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In the hot seat with Puratos's Chief R&D Officer

21 Sep 2022


Welcome to “In the Hot Seat,” the blogs where you get to meet Puratos’s leaders and experts. They share their food for thought on career highlights, what makes them tick, and the next big things for bakery, patisserie and chocolate.

To kick things off, ahead of attending the Future Food-Tech summit in London, meet Paul Baisier!

Name: Paul Baisier

Job title: Chief R&D Officer

Number of years at Puratos: 22 years

How did you get into this role?

I started as a R&D manager in patisserie at Puratos’s headquarters in Brussels, followed by various international positions, including three years in Malaysia and five years in Guangzhou (China) and Hong Kong. In between these international roles, I supported several global R&D and product management positions back in Brussels. My last mission was Business Unit Director for Bakery Improvers & Mixes, before succeeding Pierre Tossut as Chief R&D Officer in January 2022.

Why did you join Puratos and what are your long-term objectives for your role?

I first considered a career with Puratos when it partnered with the University of Ghent’s department of microbiology, where I studied. As a young bio-engineering student, just back from an Erasmus exchange year in Spain, I was very keen to work in an international company and broaden my scope overseas. Puratos, with its reputation of being a warm, family-owned company that invested strongly in research and development in an open ecosystem, seemed like the perfect fit.

From day one at Puratos, I got a taste of its strong entrepreneurial spirit and clear and solid long-term ambitions. It is a luxury to work for a company that evolves faster than its environment, in making the planet a better place, and improving the health and well-being of people everywhere. Going forward, my objective is to activate our Food Innovation for Good program, by unlocking the talent of over 1,000 employees in research and development, and establishing a creative and open innovation platform, well-connected to today’s consumer and customer needs.  

Tell us something surprising or unusual about what you do…

I have a weakness for Asia and its culture. I married someone from the region, which brought me even closer to its cooking and culture. Puratos and I share this interest and as a company, we thrive off turning global experiences into exciting local solutions for our customers. In fact, my most exciting years were when I worked in Malaysia and China. Exploring different food cultures, working with colleagues with different backgrounds, and supporting the development of innovative solutions catering to local needs was very rewarding.

In your opinion, what are the most interesting developments or opportunities in bakery, patisserie and/or chocolate industries right now?

Healthier foods top today’s consumers' shopping lists. Our latest Taste Tomorrow research revealed that 3/4 of consumers worldwide have interest in gut health, in particular. 78% are looking for foods with gut health benefits to improve immunity, and 75% to improve their mental well-being. This creates a huge opportinuty for all food manufacturers, large and small. 

Puratos’s purpose is to move the planet forward by creating innovative food solutions for the health and well-being of people everywhere. This is a challenging yet exciting and valuable mission and aligns with fantastic opportunities to create more plant-based food solutions, broader fermentation activities, and more holistic health solutions, such as gut health and mental well-being. Puratos’s open innovation approach allows us to work with in-house experts and creative talents from all over the globe, as well as to collaborate with a variety of external partners, such as suppliers, start-ups and universities. With this approach and open-mindedness, we have the resources needed to not only allow our customers to identify the next trends but to influence them. 

What exciting events have you got in the pipeline?

Puratos is constantly exploring opportunities with suppliers and start-ups on health and well-being, fermentation, sustainability and digitalization solutions. This week, we’ll be at Future Food-Tech in London, where we’re launching an innovation challenge on gut health, with the winner getting the chance to pitch to the Sparkalis Food-Tech Venture Fund, among other benefits. This is part of our ambition to revolutionize bakery, the way the dairy industry did through probiotics, with the ultimate goal to combine the art of baking with the science of gut health. 

Can you tell us a bit about the Puratos Challenge you are leading?

Consumers are increasingly aware that they ‘are what they eat’ and that healthy food intake is essential for healthy aging. Nowadays, people are moving towards foods that support holistic health, with 78% believing gut health to positively impact mental well-being, according to the latest Taste Tomorrow insights. Puratos is a pioneer when it comes to gut health research – working on patents and clinical studies on the prebiotic potential of cereal fibers in bread as far back as 2012. Today, we have several enzymatic and sourdough-based solutions in the market, which are designed to support gut health. Launching the Puratos Innovation Challenge on Gut Health at Future Food-Tech will allow us to partner with relevant start-ups, supporting our mission to innovate and create even more impactful solutions so that our customers can offer products optimal for health and well-being.

Which of Puratos’s values do you feel resonate most with you personally, or the role you play at Puratos?

I would say passion and collaboration are the values that I relate to most. Genuinely enjoying what we do gives us a positive mindset – and that helps us and our customers reach our mutual goals. When it comes to collaboration, I highly value the strength of an open innovation culture and fully embrace diversity in the workplace.

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