Food Product Developer at St. Paul

Stefan is a young and qualified product developer at St. Paul. Stefan takes us through his career and passion for food innovation in the dynamic food industry. In this interview, he shares how, as a product developer, he plays a crucial role in creating innovative cheese solutions.

“Working in the food industry provides the chance to create products that directly impact what people eat and how they enjoy nutrition.”

“St. Paul has a prominent name in the region, and I wanted to continue working in the food sector. So, when I was looking for a new job, my first choice was to explore the outstanding job opportunities at St. Paul,” says Stefan. His career choice as a product developer was driven by the opportunity to merge his passion for food with his affinity for technology and innovation. “Working in the food industry provides the chance to create products that directly impact what people eat and how they enjoy nutrition.”

With a background in chemistry and life science, Stefan explains how his education prepared him. “Making processed cheese is a complex process that requires in-depth knowledge of chemical reactions and physical changes,” he explains. “My studies laid the foundation for understanding these processes and enable me to control the desired properties, such as baking stability, texture, and flavor of cheese.”

One project Stefan is particularly proud of revolves around addressing market demand for healthier cheese products. “It’s a challenge to maintain the taste while using less salt and saturated fat. Every ingredient and process is carefully analyzed to create a healthier yet flavorful product.”

“It’s beautiful to see how the digital recipe translates into a tangible product on the factory line.”

For Stefan, developing processed cheese is not just about specific ingredients or the production process, but the harmonious convergence of both. “Each ingredient or part of the process is like a building block that needs to be ‘composed’ into a cohesive whole. It’s beautiful to see how the digital recipe translates into a tangible product on the factory line.”

“Innovation doesn’t only come from St. Paul’s laboratories but also from the dynamic food market,” emphasizes Stefan. “We stay in touch with producers of food additives and ingredients, constantly testing new combinations in recipes, and drawing inspiration from customer needs and daily observations.”

Creativity plays a key role in Stefan’s approach to product development. “Sometimes, I take a ‘building block’ from an existing recipe and test it for a completely different application. This has yielded surprisingly good results and opened the door to new insights and properties for various product categories.”

“Our R&D team is strongly connected to the needs and expectations of the market.”

The food industry also demands a keen eye for trends and consumer preferences. Stefan highlights the close ties of the R&D team with the market and customers: “Our R&D team is strongly connected to the needs and expectations of the market. Weekly meetings involving sales and marketing teams provide a valuable platform for gaining insight into current market dynamics.”

“In this dynamic environment, we can closely align our product development strategies with consumer needs and expectations. It not only allows us to maintain our competitive advantage but also to remain flexible and responsive in an ever-changing food industry.”

For Stefan, the most exciting aspect of his role is the continuous evolution of the food industry. The dynamics of new trends, flavors, and technologies keep him sharp. At St. Paul, he has found an environment where he can continually learn and grow. “Never a dull day at St. Paul,” he adds with a smile.

What makes living and working in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen attractive for Stefan? “The tranquility, space, and proximity to the beach and nature are fantastic. The region’s Burgundian character and the proximity to cities like Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp make it an ideal place. And let’s not forget the relatively low housing prices, making it even more appealing to live here.” The local environment has never deterred Stefan from professional choices; the local character of St. Paul even made it the first choice when seeking a new career step.

Working at St. Paul?

Are you also a qualified product developer with an affinity for food and innovation? Feel free to send an open application.

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