Dairy veteran Bent Oestergaard establishes new company, sees industry positives

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

After 35 years in the dairy industry, Bent Oestergaard has set up his own dairy consulting company, OCon Aps.
After 35 years in the dairy industry, Bent Oestergaard has set up his own dairy consulting company, OCon Aps.

Related tags: Dairy industry, Milk

Former SPX FLOW global director, Bent Oestergaard has set up his own consultancy company - OCon ApS – in Silkeborg, Denmark.

Oestergaard has 35 years of experience in the dairy, beverage and food industry, and knowledge in technology, innovation, sales, strategy and marketing.

He told this website that throughout his career, he was engaged with most dairy technologies as well as several food and beverage technologies.

Improvements in dairy

In spite of recent struggles for the dairy industry, Oestergaard believes the corner has been turned.

“Basically I do see a bright future for the dairy industry.  Global population growth and the growing buying power in the emerging markets, as well as the hunger for healthy nutrition, has put the dairy industry in a favorable position going forward,”​ he explained.

He said that there are both significant challenges and new opportunities, such as in the crossover between classic dairy and food and beverage products.

“Decades back, ice cream was pure dairy, but today it is more confectionery. Butter and margarine products melts together, but it is still dairy controlled, and currently there is a major shift happening in drinking milk moving into nutritional beverages, combining milk products and ingredients with classic beverage fruit and flavor ingredients, and lots of new innovative functional, healthy and delicious milk-based beverage as a clear trend.”

Cheese changes possible

Oestergaard said that in cheese, upgrades and improvements have been made, but no real disruptive technology has been implemented for decades. 

“Microfiltration fraction has been available for several years, and does have the potential to revolutionize classic cheese production and improve whey protein quality.”

State of technology

Process automation technology is growing at three to four times the rate of process equipment, he said.

“With Industry 4.0, big data, internet of things and smart sensors etc. there is a great potential for disruptive technologies by integration of process equipment and automation and IT.

“This will positively impact processing efficiency, food safety and maintenance, and enable remote control of complex processing in lights out manufacturing,”​ Oestergaard said. 

The complexity in production increases with very large facilities and a large variation of dairy products, he explained.

“Increasingly process- and product innovation takes place in a value co-creation between specialists in the supply chain. I do see business potential here for facilitation by independent specialist consultancies to ensure an efficient innovative process with a fruitful result.”

OCon ApS offers independent B2B consultancy, including technology and strategic advisory and facilitation processes.

Industry experience

Adding in strategic marketing in recent years, Oestergaard said, has cemented a strong global industry insight in a fast-changing global business.

Ocon ApS services include:

  • Process technology and product innovation
  • Strategic business development and market growth
  • Marketing and communication
  • Business facilitation from idea to implementation
  • Board member providing engaged and active support

“I was strongly involved in the early days of membrane technology, which is one of the most successful technologies in the dairy industry in particular in whey protein ingredients,”​ Oestergaard explained.

He noted that he has also been involved in microparticulation and controlled cavitation as well as marketing of highly-differentiated UHT technologies.

“It has been very interesting to experience how close cooperation with dairy manufacturers has resulted in significant improvements in process efficiency and environmental friendly production,”​ Oestergaard said.

“New technologies have also enabled a wealth of new dairy products across all categories, e.g. in infant formulas and yogurt/fermented products, just to mention a few.”

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