[Celebrating Inspiring Women In March Series #1: IPI Innovation Advisor Christabel Ang] 


Leveraging her illustrious career across various sectors of the food and beverage industry, IA Christabel Ang mentors young professionals and advises local SMEs as they look to grow their careers in the F&B ecosystem.

From navigating the challenging waters of research and development (R&D) in global giants like Nestlé, to spearheading innovation and growth in local SMEs — IPI Innovation Advisor (IA) Christabel Ang’s journey through the food and beverage industry is one forged by resilience, innovation and mentorship. Her career, which began in 1978, has seen the transformation of the industry from a male-dominated field to one where women stand tall in kitchens and boardrooms alike.

Christabel’s story begins with a passion for hospitality and catering, which quickly evolved into an illustrious career in R&D with Nestlé. Her journey is punctuated by a series of strategic shifts across R&D, sales and marketing, business development and consultancy roles across the globe. Each move was more than an updated job title and brought her exposure to greater challenges and learning opportunities.

At Nestlé, she worked her way up through the company and took risks to transition to sales and marketing after almost a decade in R&D. “My bosses liked me very much and I had the opportunity to grow there,” she shared. “When there was a sales and marketing position open, they supported me and I gave it a try.”

“It was not easy, but I didn’t want to disappoint them. I worked extremely hard and I gained a lot of experience and knowledge,” she added. “I managed to climb the corporate ladder with the help of my mentors and peers.”

She left the company in 2002 as Country Manager and General Manager to take on roles at International Flavors & Fragrances as well as Givaudan, and later as a consultant in Taiwan—further diversifying her expertise and impact across the industry.

One of the most significant aspects of IA Christabel’s career has been her transition into mentorship. Recognising the power of knowledge transfer, she dedicated herself to guiding young professionals—especially women—through the intricacies of the food and beverage industry. Her efforts have not only helped individuals grow but also fostered a culture of learning and empowerment. Throughout her career she made herself a valuable mentor to young professionals in her team.

“I shared knowledge, skills and experiences to accelerate the learning process,” she said. “I helped them avoid common pitfalls because I understand the ingredients and processes.” 

As an IA at IPI, she leverages her extensive experience to advise SMEs and start-ups, helping them overcome challenges, whether it’s product development, market entry or scaling. Her focus on plant-based food innovation—an area of growing importance and interest in today’s world where sustainability is a key focus—highlights her commitment to not just business growth but also health and wellness. Currently, IA Christabel is working on two projects at IPI, one of which involves crafting tasty soup recipes.

Her journey also mirrors the broader changes within the industry, particularly regarding the role of women. Reflecting on the early days of her career, she recalled a time when women were rarely seen in leadership positions, either in kitchens or corporate offices. Today, she celebrates the progress made, with women not only participating in but leading innovation and change in the food and beverage sector.

Her advice to young women looking to make their mark in this industry is a testament to her belief in continuous learning and improvement. “Remember to be open to learning what you can and it’s also very important to put to use what you have learned, and thereafter improve on it,” advised IA Christabel.

IA Christabel’s career offers lessons in perseverance, innovation, as well as the transformative power of mentorship. Tap on IPI’s Innovation Advisors Programme to leverage the guidance of an IA like Christabel Ang to take your ventures to greater heights.