Columns • Being a baker and a chemist – what a combination! Especially if you, like Ola Broström, work as a link between sales and product development. Ola is our Innovation manager who enjoys the lab, being in the saddle as well as travelling to spread the gospel of sugar reduction. Meet Ola Broström – one of our heroes.
Our heroes. That is what we call our colleagues, who work with research and development of our sweetened fibres. It is their knowledge, experience and diligent work that makes Bayn the leading supplier of sweetened fibres. And these people are the ones that help you choose the right sweetened fibres, and fine-tune the composition for your application, or create your own solution for sugar reduction. Although they are heroes, they are rarely seen and heard. We should remedy that. In a series of articles, you get to meet our heroes.
In his youth, Ola Broström felt drawn to the natural sciences. But during high school, there was something that interrupted him. He wanted something different and became a baker and confectioner. Time went by and over the years he was driven by a question: How to make the perfect bread?
That question led him to studies in chemistry, to research and eventually to the exciting world of ingredients as a product developer and technical salesman.
Ola has an exciting profile; He is skilled in craftsmanship, academically educated, has a sense of strategy and has a commercial background. And he is now innovation manager at Bayn.
Meet Ola Broström – one of our heroes.
What is your background and education?
I am a baker, confectioner and chemist with an academic background. I can best describe myself as an innovative product developer with experience in technical sales.
Why did you choose chemistry?
I have often been told that I am a researcher, in the sense that I like to immerse myself in things that interest me. I started on the natural science program at high school, but switched course and became a baker and confectioner and took a journeyman’s license. But there was a nagging frustration in me and a question I wanted to get answered.
Sounds exciting. Tell me more!
I lack the artistic side that can make me a champion in competition bakery. But on the other hand, I was driven by a question: How do I get the perfect bread? To understand it, one must be able to know chemistry and go down at a molecular level. I started reading basic organic chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Gothenburg, adding food chemistry and technology at Chalmers. I also participated in a course in internal medicine at Sahlgrenska – I wanted to know what happens in the body.
After university, I did my graduate job ‘Bread and Health’ with a focus on glycemic index and beta-flux. In the meantime, I worked at SIK, now RISE Agrifood and Bioscience, with heating techniques and various analyzes.
But you did not stay in that world, because today you are Bayn’s Innovation manager?
Correct! I got a job at Nordlander Food and worked on analyzes of various ingredients, including trans fats. I then continued with product development in bakery products, became a development manager but eventually discovered that I wanted to develop my commercial skills. I went ahead and started working with technical sales.
Was that when you came into contact with Bayn?
Yes, I worked as a product manager and technical salesman for specialized products at Kemi Interests now Nordic Nordmann, which is part of the global Nordmann Rassmann GmbH group. We had a supplier responsibility for Eureba. I had frequent business contact with Bayn, got an open and good relationship and when the position of Innovation manager became vacant I got a request if I did not want to work for Bayn. It was very surprising, but I have a solid knowledge of Bayn’s products and also a deep knowledge of the bakery industry.
How do you view Eureba as a product?
Eureba is a very interesting product for sugar reduction. Moreover, it is totally convincing from a technical standpoint. I am convinced that Eureba is the future.
Why is that?
Sugar is a well-established product in the food industry, but in many countries, there are requirements for food manufacturers to reduce sugar in their products. In Sweden, the authorities are more focused on self-regulation of, for example, salt reduction, but I both believe and hope that sugar will end up there too. I think we can all admit that there are excessive amounts of sugar in many food products, and today’s consumers are aware of that. It’s time to do something about it.
How do you do it in your daily work?
It is about letting the light of knowledge spread across the realms of the world and enlightening humanity that there is a tasty alternative to refined sugar. How I do it varies. Basically, it’s about meeting people, answering their questions and finding out if they are interested in replacing sugar in their products. When we have established contact and technical issues arise, I am the link between our sales team and the product development team.
Can you tell us something about what will happen in the future?
My mission is to find creative solutions that can be put to use for our customers. Going forward, it is about developing the next generation of products. We are already planning for what will be needed in the next step. It can be about products, ingredients, processes or innovative ways of solving classic problems. When I work with innovations, it is about combining known phenomena with each other in ways that have not been done before.
Have you solved the question of how to make the perfect bread?
The question still drives me, but now it has got another dimension: How do I get the best bread – without sugar? I will return to that issue.
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