Face-to-Face: Meet Ernest Symanski February 2018

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 Face-to-Face series, we will be introducing you to a different IFT member every month with a fun, insightful Q&A session.

Ernest SymanskiThis month meet...

Ernest Symanski, founder of New Product Development Services, LLC

  1. How did you get your start in the food industry?
    After I graduated with a degree in food science from Rutgers University, I started working at a chocolate manufacturing company—Hooton Chocolate—in Newark, NJ (which later became a part of Ambrosia Chocolate). It was a great gift to learn to formulate chocolate and compound coatings from their base ingredients, and how the interaction of the ingredients affects taste, flavor, and functionality. This experience guided me to other jobs in chocolate and confectionery.

  2. What do you love about your job?
    After many years in the food industry, I decided to create my own consulting business two years ago. I have had the opportunity travel the world helping clients develop new products, including companies in Russia, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Chile, United Arab Emirates, and Trinidad. It has given me great pleasure to help them grow their businesses with new products.

  3. What is the biggest challenge that you face in your job?
    We are very fortunate in the United States to have such an abundant supply of raw materials and ingredients. When working abroad, there are not as many resources to get exactly the flavor you need or the functional ingredient necessary to make the best product. The challenge is to somehow make it work with whatever is available locally.

  4. What have you learned or been exposed to in the past 12 months that has helped you in your job?
    It has become more apparent to me that building good business relationships throughout your career will lead to your overall success. Your reputation in the industry, and how well you treat your colleagues, employees, and suppliers, will define who you are. This year I have relied a great deal on my relationships to help my clients. I am thankful to have those relationships.

  5. How do you see the food industry evolving over the coming year?
    More consumers are looking at the back of the package. They may not read the entire ingredient statement, but they look at the number of ingredients in the product. The challenge is to make the best product with the fewest amount of ingredients, perhaps through novel processing or improved packaging.

  6. Fun Fact: What’s your favorite food?
    I have yet to find a food made with potatoes that I didn’t like: gnocchi, soups, chips, salads, pancakes, or just baked with sour cream and salt. It is one of the most versatile foods.

If you are an IFT member and wish to be profiled, please contact Kelly Hensel at khensel@ift.org or 312-604-0211.