Believe it or not, the bubbles in chocolate bars are created by mechanical engineers.
How they do it exactly is a top trade secret, but generally they have to work out how to mix gases found naturally in the air into the chocolate bar under high pressure. Once the mixture is dropped into the moulds, the bubbles grow and the chocolate sets to become the bars we all love.
If this sounds intriguing and you love maths and science, then our new degree for budding engineers – the MEng Food Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University, could be for you.
Visit www.foodengineer.co.uk to find out more about our new degree and for more examples of how mechanical engineering is used to make food and drink products. The website also includes stories from young engineers on what it’s like to work for a food company.
Food and drink companies all across the UK will once again be opening their factory doors to young people to show them what it’s really like to work in manufacturing.
This year’s See Inside Manufacturing will be taking place throughout the month of October, so if you’re curious about what goes on behind the scenes at your local food company ask your teacher to find out more. Teachers can also email us to find out if a company nearby is holding visits. Email us at: email@example.com.
We’ll have more information about what food and drink companies will be involved soon, but in the meantime here are some pictures of what we got up to last year - See Inside Manufacturing 2012.
The MunchBot app simulates a robotic arm moving
objects on a conveyor belt - one of the many ways that engineering skills are used in food and drink manufacturing.
The objective of the game is to grab as many
food items as possible from three moving conveyor belts within the limited time
allocated. The player directs a robotic arm by moving their finger on the iPad
/ iPhone to grab food. All the food items have different point values, so the
more you swipe, the higher your score! There are however, trick items which
players need to avoid as they carry negative values.
The app is free to download and is a
quick-moving and fun game that will appeal to players of all ages.
The first and only food engineering degree in the UK is now available at Sheffield Hallam University and will be open in September 2013 for applications for autumn 2014 entry.
If you fancy being an engineer and are looking for a course in a great city that offers you great experience and career prospects, then the MEng Food Engineering degree could be the one for you.
Developed in close partnership with some of the UK's biggest food and drink manufacturing companies and best loved brands, this course will take you from undergrad to Masters Level in just four years.
The course has been designed to make students 'employment-ready' by giving them practical experience through over 50 weeks of paid industry placements at some of the UK's top food and drink companies.
More and more companies are signing up to support students studying the course. The current list of companies involved is: Associated British Foods, apetito, Arla Foods, Burton's Biscuit Company, Cargill, Dalehead Foods, General Mills, Mars, McCains Foods, Mondelez, Nestlé, Pork Farms, Premier Foods, United Biscuits, Warburtons and the William Jackson Food Group.
Graduates of the course will be much sought-after industry specialists with expertise in food engineering, food manufacture efficiency and environmental sustainability.
Food and drink is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, employing up to 400,000 people. Engineering is one of the sector's key specialisms and the industry is crying out for new talent to come on-board to help it meet demand and future challenges.
Find out more about what it's like to be a food and drink engineer on the Tomorrow's Engineers website.
If this sounds appealing, or you just want to find out more, have a look at the MEng Food Engineering course page on Sheffield Hallam's online prospectus.
A robot that can move and pack a whopping 150 chocolate bars a minute will be amongst the bumper load of exciting food engineering activities on offer on the Taste Success / Nestlé stand at this year's Big Bang Fair at London ExCel (14-17 March).
Engineering is our stand's theme this year and visitors will be able to play a game of 'Grab the last Kit Kat' against the robot, showing how cutting-edge robotics and automation are used in food and drink manufacturing. The Bosch 4-Axes Delta Robot is a real example of high-tech robotic solutions used on the factory floor. See a Bosch robot in action on YouTube!
Other exciting things on our stand are:
If you fancy coming along, make sure you come over and say 'hi' – we'd love to meet you! We'll be in the Farm to Fork section. It’s free to visit but you will need to register on the Big Bang Fair’s website.
Looking forward to seeing you there!
John (18) works as an apprentice maintenance engineer at KP Snacks in Teeside. KP Snacks is the maker of such favourites as Hula Hoops, KP Nuts, Nik Naks and Skips.
