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trolley Marks and Spencer - issue 3

Students visit Marks and Spencer Head Office

trolley Marks and Spencer - issue 3

Recently, we had the great opportunity of visiting the Marks and Spencer head office. On arrival we were greeted by Barbara Ross, who works closely with the New Product Development and Buying side of Marks and Spencer. We also met other members of the team, these included, a graduate Product Developer and a graduate Technologist.

After a number of really interesting talks we attended a particularly exciting  meeting that discussed current trends within the industry. In addition to this, we met with buyers and suppliers and we were able to taste and give our own opinion of the new products that would be launched on Marks and Spencer’s shelves later on this year… unfortunately all the products were top secret so you will just have to wait to find out what they were!

After all that wonderful tasting of new products it was time to head off to meet a few more team members.

After a thoroughly enjoyable and informative day it was time to return home, luckily we got one of the last trains home otherwise we might have been stuck! It later transpired that fortune had favoured our timing as later that day adverse weather conditions caused massive train delays.

This opportunity gave us a small  insight into the workings of Marks and Spencer and a great insight in to how we can further our career in an ever evolving industry.

Imogen Johnson, Charlotte Reed and Abigail Brown

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Consumer Studies and Market Research

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Our recently validated Foundation Degree in Food Manufacturing with Business Management has an exciting new module that I will be lead tutor on.

‘Consumer studies and market research in the food industry’, is a subject that is close to my heart, having worked in a number of fields within the manufacturing and retail sector. I have experienced the benefits of having a comprehensive knowledge of your industry market first-hand.

Small changes like altering meal size can have dramatic effects on sales.  Whilst working for Asda Walmart, I took the decision to change all Italian Ready Meals from a weight, which was neither a one nor two person serving, to a more robust and sizeable two person offer.  This was largely based on observations that I had done in store looking at who was shopping and analysing the frequency of purchase.  Overnight sales of Italian ready meals soared, and obviously efficiency of production did too – which was an added bonus to end margin.

The new module will introduce students to various concepts, including buyer behaviour, the influence of packaging, colour, importance of price points as well as effective quantitative research methodologies.  Consumer studies has a degree of psychology pertained within it, and the module will explore topics such as pester power, use of sense to drive sales, effect of lighting on mood, speed of shop etc.

Ultimately, for any student working or planning to work within the food industry, an understanding of what drives consumer purchase habits and how to optimise performance of brands is crucial to business success. This is a common thread through all operations, be it production, research and development, logistics and planning as well as technical.

I look forward to teaching what I am sure will be an exciting, thought provoking topic to all foundation degree students next year.

Toni-Anne Harrison

Douglas Ewen 782 KB issue 3

Reaseheath Welcomes New Butchery Course Manager!

Douglas Ewen 782 KB issue 3

Hello everyone, my name is Douglas Ewen.

l am the new butchery lecturer and course manager at Reaseheath Food Centre. During my short time at the College,( apart from setting off the fire alarms…) I have carried out various butchery demonstrations using animals reared from the College farm. This meat served to supply the staff Christmas dinner and College canteen. I am currently developing various butchery courses for students, which will hopefully be interesting, informative and hands on.

I’m particularly excited to be teaching the brand new Level 2 Diploma in Professional Butchery at Reaseheath, starting in September 2014. This course aims to provide students with a realistic overview of butchery to help them move forward into their careers.

l have been involved in working to the highest of standards in various butchery roles both traditional and modern European for over twenty five years. During that time l managed a business which won Scotland’s best butcher for three consecutive years, along with UK’s best butcher. I have worked in various fresh food positions throughout both the UK and Ireland and for major retailers including: Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Tulip and the Vion food group. I have also carried out meat quality assurance for ALDI supermarkets, to ensure that their suppliers, provided products to ALDI’s strict guidelines. You may not know that a number of major retailers sell their excess stock to ALDI, which in turn they label and sell cheaper! Aside from my passion for butchery, I have enjoyed many sports over the years and was a swimming, ski, gym and martial art instructor, training myself and others to various regional, national and international levels. These days l still enjoy going swimming and keeping fit at the gym. As you may be aware, eating a balanced and healthy diet is extremely important. Here are two of my favourite recipes that l enjoy which are nutritious, cost effective, tasty, quick and easy to prepare. All ingredients are ready available or you may laready some of these ingredients in your cupboards or fridge!

