Chaucer’s First Employee: Looking Back at 40 Years with Chris Rogers

August 2022

When you look back at Chaucer Foods’ first 40 years, there has always been one constant: Chris Rogers. Now the Global Key Account Manager, Chris opened Chaucer’s doors on day one. Over the next 40 years, Chris helped Chaucer navigate shifting consumer trends, supply chain constraints, operations and procurement methods.

Chris has experienced our entire journey and we were thrilled to speak with him about what his memories of Chaucer have been and where he sees the company going as Chaucer — and Chris — celebrate 40 years.

Q: You’ve been at Chaucer for the company’s 40-year history. What does this anniversary mean to you?
A: When I look back to the past 40 years, I feel a great sense of pride to have been with Chaucer since the start. I’ve been able to work at an expanding, global company that has provided me opportunities to work all over the world and meet so many people. When the company first started it was a crouton manufacturing company. Since then, I’ve seen several changes in ownership, the evolution into freeze-dried ingredients, expansion into global markets, and exciting technological innovations.

2. What has been your favorite part of working for Chaucer Foods?

A: Overall, my favorite part is the ability to work in different global locations, interact with different cultures, and meet clients with whom I’ve built meaningful relationships with. With Chaucer, I have been in the United States for the past 19 years, but have worked and lived in China, Italy, France and the United Kingdom. Personally, I don’t think many people would enjoy working at the same company for this long, but it is the relationship and the possibility for creating global connections that make this a place worth staying with for 40 years. It is also so exciting to look back at my own personal growth, Chaucer’s growth, and the projects that have gotten us here today.

Q: What is the project or ingredient that you are most proud of?
A: I am most proud of my work in China, as we developed the operation to manufacture products for our largest global customer. When I first moved to China, I was originally only supposed to be there one year to identify ingredient producers and ensure our standards were met. Due to the initial success, I agreed to continue my role in China for an additional year to set up the manufacturing plant and finalize the sourcing and packaging.

While I can’t think of just one ingredient that I am proud of, I enjoy working with customers on new projects—whether it’s raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or a blend of all three. When I’m working with a customer that faces challenges or unresolved constraints, we can bring in solutions to help address those issues, such as through oil spraying projects or packaging solutions. The most important thing is to give the Customer what they need to create growth and profitability for all.

Q: What have you learned from your time at Chaucer?
A: I have learned that a very small company can still be a very successful company, and in return can grow with the right ownership, dedicated teams, and people. I couldn’t have imagined that Chaucer would grow into the company it is today but looking back it’s not a surprise.

In an industry and world that never stops changing and throwing curve balls, Chaucer has always been able to react and develop new, next steps for continued success. For example, we didn’t originally have an R&D team, but after listening to what our client needs, we were able to bring in experts who can not only innovate our products, but also help provide solutions for our consumers. Through my time at Chaucer, I have developed a passion for constant adaptation and flexibility, because our story is proof that those are traits that can lead to long-term success.

Q: What’s been the most impactful moment of leadership or a key decision that has allowed Chaucer to last and thrive for 40 years?

A: I’ve been able to work under five different company owners but looking back it was the growth and acquisition changes made back in the early 90s that were probably our biggest advancements over the past 4 decades. Transitioning from only small-batch, baked ingredients to the addition of freeze-dried ingredients was the most influential change. From there, we were lucky to be able to go out and secure our biggest global contract and customer, a relationship we still hold onto today. That was really the moment where Chaucer became the Chaucer of today.

Q: When you think of Chaucer Foods, what personally comes to mind?

A: Chaucer Food’s clean label and dynamic ingredient range not only packs a punch with its nutrient density and crunchy textures, but our team is also all about collaboration. Our whole team is dedicated to developing and innovating new requests to ensure that our customer’s highest expectations are met. Our advanced technology allows us to effectively innovate and elevate our client’s new products to make a splash.

Q: What would you say to someone beginning their career now at Chaucer Foods?

A: I’m a firm believer that you get out what you put in. Dedication brings the satisfaction of doing a good job, of sales, of producing an order on time, and even developing a new industry on a timeline. Like any organization, there will be a lot of challenges, but if you believe in the products and if you believe in the company, its vision, and its future, that is all you need to succeed.

Want to start your journey with Chaucer Foods, alongside experts like Chris Rogers? Check out our careers page to learn more about future opportunities at Chaucer.

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