Xandra Sace and Anna Macalanda eat food for a living. Well, at least that’s part of their job handling product research, development and quality at Mondelez Philippines.
As food tasters, Xandra and Anna get to eat Eden Cheese and Cheez Whiz and drink Tang on the job, and taste Mondelez Philippines’ other products such as Oreo cookies, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Toblerone, Chips Ahoy and Tiger Energy biscuits.
Their tastes and opinions matter. They ensure that each and every product Mondelez delivers to consumers tastes great.
Xandra and Anna are both food technology graduates. They have been with Mondelez, formerly named Kraft Foods, for the past six years.
“Back in college, I knew I really wanted to pursue a career in research and development. When I landed here at Mondelez Philippines, I had several new product launches and also took on varying roles. Currently, I help provide consumers our delicious brands,” says Anna, who works on taste testing delicious and refreshing drinks for Tang.
Xandra, on the other hand, works on the cheese and bread spreads line and gets to taste Eden Cheese, Cheez Whiz, as well as Eden Mayo and Eden Sandwich Spread every day.
As with any job, there are challenges and great learning opportunities present as well, both of which Xandra and Anna have experienced.
“The challenges I deal with include talking to different people with different personalities. But the best thing about my job is that I have the opportunity to travel to different countries, and be able to discover things that I never imagined I could do such as talking to high level management and of course help make cheese that consumers love!” says Xandra.
But it’s not all fun and games and eating for Xandra and Anna. Contrary to the impression that they stay in a test kitchen all day wearing lab coats and just taste test food, their job is critical for a company whose global mission is to create delicious moments of joy for consumers.
As food tasters, they need to put personal preferences aside and put themselves on the side of the consumer.
Making a trade or profession out of one’s palate goes beyond giving comments on flavor or aroma. And taste is not the only skill required for the job. Xandra and Anna work with colleagues from marketing, sales, and people running the factories to ensure product quality and safety at all times.
“Believe in yourself and all the things you can do,” says Xandra. “Failure does not mean you are a disappointment; it means you have not yet succeeded.”
“The road to success and living your dream job is not a straight path,” adds Anna. “You’ll encounter detours, potholes and flat tires but for as long as you enjoy the ride and not lose sight of the destination, and it will be fine!”
For Xandra and Anna to do their jobs well, having a great team working well together is a must.
Xandra says: “What makes ours a great place to work are the people around me, the campus-like set-up of the office, and the engagement and dedication of my co-workers, which are great influences on me. Most importantly, I’m able to have work-life balance.”
Anna agrees, saying: “Mondelez Philippines is a great place to work because they care for your overall growth, not just for your career advancement. We have different programs to support health and wellness and even social responsibility. The latter resonates with me the most because I know the company has a heart, paying forward to communities that need support – which is one of my personal advocacies as well.”
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