No matter how vast it already seems to be, the food industry only keeps growing. According to a report by Grand View Research, the global food and grocery retail market size was valued at $8.77 trillion in 2015 and is expected to reach $12.24 trillion by 2020. That is a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9 percent.
As it steadily grows, the industry is also adjusting to its customers’ evolving preferences and tastes. Health and sustainability trends are taking over food, and consumers are looking for mission-driven brands. In return, companies are seeking candidates whose values align with said missions.
We asked Eva Scofield, Client Strategist at ForceBrands, to share industry tips and insights on landing a job in this constantly changing and expanding industry. Read on if you have an appetite for success and are eager to learn what it takes to land a job in this vibrant industry.
1. You should be well-educated in trends
You should be well aware of things that are happening in the market. “For instance, right now there is a lot of talk of plant-based proteins,” Scofield says. “Beyond Meat going public has caused a huge wave in community with an extremely high opening IPO, which means that a lot of the food community and others are taking note of the industry-changing concepts.” Industry trends are huge; understanding what’s driving food and beverage sales is a skill that can help a candidate in a competitive food job market. For example, a few years ago companies were largely focusing on non-GMO products, whereas nowadays consumers are raising the bar and inquiring whether products are sustainably sourced.
2. Know that beautiful branding no longer sells products
In this over-saturated market, more and more consumers are turning to companies that have a deeper meaning or purpose behind them. Small business and sustainable companies are on the rise and gaining popularity. “There needs to be a story behind it and a reason why people should buy it,” Scofield says. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of what they are putting into their bodies. For any candidate looking to get a job in food, it’s important to understand the modern consumers’ mentality and what they are drawn to. Millennials and Gen Xers have the most buying power at the moment, and there is an inherent health trend in their consumer profiles.
3. Understand how the supply chain works
If you are applying for a particular brand or company, it can help to know from where that product is sourced or where the ingredients come from, how it is made, where, by whom, and how it reaches the consumer. You can educate yourself through industry newsletters and food shows, such as Expo West, Expo East, and Fancy Food.
4. Learn to discern between a fad and things that have staying power
“Six months ago everyone was talking about matcha, and now, the next big thing might be moringa powder because it tends to be a little bit cheaper and has a higher nutrient profile than some matchas,” Scofield says. Being able to distinguish one from another can help a candidate advise brands in a valuable way.
Think you can stomach this rapidly evolving industry? Visit our FoodForce division’s job board to discover current openings.