John Young, former director of information for UK-based Leatherhead Food International, died peacefully at home on March 31 after battling a long illness. He was 51.
Young joined Leatherhead in 1979 from Unilever and established the Market Intelligence Unit where, together with his staff, he quickly gained international renown for predicting future trends and opportunities for food and drink manufacturers.
Young's presence at Leatherhead and on the international conference scene made him a household name to many of the world's top companies. His careful analysis and predictions for market and consumer trends accelerated innovation in many market sectors, and helped to develop many of the products we see on supermarket shelves today.
His predictions, published in the Financial Times in 1985, that the majority of homes would eventually have microwave ovens and that ready meals were a tremendous opportunity for manufacturers proved to be right on the mark.
Young became the director of Leatherhead's Information and Training Division four years ago and was instrumental in identifying opportunities in the functional foods market. He worked closely with the staff of Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals in the magazine's early days as both a writer and editorial advisor.
Young will be greatly missed by his many friends, colleagues and associates around the world for his friendship, detailed understanding, sense of humour and charm. We can thank him for the enormous personal contribution he made to the food and drink industry as it is today.