One of Brian Hourani’s strengths is his knowledge of the food industry – however, he freely admits that irresistible food – particularly chocolate – is also one of his weaknesses.
“The food industry has always been in my veins,” he explained. “Food is what brings people together – it’s the number one common ground for humans.” Throughout his career, Hourani has worked with chains like Tesco, Carrefour, Walmart, Woolworths Group and The Warehouse Group.
“I am very fortunate to have worked with great people and networks,” he said. “The people that you work with is what and has made a difference for me throughout my years of being in the food and beverage industries globally.” Hourani is now general manager at Allied Pinnacle, and says that no two days are the same. Allied Pinnacle is a leading supplier and manufacturer of over 3,000 bakery products and ingredients, servicing over 4,000 customers. “We are a one-stop shop providing a full basket solution to the ingredients and baking categories. We have a great bunch of people who jointly make things possible as a team.”
Hourani puts great emphasis on teamwork. “In every role, it takes a high-performing team with resilience, passion and commitment to achieve success. I have always had a ‘think outside the box’ and ‘challenge the status quo’ perspective – it works every time. Many businesses have tunnel vision and a traditional approach to business, hence the rise of the disruptive market entrants like My Food Bag and Uber Eats.”
Even for Hourani, the food industry can still present challenges. “We are starting to see more and more innovations come through in the food industry. However, the bakery and food ingredient industry needs a solid boost in innovation with the support of technology and industry education. The next 18 months look very exciting for us.”
New Zealand also offers unique logistical hurdles. The small, narrow country is matched by its small, narrow motorways – having the Cook Strait running through the middle doesn’t particularly help either. “New Zealand is a geographically challenging country, there are long distances between towns, not to mention one of the most expensive freight rates in the world.”
Hourani senses challenging times on the horizon, but he and his team have big plans over the next 18 months.
“Our new product development capabilities and capacity is astounding,” he explained. “There will be a number of innovative and exciting products coming out, which will respond to what the industry has been screaming out for. Value, convenience, health and nutrition continue to be the primary drivers of the food industry, we are very much aligned to that.”