August 7, 2015, by Laura Estrop

10 facts about the world of consumer packaged goods

By Daniella Dutton, Employability Officer

Are you unsure what career you want to pursue after university? Have you ever considered entering the world of consumer packaged goods (CPG)? Today, Daniella aims to shed some light on this multi-million pound sector by sharing ten interesting facts you may not know.

What are CPGs?

Also known as Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), CPGs are the essential everyday items we buy each time we go shopping. They are items that are in high demand by consumers and are relatively low cost, e.g. food/cleaning products, toiletries, etc.; they are called FMCG because they quickly leave supermarket shelves. The sector is made up of very well-known international corporations, making it a highly desirable sector to go into, some example include, Coca-Cola, Heinz and L’Oreal.

10 Facts about CPGs

  1. It is one of the biggest industries in the world.
  2. FMCG is constantly evolving and changing and the products have a short shelf life, either as a result of high consumer demand (eg alcohol and toiletries) or because the product deteriorates rapidly (eg meat, fruit and vegetables).
  3. The core areas in an FMCG company are: sales, marketing, research and development, information services, finance, supply chain and human resources.
  4. All roles within FMCG companies are connected and you can jump between roles quite easily – handy if you’re unsure what career path you want to take.
  5. The subject of your degree isn’t the highest priority – FMCG is for everyone.
  6. Reputations can be built or lost overnight. The brand needs to be more powerful than the product as purchases are based on need NOT emotions.
  7. Listening skills are very important; you don’t always need to have the loudest voice to succeed in this sector.
  8. The world of FMCG is very competitive and online tests are used to narrow down candidates.
  9. You might be asked very unique questions at assessment days, including:
    • How many bottles of water are sold in the UK each day?
    • There is an empty shelf in the supermarket. What could have caused this? How could you prevent this happening again?
  10. SWOT analysis is often used at assessment centres so make sure you know what this is (in case you aren’t aware, it stands for:
    • Strengths – characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others.
    • Weaknesses – characteristics that place the business or project at a disadvantage relative to others.
    • Opportunities – elements that the project could exploit to its advantage.
    • Threats – elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project.

Methodology and how you get to the answer can be more important than the answer itself. Make sure you are aware of the current marketplace before you go.

If you would like to discuss this industry in more detail, book an appointment with one of our careers advisers.

Photo: Clemens v. Vogelsang – Hong Kong Supermarket in Chinatown

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