Madeline Bills, Product Development & Innovation Manager, Olam Food Ingredients (ofi)
1/ If you didn’t work in Confectionery where would you be?
I’d love to be involved in the trends side of things. I love reading about new trends in the food industry as well as new consumer buying habits.
2/ What do you love about the industry?
What I love most about working in confectionery development is that it’s a nice marriage between science, creativity and art. Science is the explanation behind different ingredient compositions and reactions, which helps explain what does work and what doesn’t. And the artistic side of things comes out by playing with different flavors and textures to create the perfect confectionery products.
3/ Describe a funny thing that happened to you recently?
I was recently working with a pastry chef crafting something in the lab, which I thought was icing. I went in with a spoon to have a taste of it, and it turned out to be browned butter that he’d left out to cool after caramelising. It’s safe to say it wasn’t what I expected!
4/ Who inspires you?
The new colleagues I’m working with really inspire me. I now have access to a range of experts from the spices, nuts, coffee and dairy divisions, who have alternative views and unique creative outlooks. By coming together, it’s has helped fuel innovation across our organisation and has given me a chance to experiment further by tapping into the expertise of product developers – for example, to help create the perfect spiced brownie.
5/ How would you define yourself in three words?
Adventurous, creative, collaborative.
6/ Name something you cannot live without?
Chocolate, of course. The darker the better. I particularly like chocolate with strong roasted notes, and anything caramelized or with sea salt.
7/ What is your favorite confectionery treat?
A chocolate croissant. The buttery, flaky pastry, paired with the perfect chocolate can’t be beaten.
8/ What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Don’t be afraid to take risks, especially when developing new products. It’s important to try new and bold flavours, and to think outside the box. Err on the side of risk, rather than caution. You can always style it back.
9/ What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your CV?
One thing people don’t always know about me is that I love to paint, and this helps fuel the artistic side of my work. I also love hiking and being outdoors, as it gives me space to think and absorb creative inspiration from my surroundings.
10/ Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I really enjoy what I do right now and am still learning so much. I love food and innovation and my goal is to work as closely with our customers as possible on new product launches.
Read the full article in our Novmeber-December issue here: International Confectionery (pagesuite-professional.co.uk)