regan howard nisa

Name: Regan Howard

Age: 25

Job title: Campaign & media partnerships manager

Company & location: Nisa Retail, Scunthorpe

Education: Sheffield Hallam, Media Studies BA Hons

Why did you decide to go for a career in food? I came across it by accident if I’m honest. I was working part-time for the BBC at a local radio station (my goal was to become a radio program producer when I was at university), but I quickly learnt that local radio wasn’t for me and I wanted something more creative, with progression opportunities to jump into. I came across a job advert online for a marketing assistant and the rest is history – three and a half years later, I’ve had three promotions (two of which have been new roles to the business) and can’t enter a food retailer without analysing PoS, looking at NPD or looking at pricing.

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): It’s split into two parts. The media side of my role is to help suppliers advertise their products on our media channels, whether it’s NPD or a key above-the-line campaign. The campaign side of my role focuses on creating engaging campaigns for our retailers and shoppers including Christmas, summer and in category events such as our bi-annual wine festivals.

What does a typical day look like for you? I’m pretty lucky to have a varied job role. One minute I’ll be talking to a supplier, the next I’ll be creating a mood board for an event and then I could be deep in a spreadsheet analysing where our next media opportunity could come from.

“It’s really interesting to see the data and insights that go into these creations and what type of shopper engages with different NPD”

Tell us how you went about applying for your job. When I was applying for the marketing assistant role there were two stages to the interview – a standard ‘get to know you’ phase and then a task, which was checking PoS that had been booby-trapped with errors… I’m pleased to say I only missed one!

What’s the best part about working for a food company? Seeing all the NPD before it goes live! I’m lucky to work with suppliers across licenced, ambient, chilled and frozen so we get line of sight of what’s going to be launched in six to 12 months. It’s also really interesting to see the data and insights that go into these creations and what type of shopper engages with different NPD. There’s normally a sample or two involved too which is a bonus.

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? I don’t think people quite realise the time, effort, planning and insights that go into making decisions in the food industry.

What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Three main things for me: Go for it –don’t be afraid to come to the table with ideas if you believe in them. Be open to criticism – I used to (and still can) take criticism personally, but if everything was always right, you wouldn’t learn or move forward. Look at trends around you – these don’t have to be off-trade food trends either. I recently used trends that have been growing in the on-trade as well as home décor to recreate our wine festival creative.

What’s your ultimate career dream? I’ve never really looked more than two to three years ahead so this is difficult to say.

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