Rosa Tauriainen joined Apetit’s product development function at the beginning of March 2017. For a trainee, she had an unusual level of experience of working at Apetit, as she had been working with the Apetit Vegepops product line since last autumn. It was also the topic of her technology-oriented thesis. All this means that Rosa’s story is a bit different from the norm.
When Rosa joined Apetit, she was close to completing her degree in food sciences. Done at the Viikki Campus in Helsinki, her Master’s Thesis takes a technological approach to the Vegepops product line. Her supervisor was Apetit’s very own food guru, product development manager Tarja Honkala.
How did we get here? Just a year ago, sorbet was only an idea on paper at Apetit. Today the products are already in the shops, and the studies have almost been completed.
“I ended up working with vegetable food solutions at Apetit sort of by chance. Originally I studied dairy technology. Most of the students in that field naturally end up working in dairy research and processing. I happened to have a summer job at the Turenki ice cream factory, and came across a project related to vegetable-based ice pops, which was a concept developed by Apetit,” Rosa says.
Tarja Honkala had brought Apetit’s idea to the attention of Froneri Finland, formerly known as Nestlé Finland, to discuss potential cooperation to launch this entirely new product on the Finnish market in summer 2017. Rosa ended up having a key role in the project at the Turenki factory. Soon she found herself working at full speed on the challenging Apetit Vegepops product development effort.
“It became one of those once-in-a-lifetime summer jobs that went on after summer had ended. Tarja asked me to carry out research related to the Vegepops product line as my Master’s Thesis, which would allow me to continue working with Apetit on developing the Vegepops products. I was delighted to have the opportunity to write my thesis for a company while also participating in development of an entirely new product,” Rosa explains.
The food industry was not Rosa’s first field of study in higher education. Born and bred in Helsinki, she moved to Jyväskylä to study biology and science but didn’t feel at home there as a theoretical researcher. She applied to the University of Helsinki, in the more human field of food sciences.
“My calling is to get people to eat better. Food must have meaning. It brings joy to our lives and helps people spend more time together. Product development is interesting because it supports renewal and innovation in food and eating. You have to keep a close eye on food industry trends. This becomes clear when you’re part of a group of food scientists: we taste, eat and analyse all kinds of interesting new food products,” Rosa adds.
“Apetit is moving in many new and innovative directions, and there’s a great sense of enthusiasm here. When a product development trainee vacancy became available in the autumn, while I was working on my thesis, I decided to apply. Now I can continue to work with this great group of people even after graduation,” Rosa says with a smile.