Mark Palmer

Mark Palmer

Pret a Manger, Green & Black’s


When he joined them, Green & Black’s held 95% of the organic market, but barely registered in overall chocolate sales. Mark took sales from £4m to £40m and repositioned it as a premium everyday product. The former Marketer of the Year now advises other rapid growth consumer businesses as well as the board of Pret. Mark advocates outsourcing to increase speed, investing in brand as opposed to machinery. He also argues that nobody should be afraid of niche markets.


Before taking on the Marketing Director role at Pret a Manger, Mark Palmer made his reputation as Global Brand Director of Green & Black’s. He’s since taken on a range of senior roles for various food and drinks companies, as well advising the Pret board.

After spells with United Biscuits and Burger King, Mark joined the new chocolate company as Marketing Director. He moved it from a niche organic product to a premium everyday chocolate, inventing a new product category, and pushing sales from £4m to £40m before their acquisition by Cadbury Schweppes. Mark remained with the company, leading development both at home and abroad.

Mark made sure Green & Black’s retained its entrepreneurial approach, prioritising instinct and common sense over figures when testing new products. It bought products to market in six months instead of the industry norm of twenty one, and is now the standard by which most competitors are measured.

After becoming a non-exec director of Green & Black’s Mark moved to Pret A Manger to take control of the café brand. After five years he moved to become an advisor to the board, whilst also holding non-exec positions with healthy snack company Primal Pantry, Union Coffee, and co-founding premium soft drink brand Cawston Press.

Mark maintains that brand is more important than buildings and processes, and that niche markets are often the way to mainstream success. His eye for brand, market opportunities and strategy has been repeatedly recognised by the industry. He featured in the Marketing Power 100 for two successive years in his unofficial role as champion of entrepreneurs and small business. The Marketing Society has also named him Marketer Of The Year.

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Conference Speaker Mark Palmer on Brand