Ollie Image

Name: Ollie Evans

Age: 25

Job title: International account manager

Company & location: Princes Limited, Liverpool

Education: Business management at Liverpool John Moores University

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A Formula 1 driver.

Why did you decide to go for a career in food & drink? From an early age I was always curious about how our food and drink ended up on supermarket shelves, and I suppose that interest never fizzled out. Fast forward a few years (decades) to my university studies, I started to understand the sheer size and complexity of the food and drink industry, and the cross-market collaboration required to get said product on said shelf.

“It’s rewarding to work somewhere that cares”

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): I am responsible for building and maintaining strong relationships with our customer accounts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – this involves understanding their needs, preferred ways of working, and business objectives. Ultimately, it’s all about driving sales and revenue growth through negotiating pricing, promotions, and longer-term contracts to maximise profitability, while ensuring complete customer satisfaction.

What does a typical day look like for you? I’m really lucky to say there isn’t a ‘typical’ day for me as my job is so varied, but a lot of my time is spent liaising with our customer contacts in MENA.

Great communication is key for our relationships, as we work in different time zones and continue to invest in understanding our respective work cultures, the latter of which makes these connections exceptionally interesting. In terms of the technical elements of my day to day, it sits with me to make sure we’re compliant with legal and regulatory requirements, and that our customers are fully satisfied.

Tell us how you went about applying for your job: I joined Princes fresh out of university, through the commercial graduate scheme. It was a rigorous and competitive process, but great fun. After writing 500 words answering ‘why Princes, why me?’, I had to conduct a SWOT analysis of the Princes brand – no pressure – to identify growth opportunities. Everything was wrapped up with an assessment day, where we had our final interview and got to present an NPD idea from our group work.

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I was thrilled to get the job, and enormously grateful it allowed me to try so many different roles across the business including buying, marketing and sales to give me a deeper understanding of the industry, so I could get a feel for where I wanted my career to head.

What’s the best part about working for a food & drink company? I love the impact food and drink has on our lives – from that everyday sit-down dinner, to the connection and memories we make on special occasions, there is so much meaning to our meals.

I also have the opportunity to contribute to people’s experiences and enjoyment, whether it’s through creating delicious products, promoting healthy, affordable options, or supporting sustainable practices. People are also at the heart of the creativity and innovation, with Princes products, and our industry, both constantly evolving.

princes full range 2024

The Princes range includes brands like Napolina, Branston and Crosse & Blackwell

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? I’d love to be able to show people how much we care about what we do, and that we care about our impact. That’s certainly what I’ve seen and felt at Princes – it’s rewarding to work somewhere that cares.

I really do take pride in working for a business that makes and upholds its commitments, like our pledge to source 100% of our branded tuna from Marine Stewardship Council certified fisheries by the end of 2025, and our work in Italy with Coldiretti and Oxfam to ensure financial security and human rights protection for tomato growers.

What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Keep an eye on the industry and how it’s evolving. There’s so much value in understanding the latest industry trends, market dynamics, consumer preferences and regulatory changes. If you’re passionate about F&D, this won’t be a chore, and will help you get in front of the curve, putting you in a brilliant position to connect with customers, consumers, and prospective employers.

What’s your ultimate career dream? Well, the food industry has me hooked! Although my skills as an account manager are transferrable to other industries, I don’t see myself going anywhere. I’d like to experience different categories and temperature bands so my experience is well-rounded enough to secure a director-level role in the future.

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