What are fast moving consumer goods?
Have you ever wondered what goes into making the deodorant you use, the makeup you wear or even that packet of crisps you demolished on your lunch break? And what made you snap it off the shelves in the first place?
The world of Fast Moving Consumer Goods, or FMCG for short, is all about the design and production of all those branded food, drink, beauty, cleaning and health products we buy in shops today. We call them "fast moving" because these are the kinds of things we buy all the time and at relatively low cost.
What fast moving consumer goods jobs can I do?
Working at an FMCG company offers lots of different careers:
- Market researchers: Design and conduct focus groups and surveys to discover what people really want from their chocolate bars or shampoo.
- Designers: Create packaging, logos and names for new products. To learn more, see our article on how to become a graphic designer.
- Marketers: Come up with big ideas to sell the latest energy drink. Find out more by reading our guide to marketing careers.
- Managers: Oversee projects from product design to delivery, or even running the company.
- Mechanical engineers and technicians: Help to design and maintain the machines that produce all of our fast-moving products. For more information on these roles, check out our Career Zone on Manufacturing & Industry.
- Quality controllers: Make sure all the products flying off the production line are up to standard.
There are also lots of administrative roles from coordinating projects to balancing the company books in the finance team.
You can find out more about retail jobs in this post.
For the latest fast moving consumer goods jobs and work experience opportunities, take a look at our jobs board.
Is a career in fast moving consumer goods for me?
Whichever part of the FMCG industry you work in, you will need to enjoy working as part of a big team.
It’s a fast paced industry too so if you’ll need to stay cool under pressure and make quick decisions.
It can be a great path for creative types and curious folk who like to understand how people tick.
Artistic people will enjoy the design side of the industry and logical bods who prefer maths and analysis should go for research and management roles.
How do I start a career in fast moving consumer goods?
GCSE maths and English at grade 4 / C or above and at least two other GCSEs are your best foundation to get started.
What you study depends on where you want to work in a creative or technical role. Useful subjects include business studies, English, art and design, design and technology, psychology and maths.
Lots of entry-level jobs are at graduate level so a degree is very useful and essential for some technical roles like design. If you want to create the products you’ll need a design or engineering-based degree, while if you want to flog them, a business subject is better.
Without a degree the best way into the marketing side is to get retail experience as a sales assistant, or to study for an NVQ or BTEC in retail and marketing.
Some big international companies also offer intermediate /advanced apprenticeship schemes for technicians, sales, research, design, or the opportunity to work towards a BTEC in engineering.
Take part in a Young Enterprise scheme challenge. You'll get valuable experience creating and marketing products and an understanding of how consumers can shape a product. You'll be able to show your teamwork skills too and maybe even pick up an award while you're at it.
If you're considering studying a subject related to fast moving consumer goods at university, why not have a look at our list of UK universities for more information on their courses.
What fast moving consumer goods qualifications are available?
You can gain qualifications at a range of levels:
- Level 2 (like 5 GCSEs) - on a course, NVQ or through an intermediate apprenticeship - e.g. improving operational performance.
- Level 3 (like 2 A-levels) - on a course, NVQ or through an advanced apprenticeship - e.g food and drink operations.
- Level 4 (like a foundation degree) - on a course, NVQ, foundation degree or through a higher apprenticeship - e.g. electronics and control foundation degree.
- Level 5+ (like a bachelor's degree or higher) - through a sponsored degree or higher or degree apprenticeship - e.g. bakery and patisserie technology BSc.
There are lots of training opportunities at all levels for people on the job.
Did you know these fast moving consumer goods facts?
The British public drink 165 million cups of tea every day – that's an average of more than two-and-a-half per person!
Last year, the Swiss spent about £150 per person on chocolate.