Is Consumer Staples a Good Career Path?

by Ana Lopez

Finding the right career path can be difficult if you don’t have a specific passion you want to pursue.

If you’re looking for something versatile and well paying with good progression potential, Consumer Staples could be for you. Read on to learn more about whether consumer staples are a good career path.

What are non-durable goods?

Easy said, non-durable goods are all goods consumed in one or a few applications or used in a short period of time, typically within three years (according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis).

In the long run, non-durable goods need to be bought repeatedly.

For example, all food is some kind of non-durable good. Food is bought, even if canned, and then eaten. It must then be replaced by the consumer. Non-durable goods are essential to the economy because they require a constant influx of new money for creation and consumption.

Unlike durable goods that last more than three years, such as cars, consumers can be expected to spend a constant amount on non-durable goods.

As a result, industries and companies that supply non-durable goods have a constant supply of new customers (provided they offer high-quality goods and services, of course).

Examples of non-sustainable substances

You use a lot of non-durable goods every day. Some of the most common non-durable goods are:

  • Foodstuffs, as mentioned above.
  • Dish soap and all other soaps and detergents.
  • Light bulbs.
  • Clothing.
  • Paper products, such as paper towels or paper plates.
  • Toys and games.
  • Pet products.
  • Many dishes.

Why are consumer staples important?

Consumer non-durables are essential because they positively influence consumer behaviour. They inspire people to spend money in the economy, which keeps the monetary wheels of the economy turning all the time.

More generally, non-durable goods play an essential role in the economy as a whole for three main reasons:

  • They make up a significant portion of a country’s GDP or gross domestic product. The higher a country’s GDP, the more productive and profitable it is.
  • Nondurable goods are stable numbers in economies because they are mostly necessary goods, such as groceries. Consumers should buy non-durable goods anyway, as opposed to durable goods, which are often luxury items. As a result, non-durable goods are not as subject to regular business cycles as durable goods.
  • Non-durable goods are not considered economic indicators. Instead, small increases or decreases in prices or purchases of non-durable goods, due to their stability, should not be indicators of financial health or prosperity. But they can still tell economists something about the mindset of most consumers.

In short, consumer non-durables are essential, and it could be a wise choice to get into this industry as a career.

Related: 4 Things to consider when choosing the right career path

Types of unsustainable consumer careers

There are many types careers within the non-sustainable consumer industry. You can get a job doing practically anything related to consumer non-durables, depending on your focus and what your chosen company produces or supplies.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Food technologists.
  • Shoe designers.
  • Restaurant general managers and waitstaff.
  • Chefs.
  • Grocery store employees.
  • Winemakers.
  • Van drivers.
  • Clothing designers.
  • Retail sales associates.
  • Butchers.
  • beauticians.
  • Hair stylists.
  • Brewery employees.

Any job that produces a good or product to be consumed or used within three years is related to the consumer nondurable industry. This makes up the majority of service-level or entry-level jobs. But that does not mean that there is no opportunity for career advancement.

For example, a supermarket manager or restaurant owner works with non-durable consumer goods. But they have the potential to earn significantly higher than average salaries and enjoy other career benefits.

Related: A successful career path doesn’t have to be linear

So, are consumer staples a good career path?

Depending on your personal aspirations or desires, consumer non-durables can be a good career path for many.

Many modern entrepreneurs or young professionals do not have specific fields or industries they want to enter.

For example, while some people have no right from the start to want to be an artist, engineer or doctor, others just want to earn a lot of money, enjoy a stable career and have enough free time to pursue their hobbies.

For these individuals, the consumer staples industry could be an excellent career path or general trajectory.

In the consumer staples industry, you can take on any of the above jobs and work your way up the proverbial ladder, ultimately reaching a position of stability, responsibility, and high pay.

In addition, many jobs and services in the non-sustainable consumer industry do not require extensive training. For example, you can work in a restaurant and gradually become the general manager over several years without needing a college degree.

Similarly, you can be a truck driver and earn $30,000 – $60,000 or more from a short training program instead of going to college.

Because of this relatively low barrier to entry, many people looking to start making money sooner rather than later could benefit from moving into the consumer staples industry.

Related: Is finance a good career path?

Benefits of working with consumer non-durables

Of course there are many advantages to working professionally with non-durable consumer goods. These benefits might convince you to give the non-sustainable consumer industry a try.

Numerous vacancies

Working in the non-durable consumer products industry exposes you to a variety of job opportunities.

As demonstrated above, there is something for everyone in this broad industry. Some of the most popular are food service, groceries, shipping, packaging, and product sales. Whether you want something manageable with few responsibilities or something with more duties and a higher salary, chances are you can find something.

This plethora of job opportunities means you can begin your job search with a minimum of prior training or additional references on your resume.

International career opportunities

You will also benefit from many international job opportunities in line with the above. If you rise high enough in the ranks of the non-durable consumer products company and don’t own a manufacturing or food service company, you could take positions in Europe, Asia or elsewhere, especially if you become an executive.

The same is true if you are building your own business and expanding into international markets. Everything is possible.

Culturally diverse products

Next, working with consumer non-durables means exposing yourself to a wide variety of culturally diverse products. For many people, nothing beats shopping and finding something new to take home, eat or otherwise enjoy.

When you work with consumer non-durables, you come into contact with a lot of new products, especially if you work in a retail store, restaurant, or other place where new stuff comes in on a regular basis.

If you are looking for novelties in your daily life and work, the consumer staples sector could be a great fit.

There is always a demand for products

Job security is a critical concern for many working Americans, and with good reason. Fortunately, if you work in consumer non-durables, you will probably enjoy excellent job stability because consumables are always in demand.

Since consumable, non-sustainable products are by definition “unsustainable”, people have to buy them again all the time.

For the same reason that mechanics will probably always be needed to fix people’s vehicles, there will always need to be people who run supermarkets or serve as wait staff in restaurants.

Starting a non-durable goods business or retail store can provide excellent economic stability and security. Get the right products and people will probably always come and buy more of them.

Easier to understand the products

For many, the nondurable consumer products industry is a great fit for their professional prospects because the products are easy to understand, use, and sell to end users or consumers.

Unlike durable products such as specific software, non-durable consumer products are relatively simple. You can make them or sell them and explain to consumers exactly what they do, why they are excellent or not, and why they should buy them.

That’s why non-durable consumer products are perfect for those who like to sell. Sellers often work more in the non-sustainable products arena than in the sustainable products arena simply because there is more to sell and each product is easier to understand or explain.

Products are physical and tangible (in most cases)

Lastly, you may value the consumables industry for non-durable products for your career because the products are concrete and physical. Many people don’t like handling computers or selling things simply because they can’t feel them with their hands.

In contrast, anyone can taste food, just as anyone can feel clothes or other products made in the non-sustainable industry.

If feeling that your work has a tangible, concrete impact on the world is essential to you, you may want to work in the consumer non-durable arena.

Related: 4 reasons why employees see a dismal career path and quit

Is Consumer Staples Right For You?

Consumer Staples could be the perfect career path for you, especially if you want lots of job options in the US and internationally.

Consider researching and pursuing a job in the consumer staples industry or starting your own business in the consumer staples industry.

Checking out Other guides and articles for entrepreneurs for more information on this topic.

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