“Our famous carrot sticks are a favourite finger food for babies – we get lots of parents sharing pics with us of their little orange babies.” Emily Day talks food development for healthy kids’ snack brand Organix – including the ideas that didn’t quite work out…
How long have you worked for Organix? A while now – 10 years this November. Celebrating our 25th birthday this year has made me realise that I’ve been here for nearly half the journey which is incredible.
Where were you working previously? I knew from doing my placement year at Ryvita that I wanted a career in food development. Since graduating, I went on to work in chilled foods and have worked for companies that supply sandwiches, salads and chilled desserts to retailers like Boots, Sainsbury’s, M&S and Costa.
Food has always been a passion of mine from a very young age. I think that’s because of the focus my family had on growing our own fruit and veg – you really appreciate food when you’ve grown it yourself. I then absolutely loved my home economics and food science classes at school so I kept studying it from GCSE to A Level and then university.
What drew you to Organix, as a company? Making foods for little ones to give them the best start in life and helping to create a world where healthy, nutritious food is a real choice for everyone – how could you not be inspired by that kind of opportunity?
Organix values and spirit really stand out and it feels great to be part of a team who are all so collectively dedicated to making a difference where it matters most – baby and children’s food. I was struck by all the campaign work Organix has done – they really feel like change-makers.
Being part of Organix means I am more than a food developer, I am part of a movement that has made positive change to additives in children’s food, school meals and children’s food in tourist attractions and restaurants.
The location was also a great bonus as the company are local to where I grew up just a few miles down the road, in Bournemouth.
For toddlers, our Goodies soft oaty bars are always a winner, the most popular flavours right now are the carrot cake and apple & raspberry ones
Talk us through your day-to-day tasks… What I love about my job is every day truly is different. That sounds like a cliché but I could be making up food in the kitchen, doing nutritional analysis, travelling to supply partners across Europe for production trials, going to conferences and working with the marketing team on food concepts. It’s never dull.
My favourite part of the week is a Tuesday meeting called ‘Making it happen’ where people from all the teams across the business meet to discuss what we want to create for little ones.
What is most important when it comes to creating Organix snacks? Little ones and their needs – our foods are there to help them develop independence, curiosity and imagination and to grow a love of good food for life.
We also want to create variety for little people as it’s so important in the early stages to experience as much as possible so we try to make sure we make foods with a range of different shapes, textures and tastes for them to enjoy.
What’s the most popular product? Our famous carrot sticks are a favourite finger food for babies – we get lots of parents sharing pics with us of their little orange babies (they’re a bit messy!). For toddlers, our Goodies soft oaty bars are always a winner, the most popular flavours right now are the carrot cake and apple & raspberry ones. Have to say that everyone at Organix regularly raids the store cupboard and the puffcorn, a toddler safe popcorn alternative, has proved a recent hit with the team and little ones.
Have any snacks been very unpopular? We’re not perfect. So we don’t always get it right. We’ve tried a few things out over the years and when they don’t work we always say we’re ahead of our time. A few years ago we tried a savoury veg & oat bar which didn’t really tickle everyone’s tastebuds and a range of soups and sauces that didn’t hang around for long in the supermarkets. Safe to say we know what we’re really good at but it’s always worth trying something new even when it doesn’t work out exactly as planned.
Where are the ingredients sourced? From lots of different places as we want to make sure we have the best organic ingredients for our foods. We work directly with ingredient producers to make sure our raw materials meet legislation and our own strict No Junk Promise standards, which in turn helps our supply partners make great food. It’s definitely harder to source organic and there are lots of challenges but it is worth it to make great organic foods.
What direction will the company take next, are there ideas to expand into other areas? There is a rolling three-year-plan of innovation (which is top secret!), developed by listening to parents’ needs and getting inspired by food trends. We are also starting to make snacks for older kids – the recent launch of Punk’d has been a great new adventure for me.
Any other comments? I love my job and can’t imagine being happier anywhere else… it’s my favourite thing to be out and about and see little ones happily tucking in to the food I’ve helped to make.