Ep. 057 – Swimming in Broth, Tomatoes, and Doritos with Jaime Reeves, R+D Group Manager at Del Monte Foods

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Today we have Jaime Reeves, R and D Manager for Del Monte Foods. Funny story, I think I might have actually met her as an undergraduate. Jaime brings a ton of knowledge as she has developed products for huge companies and well, she has some interesting stories to tell.

Jaime is a high energy, positive woman, and such a huge vat of knowledge. Her child-like enthusiasm is just so refreshing.  If you are a food scientist, I highly recommend this interview because she gives such great advice on how to flavor your products, and generally have fun in your job. We also dive deep into education, especially on the topics such as Non-GMO and Clean Label.

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This episode is sponsored by FoodGrads, an interactive platform for the Food & Beverage Industry, which focuses on closing the gap between students/recent graduates and employers. With a broader mission to attract and retain people to a meaningful career in food. From Food Scientists to Farmers, Chefs to Plant Managers, QA Technicians to Dietitians or R&D to Sales, no matter what your passion–there’s something for everyone in Food—and they will help you find it.

Join FoodGrads for support, mentorship and guidance to start your career. You’ll see an amazing new website in Spring 2017. Just go to foodgrads.com

Question Summary

One Sentence: I’m a food scientist, but I’m not a chef. But I like cooking! It makes food tastes good and doesn‘t kill you.
What do you do now?: Del Monte Foods – R+D Manager for Broth and Tomato – Collage-in
Career Path: Grew up in Kermin California (Ag area) went to Cal Poly, thought she did nutrition and accidentally ended up in Food Science. Masters in Food Chemistry at Georgia. PHD in UC Davis. Employed in Dallas, Texas, moved to California for Del Monte
Notes on Product Developing:
Football inspired flavors such as Nacho Cheese Doritos and Grilled Meat Flavor
Collaborating with Flavor Houses
Collaborate with all players to develop amazing flavors. They taste what flavors in what time and what magic
Consumer Testing. Sometimes you don’t win your favorite flavor.
My Food Job Rocks: I get to meet the farmer and the food and see all of the process.
What makes a good processing tomato?: A really hearty tomato. No seeds or juice. Have to be super tough
Dream Job Title: The Willy Wonka of Food. Director of an R+D Group
What do you look for in a job?: The people. And tasty products
Broth Processing: Concentrated Chicken Carcasses get sent to the Del Monte plant.
Food Trends and Technology: Brussel Sprouts, pre-shaved Brussel Sprouts; Balsamic Vinegar, Blue Cheese and Fig combo
Biggest Challenge the food industry needs to face: Educating consumers about sound food science. Specifically GMO
Who Inspired you to go into food: My mother. Also, I used to create “magic potions”. She taught me how to be creative.
Favorite Book: The old lady that swallowed a fly
Favorite Food: Life Cereal, but super, super, soggy and then put in the freezer
Any advice in the food industry: It’s a fun industry and it’s small, which feels like a family. Yet so much to explore.
Advice from your freshman year: Join IFTSA earlier. You meet people and learn a lot

Other Links

Kraft Foods
Re-man – Put tomato pastes in big totes. Reconstitute to make extra products
Hanford California (has tomatoes)
Food Evolution Movie
Supply Side West
Clean Label
If you give a mouse a cookie


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