Product Developer, Research and Development for Weston Foods
Education: Dual Major in Bakery Science and Management and German Language, Minor in Business
Graduation Year: December 2014
Ashley Anderson works in product development and research for Weston Foods, where she spends her day creating new donuts! She manages the creation of the new products from bench top samples to setting it up and getting it to the store shelves. She works with the customers and their new donut requests to bring them a product they are satisfied with. She works with customers such as Dunkin Donuts, Wal-Mart, Dillon’s, Applebee’s, Kroger and Casey’s to name a few.
On top of the new product development, she also manages and updates the formulas for the donut plant. The plant produces about 53.7 million donuts each week. Due to producing a high volume of donuts so quickly it is important that there are not any processing issues as they can cause a lot of waste. Because of the waste factor, Anderson is often on the plant floor troubleshooting products. This requires a thorough understanding of the ingredient, product and equipment.
During Anderson’s time as a student, she stayed busy both during the semester and during the summer. She completed four internships as a student. The first as a test kitchen technician for Custom Foods Inc. The second was a production intern for Kraft Foods and the third was a production intern for Mondelez International. The final internship was a continuous improvement intern for Bimbo Bakeries.
While taking classes, Anderson was involved with the Bake Club and served multiple leadership positions. She was also involved in the Alpha Mu Honors Society, Ag Ambassadors, and the Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society. While involved with these organizations, she attended the American Society of Bakers (ASB) Conference and the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE). Outside of the College of Agriculture, she was a Resident Assistant, part of the KSU club soccer team and a German language tutor.
Looking back, Anderson found Bake Science I & II the most beneficial to her career. She says, “It really establishes a strong foundation of ingredient knowledge, functionalities, and interactions. In addition, working with products in the lab gets you oriented to working in labs and developing products in the future.
Anderson says that having a large scope of knowledge is important in any industry.
“While in college you may have a specific emphasis. Make sure to learn about the other options within your major as well. For example, even if you think you want to work in quality, take a class that is more production or research oriented as well. Knowledge of a broader range of roles and subjects within your major will open up your opportunities and career path and enable you to pursue a variety of jobs in the industry.”