Massey food technology graduate scores sweet role with biscuit giant Arnotts

Thursday 26 May 2022

There aren’t many people who get to work with chocolate biscuits all day, but Massey University Food Technology graduate D’Arcy Knight is one of those lucky people.

D'Arcy Knight

D'Arcy Knight at the Auckland graduation on Wednesday

After completing a Bachelor of Food Technology in 2021, D’Arcy has landed a job in Sydney working for The Arnott’s Group.

As a Research and Development (R&D) graduate in the business treating team, D’Arcy’s days are spent immersed in biscuits. From briefings to developing concepts, shelf-life testing to trials, no two days are the same, she says.

While her focus is on the development of the product itself, D’Arcy works closely with the regulation, marketing, and packaging teams to ensure the developed product aligns with the expectations of the wider business.

The former Auckland Girls Grammar student was inspired to study food technology because it enabled her to combine her love for cooking and baking with the technical aspects of engineering and technology.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be a chef, but as I continued with my schooling, I found myself loving the sciences, so food technology really was a perfect fit for me. When your career includes a lifelong hobby you really can’t go wrong!”

D'Arcy Knight

D'Arcy in her new workplace

D’Arcy says she couldn’t recommend the degree enough.

“It’s very technical with a heavy focus on process engineering, food chemistry and the like, but the new product development element is simultaneously so creative! You get to let out your creative energy and go wild, but also have the constraints of the science behind the products to keep you from getting your head in the clouds!”

The Bachelor of Food Technology is a four-year programme that has been offered at Massey for more than 50 years. The degree, which can be completed at the Auckland and Manawatū campuses, is the only one in Australasia that combines food science, food engineering and food business.

“I found the degree to be challenging, but so rewarding,” D’Arcy says.

“The first year is more generalised science and engineering papers so you can grasp the basics before moving to more food focused engineering in second year, then the chemistry and science aspects in the third year. You get to completely understand each component of the process, before applying it all at the end.”

The fourth year of the degree is an honours year where students complete two projects spanning the full year – a group project focused on developing a new product, and an individual research project.

“The fourth-year projects really played a massive part in putting all the different learnings from the previous years into one application – it brought everything together and gave me the skills and understanding of how to carry out R&D work in a meaningful and efficient way.”

Food technology is a lesser-known career path, but the small cohort of food tech students has its advantages, according to D’Arcy.

“This makes it so much easier to get one-on-one help from lecturers when needed, and to ask questions as they arise,” D’Arcy explains.

“All the lecturers and lab technicians genuinely want to see you succeed and were always so willing to get you to where you needed to be,” she adds.

“Working together with your cohort is so important in my opinion too. Your peers will have strengths in areas you may be less confident in and vice versa – helping each other out not only lets you increase your understanding in areas you’re unsure of, but also strengthens what you do understand – it’s a win, win!”

D’Arcy says one of the best parts of her career is developing products that friends and family can buy.

“I definitely think food technology as a degree and career is very much underrated and hope that more people would consider it as a career choice.”

Find out more information about the Bachelor of Food Technology here.

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