Q&A with Zoe Hill
Back in October, Zoe joined the Quorn Nutrition team as our first Nutritional Analysis Intern. She’s now been part of the team for three months and we think it's time you got to know her and what she’s been up to a little better!
Tell us about yourself
I came to study nutrition from, rather unconventionally, an undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations. I discovered in the summer of my second year that I could turn my love for food and health into a career path that made me a lot more excited than the one I was heading towards with politics.
Having not studied biology or any kind of science since GCSE, the switch wasn’t an easy one. I stuck out my politics degree but, in the meantime, I carried on working towards my ultimate goal of transferring to nutrition: I completed an online diploma that added 300 hours of studying, alongside my third-year at university!
After a lot of hard work, I secured myself an offer from the University of Leeds to study an MSc in Nutrition (my top choice!).
What does a day in the life of a Nutritional Analysis Intern at Quorn look like?
Without sounding too cliché, no two days are the same! I have worked remotely from day one and therefore, spend most of my time sat at my laptop but fortunately, I don’t ever find myself bored or without something to do.
There are two components to my role: nutritional analysis and communications. My main project is to analyse the nutritional density of the entire Quorn product portfolio across UK and international markets.
I then spend the rest of my time helping out my fellow Registered Associate Nutritionist and colleague at Quorn. Most days we’ll have a meeting to discuss our upcoming plans for Quorn Nutrition communications across Instagram and Twitter and brainstorm about any resources or tools we could create to help our HCP community and those interested in sustainable nutrition. For example, the last month has been extremely busy with writing the content for our brand new Veganuary Starter Guide (free to download here!).
I’ve also been speaking to people in other parts of the business, keeping on top of research, attending webinars, presenting my work, attending meetings with our strategic partners, and contributing to other projects across the business!
What was the application process like? Do you have any helpful hints for people applying for internships in the food industry?
The interview process was, compared to a lot of other application processes I’ve experienced, really nice (that doesn’t mean easy, just friendly!). After submitting a cover letter, I heard back within the month that I got through to a (virtual) interview. The first interview was with my now manager and colleague, and was a general ‘get to know you’ interview. I was then asked back for a second interview.
This time it was much more formal, and I was asked to prepare a 10-15 minute presentation on the role of meat alternatives in sustainable diets. In the presentation, I was asked to profile a selection of Quorn and competitor products, applying a nutrient profiling model of my choosing and then subsequently, make various nutritional recommendations.
My advice would be go above and beyond! Putting in a little bit extra effort to show them something they haven’t asked for can make all the difference and read around the topic so that you can link in current events or relevant research.
When it comes to the actual presentation, I find it helps to be prepared. Having notes to hand and running through it before to make sure it flows always helps me feel more confident in the real thing. Pace yourself and don’t hide your smile or your enthusiasm!
What are three of the top things you’ve learnt so far that have helped you to have a successful internship experience?
Throw yourself in: take opportunities to meet new people and to get involved in all areas in the business! It’s not easy (especially when everything is virtual) and it may seem daunting, but it’s the best way to learn.
Ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask for help: you’re not expected to know everything, and an internship is one of the best opportunities to learn. Your employer will want you to have the best experience possible so ask away!
Get feedback: always ask for feedback so that you can make the most of your internship and that can subsequently also help you improve for future job applications and roles.