Introducing our Making Snack Magic Internship Program
Meet Juliana and Katarina Vukotic, University of Queensland students both in their final year of a bachelor’s degree in Food Technology with Honours, and Majans’ latest interns!
The girls recently joined our Making Snack Magic Internship Program with the Majans R&D Team to gain real-world experience in the food industry and put their food science skills to the test! We sat down with Juliana and Katarina to unpack their time in the business and understand what recipes for success they were able to take away with them at the end of the internship.
Why did you want to join the Majans internship program?
Juliana: I wanted to have some practical experience in the food industry before finishing my university degree as I believe that this is very important in helping to decide which career path I would like to take in the future. One of my lecturers informed me that Majans was offering work experience to university students and I was very keen on this as I had previously tried and enjoyed eating many of Majans’ products and, thankfully, we were accepted.
Katarina: As I am currently so close to finishing my university degree, I believe that it is important to experience working in a range of different food manufacturing companies and different roles so that I will be able to better understand which type of career I would like to pursue after I graduate. Furthermore, as I have not had any experience thus far in the food industry, I believed that joining the Majans internship program would allowed me to gain an understanding of what working in the snack food industry entailed.
What were your key roles whilst at Majans?
Juliana and Katarina: We worked with the R&D Department and were involved in projects in raw materials, quality control and product development. To list a few examples, we helped collect data to help optimise pallet storage space, made samples for a transport trial, investigated oil absorption and moisture loss of our products, and quantified product components and analysed the data to assist in future control of this.
Explore one key learning you have made from your internship?
Juliana: I believe a key learning I have made at Majans is understanding how complex the food manufacturing process is. Learning about this in theory was informative but viewing and experiencing the process first-hand is something that I believe cannot be taught in a classroom and this knowledge will stay with me for my entire career.
Katarina: The key learning that I have made is how the different areas of the company work together to formulate, create, and then sell the product to the market. This was not highly explored in university as most concepts were taught in isolation, but it was very valuable to see how these concepts and departments work together in the company so that I could better understand how a food product is produced in an actual company.
Is there anything you learnt that surprised you?
Juliana: I was very surprised by how many people with different roles are involved in food production and how everyone is required to work together efficiently in order to make the final product. You do not think about all this hard work going on behind the scenes when you are grabbing a packet of food at the grocery store, but it is happening every day.
Katarina: What I learnt, which surprised me, was how often something can go wrong in food production, even with the many different controls that are in place in order to prevent this as much as possible. Furthermore, the speed of the resolution of these issues is extremely fast in order to allow production to continue as soon as possible.
What was your favourite part of the internship?
Juliana: My favourite part of the internship was going through and viewing the factory. I had never been to a food manufacturing factory before in-person, so this was a new and exciting experience.
Katarina: My favourite part was being able to experience how the food is produced in the factory and being able to follow it all the way to it being packaged. Also, meeting the people who work throughout the company in the various areas was also very enjoyable.
Most importantly, what is your favourite Majans snack and why?
Juliana and Katarina: We would have to say the Bhuja Nut Mix because the spice is just right, there is also a subtle sweetness, and we love eating anything with nuts in it. We could both probably eat a whole packet in one sitting if we were not paying attention!
What are your goals for your future?
Juliana: I hope to continue working in the food industry in new product development. I would love to develop new products because it would be such an interesting experience and I would love to point out the products to my family and friends whenever I see them.
Katarina: I am hoping to graduate with my degree and then get a job in the food industry working in R&D, either in quality control or new product development. I would love to play a role in the development of a new food product. I would also like to travel around the world in order to experience all different types of foods so that I can further understand the global scope of the food industry.
What are you most proud of achieving during this internship?
Juliana and Katarina: During the internship, we were most proud of our investigation and analysis of Bhuja’s component control, which we presented the results to the R&D team. This information was not quantified previously and so it provided a basis for further work and investigation and we were proud to begin this process for the company.
What’s your advice for anyone wanting to join the Majans internship program?
Juliana: I definitely recommend you go for it. This experience was extremely helpful in providing an insight into the food manufacturing industry and allowed me to experience a wide range of activities in different areas of the food production process. This was what I was looking for with my internship but if you are looking for experience in a more concise area of food production, this would be an option as well.
Katarina: Be prepared to learn so much about snack food production during your time here. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure about something or if you want clarification about a certain process or why things are done a particular way – this is the best way to learn as much as you can. You have to make the most of your time because it will be over before you know it!
Anything you would like to add?
Juliana and Katarina: We would like to say that this internship opportunity has been an insightful and informative experience that we would not have been able to undergo anywhere else. The people we met at Majans were all very welcoming and kind, so we both had a wonderful time, and will use the knowledge and skills learnt during this time in all our future endeavours.