Name: Matt Pugh
Job title: Trader/buyer
Company & location: Shropshire Trading, Shrewsbury
Education: Education wasn’t really for me so I used the whole school thing as an opportunity to sell sweets and drinks that the canteen didn’t range. (I reckon I took about 60% of the market share at one point.) Buying and selling was in my blood!
Why did you decide to go for a career in food? By chance to start with professionally. However, I always had a keen interest in buying and selling food. Obviously being a big foodie helped a lot.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): I’m a problem stock solver who loves to give great value to less fortunate.
What does a typical day look like for you? Knocking down the doors to manufacturers big and small, supporting them to move along any problem stocks.
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. It was really more down to dealing with Shropshire in a previous role. I was already very familiar with the business and the amazing team. Interview-wise I had two: one with the trading director and head of HR, and the second with the business owner to run through a SWOT analysis. “Tell us about yourself” can be a difficult one when put on the spot (where do you start?). However, I always try and answer it with something along the lines of “what you see with me is what you get: a straight-talking, honest and hard-working individual”.
“What I really love about Shropshire Trading is that it’s helping reduce food waste”
What’s the best part about working for a food company? The list is never-ending, but what I really love about Shropshire Trading is that it’s helping reduce food waste whilst getting some great brands into our customers at amazing prices. Seeing your product on the shelf in a retailer is one of the best feelings, especially when you know you’ve stopped it from going in the ground, too.
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? It’s just numbers and people in suits.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Ensure you have a gym membership because you eat a lot without really noticing… Seriously though, the industry is just as stressful as any other industry, but it can be very rewarding personally and financially with the right attitude and work ethic. Understand your goals and objectives and plan a lot in advance.
What’s your ultimate career dream? To take the 100% market share of the school canteen.