Steffen  Friedrich

Steffen Friedrich

Food Technologist, Much More Ice Cream

In a nutshell: Creating and developing new ice cream flavours from concept to finished product.

Why? "I like the freedom I have to organise my time how I see fit. I also enjoy the diversity and creativity that is involved in product development."

Pathway: Michael Park School, final year subjects: Calculus, Chemistry, English, Physics
Massey University - Albany: Bachelor of Food Technology (Honours)

Earning: $40-50,000 graduate starting salary

I develop new ice creams and frozen dessert products from concept to launch. Once we have come up with an idea, I make a sample of it by hand. If it works, I consult with commercial ingredient suppliers, check we can make it on our existing equipment, calculate how much it will cost to produce and complete many taste tests. If all that works out, I then develop a final version of the product using commercial ingredients for a production trial.

I really enjoyed working on the last products that I launched: one was a boysenberry ambrosia low-fat ice cream and the other was a yoghurt-based milk ice block.

The boysenberry ambrosia was a challenge because I had to make sure that the marshmallow pieces added did not stick together during production and that the boysenberry ripple and yoghurt added to the ice cream also mixed correctly through the product. It is very satisfying to see your product in ice cream parlours and supermarket shelves.

Initially I wanted to do engineering when I left school. I then went to an Open Day at Massey University and was attracted by the creative product development side of food technology.

Another factor was that there were scholarships available to study food technology – I was fortunate enough to get one. The food technology degree combined my interests: science and engineering.

I use maths, chemistry and physics in my job: to work out recipe and product parameters (such as sugar content, density, and weight/volume) and the different interactions between food components and how this contributes to the taste, appearance and other properties of the product.

To do my job you have to be innovative, excellent at problem solving, have attention to detail, be patient and be able to manage many different projects at the same time. You also need to be able to handle frustration when projects you are working on do not go according to plan or are never launched.

Posted April 2013

Follow this pathway:

Degree in Food Science or Technology

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Food Technologist: Companies that employ people in this job role

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Futureintech is an initiative of Engineering New Zealand, funded by Callaghan Innovation