Innovation in the lab

charlotte

The technical department at Treatt is the driving force behind the products we create. Our skilled team are always on the lookout for new technologies, techniques and ideas to keep our business pushing the boundaries of our industry. With the world becoming a more health conscious place, big brands are striving to keep up with the demand for products that are significantly reduced in sugar, but still provide the great taste consumers are used to. That’s where we come in.

Sugar reduction is one of our core strengths as our expert team provide a number of innovative solutions for this ever-growing global market. In this article, Charlotte Catignani, research and development manager (R&D), talks about her background, skills and work in sugar reduction.

Charlotte joined Treatt as an R&D Chemist in 2005, having studied Chemistry at undergraduate and post-graduate level at the University of Bradford. She progressed to R&D manager in 2014. In 2016 Charlotte also became our sugar reduction category manager. By improving our internal focus and infrastructures around this growing product category, we have continued to improve how we can add value to our customers.

“Our sugar reduction products work by a multisensory mechanism called crossmodal correspondence, which is a cross-disciplinary field and very exciting area of research. Learning more about this area continues to stimulate my interest and convince me that there are innovative solutions available to the huge challenge of reducing sugar without compromising the taste of the product.”

Research and development is all about innovation. Finding new ways of doing things, new products, new processes and new technologies is at the forefront of our business strategy. The important thing to consider for our company is the appropriate balance of core innovation with more transformative innovation.

We operate in an industry that isn’t highly technology intensive and so a large proportion of our innovation portfolio will be focussed on core innovation projects; however, we do firmly believe in the need to invest in transformative innovation. Charlotte said, “There is a polarity paradox in managing our innovation, we can’t be good at transformative innovation if we don’t have our core innovation performing well, but need to adapt our approach for each type. Managing this dual function can be challenging but brings the benefit of knowing we are covering activities to not only sustain, but also grow the business. A key means of achieving this is to ensure we are collaborating with the right partners in both academia and industry, to accelerate our innovation.

Treatt has invested in my training with the Cambridge University Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) Innovation and Technology Management course which was excellent and taught many tools which I have implemented at work.

Our innovation investment has also taken the form of membership of the Ideas Centre (an organisation that helps companies learn and implement creative problem-solving techniques) and the IfM Open Innovation forum, a group of innovators from companies along the FMCG value chain, who come together regularly to share best practice in Open Innovation and explore hot topics affecting the sector.

A real challenge for our industry is finding ‘what’s new’ in citrus and we believe this lies in the development of processing methods to give improved and differentiated flavour profiles. Researching this topic involves looking at new technologies and evaluating them for feasibility, alongside managing partnerships with external organisations and co-ordinating the knowledge management of what has been researched to ensure it is shared and accessible to our colleagues and customers alike.”

To find out more about our fascinating work in sugar reduction visit our Health & Wellness page. If you have expertise or technology which could be the right collaborative fit for our business, please contact us on enquiries@treatt.com