We are always developing and investing in new product development and our latest investment is taking on a full time product development technologist, Katie Yuill.
To allow Katie the freedom to experiment and develop new products we’ve built her a kitchen too!
Katie tells us a bit more about herself:
Question 1: What is your career history to date? What did you do before your time at Meatsnacks?
After completing a degree in Food Science and Technology and working in two large food processor environments, I was certain that working in the food industry was the career I wanted to pursue long term. These experiences provided me with invaluable experience and the knowledge of both product quality and working with large supermarkets. Admittedly, very daunting to start with but it’s so exciting when you see your own products sitting on the supermarket shelves.
Living and working in the Scottish Highlands was essential when it came to career options, so when I saw the Meatsnacks Group opportunity I jumped at the challenge. Although I must admit the first thing I did was buy a pack of jerky having never tasted the stuff before!
Question 2: What is your day-to-day role, and can you give us a brief overview of how your day is structured, time you get up, what you do throughout the day, what time your day end?
- 5.30am, overalls on and I head down to see my horses.
- My journey to work is where I plan and prepare for the day.
- My job is very diverse, from spending time in the factory one day to other days spent mainly at my desk.
- I also do a lot of recipe work, making up samples and sending them out to various people.
- One of the most important aspects of working in product development is being able to listen to people’s opinions. Everybody has different tastes, but being able to interpret what people like and dislike and come up with a tasty product takes a bit of practice.
- When the end of the day comes, I like to get away from work sharpish, to beat the worst of the traffic and get home and out on the horse.
Question 3: Do you juggle work and a family, etc. or anything else you juggle?
I’m very lucky to be able to spend a couple hours in the evening with my horses, riding for miles out in the countryside. My partner and I also recently finished building our own house after nearly 3 years of hard work, so to be honest, it still feels like we are on a bit of a holiday!
Question 4: What is the best and worst part of your job?
The worst part- Usually occurs toward the end of the week, when you feel like your taste buds have given up and the last thing you want to do is eat another sample!
The best part– Getting to spend time looking at what is on offer to consumers, be it restaurants, supermarkets or recipe books etc. The variety is amazing, even in your local supermarket! We are all guilty of shopping in ‘zombie’ mode and buying the same stuff time and time again.
Question 5: Was this job you always wanted to have?
My parents joke that I was destined to be a development technologist. As a kid my favorite game was to make mud-pies! Spending hours perfecting the consistency, making different ‘recipes’ and decorating them with mum’s flowers! Thankfully however, we were also given a free rein in the kitchen to experiment with food. Glad to report the ‘multicoloured pancake’ phase passed quite quickly!
Question 6: What tips can you give anyone looking to become a taste tester?
Tip 1– Remember the food industry is always changing and developing, with a huge amount of diversity within it, from micro businesses to multi nationals right up and down the country.
Tip 2– Approach your local manufactures and ask about the types of roles they have in their business, and even for a look round. When it comes to tasting the products almost everybody gets a go, whether you are the MD or work in the IT department, you’ll almost certainly be asked to taste the products!
Tip 3– You need to be able to confidently know what you like and dislike, and be able to explain why.
Question 7: Tell us about being a women working in a male dominated industry…?
Growing up on a busy farm was the best training for working in the food industry as it was a case of muck in and get on with it, which is something I still very much believe in. Luckily I’m part of the generation of women who have never been held back and have always been reminded of our talents and skills. I just remind myself how hard I studied, and that my success will depend on how hard I work.
Check out our full range of products here.