Age: 30

As retail manager for award-winning craft baker JG Ross, 30-year-old Akshay has a pretty wide remit. Not only is he responsible for managing a number of retail stores in the north east of Scotland, he is an important part of helping to grow the business in different sectors and looking for opportunities for further investment.

“My role is pretty varied. Business development is a big part but I also look after financial and commercial performance, manage sales, plan and implement promotional activity, recruitment and communications. There is never a dull moment!

After completing his studies at the University of Aberdeen, Akshay started working with JG Ross on a temporary basis at a store on his university campus. Through this an opportunity came up to apply for a role which would help him on the road to his future career.

“As I had studied business management and had little experience of retail and relatively decent knowledge about the company and its products, my role grew over time. With more knowledge and understanding, I got involved further in food and drink industry.

“The Scottish food and drink industry has a very reputable image in the world. The traditional heritage products, strong support for local businesses and local produce is what attracted me.

“The most interesting thing to me though is how one product has a local touch with subtle variations as you travel across Scotland but always has the essence of the core product. Besides, it’s amazing to see how all the businesses in F&D industry here support each other to prosper together which is not very common everywhere.”

It was the reputation that Scottish food and drink has around the world that helped Akshay make his decision about what direction to take his career in. He believes young people should take full advantage of the growing importance placed on the sector.

“With the changing times, more consumers are getting health conscious as many governments are taking steps to tackle various health issues. This means that in the next decade, more importance will be given to the food and drink sector to develop products which are healthier and support the growth of various businesses and individuals.

“For anyone who is a food or drink connoisseur, it’s a great time to be a part of this exciting industry where you can try your skills and knowledge.”

Being an experienced Retail Manager, Akshay’s #ScotFoodGoals centre around the growth of a health and fitness food-to-go range. With out-of-home spending increasing, people want quick and healthy options available.

“I am working towards providing convenient fresh, locally-sourced products which customers can enjoy and are as good as home-cooked meals. It’s all about the customer’s convenience.”