In a nutshell: Developing new products including jams, savoury relishes, bakery items, yoghurt flavours, and other fruit and vegetable products.
Why? "I like the work - it's varied and food oriented."
Taradale High School, final year subjects: Biology, Chemistry, English, Food Technology, PE, Statistics
University of Otago: Bachelor of Science (Honours), majoring in Food Science
I enjoyed all subjects at school. The ones that were especially relevant to getting where I am today are science, maths, nutrition, and PE Studies, which is an introduction to anatomy and physiology.
There's lots of variety - expect the unexpected. Creativity is a prerequisite for developing new products; out of the box thinking is 20% of my job.
To develop a good product you have to effectively interpret customers' needs. It's also important that it can be made efficiently in the factory, and meet regulatory and food safety rules.
I make small batches of a new product - bench top samples - and modify them based on test results and customer feedback. Once a recipe is approved, we do manufacturing trials to make sure we can successfully produce it on a large scale.
A factory environment is many small parts moving in unison to create a final product. The role of a New Product Development Technologist is to coordinate all the moving parts to make sure a successful product is manufactured.
I've really enjoyed the re-launch of the Anathoth range of jams and chutneys, including new chilli relish and lemon curd products. It's a good feeling to see the results of your work being enjoyed by the people around you.
A person with a passion for food and science would enjoy my job. You need to be logical with an aptitude for critical thinking and creativity, and being social, resilient and calm under pressure are also very important.
I could move into food science roles in process development, technical laboratory work, quality assurance or research. My skill set could also be used in applied science roles outside of the food industry.
I'd particularly like to research ethical and sustainable food use. And a working OE will definitely come around at some point.
Posted December 2013
Follow this pathway:
Food Technologist: People who work in this role
Food Technologist: Companies that employ people in this job role