Julia Herrle has been working for the MEGGLE Business Unit Food Ingredients since 2012, and for the past four years she has a leading position in the product development department. We are very glad to let her answer a few questions about herself and her career at MEGGLE.
☘️ Ms. Herrle, let’s start by hearing a bit about your background so far. How did you decide to work in the field of development and research?
I noticed my talent for science subjects such as biology and chemistry when I was still at school. Together with my private interest in food and cooking, studying food technology at the University of Hohenheim was the ideal solution. During various internships I had the opportunity to look into different branches of industry as well as departments. I was able to get to know the areas of quality, production, and product development.
During this time it became clear to me that my passion and interest in trying out new things and analyzing various effects on product properties, can be used best in the area of product development.
☘️ Would you say that there are many women in the food industry who choose a scientific and technical career?
We are an exception in engineering here in the food sector. Depending on the university, you will find a predominant number of women studying “food technology.” Men are rather rarely represented here.
On the one hand, I think this may be due to the fact that women are strongly interested in nutrition, and on the other hand, that the combination of science and engineering is often seen as somewhat more attractive than a “pure engineering” course of study.
At least that’s how it was for me.
☘️ It has now been 9 years since you started your career as a project manager in product development at MEGGLE’ Business Unit Food Ingredients. You can look back on an already very successful career and manage a team of 6 people today. How do your tasks now differ from those in the past?
At the beginning, I was mainly responsible for the development and application technology of the product group “whipping agents” in my function as project manager. Over the course of time, the job then became more and more focused on development projects and other product groups such as fat powders, baking emulsifiers, coffee whiteners and foamers were added.
In 2016/17, I was given the opportunity to expand my skills through further training in the area of “Innovation, Product and Process Management” at the Management Center Innsbruck.
In 2018, I became team leader of the “Technical Support” team.
☘️ Did you always want to take a leadership position?
Actually, I wouldn’t say that directly. I never would have excluded it for sure. But with the food technology studies in background, there are various career options available to you, of course.
At first, therefore, it was important for me to develop professionally and personally. In my opinion, that was also an important basis for being able to take over as team leader later on. However, it then became clear quite quickly that such a position was certainly a possibility. I was also motivated by the fact that MEGGLE promoted me and saw me in a management position.
☘️ What convinced you to start your professional career at MEGGLE?
There were probably a number of different aspects. On the one hand, MEGGLE is of course a highly respected brand with that you can identify very well even as an end consumer. Secondly, I like the size of the company: there are good development opportunities for the employee and you do not become “just a number”.
In addition, the vacancy offered at this time was very suitable for me, as I had already dealt with the topic of “emulsifiers” during my diploma thesis, which are very important in the field of whipping agents. So it was a good “match” for both sides.
☘️ Let’s be honest about this: Were there any moments in your career that were really challenging for you?
Yes, definitely. There are still quite a few. But that’s exactly what makes the job in product development so exciting.
Of course, starting a career and becoming familiar with a company is challenging for everyone. But even now, there are always things in projects and in my daily work when things don’t run as expected. Over time, however, you gain more and more experience and routine and are able to deal with them more and more calmly.
The goal of our efforts in the development area of the MEGGLE Food Ingredients is to become a “problem solver” for our customers’ challenges. And that is what drives us in the team and makes every working day so exciting.
☘️ So it’s primarily the individual customer requirements that make your work so exciting. What projects are you currently working on?
Yes, on the one hand, customer wishes and needs. On the other hand, current nutritional trends and society’s buying behavior.
For example, we recently developed a vegan coffee whitener to expand our portfolio in the area of vegan products. But other trends such as nutritional benefits also play a major role in our projects.
☘️ The B2B area in product development at MEGGLE is not necessarily known to many students in food technology. Why would you recommend graduates to apply for open positions at the Business Unit Food Ingredients?
If you are interested in the area of product development, you will definitely find very exciting and diverse tasks here, which are always driven by new topics and projects.
Because the ingredients we develop are used in a very wide range of applications by our customers, you get to know a great variety of application areas and have the opportunity to take on more responsibility.
Above all, the cooperation with a number of different departments and suppliers, as well as the constant exchange with many different colleagues, enriches the daily routine. All this, together with a highly motivated team, creates a great working environment!
Thank you very much for the exciting insights, Ms. Herrle. We are glad to have you as a colleague at MEGGLE and look forward to many more joint projects between Marketing & Product Development. All the best for you!
Your Marketing Team of the Business Unit Food Ingredients