What is


Literally “where” it happens - where culinary art meets food science, where creativity and science come together to deliver innovation. The influential function translates concepts/ideas to innovative, profitable products. With food and drink driving the biggest change agendas in what we eat and drink, it’s no surprise that skills in this space are in demand.

Being able to take an idea and create a product that is manufactured and packed profitably and sustainably and delights consumers and customers, is like performing MAGIC!  

Hello!  You clicked this link because you have an interest in science, technology, innovation and creativity, so you don’t need me to tell you that NPD is “where all the magic happens”. But if curiosity brought you here, please allow me to share my incredible journey in FMCG, and give you an insight into the magical world of product development.

There was never any doubt in my mind that I was going to study sciences and follow a career related to my studies. Having completed undergraduate and Masters studies in food technology, I joined the Quality Assurance dept. of Pavlides chocolates (now Mondelez) in Greece. It is there that I fell in love with chocolate. Going from a bitter, slightly acidic cocoa bean to a smooth, luxurious chocolate bar was a revelation to me.

My next career move was geographically 2000 miles away, but very close from a culinary perspective. McVitie’s (United Biscuits, now pladis) lured me to the UK and the world of biscuits and NPD.

They say that when you are in flow you are at your best, totally immersed in what you do and that you lose track of time. I have been in flow for the last 29 years. Nothing compares with the feeling of pride when, as a young developer, I would see my products on the supermarket shelf. Or with the feeling of gratitude for learning from the best technologists, such as the creators of HobNobs and Mini Cheddars. Or, some years later, with the sense of achievement and feeling of responsibility when I got to lead the R&D team for the UK and Europe, a team of over 100 talented, passionate and dedicated scientists and engineers and all round fantastic colleagues, and sit on no less than three executive boards.

More than 300 new products and numerous R&D strategies later, I have had the honour of becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology. I now want to inspire the next generation to join the magical world of technical.

Industry Voice

Valia Christidou FIFST

R&D Leader, Product Developer and Passionate Foodie, Formerly Head of R&D UK and Europe


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