To kick off our blog, I wanted to start by introducing our Research and Development team.
Our research team is composed of 5 individuals focused on processing, packaging and sensory research. Dr. John Baranowski leads the research team and has been the backbone of Tree Top for 32 years. With his retirement looming, John has been developing Becky Douglas and Dr. Kevin Holland in order to pass his knowledge on to the next generation. As Sr. Food Scientists, Becky and Kevin will define the technology and unique processing methods employed by Tree Top. Converting raw fruit from our growers into food is at the very heart of what Tree Top excels at. Once converted into a finished food, our Packaging Specialist Jeremy Phillips ensures our packaging meets consumer needs and protects the food during distribution. Many new innovations in the food and beverage industry are due to advances in packaging. Jeremy is currently exploring multi-serve pouches and clear film single serve pouches, which are new to the fruit category. Another important aspect of the food we make is how it tastes. Anna Chow is our Sensory Specialist who trains internal employees on our gold standards for applesauce and apple juice. Anna’s team of internal sensory experts test newly developed products or changes in how we process fruit. Anna also trains people in our food manufacturing facilities where we perform sensory testing on every batch we make.
Developing new fruit products is what the remaining 6 people on our team are focused on. Many of our customers purchase fruit ingredients from Tree Top. In order to help other companies develop food, our Sample Specialists, Cheri Riley and Doreen Gill provide them samples of what we manufacture today. Finding new opportunities for products we currently make is vitally important to our future. If a customer needs a unique fruit solution our team of Product Developers and Food Technologists step in to help. They are a nimble, creative team each with their own areas of expertise. Sr. Product Developer, Cindy Conroy is our resident expert on formulated fruit preparations and bases. She may be developing a new flavor of applesauce one day then making a fruit prep for a limited edition ice cream the next day. Debbie Flores and Annie Li are Product Developers creating new fruit products for our brand, private label or ingredient customers. Debbie has been with Tree Top for 29 years and has extensive knowledge of dried fruit ingredients as well as strawberries and fruit preps. When I joined Tree Top in the year 2000, Debbie taught me most of what I know about drying apples. Annie joined our team last July and has become our expert on baby food formulations with fruit, grains and vegetables. Annie was also volunteered to be our nutrition facts panel expert and is thrilled to be updating over 300 branded items with new FDA labelling requirements. Kyle Michael is a Food Technologist who joined Tree Top 3 years ago. Kyle is primarily focused on dried fruit ingredients and has come up with some very creative blue sky concepts such as Apple Geckos. His other areas of expertise are naturally derived alternatives to sulfites, red #40 dye and pet treats.
So that’s our team and our motto is “Go Do Stuff!” I hope you will continue to follow our blog as we share with you some of the great ideas we are working on.