Beate Boisten is Kemin’s Regional Sales Manager for Scandinavia, BeNeLux, DACH and Iberia. We talked to her about her experiences in the food industry, her work at Kemin and what’s unique about the markets she operates in.
Name: Beate Boisten
Job title: Regional Sales Manager Scandinavia, BeNeLux, DACH and Iberia.
Years of service @ Kemin: 3,5 years
Focus market segment: Fish, Meat, Hybrid Products
Can you tell us about yourself and your professional experience?
Beate: I’m a chemical engineer from Germany and I work in the food business for 20 years. Food truly is my passion. I started with quality control of food and later focused on ingredients, something I still do today, at Kemin. I’m responsible for the regions for Scandinavia, BeNeLux, DACH and Iberia.
What’s your main focus in these regions?
Beate: Kemin’s main expertise is proteins and for me personally fish is most important, a product very common in Scandinavia and the Netherlands where there are many companies that process fish. Then of course, there’s meat and today, we also see a shift towards hybrid food products. It’s all very interesting.
As a Technical Sales Manager, what does the average day look like?
Beate: I’m visiting customers and we discuss their objectives. Mainly, we talk about what can potentially improve their recipe, what ingredients they prefer and what their shelf life goals are. I discuss the ideal testing protocol together with the customer to make sure that the briefing for our Customer Laboratory Services team meets the requirements of the customer. For me it’s a great way to learn what’s new in the production field and the evolution of the customer requirements. From our side, we provide our customers with technical insights and I talk about the experience we gained during the development of our products.
You’re also the area manager of two other sales associates in Europe. A big responsibility.
Beate: Yes, but even more so, it’s inspiring. Kemin is a huge global company, but with a local approach. Each of us knows their markets and we have expertise in different fields. Our cooperation is enriching. We learn from each other, which brings opportunities to the table. We take our information and discuss the options together in order to provide our customers with the best possible solution.
Looking at Scandinavia, what’s unique in their food industry?
Beate: Scandinavia is a big fish producing region, mostly famous for their salmon. And whether it’s for their own market, or export, fish and processed products need to be clean, green and fresh. If you have a meal in Scandinavia, you’ll notice how fresh their products really are. They wish to keep that good reputation.
In the Nordic region, the food industry uses a lot of fish oil. But fish oil is prone to oxidation. How can Kemin help these customers?
Beate: Yes, fish oil is a highly unsaturated acid. But it’s increasingly popular because they are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Think of products like margarines containing omega-3, but also new developments in the frying industry. So, fish oil is healthy, but prone to oxidation. Natural antioxidants might be a solution, and therefore we integrated FORTIUM® RPT40 Liquid into our portfolio. It consists of tocopherols, rosemary extract and ascorbyl palmitate as the active ingredients. It’s very effective in maintaining the shelf life of marine oils and keeping its quality. A lot of people don’t know and often think natural solutions are less effective. But tests have shown that they are often outperforming their synthetic counterparts. So it’s up to us to bring this information to our customers and show how their products can benefit from our natural ingredients.
Also, Scandinavia is of course known to be very ‘green’ and sustainable. Does this affect your work? Are clients more interested in buying label friendly shelf life extension and food safety solutions?
Beate: It’s definitely very important to them and since we offer effective natural and label-friendly food ingredients, they like the idea of Kemin. You also see this mindset develop elsewhere and there’s a growing trend towards more sustainable ingredients. In the Netherlands, for example, food producers have an innovative mindset with a preference for natural ingredients. But in the end, it’s also a question of being a step ahead of the competition. And we can offer that.
Are there particular challenges in your job?
Beate: I don’t see them as challenges, but you need to be aware of the differences between countries and their markets. Take mortadella sausage, for example. The demands are very different in the South, compared to the Nordic countries. It needs to look and taste different, so you have to know the expectations of food producers, retailers and consumers. In addition to our own research, we cooperate with universities and talk to both producers and retailers to understand what is really needed.
What’s your favourite Kemin product?
Beate: BactoCEASE® NV, our buffered vinegar-based food safety solution, is one of my favourites to sell. We can increase the shelf life while offering a balanced flavour profile and safeguarding food safety. But also, NaturFORT™, a natural blend consisting of rosemary and green tea extracts, is one I prefer because it’s so versatile; it can be used in meat and poultry, but also sauces, dressings and spreads.
How does Kemin’s vision affect you personally?
Beate: I definitely like the idealism, the healthy vision, and their idea of making the world more sustainable for everyone; taking care of people, animals and nature. I’m happy to be a part of that development. Furthermore, Kemin’s people have a very positive way of thinking and that’s a delightful environment to work in. For me personally it’s important to be happy in what I do and we’re usually good at something we love. Giving an open smile, is getting an open smile and a bad mood is often returned with bad feelings. I try to do my work with a smile, but also privately this is how I embrace life.