mark mccarthy burger king

Name: Mark McCarthy

Job title: Food innovation manager

Company: Burger King UK

What was your first job? I worked in the local newsagents near my house when I was 14.

What’s been your worst job interview? Luckily there have been no car crash interviews. The assessment centre for my graduate scheme was an intense experience, but I felt like I was on The Apprentice and ended up quite enjoying it.

What was the first music single you bought? I was more likely to buy video games over CDs when growing up.

However I could always rely on my brother to buy me the latest Now That’s What I Call Music album for Christmas.

How do you describe your job to your friends? A creative project manager who gets to try a lot of food. Surprisingly, it’s a role many people just don’t think or know about.

“I still get a buzz from seeing a product launch nationwide and know thousands of people will get to enjoy it”

What is the most rewarding part of your job? I still get a buzz from seeing a product launch nationwide and know thousands of people will get to enjoy it, I may be guilty of reading the odd online review too.

When I worked for The Collective, my face even appeared on a yoghurt lid alongside a tasty recipe, which was pretty cool.

What is the least rewarding part? The challenge that we all face in fmcg of balancing the excitement of creating new products that can bring a moment of happiness to the consumer with the impact that product can have on health or the environment.

However, being in an innovation role means I can influence the decisions being made and bring these considerations into development from the very beginning.

What is your motto in life? “Awk sure, it’ll be OK” (said in a very Northern Irish accent).

I find myself saying it to myself and others in many scenarios and I feel that it shows my optimistic view on things.

If you were allowed one dream perk, what would it be? To have Bernard’s watch so I could just hit pause every now and then.


Do you have any phobias? Small portions and dry food!

If you could change one thing in grocery, what would it be? Better alignment across retailers on environmental, ethical and health initiatives to enable a bigger collective impact from brands and suppliers.

I have seen this improve over the years but having retailer specific requirements for major issues like these can still be used too much like USP rather than an industry standard.

What luxury would you have on a desert island? A solar-powered fridge/freezer full off food and drink.

What animal most reflects your personality? Maybe a squirrel?

Always on the search for more food, a bit of a hoarder (a typical trait of many people in NPD… we just can’t let go of a packaging and samples) and preparing for what may come.

What’s your favourite film and why? Not necessarily my favourite, but one of my most watched is Pitch Perfect.

I’m in a choir so it fuels my fantasy of thinking I could ever sound like that!

What has been the most embarrassing moment in your life? Admitting Pitch Perfect is one of my most watched movies.

Which celebrity would you most like to work with and why? Nigella Lawson.

Her passion for food is positively palpable (she would have described it way better).

What would your death row meal be? For the nostalgia, I think it would have to be my mum’s stewed pork ribs in gravy with white bread and plenty of butter, finished off with a brownie and a glass of milk.

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