three important people who play a role in making sure your roastie is fit to sit as part of your Christmas meal:


  • Farming Technical Manager


Any company that grows and supplies potatoes needs someone who’s going to oversee the technical side of the process. The Farming Technical Manager is responsible for making sure that the farming of your spuds is done in compliance with any necessary quality management systems while providing coordinated leadership over the team involved. Essentially, without a Farming Technical Manager, there’s no guarantee that your potatoes have passed all the necessary standards. After all, you want roast potatoes that are tasty, healthy, and nutritious – and not every potato that comes out of the ground will meet those standards.


Some of the key responsibilities of a Farming Technical Manager include:

  • Managing and developing their team.
  • Processing complaints.
  • Meeting and reviewing customer requirements.
  • Acquiring any necessary certificates.
  • Assessing and advising on crop monitoring and management.
  • Leading audits.
  • Managing the sampling of pesticides, soil, irrigation water, and more.
  • Management of PPU (Proposed Pesticide Usage) lists.


Why is the Farming Technical Manager so important to your spud’s journey towards your Christmas Day dinner? Well, you want your potatoes to be ethically and safely grown – with some farmers taking shortcuts when it comes to their pesticide use, the role of someone who’s going to keep everything in line with regulations and quality standards is incredibly important.


  • Purchasing Manager


Every business deals with some level of procurement and purchasing. The flow of money in and out of any organisation needs to be accounted for and beneficial deals need to be negotiated and secured, cutting costs wherever possible. This is where a Purchasing Manager comes in. Purchasing Managers have a wide range of responsibilities, including organising and executing procurement strategies and closing deals. Without these, the entire operation is in danger of falling apart, and then there’d be no roast potatoes on your table at Christmas! In the food industry, purchases are likely to include ingredients, pesticides, packaging, indirect services, and machinery. A Purchasing Manager helps to keep everything that’s needed coming in while looking for new opportunities in the market.


The key responsibilities of a Purchasing Manager are likely to include:

  • Looking ahead and securing long term protection and security of supply for the future.
  • Responsibility for purchasing any raw ingredients, packaging, pesticides, machinery, and anything else necessary for production and supply.
  • Management and delegation of purchasing duties throughout the buying team.
  • Creating and executing short term and long term procurement strategies.
  • Assessing the budget and making recommendations.


The Purchasing Manager is important because, without strategic and efficient procurement, the production and supply process can slow to a halt. As you can see, the journey to bring you your Christmas spuds all the way from the farm has a lot of moving parts. The efficient procurement of all the right supplies is crucial to keeping everything running smoothly.


  • Operations Manager


Every project and operation needs someone who watches over the entire process and keeps things in order. From day to day coordination to improving all aspects of the food manufacturing operations, the Operations Manager takes on a wide range of different responsibilities. Their job is to oversee the processes and manpower involved in food manufacturing. There are a lot of different people and individual tasks necessary to grow and supply a potato for your Christmas roast – an Operations Manager helps to make sure these are all working together cohesively.


Some of an Operation Manager’s key responsibilities include:

  • Management of the staff and manpower.
  • Oversee production, planning, maintenance, and quality control.
  • Manage all growing and storage tasks, including crop rotation, farm maintenance and much more.
  • Manage the sourcing of any procurement with the Purchasing Manager, including for seeds, fertilisers, and pesticides.
  • Human resources management, including labour management, performance appraisal, disciplinary processes, and staff training.
  • Develop new approaches and techniques for different manufacturing tasks and processes.
  • Manage sourcing and maintenance of farm and production machinery and equipment.


It’s important to have someone watching things from a bird’s eye view – they get to see how all the different people and parts are working together and they might spot ways to improve processes that other people miss. It only takes one part to falter for the entire process to be in danger of falling apart! It’s an Operations Manager’s job to overview and assess each part of the production, solving problems and executing improvements wherever possible – making sure your spuds get to you quickly and easily!


It Takes A Lot Of Work To Bring You Your Christmas Spuds!

As you can probably see, it takes a lot of work and manpower to deliver you the food you need for a delicious Christmas dinner. A lot of people have been involved in bringing you the roast potatoes you enjoy over the Christmas period – from the manufacturing side alone, there’s an awful lot that goes on!

So, when you sit down at Christmas this year with a steaming plate of tasty food, it’s worth taking a moment to think about where it all came from. Your roasties are just one example – everything you eat this Christmas had to go through a journey from the farms and factories, all the way to packaging and delivery to the shops that you bought them from.

The three roles that we’ve looked at here barely scrape the surface – food manufacturing requires a huge team of coordinated professionals who work hard on a daily basis to make every meal you eat available to you.

Interested in finding out more about the people behind the food manufacturing industry? Get in touch with us here at Futures Food & Drink to discover the importance of the roles that manpower and individual people play in making your Christmas dinner possible!

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