Henderson Foodservice, one of the leading foodservice providers on the Island of Ireland, has created a single source of data truth across 5,000+ food and non-food products for both company and clients across its sales channels, in partnership with Akeneo, the Product Experience (PX) company and global leader in Product Information Management (PIM), enabling organisations to build and deliver world-class product experiences across every customer touchpoint through a comprehensive PX Strategy.
The partnership has also accelerated Henderson’s product record capabilities, enabling it to fast-track and quickly update its entire product catalogue in accordance with key industry legislation, including Natasha’s Law, and embedded agility into its product information process, ensuring business continuity in the face of Brexit border protocols and product import restrictions.
Henderson Foodservice, a division of the Henderson Group, has over 50 years of experience in the foodservice and hospitality catering industry in Ireland. Serving over 4,500 customers across multiple sectors including hotels, restaurants, pubs, education, bakery, wholesale, cafes and coffee shops, workplace catering and travel/leisure.
The company has a range of over 6,000 products from locally sourced produce to national brands across fresh, frozen, ambient and non-foods and supplies the Country Range brand in Ireland, which is widely regarded as the best own brand in the foodservice industry.
Recognising it needed a single source of product data, and with the imminent launch of its new website in October 2020, Henderson Foodservice wanted to unify its product data on to one platform to allow it greater speed-to-market, enhanced product information consistency (which was key to ensure legal compliance), as well as enriching its product record to improve customer experience and unlock growth.
The integration of the Akeneo PIM solution has helped drive the company’s eCommerce platform to be recognised as industry leading. Henderson-foodservice.com received the Business Growth award at the Irish eCommerce Awards in 2022 and was highly commended for Food and Drink eCommerce Website of the Year. In 2023, the company has also been shortlisted in 4 categories at the Irish eCommerce Awards in Dublin in September.
Henderson Foodservice chose to partner with Akeneo, based on its extensive expertise in the PIM space, as well as its capabilities to deliver improved product experiences. In March 2021, the immediate impact of that work was acknowledged, with Henderson Foodservice receiving the Akeneo Unlock Leadership Award.
Henderson’s digital transformation and website launch was met with new challenges in 2021 when Natasha’s Law – new legislation requiring food businesses and manufacturers to include a full list of ingredients on pre-packaged food to better inform and protect allergy sufferers – came into effect. In 2022, Brexit restrictions meant some products could no longer be sold into Northern Ireland, requiring Henderson Foodservice to find replacement products that met the exact same specifications so its customers could replace like-for-like ingredients or products that matched the same quality.
Andrea Scott, Product Data Quality Manager at Henderson Foodservice, commented: “In both instances, by utilising Akeneo’s PIM solution we were able to very quickly ensure compliance and could communicate the specifications and quality assurance of our products, to all our key stakeholders both internal and external, consistently and accurately with no disruption to business as usual.”
“Additionally, our partnership with Akeneo has enabled us to link supplier information directly from our supplier data source, significantly reducing costs. Our PIM system feeds into our eCommerce platform, creating a positive and easy way for our customers to choose a product with confidence in its suitability for customers with particular allergens, lifestyle, and dietary requirements. Our export profiles feed into the procurement systems our customers use, ensuring product information is readily available. Overall, products now have a much quicker time-to-market, with improved efficiencies to share product information across key internal teams such as marketing and sales, as well as external customers.
James Barlow, Director UK&I at Akeneo, commented: “We’re proud to have been able to help Henderson Foodservice move quickly to meet new food safety and Brexit regulations and compliance, as well as setting their teams, processes and systems up to build out product experiences and future-proof it for success.”