Career Conversations: The “euphoric moments” of working in NPD

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As work placements go, it’s fair to say Laura Bradshaw wasn’t too impressed when she was sent to a chicken producer in her third year of university.

“All my peers were going off to well-known brands like Cadbury’s, Nestle and M&S,” she tells Elisa Roche in this episode of Career Conversations, “and I was going off to a chicken factory.”

But, Laura now says it was a pivotal moment in her career: “It was the best grounding I could have hoped for.”

She describes how she got to work on product trials in France: “I was totally thrown in at the deep end. I had a great experience.”

Fast-forward to today, and Laura is a New Product Developer (NPD) at Pilgrim’s, the UK’s biggest pig producer and manufacturer.

Her job is to develop new food products, which means spotting the very latest trends, and developing meals and snacks around that theme to appear on supermarket shelves.

She says it’s a mixture of glamour – eating in fancy restaurants to see what’s titillating the trendiest tastebuds – and very hard work – sometimes she finds herself on the factory line at 2am.

But all-in-all, Laura says it’s a job she really enjoys: “I live for the euphoric moments when you get a product over the line.”

Find out what a typical day is like for a New Product Developer, how she manages to keep up with the very latest food trends, and we tackle some of the acronyms new starters might be coming across for the first time.

Laura Bradshaw, Innovation and NPD Controller, Pilgrim’s

A food product development professional with over 15 years’ experience within the chilled and ambient food sectors.

Working with all of the top retailers within the UK to develop great tasting, commercially viable products.  

Passionate about product innovation, food trends and creating great relationships.

A parent outside of work with a young family, quickly learning how to juggle the career and home life.

Enjoys cooking, visiting new restaurants, travelling, reading (mostly recipe books!) and walks with the family.

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