GS1 UK strengthens its SME expertise with new appointments to their supervisory board

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Co-founder of Young Foodies Theadora Alexander and the founder and managing director of Distinctive, Avi Moor, join the supervisory board of GS1 UK, the independent, not for profit, membership organisation that supports a community of over 56,000 businesses. The appointments ensure GS1 UK continues to have expertise that reflects the different profiles of business within their membership. Over 90% of new GS1UK members in the last year are SMEs and both new board members have in-depth experience of working with small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Theadora Alexander co-created Young Foodies in 2017, with the aim of providing expert knowledge, practical experience and growth services to support SMEs. The group is now recognised as the UK’s fastest growing community of consumer challenger brands. Prior to this, Thea was the Operations and Strategy Director at snack maker Propercorn. She is a leading commentator in the FMCG industry and an active champion for challenger brands.

Avi Moor founded the fast-growing B2B grocery distribution business Distinctive in 2018 with the aim of making differentiated products available in more UK supermarkets. Previously, Avi held a variety of senior commercial roles at Sainsbury’s spanning more than 10 years, including leading the Sainsbury’s Bakery business and New Business Development. He has also worked for IBM Consulting Services and Tefen Management Consulting, specialising in supply chain and operations strategy. 

Young Foodies and Distinctive join a supervisory board comprising some of the biggest names in the retail and healthcare industries including eBay, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Amazon, Unilever and NHS supply chain all of whom provide governance and support in the delivery of GS1 UK’s strategy.

Their appointment comes at a time when GS1 UKs has seen unprecedented growth in its membership fuelled by SME wanting to trade direct to consumers online instore and internationally. Recent research commissioned by GS1 UK and Enterprise Nation highlighted how increasing logistical barriers are preventing SMEs from reaping the benefits of rising direct-to-consumer online channels and marketplaces especially internationally with over half calling for clearer export guidelines.

The GS1 UK board is chaired by Chris Tyas OBE, former Global Supply Chain Head of Nestlé and Chair of the Food Resilience Industry Forum (FRIF), the government body ensuring supply chain resilience in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit.

The new supervisory board members were announced at GS1 UK’s AGM in London and online yesterday (Thursday 21 October), which featured a keynote speech from David Kennedy, Director General DEFRA on the importance of good data in the food supply chain.

Theadora Alexander, co-founder of Young Foodies, said: “While SMEs are facing a more challenging environment than ever before, with supply chains under pressure to reduce complexity on the shelves of our supermarkets, this cohort are actually resonating most with the consumer mindset and can add significant value for industries if unlocked effectively; as consumers become increasingly conscious of what they buy, I expect to see new and exciting opportunities appear which SMEs will be well placed to seize. One of the biggest characteristics of SMEs is their entrepreneurial spirit and agility – this is the reason they drive so much more than their fair share of growth and I see huge opportunity for GS1 UK to enable a more transparent and level playing field for small businesses through the effective and relevant use of data. GS1 UK holds an inimitable position across various industries which, if harnessed thoughtfully, can deliver real progress. I have absolute confidence in the supervisory board supporting the GS1 UK team in achieving this change and I look forward to championing SMEs at the table.”

Avi Moor, founder and managing director of Distinctive, said: “At Distinctive we see our grocery suppliers facing a ‘perfect storm’. Increased input costs and significant delays in the supply chain are creating huge pressures on businesses. This is in addition to the negative impact COVID had on declining demand in the Food Service sector and the increased barriers to export into the EU as result of Brexit.Despite these challenges, I expect the number of new smaller suppliers continue to grow and take a larger market share. GS1 UK is in a unique position in the industry to help the smaller supplier interact better with a growing number of trade partners. Adoption of the GS1 global standards will enable a more seamless exchange of information and frictionless trading experience, benefiting suppliers, buyers and shoppers alike. I am therefore very excited to be joining the board at this turning point of opportunity for SMEs.”

Chris Tyas, chairman of GS1 UK, said: “Our supervisory board plays a crucial role in determining the strategic direction of GS1 UK and, together with our rapidly growing membership base, keeps us in touch with the leading trends and issues across the whole UK commercial landscape.

We are delighted to welcome Thea and Avi to our board. With their in-depth knowledge, they are perfectly placed to help us better respond to the needs of a significant proportion of our membership against the backdrop of supply chain complexity and changing consumer trends.”