14 Dec Meet Andrew Vasina, Food Technologist at Biospringer North America’s Culinary Center
Meet our Expert Andrew Vasina, Food Technologist at the Biospringer Culinary Center North America. Andrew answered our questions about his work and missions at Biospringer, and shared his vision of yeast extract and food trends:
Food technologist at Biospringer Culinary Center: what is it exactly?
Day to day, I spend most of my time in the Culinary Center. I figure out new innovative ways to use yeast extract for our sales team for specific markets or type of products. I also help customers use our products in the best way possible. For that, I have to become an expert of all types of food applications: seasoning blends for snacks, sauces, soups & broths, meat and vegan and vegetarian products, etc. I have to know how to create all of these products and how to best use yeast extract in them!
What did you study for that?
I studied Food Biotechnology at the University of Georgia and then did my Master’s in Europe as part of an Erasmus Mundus program in Food Innovation & Product Design in France, Ireland, and Sweden. I didn’t have any previously knowledge concerning yeast extract when I joined Biospringer but was excited to learn!
And how did you like it when you arrived?
Biospringer was a great place to start my career where I got to jump right in to learning about yeast extract and developing with them from day one. Biospringer is unique place to work as it is an established, global company, but feels smaller as we are divided up by region. We have employees in every region of the globe, which allows us to produce the yeast extract locally and give support directly to the local customers, better adapting to their needs. I work closely on a day to day basis with sales, marketing and other departments within the company. We are constantly sharing ideas and working together to ensure we give our customers the best possible service.
Talking about your job – what do you like in it?
What I like about it is that every day is different! Sometimes I am preparing for a visit of one of customers, working on technical challenges that clients might have, or showing them new & unique ways of using yeast extract. Sometimes I am doing internal testing for a new product or evaluating a current product for quality control. Despite most of my day consisting of some form of product development, it is an ever-changing variety of applications: sauces, seasonings, real or vegan meats, products to show taste improvement or salt reduction, etc.
What is your favorite food application?
It depends. Something as “simple” as a barbecue seasoning can be fun to develop, as I have the challenge of recreating something that I grew up tasting and then am discovering how it is made.
I also enjoy developing new vegan and vegetarian products. Being able to recreate the texture and flavor of a slice of ham using yeast extracts instead of any animal ingredients is very complicated! It can be a long and sometimes frustrating development process, but when I get it right, it is a great feeling.
You said you did not know yeast extract, but you seem to like this ingredient…
I didn’t know anything about yeast extract, but I was excited to discover it! Yeast extract is unique: it is a natural solution* that has been used for a long time, but we are constantly finding new ways to use it. It is a very dynamic ingredient– it really interacts with everything around it and can provide a wide variety of different benefits to food products. Not only can two different yeast extracts provide different benefits in say a sauce, but even the same yeast extract can be used at different dosages and provide very different results. Additionally, the same yeast extract that is used by a cracker manufacturer for salt reduction can be used by a dairy company in a butter spread to enhance dairy notes. My job is to know which of our yeast extracts is best for every situation in any type of food product. This is both the biggest challenge and most exciting part about working with yeast extract!
What would you tell someone who doesn’t know yeast extract?
Today, companies are trying to find solutions to consumers demands to move away from highly processed or synthetic ingredients, while maintaining the flavor profiles the consumers have come to enjoy. Yeast extract is an excellent tool for creating healthier formulations that are naturally full of flavor!
*according to ISO TS19657