Our founder

My name is Dr. Raphaëlle O’Connor, the founder and director of inewtrition. I have more than 25 years’ experience as a food product developer and innovator in convergent products for consumer health.

My career began in food science and technology. From there, I progressed to leading multiple regional and global teams, supporting brand- and business-development projects with Amgen, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, Pfizer, and Wyeth Nutritionals.

Now I am an experienced food product developer, project manager, and strategic adviser. I help food startups, ingredients suppliers, and multinational manufacturers across the functional foods and health-and-wellness industries.

My scientific expertise includes the use of natural, bioactive, and multifunctional ingredients in fast-moving consumer goods categories such as infant formula, probiotics, nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, and cosmeceuticals.

I am also the company director of Bia-Biz, a directory of free web resources for the food industry.

Raphaelle O'Connor iNewtrition food business consultant

What is the role of a food technologist?

Food technologists are crucial to the development of new and innovative products. They are the brains behind most of products you see on supermarket shelves. Food technologists ensure the highest possible standards at all stages of food product development.

When taking on a project, a food technologist will begin by aiming to understand the need that your product fills, and how that aligns with your brand vision. Then they investigate the attributes that your product needs to have. If you want claims such as ‘vegan’ or ‘nut-free,’ or certain certifications such as ‘organic,’ they will assess these now.

After this, a they will conduct market research and carry out competitive and gap analyses. This is to ensure that your product will stand out in the marketplace. Product ideation then begins, led both by the technologist’s experience and intuition.

One of the most important aspects for any food product is its nutritional value. Macro- and micro-nutrients must be considered. The range of allergen-free ingredients that will make your product delicious must be understood. The final labelling and any claims or certifications it will make must be borne in mind. A food technologist will ensure all of these align within your product.

The technologist will now devise appropriate flavours. They will source ingredients and then create detailed recipes, refining colours, flavours, and textures. Then they will determine the need, if any, for additives. After this, they conduct benchtop trials to give you an idea of what the final product will be like.

Multiple prototypes are created to ensure that all aims for the product are being fulfilled. Once this process is complete, the food technologist will conduct shelf-life tests to examine how physical, chemical, and microbial changes affect the product’s taste and appearance. A food technologist can also help extend the product’s shelf life at this point, if that is an important attribute.

The packaging is also something a food technologist contributes to. They will help you understand details like serving size, the number of servings per package, and the best type of packaging for your product.

Finally, once all the recipes have passed kitchen trials, a food technologist will help with scaling up the product. This is to see how it reacts when produced in bulk. Scaling up is a gradual process that starts with a pilot trial and eventually a production trial. The technologist teams up with production managers or contract manufacturers to ensure the scale up is successful, and helps resolve any adjustments that may be required.

Before commercialisation, all these trials are documented, to ensure they comply with quality assurance regulations. Suppliers for the ingredients are finalised, nutritional fact tables are created, the packaging is locked in, and your product is ready for launch.