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Food Merchandiser: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a food merchandiser. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary experience to find out if this is the career for you.

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A food merchandiser is involved in supporting the marketing and promotion of food products at various retail locations. This often involves preparing an in-store display to showcase products, communicating on behalf of their employer with clients, fulfilling product orders, and determining the prices of products. At least a high school diploma is needed for this career, but some companies prefer to hire candidates who have completed postsecondary education.

Essential Information

Food merchandisers are responsible for the distribution and merchandising of food products to store clients. Food merchandisers restock and rotate products and resolve any service issues. Typically, food merchandisers must have a minimum of a high school diploma and prior merchandising experience to enter this career.

Required Education Varies by employer; high school diploma at minimum
Other Requirements Previous sales or merchandising experience may be preferred; strong communication and computer skills typically required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 7% for all wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives
Median Salary (2015)* $55,730 for all wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives (not including technical and scientific products)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Food merchandisers develop and implement merchandising plans to assist in the marketing and promotion of foods at their client locations. They are responsible for promoting and marketing food products by means of store displays. Food merchandisers may use visual techniques to attract customers. They also assist with the billing and pricing of food products and client food orders. Food merchandisers are also the primary contact between their employers and store clients. These professionals typically work for food distributors, manufacturers, and wholesalers.

Job Duties

Daily duties of a food merchandiser may include taking inventory, removing any expired or damaged products, replacing products, and meeting with store managers for re-ordering products. The merchandiser may have additional responsibilities such as assisting in strategies and producing goals for the company and clients. They may also assist with selecting food products during seasonal times, surveying stores, and forecasting products and sales. Typically, it is also the merchandiser's responsibility to address any customer complaints or issues and maintain an adequate customer service level.

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Requirements

Employer requirements range from possessing a minimum of a high school diploma to holding a bachelor's degree. Some employers prefer several years of merchandising or sales experience, which can be gained from previous employment.

Potential food merchandisers must possess proficient verbal and written communication skills. Strong presentation and negotiation skills are also preferred. Food merchandisers must also be highly organized and detail-orientated. Knowledge in computers and software programs are also needed.

Food merchandisers may be required to use their personal vehicle and understand how to operate a company route truck. Employers require a valid driver's license and a clean driving record. Some employers may require a background check along with a physical and drug test.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of all types of wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, including food merchandisers, will more or less keep pace with the overall health of the economy; the BLS noted that throughout the 2014-2024 decade, employment of such workers is expected to grow by about 7%, which is consistent with the national average for all occupations. The Bureau published the median annual salary earned by wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, not including those for technical and scientific products, as $55,730 in May 2015.

A food merchandiser requires a few core skills that are essential for success in this role, some of which include negotiation, communication (both oral and written), and organization. These professionals also need to have a valid driver's license, as driving either a company truck or a personal vehicle to various locations is required.

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