Gorm Larsen, a very familiar name in the Food Technology world, recently joined the Futura Ingredients family. Gorm brings with him 32 years of experience in the food technology industry from Denmark and has spent many years as a pioneer in developing new functional food ingredients and providing solutions to food manufacturers. Gorm has many achievements and a wide span of managerial, and project management experiences in the Asia Pacific region. He has been based in Penang, Sydney, Shanghai, Singapore and NOW KUALA LUMPUR!
We decided to decipher Gorm a little more specifically with 7 questions to get to know him a little better...
You have been in this industry for many years now, have you always been passionate about research and development and when did it start?
I actually have a background in Chemical Engineering, which gave me scope to explore. My first job was not related to food at all. I first joined a company that made paints and coatings and was there for 1 ½ years and later explored the possibilities in pesticides. But I had no passion for any of it and I later joined Danisco where my journey in the world of food began.
In the initial stages, it was just another job that I had embarked on, after the second year though it became more about working from the heart, how one can apply chemistry to food, and stripping it down to look for solutions. When you work this closely with food it makes you think a lot about what goes into a person’s body too.
How do you see yourself as adding value to Futura Ingredients?
The fact that I bring with me 32 years of knowledge will be extremely advantageous to the technical team. It will be a transference of knowledge that cannot be bought and coaching at its best. I believe it will not only be advantageous but perhaps it will create an assertiveness and increased confidence in the team’s capabilities.
Having been in this industry for some time now, what would you say are the biggest challenges faced globally?
I would definitely have to say that there are tremendous amounts of competition out there globally. The turnaround time to create new portfolios that are original is also difficult because R&D takes time, yet we are constantly under scrutiny to keep abreast of what the world is doing.
How do you see Futura Ingredients overcoming these challenges, competing on a global platform?
I believe that sticking to a focused year on year innovation plan with a workable timeline will be advantageous to creating trendsetting products and it will improve the functionalities of each individual in the tech team over a period of time. We want to be known for being innovative and for that we need to be very focused on exactly what we want to innovate.
What is it about Asia or Malaysia to be exact that made your decision to join Futura Ingredients easier?
My first trip to Asia was in 1987 and it was to places like Korea and Japan, it was hard to communicate, so many language barriers. Then I moved to Penang in the late 90’s and travelled South East Asia. In that same time period I had also spent a year in Shanghai. I started experiencing a renewed sense of appreciation in the Asian culture. Communication in this side of Asia is much easier. I was also at a crossroad where I wanted a change and to do something that was going to give me a challenge. So when Futura Ingredients approached me, it seemed right and I accepted.
Which of your inventions to date would you say you are proudest of?
I would have to say that it was a project to make powdered yoghurt drink. Many customers wanted a product that was lighter and easier to transport as compared to shipping liquid all over the world. Yoghurt is a little more trickier as it contains acid proteins and the challenge was in finding the suitable white stabilliser to rehydrate the acid proteins to be made into a drink ..otherwise you would be left with a very grainy textured drink and high amounts of sediments. It took us 2 years to find the right formulation, but we did it.
Since you have worked very closely in the food industry these past years… Do you cook? And what would your signature dish be?
I can cook to feed myself and my family but it is something that I do only when I am back home. It is hard to find the right equipment here and most importantly I need to have people who want to eat them!! I would say that I can make quite good French Onion Soup and Stuffed Turkey.