Jessica and the Chocolate Factory

The foods and drinks we consume everyday come from food and drink companies, but where do they get their flavours from? Flavour companies!

Jessica, a Food and Nutrition BSc student, tells unCOVered about her one-year placement at the International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF) factory in Haverhill, Suffolk:


“At first I thought I would be creating flavours, but no, that is the job for flavourists! It is a highly professional job. You have to go through a million (-ish) years of training and experiences to become a good flavourist. So at this company I am the ‘Flavours Application Technology Technician’. My job is to apply the flavours (that are created by flavourists) to food products.

I work in the Bakery and Confectionery lab, so I am applying flavours to sweets, chocolates, breads, cereals, biscuits etc. with the aid of a bit of science. There are other departments too, including Savoury, Beverages, Dairy and Oral Care.

As I am currently studying Food and Nutrition, I have some knowledge about food science and its chemistry, but I am learning more about food ingredients, especially flavours. It was interesting to learn that we do not actually taste flavours with our tongue, but with our nose instead! Try this, hold your nose and put a sweet into your mouth. What do you taste? Release your nose and what do you taste now? See!

I am also learning from the sales, marketing and financial perspectives of the business. Apparently as a food scientist or technologist, I should not only focus on the science bit. Instead, I also have to pay attention to, and consider, many other aspects of the business, including sales, marketing and finance.

Not only am I responding to customers’ requests, but I am also given the opportunity to use my creativity to mix and apply flavours and create new food products. I am allowed to make some mistakes, after all, who knows which innovative food products out there were discovered through making a mistake.”

Here are some pictures of the products I’ve worked on during my first month:

As an international student I had never imagined me actually doing a ‘real’ full-time job in a foreign country, and I’d certainly never heard of Haverhill before I got this placement, so I had no idea what my new life here would be like. One month has passed, and I have been enjoying my time here so far. Haverhill is a nice, green and hilly area. It’s a really good place to get away to when you next have free time and maybe need a retreat!

Hopefully by the end of this placement year I will have developed both professionally and as a person. The placement will allow me to apply and improve my current knowledge whilst gaining a hands-on experience of applying food science to my work.”

This post was bought to you by Jessica Giovanni – Our International Student Ambassador from Indonesia. Jessica is currently a second year student, studying Food and Nutrition BSc.

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