Name: Jake Rylands
Job title: Shopper marketing executive
Company & location: FrieslandCampina UK, Horsham
Education: University of East Anglia, Business Management BSc
Why did you decide to go for a career in food? I grew up with visibility of fmcg and food brands from an early age. My dad is a brand designer, so school holidays were spent in his office working with him on different aspects of brand creation. What drew me to a career in food was exploring how products can win consumers over through developing an identity.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): My role is to successfully execute all the amazing shopper brand plans we have developed throughout the year. I work cross-functionally with other teams within FrieslandCampina to manage multiple activations from start to finish.
What does a typical day look like for you? I am very lucky to be working across a variety of brands at FrieslandCampina. Each brand is in different stages of its life-cycle, so there is a separate way of working across each.
I get to work with an established brand, like Yazoo, as well as brands that have just launched in the UK like Chocomel, which is great experience. I work with retailer media buyers and creative agencies on a regular basis so being able to build strong working relationships is something I pride myself on and get a lot of enjoyment out of. I am usually presenting internally or externally, which wasn’t something I was expecting when I first joined, but now it’s one of my favourite parts!
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. I was told about this role by a recruitment agency and after researching the company, I saw they had amazing progression plans. The first stage was an informal interview with the marketing manager, then the second was an interview with the marketing manager, brand manager for Yazoo, and the MD of FrieslandCampina UK! I had to present my own ideas on the future of the Yazoo brand – it was a tough task given I didn’t have access to the brand, but I really enjoyed it. Another plus: I landed the job on my birthday!
“If you like new challenges, then food is a great sector to work in”
What’s the best part about working for a food company? Food is part of our everyday lives and there’s no feeling like seeing your hard work on shelves and online. If you like new challenges, then food is a great sector to work in – you work towards a solution that makes its way to not just yourself and your team, but also to consumers. Additionally, there is always a fully stocked fridge with our brands’ products!
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? Before working within the food industry, I had no idea how much goes into having a product on shelf. I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that most food brands are being driven by multinational agendas. From my experience at FC all our brands and products on shelf have been created with consumers front of mind, from consumer research.
Before working within the food industry, I had no idea how much goes into having a product on shelf. I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that most food brands are being driven by multinational agendas. From my experience at FrieslandCampina UK, all our brands and products on shelf have been created with consumers front of mind, and from consumer research.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Have a long-term plan for where you want to get to as this will set you up for success. There are no stupid questions. Be confident in your strengths and don’t be daunted by the process – there is so much to be learned on the job. Always remember that people want to see you succeed.
What’s your ultimate career dream? I want to one day have my own brand strategy agency. I have a career roadmap in place that sets me up for this and have had lots of support from my line manager on development areas and opportunities to allow me to meet that goal. The dream is to be a marketing strategy expert that helps businesses drive their food and drink brands.