We interviewed him about his job.
I got good grades in my GCSE's, so I applied for this apprenticeship through www.apprenticeship.org.uk.
Each day there are different issues to deal with, whether it’s in the factory or in a training centre. My daily tasks include repair and maintenance of site equipment, including the process lines that produce crisps, right through to flavouring and packing.
I am also responsible for continuous improvement, and my work forms part of our site's Lean Manufacturing activities. I'm involved with developing new engineering ways of working by looking at best practice, as well as a project focusing on investment in the factory's packing area. This project includes a visit to Germany to see the factory making new equipment for us, as well as a familiarisation trip to United Biscuits' KP Ashby site.
I'd say the qualities you need for this job are a willingness to learn, good teamwork, and also being able to work as an individual, have good communication skills, and good listening skills.
The qualifications I working towards that will make me a fully qualified Maintenance Engineer are an NVQ level 3 and a HNC. The great thing about this job is that as I get more qualified and more confident in my job each year, I get paid more. This gives me the drive to try and get the best qualifications I can.
I would definitely recommend this job to others! It is really enjoyable and you are always learning new skills. I'm never bored because there is always something interesting for me to do.
It's a great career choice! Stick at it, don’t give up, keep trying and try and get the best qualifications in it as possible.
p>Apprenticeships are very important to food and drink manufacturers. They are a great way to get into the industry and many employers consider them to be a great way of attracting talent to their business.
Every year at the Community Partnership Awards, the industry celebrates its top apprentices. This year’s winners ...
Sam is a fourth year apprentice engineer, based at Unilever’s Trafford Park manufacturing – the home of PG tips, Scottish and Lyon’s tea. He was nominated by his managers for his exemplary work ethic and his dedication to his role, seeking out every opportunity to learn and better himself and putting his new skills and fresh ideas to good use at Unilever.
Sam is currently studying for his Electrical Technical Certificate in the final year of his four-year Engineering Apprenticeship at Nestlé. He was nominated by his colleagues for his impressive attitude to his work which distinguishes him as one of the rising stars in the business.
He is continuously highlighted by his managers as a role model for other apprentices and has been described as "an asset to the factory and a leader of tomorrow".
Rob has been undergoing his Technical Coordinator Apprenticeship at United Biscuits’ (UB) KP Nuts factory since 2009. Rob was nominated by his managers, not just for his skill, but also for his commitment to his role and his attitude, which they consider excellent.
Lydia joined Nestlé in 2011 on its HR Apprenticeship Programme as a Recruitment Coordinator. Due to Lydia’s progress and impressive ability to handle a range of tasks she has also taken on responsibility for supporting the Training and Learning team.
Lydia has received recognition throughout the business not only because she delivers the highest standards in her day to day role, but also because of her enthusiastic and results focused attitude which her team has benefited from.
For pictures from the Awards check out our page on Flickr.
Taste Success is incredibly excited to be exhibiting at Skills London 2012!
A whopping 15,000 people are expected to come along on each of the two days! We'll definitely be there, along with lots of info on the exciting careers in food and drink manufacturing available.
We’ll also be launching the next instalment of our Taste Success videos, so if you want to find out what Lily the Chilli Baby did next, come and check us out.
If you're aged between 15-24, are curious about the career options out there for you and can get to London in November, then pop over and say 'hi' to us on the Taste Success stand - we'd love to meet you!
For more info, including how to book visit the Skills London 2012 website.
Have you voted for your sexiest food on our FaceBook page yet?
If not, then there’s still time to have your say on what should be the UK’s sexiest food. So far, over 1,500 Taste Success fans have voted and ice-cream has come out top, beating other contenders including jammy rings, fish fingers and jelly.
Ever wondered what it's like working with ice-cream?
