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“There’s no industry like it”: 5 food professionals share what they love most about the industry

5 min read
AUTHOR: Ross Carver-Carter

Let’s be honest, the food industry hasn’t traditionally been viewed as the most glamorous career path.

Conjuring images of hairnets and factory lines, many often overlook the sector in favour of more traditional career paths such as law, finance and medicine.

And perhaps that’s unsurprising; whilst these careers have their glamorous tv representatives in shows like Suits and Grey’s Anatomy, the food industry receives little in the form of Hollywood PR.

Here at Food Matters Live, we’re on a mission to fix this misconception. The food industry is a broad and exciting space to work boasting a diversity of roles and an equally diverse array of people. What’s more, there’s never been a better time for young graduates to enter the industry.

Going forward, the food and drinks sector is in need of people from all backgrounds and disciplines to solve the challenges of tomorrow- prime among them, feeding a growing population sustainably. As Marie Wright, Chief Flavorist at ADM says:

“There’s so many different things you can do in the food industry, and you could have such a great impact. It’s a wonderful industry to come into right now.”

Curated from the Food Matters Live podcast, we’ve collected just some of the reasons that those in the industry love it so much. Many of those featured never intended to wind up within food, but all of them are happy they ultimately did!

Dai Llewellyn, Head Chef of Product Development at Co-op UK

After studying business at university, Dai seemed set to enter the world of finance. Instead, he ended up falling into the food industry, and falling in love with it. It all started after he got a job at a local restaurant in Mumbles, South Wales.

The excitement and buzz of working in a kitchen instantly appealed and set him on a trajectory towards becoming an accomplished chef and product developer. These days, he works for the Co-operative helping to refine their latest products. So what is it about the food industry that so captivates him?

There’s no industry like it for me. There’s no industry that encapsulates all of your senses… touch, taste, smell, feel. It just creates excitement.

Listen to the full episode to find out why he thinks experience is not the be-all and end-all, why he chose product development and what you can expect to earn in a similar role.

Rachel Auty, New Product Development Controller at Greencore

Rachel says a chance meeting on a bus when she was a teenager set her on a career path in food. She went on to study Food Marketing at University before becoming Mark’s and Spencer’s first ever product development graduate!

She’s as passionate about the food space now as when she started- and not just because “you will always be well fed” (although it helps).

I think the food industry is a fantastic place to work. It can be challenging, but it can [also] be so much fun. It can be a place where you can keep learning your whole life. I would definitely recommend it.

Listen on to find out about all the different product categories you can work in, how asking the right questions is key to success, and how Rachel stays on top of the all the latest food and drink trends.

Mark Whalley, Consumer Insights Controller at Greencore

Consumer insights career conversation

After graduating with a degree in English literature and Creative Writing, the food industry was the last thing on Marks mind.

Fast-forward 10 years and he’s happily working as a Consumer Insights Controller for Greencore, a major food distributor. So what attracted Mark to the industry- and what keeps him there?

What I love about working in the food industry… [is that] I get to interact with lots of different departments, I get to talk to commercial people, but I [also] get to talk to chefs, I get to talk to engineers, you’re constantly kind of linking these different departments.

Want to learn more about Marks journey from the arts into the food industry? If so, check out the full episode below!

Angela Trofymova, Group Testing Manager for the Good Housekeeping Institute

Angela Trofymova from the Good Housekeeping Institute

Angela’s heads up taste-testing at the Good Housekeeping Institute, acting as a quality gatekeeper for new products entering the market. Angela has held roles both within and outside the food industry, making her uniquely qualified to assess it’s relative merits. Here’s what she had to say:

The industry is such a vibrant and inclusive place! I think it’s great that you guys are letting everybody know about the amazing careers available in food.

Thanks Angela! Listen to the full episode to find out how you can secure a job like Angela’s, what qualifications you might need and how a meeting with Heston Blumenthal set her up for where she is today.

David Lloyd, Senior Research and Development Manager at Huel

Professional event photography

Professional event photography

Graduating from Loughborough university with a degree in Chemical Engineering, it is slightly unconventional that David wasn’t swallowed into the world of Petrochemicals and Pharmaceuticals with most of his peers.

Instead, he ended up in Research and Development and now holds a Senior R&D position at Huel, a food company engineering nutritionally complete, plant-based meal products.

Although he didn’t initially set out to follow such a career path, he couldn’t imagine being anywhere else now:

I don’t think I could have ended up in a better industry, with everything that’s going on, all the innovation, it’s actually a really exciting place to to work.

Listen to the full episode to find out how Dr Lloyd found the move from Unilever to Huel, how much you can expect to earn if you follow a career path like his, and enjoy some questions from our audience of students who attended the event.

Looking for a profession with purpose? With our careers guide, you can explore exciting opportunities in the food sector, hone your employability skills and discover the best apprenticeships across the country. Sign up for free and kickstart your food career today.