Simplyfruit snack packs and pots meet the needs of health conscious consumers as they are eaten on the go, providing a convenient way of achieving one of your five-a-day. Product quality is critically important. Three CAFRE graduate food technologists ensure that the products are top notch.
Cecil Sloan, who is the Factory Manager, graduated from Loughry in 1984 and joined the company within a few years. During the intervening years the company has evolved to being the largest manufacturer of fresh cut fruit products in Ireland.
As Factory Manager, Cecil ensures the day-to-day managing of the factory, ensuring fulfilment of customer orders, managing budgets and reviewing process efficiency.
Cecil says no two days are ever the same and during his career in the food industry he has never had a dull day at work. Cecil continued: “The food industry is dynamic and needs staff who are committed to their role, who have a sound understanding of food technology, appreciate the skills of production and are motivated by the challenges this industry presents. While supplying the main retailers can periodically be difficult, it also results in immense satisfaction.”
Cecil is supported by Helen Smith, who graduated from Loughry Campus in 2001 and joined the company in 2017 as Technical Manager, and Rachel McKinney, who graduated in 2016 and joined the company in 2018 as an Assistant Technical Manager.
Helen and Rachel ensure the fruit snack products are of optimal quality, that they are compliant with customer demands and that they are within all legal provisions. Helen and Rachel are responsible for dealing with unannounced customer audits and are in charge for ensuring compliance with the British Retail Consortium accreditation and the associated annual audit.
Development of the product portfolio also falls within their remit, so they always have exotic produce in their facility, which they use to explore novel and innovative ways to bring potential new products to the market.
Helen and Rachel enjoy the wide variety of work they do and would endorse a career in the industry for anyone who is interested in food production. They feel that they benefited from their food technology education at CAFRE’s Loughry Campus, Cookstown, as the course offered a good balance of theory and the opportunity to develop practical skills, information and expertise which they draw upon daily.
They had the opportunity to get hands-on experience through regular practical classes, including practicals in the Food Technology Centre, science laboratories, product development kitchens and sensory suites and were certainly not disappointed.
All three food technologists remain in contact with CAFRE’s food technologists and value the technical support and training provided. Food manufacturing can be a very challenging environment, however it is extremely rewarding to be part of this dynamic industry, which consistently produces high quality produce which Simplyfruit is proud off.
“We benefited from studying CAFRE’s food technology courses, as they provided us with strong foundations in understanding and manufacturing, allowing us to work optimally in Simplyfruit.”
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