Four New Product Development Technologists recently started working for SK Chilled Foods.
They are Katherine Lenderyou, Michael Thackeray, Lydia Akrami and Juliet Watson.
The quartet have each been assigned their own supermarket customers and will be involved in every aspect of developing new food products from the idea stage to the shop floor.
This can include organising and conducting trials; assessing products on their taste, colour, odour and feel; helping to develop packaging; promoting products at local food events and writing product specifications.
For mother-of-two Katherine, who lives in Darlington, this is complete career change, having run her own jewellery business.
She says: “I was ready to do something different and I have always been interested in food and nutrition.
“I went to university to study human nutrition and this is my first job in the food industry and I am loving it.”
Michael, from Middlesbrough, started working as a lab assistant at a sports nutrition company before getting a job as a Junior NPD Food Technologist with another company in the south of the country.
He said: “I was delighted to get this job with SK. It’s a step up from my previous roles, but I am enjoying working for one of the biggest food production companies in the UK.”
Lydia, from Sunderland, had always planned to work in the food industry, having achieved a GSCE and A-Level in food technology and then studying the subject for her degree at university.
She says: “One of the best things about this job is that every day is different; one minute you can be doing taste trials in the kitchen and the next you can be presenting ideas to the supermarkets.”
Juliet, from Bamburgh, comes from a farming background so has always been interested in food and agriculture.
She says: “Becoming a food technologist was a logical step for me and I was working as an NPD assistant for a company in Cambridge when I heard about this role and the prospect of returning to the North East and joining a company like SK was too good to turn down.
“Katherine, Michael and Lydia joined before me, so I am the newest member of the team, but we all get on well and we are supported by a great senior team.”
Benna Davis, SK’s Head of Product Development, said: “The role of NPD Technologist is an important one because they need to support our NPD Managers in meeting the high expectations of our customers and ensuring we are continually producing innovative dishes that put us at the forefront of the chilled food industry.
“We are pleased to welcome Katherine, Michael, Lydia and Juliet. They have settled in well and have bright futures ahead of them.”