Reading University students get a taste for flavour at I.T.S

Specialist flavour house, I.T.S recently welcomed a group of BSc Food Science with Business students from The University of Reading to their Newbury Berkshire HQ to find out more about how natural flavours are produced and applied in food manufacturing.

The second-year students visited I.T.S as part of the Reading University’s award-winning THRIVE career mentoring scheme. Now in its 10th year, THRIVE is exclusively designed for second and final year undergraduates, as well as taught postgraduates and aims to connect students with professional mentors who can offer valuable advice and guidance in specific areas of industry.

Darren Stainiforth, a beverage development consultant who works with I.T.S on several projects is a mentor on the THRIVE scheme and was keen to introduce his students to I.T.S and the expanding area of natural flavours creation.

While at I.T.S the students had a factory tour, explanation of the production and quality functions. Then they created two different flavourings and applied them in a bakery application. They also found out how changes to the base ingredients of a beverage can alter the way a flavouring is perceived.

“When I approached I.T.S to ask whether I could bring my four mentees for a look around a food factory, I was expecting a quick tour and maybe a little pep talk about how their studies at Reading University would translate into the workplace.” explains Darren Stainiforth.

“Instead, Carl Smith, I.T.S head of innovation created a whole ‘experience day’, which the students were absolutely over the moon about. The whole I.T.S team pulled out all the stops, and I cannot thank them enough for the amazing experience they afforded the students.

“I joined the THRIVE programme at Reading University six years ago as I wanted to pay back into an industry that has treated me well, for decades and to pass on my experience and guide the next generations of food scientists and technologists. When you get this level of assistance, from friends and colleagues in the industry, it makes the entire provision so much easier. A huge thank you to all the ITS team, for their support.”

Benjamin Leroy, one of the students who attended the day said: “Reading University set up the THRIVE mentoring programme to enable students to gain industry knowledge and experience through mentorship. Having signed up with Darren, we got the experience to go to I.T.S to learn about the power of flavourings in the food industry. I’m very grateful have been able to connect to industry experts at an early stage in my career.”

Hansel Pereira, another of the students added: “Discovering the symphony of flavours available at I.T.S was a revelation. As a student, the industrial training day offered a unique glimpse into the intricate world of taste creation, where every note of flavour is composed with precision and passion. It was a very worthwhile day”.

Established in 2009 by Mike Bagshaw, also a graduate of Reading University, the focus of I.T.S has always been to bring innovation and fun into the flavours sector. I.T.S now employs 24 people and supplies natural flavours throughout the food and beverage industries. Mike’s original vision remains at the heart of I.T.S and it is this approach to being ‘brave’ with flavour, while responding quickly to customer needs that has helped to drive the company’s success to date. The company has plans to open a new state of the art flavour laboratory in Newbury later this year.

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