Fieke Maas is a professional in the field of food quality management, currently working at FrieslandCampina. Her journey in this field began with a strong interest in food quality management, which led her to pursue a Master's degree in the subject. “I became interested in quality during my bachelor's and decided to specialize further in this area through my master's degree”. She was attracted to the master's program because it offered a combination of technical knowledge, people skills, and management aspects.
Fieke is currently working at FrieslandCampina as part of the Young Quality Talent Program, a two-year traineeship specifically designed for quality professionals. The program offers her three assignments and aims to provide her with diverse experiences, including working in the production location's Quality Assurance department, at the corporate office in a creative quality sales role, and a final assignment in a European location.
Favorite Aspect of the Job:
Fieke finds the diversity in her role to be the most enjoyable aspect. Quality management requires collaboration and interaction with various departments and individuals. Fieke appreciates the dynamic nature of the job, where each day presents new challenges and opportunities.
Experience with the MFQ Program:
Fieke highlights the MFQ program as a crucial stepping stone in her career. She values the program's combination of technological and managerial aspects, which has prepared her well for her current role. Fieke believes this integrated approach has been instrumental in her ability to work effectively within diverse teams and consider both technical and managerial factors when addressing issues. Fieke also values the user-oriented courses that shifted her focus from solely product-oriented thinking to considering the consumers' needs and preferences.
Internship and Thesis:
This sensory-focused research allowed her to observe and analyse consumer behaviour, which was a unique experience compared to her previous internships. Fieke's internship at Danone's Research Innovation Centre in Utrecht involved working with a trained sensory panel. She applied the techno-managerial framework to enhance the effectiveness of the sensory panel and also focused on team-building activities to strengthen the panel's cohesion.
After graduating, Fieke embarked on her professional journey, which led her to join FrieslandCampina. She started her current role shortly after completing her studies. Although her previous internship provided her with connections in the food industry, Fieke realized that her passion lay more in quality management and that she wanted to explore other opportunities beyond the sensory side of quality management.
Challenges and Opportunities in the Food Quality Management Sector:
With the rise of social media and instant communication, companies face pressure to meet customer expectations promptly. Fieke also emphasizes sustainability and the growing trend of vegan products as factors that bring both challenges and opportunities for companies in the sector. These trends require the industry to address safety, eco-friendliness, taste, and smell factors, presenting new challenges that need to be overcome.
Advice to Aspiring Professionals:
Fieke advises aspiring professionals in the field of food quality management to prioritize personal development and establish career goals. Pursuing a master's degree in the field is highly recommended, but it is equally important to reflect on individual aspirations and communicate them effectively to colleagues and superiors. Fieke encourages aspiring professionals to embrace personal growth and strive for excellence in their chosen field.