Name: Amrit Tara
Role: R&D Senior Product Technician — Global Breakthrough Foods
Where do you work?
I’m part of a foods research & development team based in Beaumont Park, UK. I was born and raised in Leicester, where Beaumont Park is located.
How did you decide to become a Food Development Technician?
From a very young age, I had a strong passion and interest in food. After a placement year as a Junior Food Technologist at Dawn Farm Foods, I knew straightaway that I wanted to continue designing and developing new food products from initial concept to full production. I love starting off with a new idea and seeing it grow and develop over time from initial trials to launch. I’ve had great opportunities to do this at PepsiCo. For example, I worked on the development of Mini-Poppables.
Can you give us a quick overview of the kind of projects you are working on?
My team works on a huge range of products within the PepsiCo portfolio, from brands like Quavers and Bugles in Europe to Poppables in the U.S. These products are made using a pellet extrusion technology where raw materials are made into an intermediate product that is similar to pasta. Then we heat the product in a fryer or an air popper to make an expanded snack.
What kind of lab do you work in?
We have a state-of-the-art global process center. Our pilot plant consists of a wet process plant, seasoning hall and innovation kitchen. The pilot plant is 42,000 by 33,000 square feet, and we have different sections for different technologies; for example, we have a specific area dedicated to seasoning as well as an innovation kitchen for prototyping. So we’re able to develop a lot of products in-house.