Unilever graduate trainee Chris Seymour has one the coolest job in food, working as an ice-cream engineer in Italy. When asked why he wanted to work with this top sexy food he said:
"I wanted to be part of the ice-cream business because of the interaction with the product as an engineer. I’ve worked with tea and there’s less interaction in making it. I didn’t realise how many things were possible with ice-cream until I joined. There are so many different ranges you can produce and you get to be “hands-on” and work in the pilot plant with the equipment, setting it up and I enjoy making large-scale ice-cream production a possibility."
"Also, a lot of the items you work on might not be launched for another year - you get to try these ice creams out before they ever hit the marketplace, which is interesting."
To find out more about Chris's job, check out his full interview on Tomorrow's Engineers website.
Visit the Taste Success Facebook page to vote for the sexiest food.
If you live in or around the Watford area, then why not pop along to see us at the Your Future Fair on 8 October?
We’ll be there to tell you more about careers in food and drink manufacturing and the many opportunities available to you.
The Your Future Fair is now in its seventh year and is free to attend. The Fair aims to inspire and advise young people with their parents/carers about career opportunities in various industries.
Alongside Taste Success, a wide variety of local and national organisations will be at the Fair to offer you more information and advice on the skills, qualities and qualifications they look for in new recruits.
For more info visit the Your Future Fair website.
Monday 8 October - 6pm till 9pm
Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford WD17 3JN
If you’re interested in becoming a food scientist or technologist and are looking for more information, then check out these great links to resources offering more information on courses, careers, events and much more!
IFST is a qualifying body for food professionals in Europe and is covers all aspects of food science and technology.
Membership is open to anyone with a professional interest in food and it also offers student memberships which are a great way to get you started in the industry.
Their IFSTGraduate Guide to Food Science & Technology has lots of good information about courses, career options and what companies are looking for in new recruits.
Make sure you check out their events page as they often run open days and special events which are sometimes open to non-members and potential new recruits.
IFST’s Learning Zone has lots of information that you might find useful and includes a list of food science courses across the UK.
Interviewee name: Lydia Cebreiro
Qualifications: Currently studying for NVQ Level 3 HR
"I love being able to interact with different people every day and having responsibility for real business tasks."
Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?
I joined Nestlé UK & Ireland in 2011 on its HR Apprenticeship Programme as a recruitment Coordinator. Before this I attended Sixth Form College but after six months of being there I realised that it wasn't the right route for me.
How have you benefitted from doing an apprenticeship rather than going straight into a job or going to uni?
The Nestlé Apprenticeship Programme provided me with an incredible opportunity to learn while I earned and to gain experience by working for the world's largest food manufacturer.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
My role is seen as the ambassador of the recruitment team at Nestlé as I am the first point of contact when colleagues from around the business need information or support in recruitment. I love being able to interact with different people every day and having responsibility for real business tasks. I have learnt to use my initiative to solve problems and make decisions which is something I think is only possible through hands on experience.
How much work and study do you do each week?
I spend four days a week in the office and one day at the local college in Croydon studying for my NVQ Level 3 in HR.
Any plans for the future?
As I develop my understanding of the processes used in recruitment and roles available in HR I can see an exciting career path through this profession, which I now feel confident and capable to work in.
Interviewee name: Clare Walker
Qualification: BSc (Hons) Food Studies and Nutrition, University of Leeds
"It's an ever-changing industry with lots of opportunity to develop."
What does an average day involve?
I'm part of the Quality Assurance team responsible for ensuring our Yorkshire Tea and Taylors Coffee are consistently produced to the highest quality for our acustomers. For me this might involve assessing our training and food safety systems and procedures, working with our suppliers to make sure they meet our high standards and liaising with other departments, such as our training and production teams, to implement new processes.
What was your career path?
I started at Taylors of Harrogate as a Trainee Food Technologist after I graduated from university. I was immediately given lots of exciting responsibilities to help me learn and develop. I also completed several external courses such as food hygiene training. After two years in the business I became a food technologist.
What is the best thing about your job?
I love my job because every day is different and I enjoy the interaction with a range of departments. There's a huge sense of achievement when you've resolved an issue or received excellent feedback from your customers.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of pursuing this career?
