I moved from Germany to Ireland to join RD&A Graduate Programme. The network of like-minded graduates were instantaneously friendly and welcoming. I felt comfortable around them, and I felt part of the team from day one. I even had a buddy to show me around, and a mentor to teach me the ropes. Now, two years on, we are like a close knit family!
A typical day as an RD&A graduate involves receiving a brief from one of my many valued customers. This might be to create a new product or a match that’s similar to a competitor’s product, or it might be a really cool idea they have, that they want us to test for feasibility.
Then I get to work on the brief – interpreting it, finding the right recipe, or tailoring a recipe. Some days I might spend an entire day making the product; trying, cooking; experimenting; tasting- just to get it right. We put all of our products through a sensory test, to ensure that they do meet brief; that they taste great, or they compare on taste to a competitor for example.
Most days I’m lucky enough to work with my customers; who will come in to visit, and taste the products for themselves. So I’ll prepare the products for tasting, and wait with bated breath for their feedback and approval.
I love watching my customers’ initial reaction; there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing one of the world’s leading food service companies taste a product that I created, and lick their lips with a smile!
From there, the product might go back into development, and in most cases, it goes to factory trial. In that instance, it’s important for me to fly in to the site to have a presence, and ensure that the first product that comes off the belt is the same as the product that I delivered to our customer. Sometimes I can fly to 2 or 3 different countries within a week, visiting factories, sites and customers.