Job Title: Assistant Category Manager

Company: Northern Foods – Fox’s Biscuits

Professional Qualification(s):
BSc (Hons) Modern Languages & Marketing Studies, 4 A levels, 8 GCSE’s. Currently studying for Chartered Institute of Marketing diploma

Degree studied at
Salford University

Brief Job Description
Responsible for brand management of the Fox’s adult chocolate biscuit portfolio 

My career so far…
I started as a trainee merchandiser at Tie Rack in Brentford, Middlesex. I was then a channel communications manager with BT Cellnet in Leeds.

What does your job involve in a typical day? 
I manage a portfolio of three chocolate biscuit brands. This involves defining and delivering brand plans to fit with the strategic direction and financial objectives of the company, whilst meeting the needs of end consumers and retailers. Day to day acting as product ‘champion’ for my brands. I manage new product development through cross functional teams and manage the design and origination of new packs. I also use internal and market data to monitor brand performance. I work with the commercial department to identify distribution gains and promotional opportunities and achieve brand growth and manage all activities to agreed budgets.
I work full time and spend most of my time in the office, although I often go out on store visits, to carry out competitive shops and observe in store activities, as well as visiting agencies and attending meetings.

What do you like most about your job?
Seeing through the NPD (new product development) process from the idea generation to actually seeing your new product on the shelf.

What skills are required in your job?
Communication skills and an ability to lead and motivate project teams. I also have to have effective time management, the ability to analyse data and draw conclusions. Most importantly I have to be creative!

How many people work for you?
None

What is your advice to people looking for a career in the food and grocery industry?
Find out as much as you can about the company you want to work for and their products. It is also essential to get a good feel for grocery retail trends to understand the company’s customers. Trade press, such as The Grocer, is a good way to start but its also great to get out there and see it in action – go shopping!