‘This is what I do!’ Celia Holt, Food Director, Food Innovation Solutions


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Celia Holt is Food Director at Food Innovation Solutions (FIS)
Celia Holt is Food Director at Food Innovation Solutions (FIS)

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Celia Holt tells that she lives and breathes innovation, having previously worked as head of innovation at the UK's largest food manufacturer, 2 Sisters Food Group, and taking a leading hand in creating products including the nation's top-selling flavored milk drink Frijj.
  • What does your job involve doing Celia?

As food director with Food Innovation Solutions (FIS), I work with food and beverage individuals and businesses – helping them develop innovation strategies and pipelines.

  • What’s your background?

I have 25+ years in the food industry, living and breathing innovation. Before joining FIS I was head of innovation at Two Sisters Food Group, and spent 18 years in senior roles with Marks & Spencer, Dairy Crest and Unigate.


I’ve covered everything from dairy, nuts and snacks to meat, poultry and chilled foods, and had an integral hand in creating Top 100 UK brands including Frijj milkshakes (Dairy Crest) Cathedral City cheese (Dairy Crest) and Marks & Spencer’s low fat (less than 3%) Count on Us food range.

  • What’s the hardest thing about the job?

Leaving a client at the end of a project as I fully immerse myself in their business!

  • What do you think are the most significant industry trends, i.e. healthy energy, naturally sweetened soda, etc. or can you even identify any new ones?

FIS research shows that high protein foods are not only for the gym but are also used for satiety, with whey protein on the rise, while Central and Latin American cuisine is trending up – guajillo chillies and bitter orange juice is a classic Mexican combination.

‘Living Well’ taps the need for tailored ‘free from’ foods that focus on balanced healthy living, not overindulgence or dieting – look at OCOO, the beauty drink with collagen that promises benefits for the skin and hair.

Other trends in our 2014 report include ‘Skinny to the Extreme’ or absolute calorie awareness – think zero carb skinny cocktails and bar drinks, and ‘Not What It Seems’.

This last trend covers products that have a sense of theatre, fun and excitement, play with our senses and deliver surprises. Who doesn’t like a surprise?

Tea is re-emerging too – Twinings ‘Love Tea’ is handmade with an emphasis on proper brewing, smells and tastes, while there is a ‘legend’ or story to discover behind the product.

  • If you could only take one beverage with you on a desert island, what would it be? (N.B. Water is allowed but we’re presuming it wouldn’t be a life/death situation!)

I’d love a cloudy lemonade, refreshing and yummy! Or perhaps a cloudy fresh orangeade?

Do you have a story to tell. Follow in Celia's footsteps and get in touch - here's our template!

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