Snacks need Research and Development too

Suzanne Davies is, at only 22 years old, a Senior R&D Technician at one of PepsiCo’s global R&D centres.

Suzanne Davies

Suzanne Davies first joined PepsiCo as a placement student in 2014 while she was studying an undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Food Science. Suzanne, alongside eight other students from the 2012-2014 placement cohorts, were offered full time jobs once their degrees were completed, which they’ve all taken up.

Since completing her degree she has re-joined PepsiCo as a senior research and development (R&D) technician at the company’s global R&D centre in Leicester. This is one of four R&D centres for snacks that PepsiCo has in the world.


You originally had a dream of being a chef in the Royal Air Force – tell us how you came to be working at PepsiCo

I never really thought I’d go into science. I was always interested in maths and did food tech in high school but I found that science grew on me. I was lucky enough that the University of Nottingham is one of the few universities that offers a food science degree, so I could combine both passions.

When I started my placement in the R&D team, they gave me lots of small objectives that I was working towards, and by the time I was 6 months in, I was managing my own projects. I couldn’t believe how much I had changed and developed.

This was completely different to many of the experiences other food science students had. They weren’t given much responsibility during their placements and I’d hear a lot of stories about how poor and limited their workload had been.


Tell us more about what you’re working on in Research and Development

It’s all super top secret so I’m afraid I can’t say more! But it’s all incredibly fascinating, and you get to feel like you’re part of something bigger.


What is it like working at PepsiCo?

It doesn’t feel too corporate and scary. By the second day I felt completely settled again.


You’re now completing a Masters in Food Science and Engineering at the University of Nottingham which PepsiCo is sponsoring, tell us why further study is important to you?

I’m keen to continue my learning and development while at work. Engineering is clearly an important part of PepsiCo’s business so I wanted to develop skills that would help me be a better technician and open up further opportunities for me. PepsiCo has been fully supportive of this, so that I don’t have to count it as annual leave if I have to take a few days off for an intense course week.