If you have a passion for food and enjoy science subjects then this may be the career for you. It's an advantage to get some work experience, whether that's during your school holidays or as an industrial placement as a part of your degree. I'd also recommend going to university open days to find out more about the courses they offer and speak to current students.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I expect that I'll be working in the food industry in a quality assurance based role. It's an ever-changing industry, with lots of opportunities to learn and develop.
How should you make the perfect cup of tea? Do you put the milk in first or after?
If I'm using a teapot I always warm the pot with some hot water while the kettle's on, empty that water, put in my tea, add my freshly boiling water and leave to brew for 4-5 minutes. Milk before or after is very much personal preference, but I tend to put milk in first if the tea's been brewed in a teapot.
If I'm brewing it in a mug I put tea in first as adding milk first to a mug will lower the water temperature.
Interviewee name: Chris Seymour
Qualifications: A-Level physics, chemistry and maths and an MEng, Chemical Engineering, Strathclyde University
Works: Caivano, Naples, Italy
Tell us about your job…
At the moment I’m mostly working on the visual quality of Cornetto and making things easier for the production team. My job is about improving how it looks in a small pilot plant before scaling it up to make these improvements on a global scale in a factory.
Our goal is always to improve the standard of quality of our ice cream and the best way to communicate this good quality to our consumer is to improve its visual appearance. I work on developing new processes to do this. With Cornetto it’s important to give a “ripple” effect to build a crown formation on the top of the ice cream. My work involves improving the quality of ripples in the product through different engineering design methods such as flow control, temperature analysis and pressure sensing.
What interested you about chemical engineering?
I was 17 and started looking at universities but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I was interested in engineering because the sciences appeal to me and I like working with my hands and being creative.
I chose chemical engineering because I went on a day trip to one of the universities and the IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers) sold it to me by telling me that chemical engineering is a huge part of our lives. It’s in everything around us, from shower gel to the food products in our fridge.
What subjects did you study at school?
I studied physics, chemistry and maths, which were the subjects necessary for my course - you need good, logical subjects. I really love physics. It’s a study of how stuff works and it made me interested in doing something related to calculating what’s going on around us and how to make things work.
How useful did you find your university degree?
At Unilever there are different functions like research and development (R&D), supply chain management, financial management, marketing and customer development (sales). For R&D you need a specific and strong technical qualification in order to get onto the course such as a 2:1 degree in chemistry or chemical engineering as they are very useful for the job.
R&D has a lot of different roles and during the graduate programme you get to work in all these broad areas and you’re challenged in very different ways in the different jobs. My last position was particularly academic and scientific and I spent a lot of time researching scientific papers. That was a skill I gained at university - looking through books and scientific journals to find what I’m looking for. Where I’m working now is on the cusp of making the product happen on a large scale and I need to use more core chemical engineering skills, such as fluid dynamics, flow splitting and heat transfer, to understand what’s happening.
What personal qualities are important for being an engineer?
You need to have good analytical skills. You can learn specific and technical things at university in an engineering degree but what you should be learning is how to analyse difficult technical problems. You need to understand what a problem is and where a problem stems from and during the course of a technical degree you develop a focus on being able to solve analytical problems.
Read Chris’ full interview on Tomorrow’s Engineer’s website.
Food and drink manufacturers tend to be based across the country, so bear in mind that you may not necessarily find a job on your doorstep. However, larger companies tend to have sites across the country, with headquarters in cities and large towns with good transport access. Due to their size and the need to be able to distribute products across the country effectively, production sites are can often be based in more rural locations.
It’s also definitely worth checking out the jobs areas of company websites for vacancies. If none are currently available, then contact their HR department to register your interest and to find out when opportunities might be available.
It’s also a good opportunity to contact companies directly to find out what you would need to do to be considered for your desired role. Many companies now have dedicated careers Twitter accounts or use LinkedIn so make sure you’re checking social media regularly.