Doug’s Favourite Chicken Recipes

Sweet Sticky Chicken Thighs

1lb or 460g British chicken thighs skin on (£2.75 per pack)

2 tbsps clear honey (£1.40 for 340g jar)

2 garlic cloves –  crushed (30p)

200g/7oz basmati rice – cleaned and soaked in cold water for 15 minutes  (£1.50)

365ml/ 13fl oz water

Salad bag (£1.50)

Thai sweet chilli sauce (£1.50)

Total approximate cost for 3 people £7.85 – that’s just £2.60 per person!

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (gas mark 6) or 180C for fan oven.
  2. Rinse rice well and then soak for 15 minutes in cold water and then drain.
  3. Whilst rice is soaking, place honey, crushed garlic and chilli sauce into a bowl and mix together.
  4. Place the drained rice into a pot with 365ml/13 fl oz of fresh water and place onto the heat. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 7-8 minutes.
  5. Whilst the rice is simmering, place the chicken into the oven wearing oven gloves for 15-20mins and cook until golden colour, making sure juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
  6. Once the rice has simmered,  remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes
  7. Serve the chicken with rice and add salad for a little extra crunch.

 

Spicy Chicken Tikka Kebabs

1lb or 460g British chicken thighs skinless -cut into cubes (£2.75 per pack)

2 tbsps tikka paste (£1.80 jar)

Natural yoghurt (£1.50)

1 lime (30p)

4 spring onions (70p)

Metal (reusable) or bamboo skewers (£1.50)

 

Total cost: approximately £8.55 for 3 people – that’s less than £3.00 each!

Method

  1. Pre-heat the grill.
  2. Place tikka paste, yoghurt, spring onions, half the lime juice in a bowl and mix together.
  3. Carefully thread the chicken pieces onto skewers.
  4.  Use the juice of the other half of lime sprinkle to on the top.
  5. Grill for approximately 10 minutes on each side, turn and baste with the paste mix, until cooked through.
  6. Serve with salad or rice.

For any help, advice or support my door is always open in the food department. Please come and say hello and I hope you enjoy my recipes.

Douglas Ewen

Butchery Lecturer/Course Manager

Chris Budd alumni issue 1

Where are our students now? – Chris Budd

Each month we’ll look at past students and give you some information about what they’re doing in the food industry.

This month starts with Chris Budd. Chris was with us for six years – he studied his Level 3 National Diploma here, and then went on to study his Foundation Degree and graduated with a 2:1 in his BSc (Hons) Food Technology. Chris made the most of his time in College, and took a year’s paid work placement in industry to gain further experience.

Here’s his experience:

Where-are-our-students-now-Chris-Budd“I studied at Reaseheath College for 6 years in total, beginning with a National Diploma in Food Manufacturing and Nutrition, and leaving with a BSc Hons Food Industry with Management.

During my time at Reaseheath, I gained valuable experience working in creameries, working with retail and own label products, including frozen and ambient.

I also gained additional qualifications such as Level 3 Food Safety and Level Auditing and Inspection Skills, which have helped my C.V. standout when I was looking for employment.

Reaseheath College, in conjunction with Harper Adams University College, are well recognised within the food industry and are known to deliver high quality courses as well as graduates that are prepared for employment.

When I left Reaseheath, I was actively seeking employment, and it didn’t take too long before I was offered interviews.

I successfully landed a job within the Samworth Brothers Group in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, as a Process Development Technologist at Kettleby Foods.

In my role, I support all departments in the concept, trialling and launching of high quality ready-meal’s for retail.

Working in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) arena has its challenges, and my role offers great variation, from attending customer panels, to managing factory trials, to visiting suppliers.

I believe that I had the best preparation I could have from Reaseheath, and I am confident that the skills and knowledge gained has set me up for a long and prosperous career in the food industry.”

Chris will shortly be moving to a new job with greater responsibilities, working as a New Product Development manager for the Covent Garden Soup Company.