“Growing up, I have fond memories of having Bournvita before going to school, Tang Orange drink in the perfect summer vacations and sharing the Cadbury DairyMilk with my family and friends”
Friday, April 14, 2023
1. What does a typical day in the life of a product developer look like?
A product developer focuses on creating and improving food products that meet business and consumer needs. My day typically involves researching new food trends and ingredients which helps me stay up to date and determine how they can be incorporated. I spend time creating and modifying recipes. This may involve testing different ingredients and quantities to find the best combination for taste, texture, and appearance. As a developer I need to make sure the product is shelf stable and carry out various analytical and sensory testing to validate the claims offered to the consumers. Collaboration with other departments is crucial to create a product that meets MDLZ’s goals. I also make sure that I document the procedures and specifications for each product which are developed. As a product developer I work on troubleshooting any issues that arise during the product development process.
2. Since product development is a long drawn-out process and requires teams to go back to the drawing board multiples times, it can be challenging and sometimes even frustrating - what has been your biggest learning in this process?
Developing a successful product can be a long and complex process - it's essential to remain patient and persistent in the face of challenges and setbacks. Being flexible and open to feedback is crucial. Feedback from taste testers, suppliers, and other team members can help identify areas for improvement. It's essential to be open to making changes and trying new ideas, even if it means deviating from the original plan. Finally, collaboration and communication are key. Developing a successful product requires team effort, and effective communication is necessary to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. It's essential to collaborate closely with other departments, to ensure that the final product meets the company's goals and consumer needs.
3. How has MDLZ as an organisation provided support during the process?
As a food technologist it was a dream come true for me to work in such a reputed and loving organization. MLDZ has always provided comfort and support during the entire process by fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration. Encouraging team members to share their ideas, concerns, and feedback freely has always helped in creating a supportive environment where everyone feels heard and valued. MDLZ has always provided me with resources, such as training and development programs, to help me grow, improve their skills and knowledge. Additionally, it has always recognized the hard work and dedication that goes into product development. Celebrating small wins along the way and acknowledging the contributions of individual team members helps boost morale and keep everyone motivated.
4. What has been your favourite/ most recent innovation you have been involved in?
Being part of the AMEA Beverage team, I was involved in the development of fortified Tang with Vitamin C, D, and Zinc that supports immunity and cognitive function for the AMEA market. These were the days when world was impacted with COVID and was looking for healthy food products. We worked tirelessly during the Covid wave in India to develop this product that could help people boost their immunity and stay healthy during such a challenging time. Despite the numerous obstacles that the team faced, we persevered and eventually succeeded in creating a product that could make a significant difference in the lives of many. The impact that our product had on the health and wellbeing of people is the proudest and rewarding moment for us.
5. What made you want to be in the RDQ space and why specifically MDLZ as an organisation - any childhood memory associated with MDLZ?
I was always passionate about food and its ability to bring people together. Growing up, I have fond memories of having Bournvita before going to school, Tang Orange drink in the perfect summer vacations and sharing the Cadbury DairyMilk with my family and friends, which always brought me joy and comfort. As I got older, I became interested in the science behind food and how it can be used to create new and innovative products that can positively impact people's lives, hence I opted for the Food process engineering which helped build my interest towards the Food Engineering, chemistry behind it, and its sensory science. MDLZ’s dedication to research, development, and quality in the food industry drew me to their RDQ space. I was impressed by their commitment to creating products that are not only delicious but also safe, healthy, and sustainable. The opportunity to work closely with products that I have grown up enjoying and to contribute to the development of new and innovative products in the food industry was a dream job for me. In my role at MDLZ’, I feel a strong sense of purpose and fulfilment knowing that the work I do can positively impact people's lives by providing them with delicious, nutritious, and sustainable food options. The nostalgia associated with the multiple products that I enjoyed during my childhood motivates me to create products that will become new classics and be enjoyed by future generations.
6. What does "magic" mean to you and what's your favourite magic spell (mantra for success)?
To me, "magic" means the ability to create something extraordinary out of ordinary ingredients. As a product developer, I strive to create products that not only taste great but also evoke a sense of wonder and excitement in the consumer. My favorite "magic spell" or mantra for success is to always be curious, persistent, and open-minded. The food industry is constantly evolving, and it's essential to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations while also being willing to take risks and try new things. I believe that success in product development comes from a combination of creativity, science, and empathy. It's essential to understand the consumer's needs and desires, as well as the science behind food and how different ingredients work together to create unique flavors and textures. Overall, "magic" in product development is about creating products that not only taste great but also surprise and delight the consumer. It's about using science, creativity, and empathy to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts.
7. How does your role contribute towards MDLZ sustainability agenda/goal?
One way that I contribute to MDLZ's sustainability goals is by trying to use sustainably sourced ingredients in our products. We also limit the usage of ingredients that are known to accelerate deforestation in certain countries, and we work with suppliers who share our commitment to sustainable practices. Furthermore, in my role, I am involved in designing processes that lower line wastage and reduce the potable water demand. By optimizing production processes and reducing waste, we are not only helping to minimize our environmental impact, but we are also improving our efficiency and reducing costs. We work closely with our packaging team to ensure that our products are packaged sustainably, using materials that are recyclable or biodegradable. By using sustainable packaging, we can reduce our carbon footprint and help to minimize waste. Overall, my role as a product developer is instrumental in supporting MDLZ's sustainability agenda and goals. By prioritizing sustainability in all aspects of our product development, we can create products that are not only delicious and nutritious but also environmentally responsible.
8. What type of projects or experiences have you done to help grow your career in different ways at Mondelēz?
In my career at MDLZ, I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and gain experiences that have helped me grow and develop my skills in different ways. One of the most significant projects I have worked on was shaping the development of a new product from ideation to commercialization. This project involved collaborating with cross-functional teams, including marketing, supply chain, and quality assurance, to develop a product that met both consumer needs and business objectives. Through this experience, I learned how to manage complex projects and work collaboratively with teams from different functional areas. I have also had the opportunity to work on functional projects, such as reformulating products to meet specific dietary needs or reducing the sugar content of products without compromising taste. These types of projects have helped me develop my technical skills and deepen my understanding of food science and nutrition. Working on international projects, collaborating with teams from different countries and cultures to develop products that meet the needs of consumers in specific regions has taught me how to navigate cultural differences, communicate effectively across languages and time zones, and develop products that are tailored to specific markets. Overall, the diverse range of projects and experiences I have had at MDLZ’ has helped me develop a broad skill set, deepened my understanding of the food industry, and prepared me for new challenges and opportunities in the future.