Name: Joanne Ingham
Job title: Food Service Marketing Executive
Company & location: Sambazon, London
Education: Durham University, German and Spanish
Why did you decide to go for a career in food? After graduating, I wanted to find a job that I’m really passionate about, and represented bigger issues and values that I care about, rather than just financial gains. I’ve always been really interested in healthy food and healthy eating in general, and sustainability is also very important to me, so Sambazon seemed like the perfect fit. More and more people want to work for a brand that really cares about the planet, and Sambazon does that and more.
“More and more people want to work for a brand that really cares about the planet”
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): Sambazon is the world’s leading producer of Açaí and it is my job to look after the food service accounts and make sure everything is running smoothly. We are stocked in some amazing accounts across London and around the UK, and it’s great to be able to check in with our partners and see their customers enjoying Açaí bowls, smoothies and recipes as much as we do!
What does a typical day look like for you? There is no typical day at Sambazon, we’re a small team so everyone mucks in and every day is really varied – from sampling at Whole Foods Market, producing dedicated point of sale materials, running an influencer event at Leeds University to hosting our Purple Açaí Breakfasts for offices around the country. All the staff at Sambazon are bound together by our shared attitudes towards bigger issues and initiatives: sustainability, social and environmental causes and ethics, and this makes for a really positive day and team spirit!
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. I applied through Escape the City, which has job opportunities for working with exciting brands and start-ups, which is where I saw the role. Then I had a number of interviews with Sambazon’s Marketing Manager and Managing Director. There were no taxing questions, Sambazon believe that the interview process is just as important for you as it is for them, it’s about finding passionate, likeminded people who believe in the great work Sambazon are doing and luckily it all came quite naturally, which confirmed it was the right job or me.
What’s the best part about working for a food company? Free açai?! In all seriousness, what I love about working for Sambazon is that it’s the only Açaí company that is purpose-driven, and directly impacts the natural environment in a positive way – it’s extremely rare for brands to do that! Each Açaí bowl purchased directly helps to prevent deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and gives back to its local ecosystem. The brand’s backstory is amazing because they’re not just a food company: they are truly ethical at every step of the supply chain to ensure that Açaí berries are sustainably harvested, and that farmers are paid fair wages.
Another great thing about working with such a fast-growing brand is that you can get people really excited about Açaí and watch the movement grow, getting involved in every element of the business and really making an impact day to day.
“Simple things like your Instagram feed and your hobbies and interests on your CV can say a lot about you”
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? I think it depends. On the one hand, living in London, I’d say the biggest misconception is that it is glamorous 100% of the time. Start-up brands and unknown categories require hard work and a lot of no’s before the hard work starts to pay off. It’s not all blogger events and social media, you have to want to get your hands dirty and put the hard work in to succeed. Equally, coming from the North, I would say also say that a big misconception is that the food industry is mundane and boring. People don’t realise how exciting and innovative the market is. As the market has continues to grow, there are more and more brands doing amazing things in the sector and introducing new ways of working that can improve the industry.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? You need to have a natural passion for your category and the industry in general, and be able to demonstrate this. Simple things like your Instagram feed and your hobbies and interests on your CV can say a lot about you as a person and that you’re really interested in the sector you want to get into. Young people need to work out what it is that they really find interesting and if you have the natural passion it will shine through.
What’s your ultimate career dream? Who knows, maybe to have my own business one day? At the moment I’m really enjoying learning from the team at Sambazon and am really happy where I am. I get to eat açai every day!