Face-to-Face: Meet Melissa Kaczmarczyk January 2017

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.

 

Melissa KaczmarczyThis month meet...

Melissa Kaczmarczyk, Principal Scientist, PepsiCo

  1. How did you get your start in the food industry?
    I majored in biology and my Master’s degree is in Public health. My MPH left me with an interest in and passion for nutrition that I decided to further pursue with a Doctorate in Nutrition Science. I chose industry over academia because I felt that in industry I could make a larger impact in changing people’s diets by creating healthier food choices. Toward the end of my Doctorate, I was in the right place at the right time—a position at PepsiCo was solicited over our listserv, I applied, and began my career at PepsiCo a few months later.

  2. What do you love about your job?
    I love working on cross functional teams with marketing, regulatory, product development, and legal. With all of our innovation and projects there are a lot of moving pieces and I enjoy being part of the machine and being able to bring my expertise in nutrition to the table.

  3. What is the biggest challenge that you face in your job?
    The biggest challenge is combating food myths and pseudoscience. There is a lot of misinformation out there. The challenge is creating the right education materials and sessions for all of our stakeholders. Luckily, educating and spreading science-based knowledge is one of the parts of my job that I enjoy.

  4. What have you learned or been exposed to in the past 12 months that has helped you in your job?
    I had the opportunity this year to complete a six-month rotation in product development in South Africa. I was placed on the R&D team for snack foods and tasked with developing products for emerging markets. It was really eye opening to see a project from the other side of the table. The experience helped me appreciate the technical aspects of product development and provided me with the tools to better communicate with the PD teams in my current role.

  5. How do you see the food industry evolving over the coming year?
    I see more consumers becoming more health conscious and expecting more from their food and beverage choices. The food industry is rising to meet the consumers’ needs by offering healthier options and introducing more functional ingredients such as probiotics and fiber.

  6. Fun Fact: What’s your favorite food?
    Fancy grilled cheeses- it’s become a hobby, tweaking this American classic. The current favorite in our house is Ricotta and Beets … sounds kind of weird, but it is delicious!

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