Namhla's good food journey
NAMHLA Skweyiya is a food scientist who specialises in chilled cakes and dairy desserts at Woolworths Foods.
"By carefully considering each ingredient, subjecting every product to ongoing analysis and providing all the on-pack information you need to make informed choices, helps us to produce food you can trust," says Skweyiya.
The good food journey is the name given to Woolworths' ongoing quest to produce food that's good for your health. The food is produced by people who regard animal welfare as important, believe that a healthy sustainable environment is vital and are passionate about bringing you the best possible taste experience. This responsibility is basically the job of a food scientist.
"Ever since my high school days, I have known that I wanted to work in a food manufacturing environment. When I reached my tertiary studies, I discovered that food technology was what interested me the most," says Skweyiya.
A food technologist generally earns in the region of R16000 to R20000 a month.
"My job entails ensuring that a safe product is produced at all times. I also give input and implement technical strategies for the business and, together with the rest of the team, find suppliers who have the capabilities and means of producing products according to our strict specifications."
Pros and cons
"Food technology is a very diverse field and every day there is something new to learn, be it from customers, global trends or new discoveries in the science of food - this makes my job very interesting and exciting.
"But ensuring the consistency of product quality is sometimes difficult, especially when there is an ingredient in a product that is season-dependent," Skweyiya says.
Required studies and experience
"A four year B-Tech degree in food technology or a BSc food science degree is generally what is required in this line of work. Experiential training in a food manufacturing company or retailer will be an advantage when looking for employment in this field," she says.
"You must be able to pay attention to detail, be able to work under pressure and keep calm at all times. You must have the ability to resolve issues objectively and from a scientific point of view."
An average day
"My day generally consists of carrying out quality control procedures, which includes the testing of products to ensure that production is executed according to the required specifications; the auditing of hygiene practices within the food producing facilities; resolving customer complaints and queries; and visiting suppliers to ensure product and process control."
The best thing about the job
"I think having the opportunity to successfully implement a technologically-innovative product that makes it difficult for a competitor to reproduce is probably the best thing about my job."
The worst thing about the job
"Administration. But I am very happy with the career I have chosen - so far it is my dream job and I am enjoying it. I want to encourage more students to take up food technology as a career choice because specialists in this field are very scarce." - sacareerfocus