Name: Lauren Smith
Job title: Marketing manager
Company & location: Levercliff, Wrexham
Education: English Literature BA, Bangor University
Why did you decide to go for a career in food? Like a lot of people, it was a happy accident. I began my career working in marketing in the power tool industry. Whilst I enjoyed the marketing aspect, the industry wasn’t one I was passionate about. I’m a bit of a foodie and always enjoy trying new foods or visiting new restaurants, so to pair my experience in marketing with my passion for food and drink seemed like a no-brainer.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): I work primarily in Wales and work closely with the two Welsh government clusters that Levercliff facilitates – Drinks and Sustainability. In particular I co-ordinate the Welsh Wine Special Interest Group (SIG) to help Welsh Wine reach its growth aspirations and showcase why it is a key player within the UK’s broader food and drink scene.
What does a typical day look like for you? My job is incredibly varied and one day can look very different from the next. From strategy planning sessions to desk research to sampling with trade and consumers at trade shows, I get to wear many hats and be a part of the development of Welsh food and drink.
“I help Welsh wine reach its growth aspirations and showcase why it is a key player in the UK food and drink scene”
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. When I started at Levercliff, I joined as an insight analyst. It was a two-stage interview process, with the second stage involving a presentation. Ahead of the interview, we were given a client brief along with some industry data and were tasked with providing a market overview and developing recommendations for the client – replicating what we would be expected to deliver when in post. It was the first time I’d worked with retail data and took me some time to get my head around (what’s ROS?!) but once I’d got to grips with it, it only affirmed my desire to get the job.
What’s the best part about working with food & drink? Being on top of the latest trends and market developments, working with really exciting companies that are driving innovation… and sampling in the name of research isn’t terrible!
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? I think people often believe that a job in food and drink is just on the shop floor. The supply chain can be really complex and there are many steps involved in getting food on the shelves or served in restaurants. From NPD, consumer research to finance, there are so many more roles available in the journey than it may seem.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Be curious and get stuck in. No one is expecting you to know everything from day one, so be a sponge and ask the questions, no matter how obvious it might seem.
What’s your ultimate career dream? I want to always be working in a purpose-led role and making an impact in whatever I do. I’ve also always wanted to deliver a TED talk… topic to be decided!