When Christopher Couto first applied for a job at Bonduelle in 2013, he wasn’t even interested in the food and beverage processing industry. Fresh out of high school, he was simply looking for a job to put some money in his pocket.
“I definitely didn’t plan to have a career here. Actually, at first, I wanted to get more into construction,” says Couto. “I just applied through Indeed, and I got a call the next day and had orientation the day after that. It was that simple.”
Nine years later, what started as a job to put money in his pocket has evolved into a career.
Growing a career at Bonduelle
Couto’s first role at Bonduelle was an entry-level position in the packaging department, organizing and stacking boxes that came off the line. In just a few months, he moved to the mixing department, where he made sure products were meeting proper requirements before landing on customers’ plates.
“In a nutshell, it’s producing various mixes and ensuring that there’s an accurate representation of each vegetable as per the customer specifications,” he says. “The correct amount of peas, carrots, whatever’s in the mix. That’s basically what mixing is about.”
Couto got experience in a variety of other departments at Bonduelle before landing his first leadership role in the processing department. From there, he advanced to his current role as a packaging operations lead, the department where it all began.
“I am at the forefront of a team of roughly 10 to 14 people, and they report directly to me,” says Couto. “I ensure that production, safety and people’s needs are all being met. I have to make all the different department managers happy all at once, and of course, make sure people want to come back to work the next day.”
Throughout his career journey, he says Bonduelle fostered an environment where he felt supported in exploring new opportunities and ideas.
“Whatever opportunity I’m willing to tackle, they give me the thumbs-up and I just do my best to reach the goal or idea I set out to do,” says Couto. “They’ve been incredibly supportive, never micromanaging in any way, shape, or form. They just let me succeed in whatever challenge I want to tackle.”
Opportunities in Ontario’s Food and Beverage Processing Industry
Couto is just one of many people who’ve started and grown their careers in Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry. In fact, it’s the largest in Canada – accounting for 37% of the industry’s revenue in the country. Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry has more than 4,000 establishments in the province, employing over 125,000 people.
It’s also an industry that’s growing and employers across the province are looking for people to grow their teams. Many of these employers offer benefits packages and training opportunities to advance within the company.
“There are so many different things you can learn that you can utilize outside of work as well that really will help you in your personal life, such as how to work as a team, how to have initiative, and how to push yourself,” says Couto. “These types of companies are open slates to accomplishing whatever you want. . . you can really make your mark in these types of companies and work your way up very easily.”
Learn more about Christopher’s career journey and his advice for those looking to get into the industry below:
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