I am now in my 7th week of working at the Coop, and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Food to Go market, discovering brands and becoming an expert at teams.
Don’t get me wrong it has been a challenge at times, and if you had told me this time last year that I would be starting a job virtually I would probably have laughed. Absolute kudos to my manager (and team) who made sure that before my first day, my work laptop and phone were posted to me, ready to hit the ground running. Additionally, I had more introductions than I could shake a stick at, which meant I really felt involved from day 1. One thing I have to say, it is going to be uber weird when I finally get to meet these people in the flesh..
Now I have fallen into a rather special junior buyer role, with some strong accountabilities which I am looking forward to sharing as time goes on. I have learned that the Iced Coffee market, even taking into account Covid, is an area of high growth, perhaps taking away from areas such as smoothies and milkshakes. Only time will tell how the market changes, as the public become more aware of making healthy choices.
Having autonomy over my own category, I have (slowly) begun to make some risky yet exciting decisions as I look to shape and future proof the Food to Go drinks selection at the Co-op. From this I have experienced two sides of a coin:
1. Telling a supplier they are being delisted is never going to be welcomed, but sometimes it has to be done, especially as a lot of these decisions are based on commercials and market conditions.
2. The joy on the faces of new suppliers when you tell them they have been awarded a listing is priceless and gives you that warm happy feeling in your belly.
I have spoken to countless suppliers and have really enjoyed analysing the distinctive styles used by different account managers, as I start to develop my buying style.
I cannot wait to begin to see some of the changes I have made make their way onto the Coop shelves early 2021, knowing that I was the one that made it happen!