Creating exceptional flavours to our customers takes a wealth of expertise from the Treatt team across the globe.
We caught up with Christopher Lingle, Senior Product Development Scientist, to find out all about what he does at Treatt and how science plays such a key role in developing products like our brewed tea extracts.
Q: What’s your role at Treatt?
I’m a Senior Product Development Scientist with a strong background in tea and extracts. Being on the innovations team involves us collaborating with various groups within the business including sales and marketing, engineering, and QC teams to ensure that we make the highest quality products.
Q: What does a Product Development Scientist do?
At Treatt a Product Development Scientist plays a critical role that requires one to wear different hats and network with various people and departments. On a technical side a few common tasks include prototyping and stability, troubleshooting process issues, and analytical developments. On a social side, collaborating with our customers to reformulate and augment their products and aiding the sales team to engage new opportunities are all part of the role. We continuously pursue solutions that are sustainable and enhance our customers’ products and performance.
Q: How did you get started as a Product Development Scientist?
After pursuing a degree in Biochemistry I worked in a few different industries from analytical equipment technical specialist to polymer and manufacturing R&D and then ultimately to R&D for a prominent tea and coffee company. Within the first couple of months I knew food science was where I wanted to stay. Food is essential to life and I enjoy being part of a company that provides healthy options that taste amazing. Further to that, I fell in love with the chemistry of tea. Although people have been brewing it for thousands of years there are still so many mysteries to unlock and it’s been a pleasure to be part of the research that’s ongoing. When I joined the team at Treatt I’ve been happy to help develop the tea and extracts category.
Q: What have you been working on recently?
Treatt has been expanding so rapidly in the tea category we’ve had to work to keep up with the growth, which is a great challenge to have. I think during Covid consumers paused to rethink wellbeing and focus on healthier options even more than before. Unlike many other tea extract providers, Treatt has put a lot of focus on brewed tea extracts which come directly from brewed tea leaf which provides healthier options, rich in polyphenols and antioxidants. In addition to the real brewed tea extracts there has also been an expansion in hard seltzers and the exploration of different flavour combinations. The tea category has been exciting and really no two days are the same.
Q: Why do you like working at Treatt?
I was aware of Treatt before I joined, having worked in the industry for years. It’s a great company to work for because we offer outstanding tasting products that come from natural sources. Watching enormous numbers of fruits and vegetables move through our doors to make wonderful concentrated extracts and unique aroma essences is something that’s awesome to be a part of.
Q: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
I love having the opportunity to work with tea and research all of the intricacies that it entails. Differences between the chemistry of Oolong tea, green, black tea, and Pu-erh are fascinating and complex. Understanding the chemistry of tea is something that’s interested me for a while and working at Treatt allows me to expand my expertise and knowledge using state of the art analytical equipment that’s essential to understanding the chemistry. There is so much potential for growth when it comes to tea. Enzymes, process equipment, and brew techniques are a few things that have been a pleasure to research.
Q: What are the key trends most of interest to your customers?
As I briefly mentioned earlier, there is a big push for healthier options in the market that has been a long time coming, but is also being driven more rapidly as a result of Covid. That’s where our brewed tea extracts come in, which offer high levels of antioxidants. There is also a growth within the hard seltzer category which has been continuously adapting and exploring novel flavour combinations.
Q: What trends are the ‘ones to watch’ for future?
Kombucha is a somewhat hidden trend. Although its currently a smaller part of the overall tea market, its growth is faster than any other within tea and I’m sure its market share will increase over the next few years. There’s a lot of research being done on kombucha, and fermented foods in general, and their relationship to the gut microbiome. These studies and findings will continue to fuel that growth.
Q: Finally, what’s your favourite beverage?
I’m sure by now my answer could easily be guessed. I love a good iced tea. Not too much sugar and a bit of lemon.