It’s fair to say that Simon Chambers would have an easier job if he could see into the future, but although he hasn’t got that this particular super-power just yet, he still has the task to predict what’s about to happen.
In his case, this involves an awful lot of data and market analysis along with number crunching, but absolutely no crystal balls!
Simon is our Category Manager which means he spends his looking at the current direction of the supermarket industry and how this is likely to change in the future, so we can be ready to react when it comes to any new trends.
This entails studying and interpreting a whole raft of data which can shape the future direction of SK but the food industry in general. And this is why Simon is just as likely to be presenting his findings to our supermarket customers as he does internally to our new product development and commercial teams.
Simon explains: “A category manager needs to maintain an impartial position within the industry, giving guidance based on insight and market knowledge at a holistic and focused level to ensure the right decisions are made. My ultimate goal is to impress our retailer partners and delight our consumers in equal measure.
“It’s about taking a ‘so what’ approach and questioning everything because it’s not just about looking at what’s happening now, but how this could affect things in the future too.
“For example, does a rise in the sale of Tex-Mex food over a certain period indicate there’s an increased appetite for this and therefore should we be looking to increase our range in this area.”
Simon, 42, has worked in the food industry for 18 years but thinks he was always destined to be in the sector.
He explains: “I have always had a real love of food and when I was school one of my first part-time jobs was working on a Saturday in John Lewis.
“So, I think it was a foregone conclusion that I would end up making a career out of it.”
During his career, Simon has worked in a number of roles with large food companies and supermarkets, including new product development and commercial, before becoming a Category Manager.
He adds: “My previous experience has given me a great grounding as a Category Manager as it enables me to see things from all sides, plus I have a naturally inquisitive mind, which also helps.”
Simon, who lives in Nottingham with his partner and two children, also admits to taking his work home with him.
He explains: “We are big into our food at home and as a family we critique the meals we make, scoring them out of ten and discussing how they could be improved, which is all good practice for what I do at work!”
Now that is dedication to your job in anyone’s book!!