Sam Dixon Higgidy

Name: Samuel Dixon

Age: 27

Job title: Junior buyer 

Company & location: Higgidy, Shoreham-by-Sea

Education: Media Studies at University of Brighton

Why did you decide to go for a career in food? Living in Brighton, there is no shortage of amazing restaurants and pop-ups to indulge in, which sparked the ‘foodie’ in me. Plus, everyone has to eat! I took a job at a meat wholesaler after graduating from university, and for five years was part of not only being a competitive force through price point and consistency, but working on projects that delivered premium quality, sustainability and a focus on provenance.

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): My role involves working alongside our NPD team, assisting with the procurement and approval of new ingredients required for new and existing recipes and projects. I also support the business through managing the purchasing of non-stock related items and services like PPE and food vending.

What does a typical day look like for you? It’s generally divided between assisting departments with the purchasing of goods and services, monitoring the progress of NPD/EPD projects I am involved in, and working on goods and services projects. As a procurement team, we regularly meet with suppliers to maintain optimum levels of service for the business and build relationships. In addition to this, I sit on our ‘Green Beans’ sustainability panel, which implements environmental initiatives at Higgidy and our Food Waste Strategy team, which focuses on reducing our total food waste as a business.

“Living in Brighton, there is no shortage of amazing restaurants and pop-ups to indulge in, which sparked the ‘foodie’ in me”

Tell us about how you went about applying for your job: I had an initial online interview with the procurement manager, and then was invited to visit the site for a second round, which involved preparing a presentation on conducting a tender with a packaging supplier. My purchasing background wasn’t as strong in packaging, which required research, but I didn’t find it too difficult as the purchasing skills and framework I’d established could easily be applied to any goods and services.

What’s the best part about working for a food company? The satisfaction and joy of seeing consumers enjoy the final product that you have been involved in creating is fantastic, especially when sourcing and approving the ingredients has presented challenges. I also equally get as much out of working on EPD projects – if the projects I’ve worked on has resulted in a cost saving, more efficient usage in production or improving a product through taste profile or sustainability – then I consider it a big win!

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? That it must be the same, every working day. The industry is fast-paced and there’s always challenges to overcome – whether it be around supply chain, technical, logistics – your expertise is always relied on in different ways every day. You need to be motivated and flexible. You certainly won’t get bored.

What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Gain a full understanding and appreciation of as many functions within the food & drink industry by working within different teams. I started with a warehouse logistics role and by the time I moved on I had experience in (or a basic understanding of) the company’s purchasing, sales, technical, marketing and finance sectors. Appreciating the function of each area will enable you to successfully work as a team and achieve company targets.

What’s your ultimate career dream? To continue the career path in procurement, applying the skills I’ve learnt not just to food elements, but all areas of the business, in order to gain experience for a senior procurement role. During this progression I’d like to explore gaining a CIPS qualification to enhance my knowledge within the field.

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