Face-to-Face: Meet Alex Woo
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...
Alex Woo, Managing Director, W2O Food Innovation.
- How did you get your start in the food industry?
I picked Food Science because I heard from friends that there would be plenty of jobs. It was not that strategic at all. As it turned out, it was based a lot on chemistry, which I loved. I got my first job by applying to a Quaker Oats job posting at the Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was hard to get my first job but someone gave me a break and it set the tone for the rest of my career.
- What do you love about your job?
A sense that I help grow the business through product innovation. I am pretty proud of the flavor R&D I set up for Innova Flavors as part of Griffith Labs. I had a great time developing innovative foods and beverages for Starbucks. I enjoyed connecting with people at Degussa/Cargill and can say today a few things my team explored were made into new products at Wrigley/Mars.
- What is the biggest challenge that you face in your job?
Leading change in difficult times. Changing organization designs and work processes are easy. Leading people to change is the most challenging.
- What have you learned or been exposed to in the past 12 months that has helped you in your job?
How to sell the values I bring to the table was and continues to be the most important thing for me to learn.
- How do you see the food industry evolving over the coming year?
We have to continue to evolve to meet the challenges of obesity, health & wellness, food safety, and sustainability. Perhaps those visionaries with passion in things other than profits will be the ones who lead.
- Fun Fact: What’s your favorite food?
Anything with chocolate and nuts in it. Haggen-Dazs Chocolate & Almond Crunch ice cream bar and Dove Promises chocolate.