Meet Srdjan Solaja – food engineer with extra everything

He is a man with many hats. Srdjan Solaja is our sales and quality manager working from Serbia. But he is never far away. Srdjan is our expert in product development, quality and logistics. That’s why we consult him countless times a day. He is a food engineer with a vast knowledge of, and passion for, the food industry. And he is one of our heroes.

7 February 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.

‘Call Srdjan’

Srdjan Solaja is a name that is con­stant­ly buzzing in Bayn. If we need a speak­ing part­ner regard­ing devel­op­ment, qual­i­ty or logis­tics, yes, then we con­sult Srdjan.

Srdjan Solaja was recruit­ed to Bayn Solutions in 2015. His broad back­ground in the food indus­try made him an obvi­ous choice. Then there was some­thing about the chem­istry too – the per­son­al, that is. It said ‘click’ between Srdjan and Bayn’s research and devel­op­ment team, and the rest is, as it’s called history.

But this is a dis­tance rela­tion­ship. Srdjan lives and works in Novi Sad in Serbia. The dis­tance to the head office in Stockholm is 1,570 km. And the dis­tance to our inno­va­tion cen­tre in Gävle adds anoth­er 170 km.

Srdjan reg­u­lar­ly trav­els to Sweden, but dai­ly con­tacts are made by tele­phone. At least a dozen times a day.

Meet Srdjan Solaja – one of Bayn’s heroes.

What background do you have?

I am a food engi­neer. I stud­ied at the fac­ul­ty of tech­nol­o­gy at Novi Sad University in Serbia a mas­ter of sci­ence with major in food preser­va­tion – every­thing from veg­etable oils and fats, meats and dairy prod­ucts to fruits and vegetables.

Why did you choose the academic path?

I’ve always been inter­est­ed in nat­ur­al science.

My main inter­est was chem­istry, but find­ing a job as a chemist was hard. The only alter­na­tive would have been to work as a chem­istry teacher. But I had a hard time see­ing myself in that role. So that’s why I chose food sci­ence – an area where things are hap­pen­ing all the time.

In the food area, there is a con­stant pur­suit of learn­ing new things and devel­op­ing food tech­nol­o­gy. And you have to work method­i­cal­ly, ana­lyt­i­cal­ly and also be creative.

After study­ing, I worked at a bis­cuit fac­to­ry for a few years before I start­ed work­ing with sales.

How did you get in touch with Bayn?

I worked with raw mate­ri­als and spe­cial ingre­di­ents at Barentz, a major inter­na­tion­al dis­trib­u­tor of ingre­di­ents, when Lucy Dahlgren and Suzanne Preddie-Atterby from Bayn came on a cus­tomer vis­it. I was the one who wel­comed them and showed them around. We liked each other.


Both of them had a nice ener­gy, worked with ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides and want­ed to expand their busi­ness. And I think they noticed that I was pas­sion­ate about the food indus­try; the more I worked with ingre­di­ents, the more inter­est­ed I became. I also enjoy mak­ing peo­ple in the food indus­try thrilled about new ingre­di­ents and to inspire them to test new things. At that time, I was very inter­est­ed in hydro­col­loids, which are used in foods, because they real­ly do miracles.

I was also quite suc­cess­ful as a sales­man and could see myself in such a position.

What happened then?

When Lucy heard that I had left Barentz, she con­tact­ed me and offered me a job. I had the basic knowl­edge about ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides, did my own research and accept­ed the offer to work for Bayn.

What role did you initially play?

I start­ed as a cus­tomer man­ag­er and worked a lot with sales. Afterwards, I got more roles. Before Bayn, I had many dif­fer­ent func­tions. In short, I had the indus­tri­al knowl­edge com­bined with com­mer­cial expe­ri­ence. I under­stand both sales­peo­ple and tech­ni­cal peo­ple. All of this has shaped my role at Bayn.

At Bayn, you are known as the ‘man with many hats’. How is it that?

I am respon­si­ble for sales and logis­tics, as well as qual­i­ty management.

With the sales hat on, I work with dis­trib­u­tors and pro­vide tech­ni­cal sup­port for the prod­ucts we sell.

In the role of qual­i­ty man­ag­er, I make sure that all of the company’s prod­ucts and ser­vices meet qual­i­ty stan­dards before they enter the mar­ket. It also includes under­stand­ing cus­tomers’ expec­ta­tions and needs, describ­ing qual­i­ty stan­dards and devel­op­ing process­es for qual­i­ty control.

Is it possible to describe your daily work?

It’s quite com­plex. I start the day with the sales process, fol­low up on ongo­ing projects, send offers and close agree­ments. There are always new leads and inquiries that I take care of.

Quality con­trol is also part of my dai­ly activ­i­ties, as well as doc­u­men­ta­tion on sales and food safe­ty. This is why I have con­tact with my col­leagues in Sweden up to a dozen times a day.

We have out­sourced the pro­duc­tion of Eureba, and one of the most impor­tant tasks I han­dle is to orga­nize the logis­tics, ensure that the pro­duc­tion is fol­low­ing food safe­ty stan­dards, and to make sure every­thing is done accord­ing to plan, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with our partners.

How is your view of the food industry today?

There is a con­stant need to improve the foods we eat and to suc­ceed, we need knowl­edge of food sci­ence. We see that peo­ple are becom­ing more sen­si­tive to cer­tain ingre­di­ents and foods. People are also more aware of what they eat and drink. The food indus­try has always fol­lowed con­sumer demands, and right now, every­thing points to the fact that con­sumers want to reduce their intake of sug­ar. That’s the right way to go. And that’s the way Bayn is taking.

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