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Tayside student secures innovation role at leading food firm

University partnership sees apprentice cook up new and improved recipes

An internationally renowned ingredients producer has hired a local food science graduate to help perfect some of its popular products.

Dundee-local, Jamie McDonald, has secured a key new role at Macphie Ltd following a successful placement programme through Abertay University, with the manufacturer also providing a financial contribution towards his studies.

The Aberdeenshire-based food ingredients firm welcomed Jamie for a three-month summer placement and has since offered him the full-time role of Product Designer where he will work within Macphie’s New Product Development team.

The hire is part of an ongoing strategic partnership between Macphie and Abertay University in which the food firm hosts paid summer placements for students on the university’s Food and Consumer Science course, as well as providing each intern with £3000 to fund their studies through a scholarship initiated by Macphie.

The 26-year-old chef-by-trade will work at Macphie to review fat, salt and sugar content across its product line, perfecting recipes, while ensuring its products maintain high-quality taste.

Jamie said: “I was always certain that joining the summer placement programme would provide me with great experience and important skills, but I never thought it would result in me landing a full-time position within the company.

“As I am really interested in the kitchen development side of production, to be given the opportunity to be so heavily involved in such a crucial part of the food creation process is extremely rewarding – I’ve already learned so much.

“The team at Macphie has been really supportive from the get go and have given me all the tools to grow. I’d definitely encourage other students to jump at the chance – it has opened the door to a brilliant career path for me.”

Jamie is working on both current and new Macphie products to support the brand’s ongoing commitment to helping its trade customers comply with guidance and legislation relating to foods containing high levels of fat, salt and sugar. Jamie is also working on sourcing alternative ingredients and recipe reformulation given raw material shortages in the market.

Dr Jon Wilkin, Senior Lecturer in New Product Development at Abertay University  said: “We have been working with Macphie for a number of years to offer students this fantastic placement opportunity.

“Students studying our BSc (Hons) Food and Consumer Science programme have the right education and expertise to add great value to the company.

“It’s been great to see Jamie take part in this summer placement and put the theory and skills he has learnt at university into practice.”

Partnered with Macphie, Abertay University’s BSc (Hons) in Food and Consumer Science lasts for four years and teaches students the skills to create and develop food products while ensuring food is healthy, high quality and meets sustainable standards.

The partnership between Macphie and Abertay started in 2019 and the renowned food ingredients manufacturer has since supported three students.

Mark Duncan, Technical Director at Macphie said: “Since his arrival in the summer, Jamie has added real value to the team here at Macphie – so much so that we were delighted to see him return after his initial placement. We’re very glad to have him on board.

“We think it is so important to support the future workforce and nurture young talent as they take their first steps onto the career ladder, just like Jamie has. He will play a key role here at Macphie, working to ensure our product range is HFSS compliant, while retaining its all-important taste.

“We hope that our partnership with Abertay University inspires budding chefs, bakers or even ingredient manufacturers to kickstart their career in the food and drink industry.”

Macphie is an internationally renowned ingredients manufacturer that was established in 1928 and now employs more than 250 people across its three sites.

The firm has grown from its roots as a craft baker into an ingredients supplier with revenues of over £60m, supplying global food brands, household name businesses and the wholesale sector.

Its vision is to be the go-to partner for food brands around the world, turning ideas and creativity into practical solutions. That and its “simply clever” strapline reflects its passion in making life easier for chefs and bakers.

Sustainability has been a key element to the fourth-generation family firm. It was among Scotland’s first businesses to achieve B Corp status in 2015, having successfully evidenced an unwaveringly high standard of social and environmental performance.

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