Meet Ola Broström – Innovation manager with deep knowledge from the bakery industry

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.

3 April 2020 •

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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