‘Spirit of Innovation’

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Kolak Snack Foods achieved a turnover of £101 million and created an additional 150 jobs in 2014. Here, managing director Rikin Lakhani says innovation will see the food and drink industry remain the UK’s largest manufacturing sector for years to come.

Describe yourself in three words:

Diligent, team-player, enthusiastic.

What’s your biggest professional achievement?

Turning a vision into reality; being given a blank canvas and having the ability to show what can be possible. I led and successfully delivered one of the finest snack plants in the UK, thanks to all the team involved. However, all does not end here and the best is still to come. Watch this space…

How did you get to where you are today?

Hard work and being prepared to learn something new every day.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day is untypical. When I am not in customer meetings, staff meetings and on my mobile, I check our financial position, review project milestones, review sales leads, action to do lists and check emails frequently.

What have been the highlights of your company’s history, in your opinion?

It is an exciting time for our business as we celebrate 30 successful years of trading. We have had 30 years of continuous growth and been able to create over 900 jobs. Being able to grow during difficult economic times is an achievement.

What is your pet hate?

Incompetence and lack of communication skills.

Give us a positive prediction for the food industry over the next 12 months:

Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector and I believe it will remain so for the foreseeable future. What drives it is innovation. As an industry we invest about £1 billion and deliver 16,000 new products to market every year. It is this spirit of innovation which improves the lives of consumers. I see more exciting products being developed which will further drive growth.

What do you consider to be the most important attributes for a leader?

Positive attitude, clarity and consistency. Show the team the way and go all the way while influencing them to accompany and assist to fulfil group goals while fulfilling their potentials.

Who do you most admire?

My Dad (founder of Kolak Snack Foods) – he has been an inspiration to me and a lot of other people. He came to this country with nothing and has built a successful business from scratch.

Which people/organisations or companies are the ones to watch right now?

Kolak Snack Foods of course! We are one of the leading UK manufacturers of private label crisps, snacks and popcorn. If you are looking to develop your own private label range or you are looking for a new supplier to deliver 100 per cent reliability then look no further. We have a wealth of experience delivering own label products to a number of UK retailers/discounters and independents.

Which words do you most overuse?

Just do it!

If you weren’t in your current position, what else might you be doing?

Giving James Bond a run for his money. Just as well I have Kolak to keep me busy…

Tell us something about yourself that few people know.

I can touch my tongue to the tip of my nose.

Any vices?

Fast cars – I just love the adrenalin.

What single thing would most improve the quality of your life?

Remove my iPhone.

How do you relax?

Watching Manchester United play. However this has not been too relaxing lately!

How would you like to be remembered?

A symbol of inspiration.

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