In Week 4 of our program, we took a deeper look into Food Science so we spent the majority of the week at the Innovation Center with R&D. We began with an exploration in product development in order to grasp what it is like for food scientists to develop a product. We were challenged to design a new flavor of ketchup and go through the development steps that R&D teams go through. It was here that we took ketchup and mixed in oleoresins to develop new flavors. We were split into two groups. Group A made a mango-habanero flavor, while Group B made a smokey-onion ketchup. It began at the bench-level where we took tomato paste, added our sweetener, and finally our flavors. We then boiled and bottled our ketchup. The following morning we took our ketchup to the pilot plant. This step is done so that larger batches (500lbs) could be made. The upscaling of a product is essential to make sure that the characteristics of a finished good stay the same in the plant as they were in the bench-top version. Since we had recently visited Fremont, we were quite familiar with the ketchup-process. It really is amazing how a facility readily available to R&D emulates the process in the plant so well.
Another highlight of the week was playing a team-building activity with the quality assurance group. For the game we were given 20 pieces of spaghetti, one yard of string, and a marshmallow. We were put into groups of three and to build the tallest structure we could in 18 minutes. At the end of game, two teams were left with structures within 0.5in of each other and the final group had their tower collapse. This point of the exercise was to demonstrate iterative prototyping. If a team were to wait until the end to add their marshmallow to the structure it would likely collapse.
The week ended with a collaboration with the sales and corporate trainees to participate in the Heinz “Stop Hunger Now” event. Together we created 20,000 meals to send to other countries in need. It was rewarding to work with a great organization to help children in need.