Creating exceptional flavours takes a wealth of expertise from the Treatt team across the globe.
We caught up with Ray, our Beverage Technologist, to find out about what he does at Treatt and how his food science background plays a key role in helping to develop products like our
What does a Beverage Technologist do?
I have the joy of turning drink ideas into reality. Whether it’s tea or coffee or even hard seltzers and cocktails, I utilise ingredients in our vast portfolio to create new concepts and prototypes.
Some of our customers provide us with specific objectives, such as product matching or aiding in sugar reduction, which is where beverage technologists can really add value through knowledge, expertise and guidance.
How did you get started as a Beverage Technologist?
I started this journey back in college when I found out that I could get a degree in Food Science, combining my love for food and science. Trying out new foods and beverages has always been my favourite thing to do, so why not make it a career!
I love experimenting and concocting new creations, so pursuing a R&D (Research and Development)/product development role naturally aligned with my interests. I first worked in R&D with dried fruit in Northern California, and then later branched out and switched food sectors, doing beverage formulations for a company in Los Angeles.
I then joined Treatt as a beverage technologist, gaining the opportunity to be on the ingredient side of the food industry. This keeps things interesting as a project for one customer may be totally different from another, so you’re always trying and learning new things.
What have you been working on recently?
As we’ve seen the RTD market take off, many of these projects involve alcoholic beverages, such as combining our coffee and tea products with alcohol to create a finished product that is both premium and indulgent.
To add an extra layer of complexity, you can add flavoured options to tea beverages, such as our TreattClear™ citrus extracts, which could work well as a Sicilian blood orange black tea hard seltzer or a peely pink grapefruit white tea for example. We are always looking to find tailored solutions to meet the needs and pique the interests of customers. This keeps us busy as we continually look for ways to create demo samples showcasing our products that fit the customer’s specific applications.
What’s the best part of your job?
As someone who doesn’t like to sit still, working with beverages has been a great fit since the industry is constantly evolving, and quickly.
Working for a natural extracts and ingredients manufacturer has its perks of always being at the forefront of the industry, often supplying ingredients in these new products. It always brings great joy to taste products that contain our ingredients.
Also, shoutout to the amazing people on our team, who not only grace me with their buckets of knowledge, but also are so much fun to be around.
What are the key trends / what will impact beverage in the future?
Consumers are increasingly willing to pay a little extra for beverages that provide premiumisation of flavours and ingredients, health-conscious connotations, and functional effects.
Our natural extracts and ingredients are already aligned to these consumer trends. Many of our customers are utilising some of our FTNF (From the Named Fruit) ingredients that we process which gives us the opportunity to carefully control and ensure the quality of our products while providing a higher level of transparency. So if a customer is looking for an authentic watermelon flavour, we can trace this ingredient back to whole watermelons that initially entered our facility, through to the finished product that is nothing but watermelon.
Any tips for someone thinking of becoming a Beverage Technologist?
If you’re just out of college, any experience in R&D and product development will provide you with invaluable experience, even if it’s not initially in beverages (as in my case).
My first job working with dried fruit provided me with the foundation I have today for understanding product development, food manufacturing, food safety, and laboratory testing. Regardless of what sector of the food industry you initially turn toward, these skills will serve you well for the rest of your career.
What’s your favourite drink?
Anything with coffee in it. Working with coffee has its perks - the best coffee available is always on hand.