Elise Waddell

Elise Waddell

Application Technologist, Sensient Technologies

In a nutshell: Using the food ingredients our company produces – colours, flavours, extracts, sauces and seasonings – to create new products for other food manufacturers.

Why? "I get to be creative and on the leading edge of new product trends."

Pathway: Westlake Girls' High School, final year subjects: Chemistry, Art Painting, Biology, Physics, Classics, Calculus
Massey University - Albany: Bachelor of Food Technology (Honours), majoring in Food Product Technology

Earning: $45,000+ starting salary

Chemistry, Biology and Art-Painting were my favourite subjects. The knowledge I gained in Chemistry and Biology provided a good foundation for what I do now. Art has always been a hobby – and working with food colours means I get to make colourful creations!

My degree required 900 hours of industry experience. I worked for Much Moore Ice Cream, making ice cream and ice blocks, and got experience in a number of different food technology roles at Hawkins Watts, a company which makes ingredients.

One of my most exciting projects was developing a zero alcohol beer. I learned all about how to brew and what makes a good beer.

I'm an application technologist which means that I use our company's products to create new foods – such as beverages, ice cream, snacks and confectionery – for food manufacturers.

I spend about 70% of my time in the lab and 30% on the computer. I research the latest food trends and come up with ideas for innovative products – mostly beverages – for our customers.

After creating a new product I tweak the formulation until it tastes and looks right, then our sales people present it to the customer. There's a lot of variety as the ideas and briefs from customers are always different.

I haven't travelled overseas for work yet,\ as I've only been in this role for a few months. Our team travels to other Sensient branches all over the world, and sometimes we go overseas for training seminars and conferences.

Food technology is about using theoretical knowledge to solve problems. You need to enjoy science and be able to problem-solve. You also need to be able to work in a team and get creative.

I could stay in food technology roles, move into a management position or technical sales, or become a contracting food technologist. They develop products for small companies which don't have their own technical staff.

Posted April 2017

Follow this pathway:

Degree in Food Science or Technology

Food Technologist: People who work in this role

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    Ethan Dodds

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    Elise Waddell

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    Nazanin Rafati

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  • Amber Wang

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    Lana Philcox

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  • EeLaine Yeoh

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    Jo Madden

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    Marianna McEwan

    Technical Graduate, Marianna McEwan at work

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  • Tracey Jaques

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    Michael Gin

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    Abigayl Ayo

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    Neala Ye

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    Janine Taylor

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    Tessa Tietjen

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    Pamella Ariestia

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  • Manfred Chun

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    Amie Duan

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    Steffen Friedrich

    Food Technologist, Steffen Friedrich at work

    Jay Tombleson

    Product Development Technologist, Jay Tombleson  at work
  • Anna Radich

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    Caitlin Ide

    Development Technologist, Caitlin Ide at work

    Alice Crawford

    R&D Technologist, Alice Crawford at work

    Toby Gundesen

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  • Samuel Richardson

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    Emma Mostert (née Shannon)

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    David Kay

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  • Emma Alexander

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    Anna Horgan

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    Matt Mays

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    Owen Fisher

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Food Technologist: Companies that employ people in this job role

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  • Constantia Foods
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    Silver Fern Farms
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  • Frucor
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    McCain Foods (NZ)
    Heinz Wattie's
    Heinz Wattie's
    Cerebos Gregg's
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  • Fonterra
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Futureintech is an initiative of Engineering New Zealand, funded by Callaghan Innovation