As a Principal Development Scientist for ConAgra Foods Company, Meredith Bishop plays a pivotal role in some of the food most commonly found on the shelves of any grocery store.
“In my current role, I develop flavors and seasonings that improves our product’s taste and reduces sodium and sugar content,” she says. “You name it, and I’ve probably had a hand in it: soup, nuts, gummy bears, cookies and more.”
She has worked with brands such as Hunt’s® and Orville Redenbacher’s® but specializes in salt reduction in savory products and sugar reduction in baking products. A science lover from a young age, Meredith always knew she’d want to pursue a career in the sciences but was unsure of the exact field, until she pursued an independent study while at Montclair State.
“In one of my last semesters, I took a microbiology class and a food course with Professor John Specchio from the Health and Nutrition Sciences department,” she recalls. “This is where I was introduced to the food sciences and what’s involved with giving something a particular taste.”
Her first job out of college was as a lab technician at a flavor company. While this experience provided her with additional insight to the food industry, she’s spent the last 25 years building her expertise. She went on to work as a food technologist where she prepared flavor tests, conducted sensory evaluation of food prototypes and participated in consumer testing that included Campbell’s Soup®, Pepperidge Farms®, Frito Lay® and Bestfoods®. As she moved into the principal development scientist role, she also became a mentor to research technicians and interns, which was a role she was already familiar with, thanks to her time spent at Montclair State.
As an undergraduate student, Meredith worked as a residence assistant for three years in Webster, Bohn and Blanton Hall.
“Working on campus was a great experience,” she says. “I learned skills that I continue to draw upon every day. I’m also happy to say that I made friendships with other resident assistants that have lasted to this day.”
Along with her friends and classmates, Meredith is gearing up to celebrate her 25th Class Reunion on October 3, and is looking forward to spending some time back on campus with friends and classmates.
She returned to campus in June 2015 to participate at The International Conference on Culinary Arts and Sciences. She, along with fellow alumna, Meriterese Racanelli MS ’08, Nutritionist and Food Consultant, Goya Foods®, served on an alumni panel, “The Industry Perspective on Food Careers”. The conference – the first of its kind to be held in the United States – brought together food scholars from around the world, local and national chefs, food scientists, food enthusiasts and members of the food trade.