10 April, 2017

How our Food Product Developer, Katy helps shape Easter at M&S

How do you go from joining the business as a 21-year-old graduate in Clothing to taking on a Food Product Developer role four years later? Ask Katy. Since joining the company, Katy has never worked anywhere else besides M&S. The reason, she says, is not just the brilliant culture at M&S but also the satisfaction of watching customers buy the products she’s created.

“Seeing how people’s faces light up when they first see something I’ve made and knowing that it’s bringing a bit of joy to their lives is truly inspiring,” says Katy. “A lot of things have kept me at M&S over the years. Innovation is the lifeblood of our business and it’s so exciting being at the forefront of the food industry. No one is doing the kind of things we are.”

Part of what Katy’s famous for at M&S is her work around Easter. She was responsible for the creation of Laid Back Lamb, a chocolate egg shaped like a lamb, designed to “make any customer smile”. It has been a smashing success but it’s only one of the many amazing products Katy has created and is yet to create.

“Easter is an exciting time at Food. I always go out and see what our competitors are doing – it’s important to understand what else is out there. I also think about what we’re going to do for next Easter and so I travel to Barcelona and Paris for inspiration. In fact, I got inspired to create Laid Back Lamb from a trip in Barcelona.

I always look forward to coming up with new ideas and flavours around the holiday seasons. At M&S, we’re all about style, entertainment and inspiration. We really want to be in touch with people, that’s why part of my job is also analysing our performance and building on the things we could be doing better.”

From research and development through to delivery and reflection, the role of the Food Product Developer at M&S is not unlike that of a Renaissance inventor it seems. It’s a fast-paced and thrilling job that requires a passionate individual.

“You have to have vision and be creative,” Katy explains. “You have to be able to make decisions and be able to give clear direction and feedback. The biggest challenge is anticipating the trends – we work so far out from the season and so much can change but you have to be confident and just go for it. If you have vision, the business will support and reward you.”

Has Katy inspired you? Take a look at our Product Developer opportunities here.

Inside M&S