Meredith Anderson, Product Developer at Truitt Brothers, Inc.Meredith Anderson
BS 2012, Food Science
Product Development
Truitt Brothers. Inc.

Having a curious and analytical personality, I need science. At the same time, being a country-raised creative child, I love the tangible world of food. After experimenting with Nursing, English and Microbiology, I discovered food science upon reading Harold McGee’s excellent book, On Food & Cooking. Realizing that food and science converge was a delightful revelation and “duh!” moment. I see a hint of that revelation on people’s faces whenever I tell them what I do for a living.

I accepted my job at Truitt Brothers, Inc. after a summer internship in their Research and Development department. Truitt’s customers range from well-established food giants to Grandma’s neighbor. The friendly, chipper company atmosphere, flexibility, and penchant for honesty make interaction with Truitt a positive experience. As a young food scientist, working for Truitt has afforded me the opportunity to explore and develop my interests and strengths, in addition to learning from the experienced R & D team.

As a product developer, I create shelf-stable retorted products for a variety of markets. These markets range from baby food, disaster relief, and the military, all the way to food service, retail-ready ethnic foods, convenience foods, and diet foods. What I do specifically changes from day to day. Over the span of a week, I could be concocting natural fruit compotes, creating sensory procedures for monitoring shelf-life, developing bison products for a group of gourmands, developing school lunches, calculating nutritional parameters for a line of diet foods, assembling hearty curry profiles, assessing the day’s production, or preparing for the food scientists’ “Culinary Friday” potluck.

On occasion, customers will come to R & D with a recipe in hand and a clear goal in mind, but more often than not, customers will have only a whisper of an idea. No matter the case, it’s my responsibility to facilitate development by sourcing ingredients, creating production-appropriate recipes based on available tools, cost, and target market, all with the customer’s central idea in mind. As with any research, not every idea makes it to market, but it’s the fascination with food and the science behind it that keep me satisfied.