Face-to-Face: Meet Mohamed Badaoui Najjar
Ever wonder if anyone else is facing the same professional challenges as you? Or just looking to connect with some new people in your field? In IFT's new Face-to-Face series, we will be introducing you to a different IFT member every month with a fun, insightful Q&A session.
This month meet...
Mohamed Badaoui Najjar, Ph.D.,Senior Scientist, Energy Innovation, PepsiCo R&D.
- How did you get your start in the food industry?
I got my first taste of the food industry through my summer internship with PepsiCo while working on my Ph.D. I liked the fast-paced, challenging yet rewarding environment, and the exposure to a variety of technologies. After graduating, I joined the University of Maryland and the Food and Drug Administration to lead a project on method development and ingredients. In October 2010, I joined PepsiCo in Valhalla, N.Y., as a Senior Scientist in global energy innovation.
- What do you love about your job?
Working at a multinational company like PepsiCo gives me the chance to design novel, good for you, and functional beverages using new technologies, in addition to boosting health and wellness by utilizing new ingredients. What I love about my job in innovation is being at the forefront of new technologies and new development and my products can touch lives by increasing the healthy choices offered while adding a wide variety of functionality.
- What is the biggest challenge that you face in your job?
The biggest challenge is designing a product that fits the costing parameters. We're constantly working to deliver more wholistic and functional beverages with premium and novel ingredients while cutting down cost to make the product viable from a marketing standpoint.
- What have you learned or been exposed to in the past 12 months that has helped you in your job?
Attending conferences, lectures, workshops, and trade shows gives me the ability to stay on top of breakthrough technologies, ingredients, and innovation. IFT's Annual Meeting & Food Expo is an excellent example. During the last 12 month I've been fortunate to attend various ingredient and trade shows that provide me with novel ingredients and breakthrough technology to design new products.
- How do you see the food industry evolving over the coming year?
I think the health and wellness in addition to "on-the-go" will play more prominent roles and will expand into more fodd and beverage categories. There is a constant demand for natural, wholesome ingredients in addition to on-the-go and pick-me-up energy category with the emergence of shots and other novel offerings. The consumer wants functional, healthy, and on-the-go items and the industry must deliver.
- Fun Fact: What’s your favorite food?
In fruits, pomegranades hands down. I'm also an avid breadmaker (and consumer) and I love artisanal breads with nuts and berries.
If you are an IFT member and wish to be profiled, please contact Kelly Hensel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-604-0211.