Claire Canty, Head of Innovation here at Weetabix speaks to us about creating exciting new products, the work culture at Weetabix and moving from the marketing to the sales team, and then back. She also shares some tales from her consumer research days where she sat with families at their breakfast table and had a snoop around their kitchen cupboards!
What’s your role?
I am Head of Innovation at here Weetabix. I look after the creation and launch of new products, as well as improvements to existing products.
My team are constantly on the lookout for new trends, and track our changing consumer, and retailer needs. We then work out if Weetabix and our suppliers can create products and packaging to fulfil those needs. We get to come up with some crazy ideas, and taste lots of delicious recipes. In addition, we come up with ways we can launch new products that eventually end up on the store shelves!
Seeing your family and friends buy and eat something you’ve created is fab! I may be biased, but it really is the best job!
How long have you been at Weetabix?
I’ve been at Weetabix for seven years. I relocated to the area for my husband’s work, and started researching brands that were based nearby that I might like to work for.
As soon as I found out that Weetabix was based here, I was super keen to find a role – being such an iconic British brand, and having grown up eating Weetabix, it’s a marketer’s dream!
What’s it like to work at Weetabix?
Weetabix has such a special culture – we’ve managed to retain some of our original small business feel, despite our current size.
I’ve never come across any other work environment – there is zero politics, and its one brilliant big family, full of such amazingly talented people. Everyone rallies together whenever a colleague or team needs it. The support, and sense of community carries us through any obstacle we face.
What do you most enjoy about working at Weetabix?
The people – with colleagues coming from previous roles in Unilever, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Mars & many other global businesses, Weetabix is full of talented and ambitious individuals, who I have learned so much from and who inspire me daily.
Most importantly, everyone at Weetabix strives to raise the bar and knows how to have fun, which in turn creates a brilliant team spirit.
What opportunities have you had whilst at Weetabix?
I really appreciate the opportunities and responsibility we get at Weetabix. We have a flat structure and our leaders are always really open to new and creative ideas. There aren’t many obstacles to make great ideas happen.
I also love how Weetabix can really support your career. They have supported my cross functional move to sales, and welcomed me back to marketing with open arms with a brilliant role after that. I’m very grateful for their investment in my development.
With International Women’s Day on the horizon, how have you found working from home with a young family?
Reflecting on International Women’s Day, one of the things top of my mind is definitely the work-mum juggle!
Having an amazing and energetic two-year-old, a busy senior role, and juggling all household and family things in between…life is definitely crazy but wonderful. But the challenges of ‘mum guilt’, conflicting priorities, emotional labour, are all things often people aren’t aware of until they have a family themselves.
I’m lucky with the support that Weetabix has given me to work flexibly, but I know this is not the norm across different industries & companies. We need women to speak out about their needs for flexibility and be brave and ask for support they need to run their family and their work roles, to ensure we continue to retain brilliant women in the workplace.
Anything you’d like to share with us about your role?
Some of the most challenging times I’ve had in Weetabix were in the sales team.
Selling to customers, managing three accounts, all while having no experience in this area whatsoever – when starting out, I literally had no clue what I was doing! The pressure of delivering the numbers internally and maintaining the customer relationship was really tough.
However, looking back now I am so grateful for that experience. It has toughened me up massively and I now am much more resilient and confident to tackle any new challenges that come my way.
Some of the most entertaining times have been spending time in consumers’ kitchens during breakfast and having a snoop around their cupboards! It’s always quite funny when people tell you they eat really healthily and then you look inside their cupboards and it’s full of chocolate cereal – sometimes what people tell you they do isn’t what they actually do. It’s part of our job to really get to the true human behaviours that help us create new products that people will love.
What do you love doing outside of work?
Outside of work, I mainly spend my time with my husband and little boy Wilf who doesn’t stop moving and getting himself into trouble – so he keeps us very busy!
As a family, we enjoy being outside, going for walks, going on bike rides or visiting new places, and I love to bake as well. In fact, now that Wilf has started asking for cake for breakfast instead of Weetabix means we probably need to do less baking!