Name: Zack Nathan
Job title: Founder
Company: Ape Snacks, London
Education: I dropped out of Cornell University after a semester!
Why did you decide to go for a career in food?
Everything on the shelves said it was healthy and natural but it really wasn’t
The summer before university, my mum took some coconut flakes, put them in a pan with cinnamon and salt and toasted them to perfection. I didn’t want to go to uni in the first place but, when I got to my university in America, everything on the shelves said it was healthy and natural but it really wasn’t. This needs to change.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two):
My job is to provide the team with the tools and the resources to do what they do best, have fun, learn and stretch themselves. I also make snacks :)
What does a typical day look like for you?
It seriously varies, but I am a pretty heavy workaholic. As the business grows, I find my time is spent more on working on product, meeting with partners (suppliers and customers), interviewing and exploring growth opportunities. We are based in Farringdon, so I try to have most of my meetings around there. I’m in a “packed-lunch” sort of mode so, these days, I’ll eat at my desk. I’m usually in around 8am-9:30am depending on the day and out between 6pm-9pm. If it’s a Friday afternoon, the team have drinks in the office so productivity slowly subdues around 4pm!
What’s the best part about running your own food company?
We are in one of the most competitive, consumer driven, spaces in the world. I think it’s great to learn from the successes and further your understanding about consumer needs, wants and choice. Importantly, though, you can have real impact on the lives of millions.
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink?
You spend your whole day eating!
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry?
It’s an industry that requires persistence but if you manage to break through you can apply that skill to anything else in life.
Do it! It’s becoming an incredibly well funded and innovative industry that’s truly on the verge of some serious disruption (new channels, new need states, new products, new manufacturing technologies etc). It’s an industry that requires persistence but if you manage to break through you can apply that skill to anything else in life.
What’s your ultimate career dream?
To move healthcare from a profit base built on curing to a profit base built on prevention.