Name: Charlotte Moody
Job title: Brands innovation manager
Company & location: Kinnerton Confectionery, London
Education: I have a BSc in Baking Technology Management from the National Bakery School at London South Bank University. I studied a host of modules ranging from Luxury Continental Patisserie to Business Environmental Management and Applied Food Science. I was also admitted into The Worshipful Company of Bakers as a freeman after I graduated, one of the oldest City of London liveries.
Why did you decide to go for a career in food? I have always had a keen interest in the food industry stemming back to when I was at school, I loved studying food technology as well as art & design and had a passion for baking, so I applied to the National Bakery School with the ambition of opening my own business. In second year, I had a module in product development and instantly knew that was the ideal path for me – I could channel my creativity into something bigger.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): I develop and innovate on year-round and seasonal product ranges, working with marketing to come up with product concepts, and then working alongside the packaging and NPD teams to manage projects, such as our new brand Forest of Hope, through to launch.
What does a typical day look like for you? I work across three brands; Forest of Hope, Nomo and Kinnerton Kids, which all have different requirements, so my days vary. I am often brainstorming new product concepts for seasonal lines or hosting a number of meetings each week to check in with various stakeholders on a range of projects. I work with the NPD team to develop chocolate moulds and new recipes as well as with the packaging team to bring concepts to life in an efficient and cost-effective way. Occasionally I visit the factory to see our exciting new NPD lines launch. Due to Covid restrictions I wasn’t able to attend the launch of our Forest of Hope surprise eggs so had to view it via video instead, which just wasn’t the same!
“I had a module in product development and instantly knew that was the ideal path for me”
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. I found my role through a recruiter. There were two stages to my interview, at the time I was living in Manchester so I had my first interview over Skype, once I progressed to the second interview I had to travel down to London to meet my now manager in the office. I was asked to prepare a presentation benchmarking chocolate sharing bags in the market and then present a product I felt filled the gap. I always find situation interview questions tough as you never know what you’ll get, but if you come prepared with a variety of examples you will always find something that relates in some way.
What’s the best part about working for a food company? Seeing your products on shelf. Nothing can beat the feeling of seeing a customer pick up the product that you have spent months developing and put it in their basket. It really validates all the hard work and effort that has gone into the lines.
Getting to taste chocolate samples on a regular basis is also a very big perk of the job!
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? That you have to come from a food background, though I did, I work with a lot of people who have come from all sorts of backgrounds like fashion design and English literature. There are a lot more transferable skills than you may think.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? An invaluable piece of advice I received when starting out was to start your career at a manufacturer. You gain great experience by learning about processes and how the factory works that will greatly benefit you as you progress. When I started my first role I was put on the shop floor to work for a week and found that this enriched my understanding of how the products are made and how the factory runs, something I have brought forward into my current job. The product may be different, but the processes will always be somewhat similar.
What’s your ultimate career dream? My ultimate career dream is to head up an innovation and NPD team, developing exciting new brands and ranges that benefits the world in some way. I have been inspired working on Forest of Hope, our chocolate surprise eggs bring joy to children in the UK, but at the same time we are helping out communities and wildlife in Sierra Leone, as well as reducing plastic consumption. There is an ever-growing need to change the way we consume, and I want to be a part of the solution, developing products that do good in the world and benefit society as a whole.