SK People – Stephanie Bell
Stephanie Bell compares the process of pitching food to supermarkets to an audition process.
She says there are some similarities between her current role as an New Product Development (NPD) Manager for SK Chilled Foods and the audition process which an Actor would undertake.
That’s because she often finds herself in front of an audience at an ‘audition’, but in her case, it’s food which is bidding for the leading role.
She explains: “We receive briefs from the leading supermarkets and based on these briefs we need to work as a team to come up with the best possible dishes.
“It starts in the kitchen where the chefs will come up with the recipes; then the production team need to ensure the dishes can be made on a larger scale; then it’s my job, along with my other NPD colleagues to effectively pitch the dishes to the supermarkets.
“It’s like an audition process and sometimes we even dress tables up to reflect the food we are discussing, although thankfully we have never, well not yet anyway, had to put on costumes as part of the performance!”
A big part of Stephanie’s job is to identify food trends. So that means a lot of eating out – “it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it”, she says; reading the latest magazines and lots of internet browsing.
She adds: “Because we are in a competitive marketplace, it all about preempting what’s about to be the next big thing and staying ahead of the competition.
“This means it’s not a 9-5 job because at any time you can be testing in the kitchen, liaising with the production team, helping with the packaging or jumping in the car for the long drive to pitch in front of a panel in London.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, though, as I love my job.”