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An innovation powerhouse: meet our Research and Development team

At Cape Natural Tea Products, we strive to continuously innovate on our product offerings, offering clients the best quality herbal teas as well as innovative new herbal products.

Our Research and Development team, led by Shannon Van der Watt, drives all product improvement and new product development from our sensory laboratory in Cape Town.

Shannon holds a BSc in food science from the University of Stellenbosch. She is joined by intern Katlego Mabusela, who is currently studying food science and technology at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

In this blog post, Shannon shares some thoughts on her exciting roles at Cape Natural Tea Products.

How would you describe yourself in four words?

Meticulous, adaptable, sweet tooth.

What does a day in your life look like?

In a nutshell, my role is to research and explore new information, technologies, products, processes, and trends within the industry; and to practically apply that knowledge to improve our products and develop new products.

I spend most of my time finding ways to optimize the quality of our products and developing new products for our clients. I do lab trials and data analysis on all product samples we develop, which are then presented to our clients.

Often we work hand-in-hand with our clients to develop products according to their needs. This includes new flavors, blends, and formulations - which is very exciting.

Sample creation in the lab is only the first step of product development, thereafter I work with the production team to help upscale the production of our new products.

What excites you most about your job?

It feels really good to know that I'm making a real positive difference in the company. As a small team, it is quite a challenge to execute all the projects and make it happen, but I love it!

The creativity of the role is really satisfying: coming up with interesting trials and recipes, tasting the different samples, and analyzing the data to draw conclusions and inform decision-making.

Why is new product development so important for our company?

Markets are constantly changing and developing, and it's really important for a bulk supplier like us to know what's happening in the industry and to provide relevant products to meet the demand.

Herbal tea trends especially are always changing and nowadays there are so many different ways in which people consume herbal tea.

By conducting market research, collaborating with new and existing clients, and thinking outside the box, we are rising to the challenge to create innovative herbal tea products of the highest quality.

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