Corporate Management Trainee Program Week 10 2018

After this week, the CMTs have officially wrapped up the halfway point of our first rotation! My name is Meredith Klabnik and I am currently placed in research and development at the Kraft Heinz Innovation Center in Glenview.  I studied Food Science at the University of Delaware and was very excited to meet and work with the developers here at Kraft Heinz. I am in the Grocery business unit working on the beverages team. The team has launched many new products and line extensions this past year from Kool-Aid Sparklers to Maxwell House MAX 2X Boost Iced Coffee. My project entails working on new product development and partnerships within the refreshment beverage space. All of the trainees learned about R&D at Kraft Heinz during training (shout out to Chandler’s post) and four of us are currently doing a variety of rotations here.

A typical day in my life at the Innovation Center includes, bench top trials, meetings with the corresponding brand build marketing team, discussions with regulatory, and internal product tastings. Bench top trials in the labs involve altering formulations with different flavors, ratios, and suppliers to best develop a concept before it is ready for testing in the pilot plant. The pilot plants allow developers to run small scale trials that mimic the processes of the full-scale production plants. Internal product tastings with the beverages R&D team and the brand build team are important to gain insights and feedback throughout development process. The group tastes a range samples providing comments on how to change the formulation moving forward and it is fun to try new products before they are released! My day to day focus is working in the lab through the bench top development phase for a kids’ single serve beverage, which will soon be tested in a consumer insights kids panel. An 8-week rotation is a quick glimpse at the new product development process which spans from initial concept to full commercialization. The other trainees in Glenview are in Food Service, Breakthrough Innovation, and Packaging and are working through shelf life challenge studies, initial concept problem solving, and cost savings analysis.


This week, the Glenview Crew went back to the Aon Center downtown for our monthly executive check in with Paulo Basilio, the U.S. Zone President and the sponsor for the CMT Program. All the trainees shared what they had learned through their projects so far and then we were given the opportunity to ask any questions. The best piece of advice he gave us was “I don’t spend time punishing myself for what happening in the past, I focus on adjusting for the future.”  Paulo’s advice will be great to put in to practice during our rotations as our main goal is to learn.

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