Name: Eve Crump
Job title: Category development manager
Company & location: Pladis, London HQ
Education: University of Leicester, Law LLB
Why did you decide to go for a career in food? I’ve always been a foodie, spending my spare time cooking for family and friends. In my early teens I was a finalist in the Tesco Young Chef of the Year competition, but it wasn’t until second year of uni that I considered going into the food industry as a career. I was doing a law degree and had been set on a legal career since A-levels, gaining work experience at law firms and shadowing barristers. It was only when talking about my food passion that I thought about looking at graduate schemes in the food industry and combining my passion with a career! I came across Pladis and really liked the look of their graduate scheme. The scheme had rotations between departments, which I found exciting, and involved working with some great brands that are national treasures like McVitie’s and Jacob’s!
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): I work in our category team – we help our customers (big food retailers) grow their businesses. As a unit, we work closely with our own marketing and customer teams to offer information, market insights and strategy support to our customers.
What does a typical day look like for you? A typical day consists of working on customer projects where we’re helping to grow their biscuit and snacking sales in their stores. I’ll usually have meetings with our account teams, and I’ll check the news to see what is going on in the market. Before Covid-19 I’d be in depots, stores, doing trade shows and attending events too but this is all virtual for now! Obviously my day inevitably includes the consumption of biscuits, too. I’m a fan of a classic Rich Tea – it’s definitely a perk of the job.
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. My application to Pladis was quite a thorough process. After a written online application, including online testing and a video interview, I was invited to an assessment centre day. This involved an overnight stay and full day that included a series of interviews with different departments, including team building exercises and presentations (it was very intense yet exciting, I felt like I was moving into an industry that I would enjoy!). It was a great opportunity to meet so many people within the business and ask questions. It also meant that by the time I started there were a lot of friendly faces I’d met during my assessment day!
“There are a lot of different cogs turning to keep a snacking business this big running smoothly”
What’s the best part about working for a food company? I absolutely love seeing products I’ve worked on out there in the market – it feels tangible and exciting! One of my favourite things to do is visit our factory sites – it really puts it into perspective how big our business is when you see the thousands of biscuits coming off the line!
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? When people think about working in the food industry I think they have a limited idea of what roles are available, based on what they can see on shelf, but there are so many careers within a large fmcg company. At Pladis there are so many brands globally such as McVitie’s in the UK, Verkade in Europe and Ülker in Turkey (plus many more!) which means the variety is huge. There are a lot of different cogs turning to keep a snacking business this big running smoothly.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? I’ve always been really keen to share our business and the opportunities within fmcg. This led me to championing a partnership between Pladis and Career Ready, a charity that reaches out to students from low socio-economic backgrounds. We delivered a virtual work experience placement in 2020 working with Career Ready and Loughborough University, which we advertised on LinkedIn, so look out for experiences online! There are some great organisations out there with an aim to help young people navigate the tricky world of work so it’s worth doing some research to see if there are any you can be a part of. There’s bound to be a career within fmcg that suits you as the roles and industry is so varied, you’ll just need to spend time thinking about what aspects you’d like best. Articles on The Grocer are a good start!
What’s your ultimate career dream? I enjoy keeping on top of emerging trends and the data analysis that comes with it, but I love the people element of my role and I’d like to lead a team in the future. I’ve also worked on some interesting sustainability and outreach projects where I’ve enjoyed the project management aspect too. I’m always open to new challenges working with different teams internally, so I’ll see where it takes me!