Meet your colleagues

R&D

Bente Østergaard, Project manager, R&D

benteSharing knowledge and experience is a natural part of working in Research & Development at Arla Foods Ingredients. Bente Østergaard Mikkelsen says that’s one of the reasons why her job as project manager continues to inspire and motivate. 

”The biggest challenge for us in R&D is to stay up to date with the latest developments. We have to be at the cutting edge – and preferably ahead of everyone else,” she says.

”We are good at sharing knowledge and make time for it. There are regular cross-departmental, knowledge-sharing meetings where we show each other the latest findings from our work. It’s exciting, so people are motivated to take part.”

From the first trials to production
Bente joined the R&D team in 2002 on completing a Master in Food Science and Technology at the University of Copenhagen. As project manager, she is responsible for supervising the development of new functional and nutritional ingredients from the first trials in the lab right through proof of concept to the start up of commercial production.

Close to the application team
Today she has the additional role of functionality coordinator. This involves regular contact with the functional milk protein application team to understand the key functionalities required for foods as wide ranging as ice cream, yogurt, bread, cheese and beverage.

”We need to understand which parameters we can work with, for example, to make even better ice cream. Then we find out which combination of our functional milk proteins can do the job.”

I’ve always felt good about Arla
 As the daughter of a dairy farmer, Bente has grown up with the Arla Group. In her student years, she spent her holidays packing butter at one of the Arla plants. The R&D department was also the obvious place to go to conduct experiments for her final Master assignment.

”When I had almost finished my studies, I saw the advertisement for this job. It was just what I was looking for. Arla is a company I’ve always felt good about.

”I really enjoy the assignments, and we get a lot of freedom to choose which assignments we want to work with. A flexible working day means a lot to those of us with small children,” Bente says.

The good balance between working and family life means Bente can easily fit everything in around her four children at home – and Arla Foods Ingredients gains a highly satisfied, committed employee.