Jane's degree in nutrition has provided her with a solid foundation. Find out how she hopes to further develop her career in nutrition and wellness
How did you get your job?
I studied for a degree in nutrition at the University of Leeds and I saw the job posted on our school's (Food Science and Nutrition) job page. I submitted a CV and cover letter and was then invited to an initial interview where I went to the head office and answered competency-based questions. I was then invited back a month later for a second interview where I did a presentation about nutrition and health claims.
What's a typical working day like?
I generally get into the office around 8am before it gets busy to catch up on emails. I often have quite a few project meetings in one day because I consult on nutrition and regulatory matters on projects across all three of our brands. These involve reviewing the progress of product development for new and existing products, seeing how these fit with our nutrition targets and identifying opportunities or flagging any issues that may arise from a regulatory perspective.
When the office gets busier I often have visitors at my desk with marketers consulting me about artwork designs and asking about opportunities for claims, or product developers wanting to find out if new ingredients are suitable to use in our products.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I really enjoy working across all three of our brands. Most roles within the business focus on only one, and I enjoy working closely with people from different teams, namely marketing and product development.
I have felt challenged in my two years of being here and have been given a lot of responsibility, which has encouraged me to rise to it.
My next move is to gain product development experience as in many companies nutrition fits within this function
What are the challenges?
As this role sits within the regulatory team, the main challenge I face daily is reigning in marketing when it comes to claims they want to make on packaging and in brand communications. There are a lot of legislative restrictions in place which limit what we can say, and so negotiation and assertiveness is vital in this role.
In what way is your degree relevant?
I think having a nutrition background has given me a good foundation for the role as I get many queries from marketing, product development, sales, procurement and even questions from consumers regarding the nutritional profiles of our products and brands.
Although I'm rarely required to go into great detail about the science of nutrition, it helps hugely to have a basic understanding of how nutritional components make up our overall profile, and the relevance of nutrition and health claims.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
I spent a big chunk of the first year of the role training in food labelling legislation - we distribute to markets all over the world so I received training in EU, American, Canadian, Australian legislation and more.
In the second year I have been able to get more into the nutrition elements of the role, working with marketing teams to create nutrition targets for each brand. This has been a fantastic development experience for me and it felt great to role this out after working on it for so long.
My next move is to gain product development experience as in many companies nutrition fits within this function. I'm keen to progress in the next year so feel that having nutrition, regulatory and product development experience will help me do this, and I would like to work within a company that has a focus on nutrition and wellness.
What tips do you have for others wanting to get into this job?
- Show passion for the brand and products - it makes a job a lot easier and more enjoyable when you care about the end product you're producing.
- Learn to organise and prioritise - working on multiple projects at once can get very confusing and it's important to keep organised and to not be afraid to ask for regular updates and recaps.
- Never stop learning.