Olivia Sinclair Planted

Name: Olivia Sinclair

Age: 28

Job title: UK marketing manager

Company & location: Planted, London

Education: Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge

Why did you decide to go for a career in food? I’ve been a foodie since forever, and I love it for two reasons. One, there’s always something new and exciting to try – be it a new flavour trend, a new restaurant opening or a new chef on the scene. Two, everyone has an opinion on food – it’s super open to everyone – and I’m fascinated by the different things people love and why.

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two):  In a nutshell, I’m getting the UK super excited about the most delicious, clean label, plant-based meat. Being a lean team here in the UK, my role covers everything from big picture strategising, to managing our PR agency, to creating brand events, to trade marketing. 

What does a typical day look like for you? Pretty full on! Typically, my day will start with a team round-up for an update on all things sales, marketing and operations; and a chance to see what exciting opportunities are coming down the track, or if there’s anything we can support each other with. Then a call with our PR agency to run through press coverage achieved that week, as well as upcoming pieces and speaking opportunities, before time in with our digital team based in our head office in Switzerland (mindful of the time difference!) to review the social media calendar of upcoming posts. Lunchtime and it’s a quick nip to M&S. Back to the office to review the recipes written by our campaign partners Mob Kitchen and sign them off to go live later in the month. Couple of emails over a coffee, and then straight back into calls. Quick catch-up with our head chef Francois (previous to Planted he was at a triple Michelin-starred restaurant!) about which dishes we will be wowing visitors with at this year’s Casual Dining trade show, and then with our head of sales about our upcoming retailer pitch, before heading out of the office to swing by Planet Organic to see our new PoS in action.

 “The best part is being part of an industry that might just help us in the climate crisis”

Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. I was approached on LinkedIn, and the idea of Europe’s fastest-growing plant-based brand really excited me. I speak a little bit of German, and so alongside being in an industry I love, for a brand with matching values to my own, with the opportunity to travel and speak German, and an international team – it sounded too good to be true! The application was three rounds in total, spanning around four weeks. It was a virtual interview, then the second round was a face to face and presenting back a task-challenge (looking back, I can’t believe how nervous I was to chat to my now boss!) before a final round virtually with one of the founders and the CMO.

The toughest question after the classic ‘How would I launch us here in the UK?’ and ‘What are my strengths and weaknesses?’, was probably ‘What would my colleagues say about me?’, followed by ‘What would my friends say?’. I totally see now that it was all about getting values-led people for a right culture fit and attitude.

What’s the best part about working for a food company? Being part of an industry that’s so relevant to peoples’ lives every day; and one that might just help us in the climate crisis. The landscape is changing, and it’s so exciting seeing new technology, new legislation and new infrastructure go from idea to action in a short amount of time. Innovation is truly joyful, and when you pair it with products genuinely good for us, animals and the planet – what’s not to like?

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? That it’s easy to get a product on shelf. Even the best products out there are subject to range review windows, buying cycles, changing buyers, endless paperwork and unanswered emails. Next time you see a product on that Sainsbury’s or Tesco shelf, I can show you a team of people and their blood, sweat and tears who made it happen.

What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Have an opinion. Spend time at the fixtures. Get to know your favourite brands and why. Get stuck in. I think back to my first internship in a small food and drink PR agency, and I was delivering new products to journalists in their offices across London from a wheelie suitcase in the middle of a sweltering July. I felt like an Apprentice candidate, but it taught me the importance of building media relationships, the power of sampling, and how to secure exciting coverage and buzz around your product. 

What’s your ultimate career dream? To be famous for making a responsible, sustainable, delicious brand famous.

Interested in finding out more about food & drink careers? Check out GrocerJobs for the latest vacancies