It’s just as well Abbie Crawford has a mobile phone with a very large memory.

Whilst most people are taking pictures of their friends, family and pets, Abbie uses hers to take pictures of food – a lot of pictures in fact.

It’s not that surprising given her role as a New Product Development (NPD) Manager.

As the title suggests, she is responsible for developing new products made by SK, from their original conception through to the ‘holy grail’ of making it onto supermarket shelves.

In between this, Abbie needs to liaise with pretty much everyone at SK to ensure all departments are working towards the goal of getting products approved.

Abbie, who is one of the youngest NPD Managers in the country having achieved a BSc (Hons) Degree in Food, Nutrition and Health Science with First Class Honours, explains: “It all starts with getting the original brief and from there we conduct our own market research to see what retailers, restaurants and even takeaways are doing in the particular area we are developing products for.

“This involves a lot of eating out in restaurants and sampling food made by chefs in our development kitchen. This may sound like the job of a lifetime but it’s a lot of food to eat so it becomes like wine tasting, in that you chew to get the taste before spitting it out, although I have been known to forgo this rule for something extra special!

“We go through various stages when submitting new products for consideration and it involves everything from tweaking recipes through to identifying the perfect packaging.

“Although it involves a lot of hard work there’s no better feeling than seeing a new product that you’ve helped to develop on a supermarket shelf, and in some cases on a TV advert.”

Whilst most people are thinking about Christmas 2016, Abbie is already looking forward to Christmas 2017.

Such are the lead times in new product development, Abbie has already started the Christmas planning process with product submissions to retailers expected in February/March 2017.

She adds: “You always need to be looking to the future, identifying new trends and predicting the next big thing.

“That’s one of the reasons why I take so many food pictures on my phone, honestly!”

About Neil Shaefer
Marketing & Communications Executive of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.