Name: Katie Adams
Job title: Business development executive
Company & location: Ashbury – The Product Information People, London
Education: University of Warwick, History (BA)
Why did you decide to go for a career in food? Although my degree was not focused on food, I had always had a passion for exploring different ways of eating such as plant-based foods; I consider myself a conscious consumer when it comes to understanding what is in my food. I came across the role for Ashbury and was immediately interested in what it had to offer. The premise of being able to help companies launch safe food products, whilst learning about food law and relationship management on the way was in my eyes a great opportunity.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): Introducing new clients to Ashbury, explaining our services and how we can assist with their product compliance; whilst managing relationships with new and existing clients to guide them through their journey to compliance.
What does a typical day look like for you? Lots of communication and project management! Every day is different, some days I may spend more time focusing on current projects, while other days I’m reaching out for new business. My morning starts with nurturing new leads, then I set about managing my current projects. After my cuppa and a biscuit, I chat to clients we have worked with previously, just to check in on how their products are progressing and when I will see them on shelves.
“I am fascinated by the detail that goes into food regulation”
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. I applied online initially for my role at Ashbury. I filled in some information about myself, attached my CV and provided a cover letter about why I wanted to work for them. The second stage was an interview in person at their head office in London. The interview was mainly asking me about my time at uni, what skills I felt I had learnt, and explaining the role to me and the challenges it brought. I felt so comfortable during the interview, as they made me feel relaxed and encouraged me to be myself when answering. I was looking for a company that I felt had the right kind of culture for me, so I was keen to work at Ashbury.
What’s the best part about working for a food company? Variety and innovation. One day I can be dealing with a relatively big client working with chocolate and the next day I can be presenting to a CBD startup who knows nothing about food compliance regulations. I am fascinated by the detail that goes into food regulation and I find great satisfaction in helping our clients understand this, and seeing their finished product ready for market on the other side! It’s amazing to be part of bringing new innovative products to life; and exciting, as it gives you an idea of what is on trend in terms of food and what will be popular on the shelves in months to come.
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? That everything regarding designing and launching a new product, or launching in a new market, runs smoothly! Food and drink products must overcome so many obstacles in terms of complying to regulations before they can even think about getting their product on the shelves. I also think there is this idea that the food and drink industry doesn’t allow much room for growth, but the diversity of clients and products has meant I have grown really quickly at Ashbury, and is a tribute to the vast opportunity the industry presents.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? It is OK to not know every single word or terminology when you first start out! Also, company culture is super important, look for mentorship and support so you can truly grow – I’m lucky to have plenty of this at Ashbury.
What’s your ultimate career dream? I would love the opportunity to be an account director for a major global retailer. Ashbury have recently given me the opportunity for progression, working as an account manager for one of the largest global retailers, so I am certainly on my way to that goal.