Alice joined the University of Nottingham's new Enabling Innovation team as Sensory Scientist in Autumn 2016. The project runs until March 2019, is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and aims to deliver scientific knowledge and support to food-producing SME's in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire area.
Alice is a Food Scientist, qualified to Master's degree level with twelve years' experience working in R&D, product and process development and technical improvement roles within the food industry, the bulk of which have been SME's. She has been involved in knowledge transfer roles (including being a Knowledge Transfer Partnership associate with the University of Lincoln and Belvoir Fruit Farms Ltd) and is passionate about the translation and application of food science and technology principles into business. Her time working in entrepreneurial, and sometimes quirky, 'characterful' SME businesses, has been extremely enriching. High quality, great tasting, local and authentic foods have therefore featured heavily in her career and this has made her a champion for the authenticity and integrity of food products.
The bulk of her experience lies in the development and processing of soft drinks from fruits, flowers, herbs and spices, the pressing of fruit to produce premium fruit juices (berries and single variety apple juices) and the processing of plant-based/botanical extracts for the premium sectors, where quality and distinctiveness are essential. In such sectors, she has gained extensive knowledge about the link between raw fruit quality, fruit variety, orchard practices, processing conditions and the resulting yield and organoleptic properties of a finished product.
Alice's specialist area of research and continued interest is the use and processing of elderflowers as a food ingredient, including the agricultural side (varieties, cultivation), capturing, extracting and preserving the flavour quality of elderflower and the effects of processing conditions on the finished product quality. Over the years, Alice has travelled extensively in Europe working collaboratively with elderflower traders and suppliers, researching all aspects of this food crop, and she has built extensive links and contacts within this niche industry.
An interest in sensory and flavour science, which started with her undergraduate research project, carried out at The University of Nottingham investigating the affect of starch thickened sauce viscosity on flavour release and perceived flavour perception, has run throughout her career and she has experience of setting up and carrying out sensory testing to inform research and development, product improvement, quality control and marketing functions within SMEs.
In recent years, Alice has had experience of Technical Management, as Head of Technical at Belvoir Fruit Farms Ltd, where she gained first hand and practical experience of implementing and maintaining effective food safety and quality management systems to BRC and organic standards, developing and leading the HACCP team and was instrumental in inspiring the cultural change which is vital in all food manufacturing operations to ensure such systems are effective and sustainable.
Applied sensory evaluation for SMEs.
Soft drinks and fruit juice processing and development.
Elderflower cultivation, post harvest handling, processing and relationships between raw material and processing parameters and quality and organoleptic attributes.
Raw materials- fruit and plant-based extracts and infusions.
Apple juice production and processing.
Fruit juice authenticity.
Technical management - HACCP, Food Safety and Quality Management, CIP systems.
Raw material supplier approval.
Organic food production.