New exec chef arrives at Waitrose Food Innovation Studio

UK grocer Waitrose – or Waitrose & Partners, as the business is now officially known – has appointed Martyn Lee as executive chef.

As part of the retailer’s commitment to driving food product innovation, it has brought in Lee to head up a team of development chefs based at the Waitrose Food Innovation Studio based at its Bracknell headquarters.

Lee’s role will include developing Waitrose’s own brand food products, including the Waitrose & Partners No.1, and Heston from Waitrose ranges. The supermarket chain has said it wants to be the most innovative, high quality food retailer in its sector.

The new arrival has held senior product development roles with a number of major food manufacturers and retailers, most recently at Tesco. He was also a senior development chef at poultry meat provider, Moy Park, where he collaborated with Waitrose.

Natalie Mitchell, head of production innovation & own brand at Waitrose, called Lee “one of the leading development chefs in the industry”.

“Martyn's wealth of experience and creative vision will help us to continue offering the high-quality and distinctive products our customers expect,” she added.

Food product innovation is currently viewed as a key growth driver across various sectors of the retail industry – not just grocery. Last week, Essential Retail reported that home furnishings retailer Ikea’s is investing in the retail technology infrastructure and new product development within its food division, as it looks to attract a new generation of customer.