Ben Kew

Ben Kew

What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?

I work for Newly Weds Foods and the company is a premier global seasonings, coatings and functional ingredient supplier for food retail. I work in one of the many sites around the world which supplies the UK and EU market.

What is your role within the company?

I work in Seasonings R&D as a technologist but also occasionally support the coatings side of the business which deals with fast food outlets. I have also taken up work experience at Marks and Spenser’s HQ in NPD (New Product Development), being mentored by the Head of NPD where I worked as a development chef as part of my year out.

Can you give me an insight into a typical day?

I would be assigned various projects from customers of the company. I help and formulate my own flavour/seasoning blends for savoury food products, this could be anything from glazes for chicken, sausage and burger seasonings, brined whole meats or rubs and sprinkles. Some of the work includes matching products where I would taste a food product, such as a sausage and create a near identical recipe with guidance from UK and EU laws and legislations to mimic the organoleptic and functional characteristics of that food item. I have access to thousands of different herbs, spices and functional ingredients of which some recipes can involve over 30 ingredients!

What do you enjoy the most and do you get involved in any interesting projects?

I’ve absolutely loved the training and refinement of my taste pallet and now I can pick out very specific herbs, spices in foods, textural functional ingredients like gums and the many interesting flavours foods can acquire. Every project is interesting and enjoy using new and fascinating ingredients that are coming to the UK market and seeing the company’s products on shelf. I also find learning about future trends in the way we eat also very interesting and using my initiative to add this to the foods I create.  

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

The food industry is huge and is growing rapidly, there are hundreds of avenues open with a degree in food science and I took part in an industry year to discover what it’s like to work in the industry. I wanted to network with potential future employers, gain an insight and take part in the roles as well as develop my team, leadership and application of skills I have learnt in my degree.

What do you think you have got out of this experience so far? 

It’s breath-taking; the amount of skills I have learned, the insight I have gained into the working world, my personal development and professional attitude working with others as well as the independence and importance of my own work. I now know definitely where I want to be in the future, have the contacts to help and also developed a mature hard working attitude which I’m sure will be of great use in my final year and beyond. I have also discovered strengths and weaknesses in myself which I can focus on and enhance in time for working after my time in Leeds.

I can’t recommend enough how imperative it is to take any opportunity that is given to you. This has to be one of the best opportunities that can happen whilst in education, the first step into work, a major personal development and understanding in yourself. It’s the opportunity to try out your dream “ideal” job sector and see if it’s really what you want to dedicate your life to, it can really help you focus and streamline the rest of your career path.      

Do you have any tips and advice for current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

Take advantage of your situation explore the whole company you work for, research the opportunities available, write down everything you want to try and achieve, discuss this with your supervisor on day one and never say no to any learning experience which is offered to you, you never know what this could lead to. Also don’t worry if you make a mistake, learn from it and the company know you are there to learn!