Donna Ahern talks to Sophie Trueman, country director, UK and Ireland, Too Good To Go.
How would you describe your role?
If I had to choose a few words to describe my role, I would say varied, fast-paced, exciting, challenging and rewarding!
What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
It wasn’t my first job, but a memorable one early on was working in a local Kurdish pizza and kebab shop.
I helped the owners take orders and prepare the food and worked there for many years while I was at school and in sixth form.
It was the first time I was exposed to the scale of food waste in hospitality, and, looking back, this was probably where my passion for solving the issue began.
What do you enjoy most about your current job?
Two major things come to mind here: firstly, I really enjoy the variety of my job – no one day is ever the same! – and, secondly, being part of a purpose-led organisation that is truly using business for good.
Since launching in Ireland just over a year ago, our community has grown at a great pace, and it is amazing that we are now nationwide, including towns I visited as a child in a more rural Ireland.
Seeing our impact grow every day will never get old.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Nothing is set in stone, of course, but I hope to see myself reflecting on Too Good To Go’s amazing success in Ireland, with even more amazing partners on board who are helping to save food from going to waste.
What is your advice for people starting out in the industry?
Just go for it.
Before joining Too Good to Go, I had limited experience working in the food sector, but I knew it was an area that I was fascinated by and where I felt I had a lot to offer, based on my background in FMCG.
Sometimes I think we tend to doubt ourselves, but we should not be afraid to dive into something new and embrace the chance to learn and grow.
What was your worst job, and what was so bad about it?
I’ve been quite lucky because I have found a way to enjoy most of the jobs I’ve had.
Perhaps the most tiring was a manual labour role I did at my local garden centre when I was 15.
It was exhausting, but I loved being active and outside.
What do you think the government could do to help business in the current climate?
The current climate is tough for businesses of all kinds, but especially smaller/independent ones.
I think governments can firstly acknowledge this challenge and lead by example.
I would like to see more support for businesses that are trying to implement more sustainable practices, for example, by making it more affordable or offering benefits through incentives.
What advertising campaign have you most enjoyed in recent months?
I like Aldi’s tongue-in-cheek approach to advertising and communications, in particular the Cuthbert-vs-Colin the Caterpillar debate!
I love how their team can jump on trends so quickly and go viral in an instant, and they always stay true to their cheeky tone of voice.
If you could bring back one product that is no longer available in Ireland, what would it be?
Probably the Snowflake – I loved white chocolate when I was growing up, so it would be nostalgic.
What was your favourite grocery brand when you were growing up?
When I was a student, it had to be Tesco for the variety and for the value they offered.
There was a huge store in Bath, where I studied, so group trips were always memorable!
Who would come to your ideal dinner party (living or dead)?
It would have to be David Attenborough. I love his shows, and I think he would have so many amazing stories.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
True development comes when you push yourself out of your comfort zone.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love keeping active and getting outdoors.
I enjoy most kinds of sport, from yoga and Pilates to boxing and spinning.
I am also a big foodie, so I always enjoy cooking at home or trying new restaurants and cuisines with friends.
I started an executive MBA at Imperial College London in February, so that also takes up a lot of my spare time.
How much time do you spend on social media in an average week?
It depends on the week, but I tend to use social media every day.
Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn?
I have never had a Twitter account and rarely use Facebook any more – other than to sell old furniture! – so I would have to go with LinkedIn.
It is a great tool for building connections and networks, and for keeping up to date with the latest industry trends.
Most likely to say?
We can do this!
Least likely to say?
I’m not hungry.