Zoe Stroud

Name: Zoe Stroud

Age: 29

Job title: Brand manager

Company & location: The Flavourists

Education: Nottingham Trent University, Fashion Marketing and Branding

Why did you decide to go for a career in food? I’ve always been a massive foodie but really started to become interested in the future of food while I was studying at uni and decided to focus my last year studies on the future of the food industry. Part of this project involved creating a brand from scratch and I absolutely loved the challenge and creativity of the process. I also love that food can connect people, change lives and has the power to influence people’s behaviour for the better through health and the environment.

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): At The Flavourists, we are a newly launched brand on a mission to grow, so we’re focused on learning fast. My role covers anything from brand to comms, engaging with influencers, activating in-store shopper activation and designing new packaging, to developing the latest new products to hit the shelves. It’s broad and I love the variety.

What does a typical day look like for you? There’s not really a “typical” day as such and it depends on where we are in the month, but if I’m working from home, I’ll log on and check emails, diary and our social media accounts and will respond to any urgent messages. We usually work remotely, so I’ll check in with my team – it’s really important for me that I can have a chat and communicate with them as working from home can sometimes be lonely! I usually have a couple of meetings throughout the day so I will spend some time setting myself up and ensuring I’m fully prepped. At the moment, I am focusing on our social media strategy so will spend a couple of hours of focused time in the afternoon, working on strategy, implementations and generally keeping my finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the world of social.

“It’s not every day an opportunity to develop a brand comes around”

Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. I saw the role on LinkedIn and immediately felt the appeal of helping to create a plant-based brand from scratch – it’s not every day an opportunity to develop a brand comes around! There were a couple of interview stages, a friendly chat, then a more formal competency style interview. I also completed a couple of psychometric tests (my least favourite thing to do!) and finally a case study, which I had a set amount of time to complete and answer questions on. There’s always tough questions in interviews but for me, personally, it’s so important that your passion shines through. Your interviewer will know if you’re genuinely passionate about the role and it can make a huge difference to whether you’re offered the role.

What’s the best part about working for a food company? The fast pace and variety is so appealing to me. There’s always something to learn, a new technology, process or ingredient and it’s absolutely fascinating. I adore our development sessions and being able to eat The Flavourists dishes when in the office is a dream!

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? That it’s all about eating/tasting the food – there’s so much more that goes on behind the scenes and many cogs that turn to get food on to shelves and into homes. It’s so fascinating!

What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Firstly, try and work for a brand/area that you’re passionate about. Passion is your superpower and will set you apart from other candidates. Secondly, try your hardest to get some work experience in different businesses and roles within the industry – you might happen to stumble across something you love or find a job role you never knew existed.

What’s your ultimate career dream? My ultimate career dream is to see The Flavourists thriving on supermarket shelves across the world in 20 years’ time and where eating more plants is deemed completely normal! Creating a brand that has the potential and power to encourage people to cook more creatively, all while eating more plants, will be incredibly satisfying.

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