Ben Kew studied BSc Food Science at the University of Leeds

Ben Kew

Why did you choose to study Food Science?

I chose to study Food Science because I have always been fascinated by how food has shaped our culture on this planet. I want to learn and apply scientific principles to create new and inventive ideas. We all eat food and everything consumed has complex chemistry, biology and physics involved. Knowing how and why food is the way it is, has always been my motivation to study food science and nutrition.

Tell us about your industrial work placement. What company do you work for and what is your role? 

I work for Newlyweds Foods, they are a global seasonings and functional ingredients supplier. I work in Seasonings R&D as a Food Technologist. 

The company produces blends of dry powders and coatings for use in savoury food products, this includes things such as flavour glazes, rubs and brine's for supermarket supplier retailers but also coating systems for the top fast food chains. As a technologist I develop the recipe blends, balancing flavours, incorporating new flavours, increasing general organoleptic appeal and improve/add functional ingredients to increase shelf life or the rheology for example of the end product. 

What do you enjoy the most about your course?

I definitely enjoy the lab sessions. You get to learn the theory in the lectures and then see how it’s applied in real life situations - this makes learning the material much more enjoyable. 

One of the fascinating projects I’ve worked on was during my second year wherein a group we used analytical techniques to build up a nutritional label of a subway! We were able to get a very small percentage of the actual nutritional declaration and now I can look at any product on shelve, understand the procedure of calculating values such as the energy, fat and protein but also the limitations of obtaining these values, the fact that the results obtained are not exactly what you absorb and may not be 100% accurate.  

What attracted you to the University of Leeds?

What stood out to me most is the quality of teaching resources and also the atmosphere of the University. There’s so much to do in terms of social societies, it’s the perfect place if you want to learn something completely new. I can’t list how many experiences the University of Leeds has offered me this year. The University is active, fun and lively, this makes it a much more stimulating learning environment.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Leeds is the most diverse and exciting place I have ever lived in, you can do absolutely anything you can imagine! The possibilities for extracurricular and curricular opportunities are only a step outside your door. Some examples of what diverse things I’ve been up to are, learning and now training in the LUU swim team, learning and a qualification in wine tasting, life drawing,  lifeguard qualification, learning and working as a precious gemstone grader, volunteering as a chef using waste food, badminton, archery, work experience at M&S, internships, Placement as a Food Technologist, a summer placement in USA, teaching, mentoring and being mentored by industry experts there is so much what Leeds can offer. So my advice is go out and explore all the opportunities that’s given, who knows what you will get out of it.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

I have worked in RTIS (regulatory technical information services) for a Dairy Company internship, volunteered as a waste food chef, presented in front of schools, worked in food summer schools, shadowed, been a mentee and volunteered for work experience with M&S Head of new product development and the team, worked for the School of Food Science and the University as an ambassador as well as experience working as a food technologist with a global seasonings and functional foods company on placement year. These are all examples of work experience, gaining contacts and valuable skills that the school has helped me achieve.

Through the university doing societies I developed sophisticated senses of taste in the LUU wine society, I then also went on the committee and now booked for a qualification in wine tasting which opens up more opportunities for my career.

I made the most of the amazing facilities offered at the university gym The Edge, learning to swim and leading onto training in the swimming team, this has helped my attitude and determination as well as mental and physical well-being a major skill that’s helped with exams, and leading for a more ambitious future career. With my skill in swimming I am now learning to be a lifeguard this has then lead to me getting employed by the International Sports Training Camp in USA this summer.

These experiences are only some of the things studying at Leeds has offered me, it has opened up so many career paths and I am fully prepared for life after graduating.