Focus Management Consultants Limited

Recruitment Specialists for the food and drink industry

Development NPD Testimonial

Name: Chris
University attended: Sheffield Hallam University
Degree obtained: BSc (Hons) Food Marketing Management
Joined Scheme: 2008

Chris is currently in his first post-AMS role as Senior Development Technologist within the Bakkavor Harrow Pizza Business.

New Product Development is the "life blood" of our food manufacturing business. This is your chance to influence what the nation will be eating in the months and years to come!

Working in a highly rewarding and challenging environment, this is a "hands on" role, interacting with other departments/functions  and customers, to develop and deliver exciting new food products, so gaining an incredible amount of experience in a short period of time.

Add to this unrivalled training, international and diverse opportunities and a fast track progression up the career ladder into a postion of genuine responsibility and the decision is easy!

The Bakkavor Development Accelerated Management Scheme (AMS) is a graduate scheme designed to nurture and train future Food Developers. The scheme consists of two, one year placements, at two of its UK sites which could range from Ready Meals, Pizza, Produce, Dips and Dressings. Each site can offer the graduate the core skills and competences required to set them on their product development career path. On completion of a year at a given site, candidates are transferred to a second site to further develop core skills and management attributes necessary to develop into a Senior Technologist/Product Manager. The roles and product categories in each business inevitably vary in response to customer demands and food trends thus inspiring the graduate to meet these challenges.

Having initially wanted to be a Chef, I decided that I would rather persue a career in the food industry through the completion of a degree in food and business.

A university placement year at Innocent smoothies, confirmed to me that I wanted to persue a career in new product development.Working for a smaller brand was a great stepping stone in my career, but I realised that to progress I would need some solid training within my role. The Bakkavor AMS scheme attracted my attention because of the large variety of product categories, across all fresh food groups, that were open to graduates as well as the structure and support, to mentor and guide, a graduate through the on the job training.

On joining the group in August 2008 my first year placement was as development technologist at Tilmanstone Salads involved concept to launch development of Food to Go, gourmet salads and also prepared vegetable lines for Marks and Spencer.The role involved working with development chefs, product managers and M&S category buyers to innovate and create thebest products for the market, using the best ingredients.

Innovation was driven by market research and trends, gap analysis, consumer research and blue-sky development. The role was diverse, from working in the development kitchen to trialling new ingredients in the factory and attending product launches.

On completion of my first year, I moved to the Harrow Pizza business to a development technologist role. This involved working on the chilled pizza category with multiple retailers such as Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Morrison's. The role aimed to build on the key skills acquired and developed in my first year: effective costing management, responsibility for development and presentation of new and innovative concepts and the management of the concept critical path which ensure that all products were launched within the appropriate timescales to specification and to required margins. The role was very hands on and fast paced, working on multiple accounts at once. Both challenging and rewarding, it allowed me to learn about the bakery process and new areas of development.  I worked on exciting ranges for Waitrose such as their Italian regional range and was also given my own projects for Morrison's.

As well as continual on the job training, formal courses such as commercial awareness, presentation skills, leadership and management were also provided to further build and develop the skills of the graduates.

On completion of the AMS in September 2010 I was promoted to Senior Development Technologist at Bakkavor Pizza Harrow. My current role is customer facing, managing the development and launch of products into store by means of a critical path, sourcing new ingredients, whilst undertaking extensive gap analysis, costings and account management.My role allows me to feed my passion for food, and work within a great team to deliver innovative and creative products to a large and expanding consumer base, from initial idea and concept generation to seeing the product on the shelf in store.

Bakkavor empowers communication, therefore even on your first day you are made feel welcome and can see how your contribution will benefit the team and the company. Bakkavor is an innovative company, which supports and drives graduates to achieve their goals. Each employee is driven by the company's five core values such as 'can do' approach, which make them stand out amongst the competition.