Dream job for food lovers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 December, 2009, 12:00am

Requirements: As a meat buyer, you need to have a good knowledge of food cultures and traditions around the world.

You should have sensitive taste buds and be aware of different trends in the food industry. You also have to try all kinds of meat. It would be an advantage if you love to cook, too.

Qualifications: You should have at least passed your A-levels. The Vocational Training Council offers programmes that could help you find work in a relevant field.

Average salary: A merchandiser earns about HK$10,000 to HK$12,000 a month; an assistant buyer about HK$16,000 to HK$20,000; and a buyer about HK$22,000 to HK$26,000. Your salary depends on your experience and performance.

Work prospects: Apart from a keen awareness of global food trends, you should be able to buy high-quality meat. Some buyers start off by working in the meat counters at supermarkets. Then they work their way up to merchandiser, assistant buyer and buyer.

Counter staff should be able to provide information to customers about the meat they sell and how to cook it, and inform the buyers about the latest market trends.

A merchandiser acts as a bridge between the buyer and the store. They are responsible for the meat display in supermarkets and deliver messages from the buyer to frontline staff. They also communicate with vendors and come up with promotional campaigns.

Long-term prospects: Merchandisers are mainly responsible for in-house work, while assistant buyers and buyers order meat from local and international farms and slaughter houses. They first look at local food trends before placing their orders. It is also the duty of buyers to train frontline staff on how to display the meat and cook it.

With good performance, it will take about five years for a worker in the meat counter to be promoted to a merchandiser.

It will take about seven years for a merchandiser to become an assistant buyer.

Meat buyers can work their way up to fresh food section head, division head and director.

They also get the chance to travel abroad.

Where to apply: Meat shops or supermarkets.

A day at work

Chau Chi-yung, assistant buyer at CitySuper's meat department, began his career at the meat counter about 12 years ago.

He starts work at 10am. The first thing he does is to look at the previous day's sales. He compares the figures with day-to-day sales and studies the consumer pattern.

He also organises big promotions, plans the budget and places the orders. He visits the store once a week, and discuss important issues with frontline staff.