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Process technology development

Astrid Wisby Tobiassen Project leader, process technology development

A job working with ingredients was the dream scenario for Astrid Wisby Tobiassen while studying for her master degree in food science and technology at the Technical University of Denmark. What she couldn’t imagine was working only with milk.

Today, she works as project leader in a company where whey from bovine milk is the sole raw material.

“At some point, my eyes opened to Arla Foods Ingredients. Here, we work with all kinds of foods and have to make our ingredients work in many applications,” Astrid says.

“I find that diversity very interesting, and I think it’s so cool that we have an R&D department that has found whey proteins with an emulsifying effect like eggs or that can stop a low-fat yoghurt from becoming watery.” 

From F15® to dry-blend lactose
Astrid started her career on the two-year Arla F15® Graduate Programme, including eight months at the Arla Foods Ingredients joint venture plant in Argentina. On her return, a permanent job awaited her in process technology development at the large whey processing plant in Denmark.

She has thrived on the dynamic working environment ever since. Right now, one of her main responsibilities revolves around the process for manufacturing premium dry-blend lactose for infant formula – a process required to meet the toughest quality demands in the food industry.

“We can only go into production if the quality is right,” she explains.

Coordinating production at full scale
Many of the projects she receives from R&D involve ramping up new products from pilot-scale to full-scale test production. This includes taking the necessary samples to ensure product specifications are met.

It’s a job that requires coordination with many departments, from production and quality to logistics – a task made smoother by the friendly working environment with its good spirit of cooperation.

“I get to speak with everyone, and I need to understand all their views. That gives me a huge network which I like.”

Agreeing priorities
Not long back from maternity leave, Astrid has found it easy to balance work with family commitments. While there can be occasions when an extra hour’s work is required, generally Astrid is able to prioritise her projects in agreement with her boss.

That gives the best of both worlds – a fast-paced job that presents exciting challenges and plenty of quality time with the family.