Technical Manager, Loft Foods
Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Applied Chemistry
She has always been passionate about food, says food science alumna Hannah Gu who came to AUT as an international student from Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province, in China.
“I love food. The passion to figure out what healthy food means, to understand what goes on behind the scenes of the massive food world and to motivate people to live a healthy lifestyle made me enthusiastic to study food science. Food is everywhere and it can’t be separated from our daily life. I had a strong belief in the career pathway of food science, and knew that together with chemistry it would lead to a successful career.”
She still has fond memories of her time at AUT.
“As an international student, I immediately felt at home at AUT. The lecturers were all professional but friendly at the same time. I liked that AUT has a more practical approach and the learning environment was comfortable, with a lot of services provided for students. Because AUT is located in the City Centre it was also easy to become involved with the various events in Auckland, which enriched my spare time.
“I also appreciated all the opportunities I was given at AUT – I felt recognised. I particularly enjoyed being a peer mentor and helping more than 30 other students over two years. I was also proud of being chosen as a teaching assistant for the Biological Chemistry course in my third year at AUT, and loved working as a student ambassador and as a mentor for AUT’s university preparation programme UniPrep at the South Campus.”
Contributing to human wellbeing
After graduating from AUT in 2016, Hannah now works as a technical manager at Loft Foods, which produces over 1,000 commercial-grade sauces.
“I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do when I was a student, working in the playground of new product development and developing new products for the market. I’m responsible for ensuring the timely development of new products, making sure that existing products are produced consistently and within specifications, and for continually improving our processes and efficiencies.
“It’s a fast-paced, ever-changing environment and we’re always striving to keep up with industry trends. Knowing that many Kiwis are having my products as a part of their daily meals is surreal.”
She is proud of how far she has come since first joining Loft Foods in 2017.
“I’m proud of leading a group of food technologists and developing our range of over 1,000 sauces in the past five years, each with a contemporary twist that turns food into memorable meals. I’ve enjoyed witnessing the growth of the company and myself, and love being in a career pathway where I can contribute my little part to human wellbeing.”
Advice for other students
Hannah’s advice for other students is simple: make the most of your time at university.
“Studying is of course the main focus of your university journey, and the knowledge you learn is really important and builds a solid foundation for your future career. However, university isn’t all about studying, and it’s wise to appreciate the opportunities provided by AUT. From my experience, they made my uni life colourful and unforgettable.”
She would also recommend the different support services available to AUT students.
“AUT has different ‘homes’ for students from different backgrounds. When I was a student, I sought a lot of help from the support service for students from China and I also kept visiting the student advisors at AUT who always gave me valuable advice.”
*The Applied Chemistry major has been replaced by the Chemistry major.