A Q&A With Roseanna, Marketing and Commercial Consultant

What has your career path been up to this point?

I have worked for HRA Global for almost four years, starting in June 2016. Prior to this I was a ‘fresh grad’, having completed my Politics degree at the University of Exeter that same month.

How would you define your relationship with food and drink?

Professionally, food is something I find extremely interesting because the industry is so fast moving and always doing something new – and there truly is an area of interest for everyone! My personal interests across food and drink lie across many areas – from health and nutrition trends through to of course the more indulgent end – everyone loves a treat!

What was your earliest job in the food industry?

Since my first ever job aged 16, every job I’ve had bar one has been within the food industry. My earliest job was working for Waitrose for two years – which was a fantastic partnership to work for, the training and information we received around both the business and the industry, even just as checkout staff, was second to none. Since then I undertook various roles across the industry until I finished University – from working as a supervisor in a busy hotel/pub chain, to working in a bar and a coffee shop.

What is the biggest trend that you are seeing in food and drink?

The biggest trend I can currently see in food and drink is undoubtedly the plant-based movement and its shift from being a relatively minor trend area to being fully embedded in the mainstream. Over the last few years, I struggle to think of any trend that has moved so quickly and permeated virtually every area of the market, from ready meals to soups to alcoholic beverages. It’s also particularly interesting in that there are so many different drivers behind the trend – from health to environmental to ethical. The NPD here we are seeing is fantastic – from simple, nutritious plant-based products through to the scientific marvels of meat replacement proteins.

What are the projects you enjoy the most?

The projects I enjoy the most would have to be those that tend to be more challenging, yet have the highest impact for our clients. These are usually projects which follow a detailed, often quite lengthy process – such as the development of a new brand, brand extension or product line. Here, we work on projects all the way through from initial concept research – be it quantitative, qualitative, desk research or even all three – through the development of the value proposition, all the way through to designing, building and activating the brand in the market. Although we follow our tried and tested procedures, what I do really enjoy about this is that not only does it have a very high impact for our clients, no two projects are ever the same.

What is the single biggest thing you have done for you to get an understanding of the industry?

It’s hard to say over the past four years what the biggest thing I’ve done is to get an understanding of the industry, because my role has been so varied and I’ve simply done so much that has hugely benefitted my industry understanding! Trade shows and conferences are always huge for getting to know different areas of the industry on many different levels – from simply walking the stands to see what’s on offer, meeting so many people behind brands big or small, and attending conferences and talks giving a 360 view of different areas of the industry.

What motivates you professionally?

My number one motivation is being able to see results and make a real difference to clients and their businesses. It’s nothing short of incredible to work on a project – be it marketing and brand development or commercial consultancy – and walk into the supermarket to see your client’s product on the shelf – when you helped put it there. It’s a real ‘look mum, look what I did!’ moment!

What do you love best about the role?

There is a lot! It would have to be either the fact I get to meet so many fantastic, interesting people on a weekly basis, or that no two projects or even two days are ever the same! As a consultancy, our work takes on such a varied and dynamic nature that everything we ever work on is new and exciting. I also believe it is this ‘freshness’ and variety of different projects in different areas we take on that helps contribute to our success – we are always able to look at a problem or brief in a different, sometimes abstract way or from a new angle and this definitely feeds into our successful results.

Any pet hates?

When retailers fail to see how fantastic our clients’ products are! No, I’m only joking (sort of!). It’s tricky to have any specific pet hates, really. Like any field of work of course it has its ups and downs – but I’d definitely say the good outweighs the bad.

Who are some of the clients you have personally worked with?

I’m extremely fortunate to have worked with some fantastic clients very closely after the last few years. A few which stand out to me are Lazy Vegan, a fun, innovative, vibrant and on-trend plant-based ready meal brand; Snacaroni – a delicious five minute Macaroni from Marshalls Foods – who truly know everything there is to know about pasta and have applied over a century’s knowledge to a brilliant, convenient and on-trend product; and Keep It Cleaner – a brilliant range of ‘better-for-you’ products from protein balls to tortilla chips developed in conjunction with a hugely successful fitness app which has reached number 1 on the app store several times. This of course isn’t exhaustive – every client I’ve worked with over the last few years has been brilliant – it’s very tricky to pull out just a few!!

What are you most looking forward to this year?

It’s hard to say as there is so much going on – we’ve got a few exciting new product launches coming up from our clients that I can’t say too much on! There are also some brilliant trade shows coming up such as Food & Drink expo, Natural & Organic products that I’m definitely excited about!

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