Christina Ferrara, E'16, is currently on co-op at Ocean Spray. From working to increase plant efficiency to taste tests in the lab, Ferrara has learned what life is like working for one of the largest grower-owned cooperatives in the world. Photos by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University.
Ferrara connected with Ocean Spray at a career fair for College of Engineering students.
"I have a very specific target for a career in the food industry, so I made a beeline for Ocean Spray," Ferrara said. "I met my future supervisor who made the job sound very dynamic."
The Ocean Spray campus is located in Lakeville and Middleborough, Massachusetts.
Ferrara said one of her favorite parts of the co-op is the traveling she's done, having visited Ocean Spray operations in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Nevada.
There is a meticulous process to making Ocean Spray products.
"Throught my travels I gets to see what I do on the bench scale, but at the production level where hundreds of bottles of a product are produced in a minute. On the bench scale you can only make about one bottle a minute."
Ferrara stirs juice in the Ocean Spray lab.
Ferrara prepares for a taste test in the Ocean Spray lab.
Juice samples sit in the Ocean Spray lab.
When taste tests are conducted, Ferrara said they could be testing anything from flavor to sweetness.
Juice is cooked to a specific temperature before it can be bottled and consumed.
Ferrara and co-workers in a meeting.
The product development process is very iterative. Each time you have a taste test you might go in with a different plan."
Cranberries in the Ocean Spray bog on campus await harvest.
Ocean Spray was formed in 1930 by three cranberry growers in Massachusetts.
Ferrara said she hopes to pursue a career in product development in the food industry, but is also interested in consumer products in general. "I've told people I was going to make the next Twizzler."
Ferrara, a chemical engineering major, will graduate in May 2016.