The people of Gold&Green
Episode 1: RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT TEAM
In this first episode, we interview the Research and Development team, a vital part of Gold&Green. We meet Zhong-Qing, Maria and Sam via video call. Zhong-Qing is the Chief Scientist, he leads the R&D department and is one of the company’s co-founders. Maria is part of his team, as the New Product Development manager. Sam is the Creative Chef of Gold&Green and is part of the R&D and New Product Development team to help with the right co
“What we work with is like fresh snow;
no one has touched it before”
Let’s start at the basis. All Gold&Green products are plant-based. Is eating more plant-based an
an important mission for you?
Sam answers like a true chef: “I’m not a vegan or vegetarian. The most important thing for me is to always choose the best option. Not only in taste, but also for my health and the environment. This is more important to me than the label ‘vegan’. Pulled Oats is a versatile product with a nice structure that can easily serve as a replacement in a meal.”
Maria eats flexitarian as well: “After I’d watched the documentary Cowspiracy I realized something needed to change, so I started reducing my own and my family’s meat intake. I now eat meat once a week, it’s always locally produced and of good quality. What else I do? I ride a ‘bakfiets’ [ed: a Dutch cargo bike, with a large basket in front to move groceries, kids or even furniture if you’re Dutch], so I don’t need a car!” Zhong-Qing isn’t a vegetarian either, but vegan food has always been part of his life. “Plant-based food is a big part of Asian culture so I grew up with it. But we need more options in taste and structure. My priority is to show people ways to eat less meat, not to completely stop eating it.”
The team is very proud of two recent developments. The first is the invention of a new, ‘lighter’ Pulled
Oats product, called DeliOats. The second is entering the US market.
Sam shares: “I was involved in the US tour and it was very inspiring. In Finland, Pulled Oats is known and we are used to clean label products. But in the US, there is nothing like that, so it was very inspiring to experience that enthusiasm and interest in the product again.” Maria adds: “There are no other Finnish companies that have launched in the US on this level.’’
How do you come up with new products? Are there any no-gos?
Zhong-Qing: “Consumers are the starting point. We look at what they want and need. If there is a need for
Maria: “Yes, and Maija, one of the founders of Gold&Green, is still very involved. She can walk into our lab with a great idea that she thought of while standing in the shower or during a hike.”
The R&D team is the beating heart of Gold&Green. The new, innovative products you develop are essential for the future of the company. What is your way of working?
Zhong-Qing explains that the structure of the R&D team is quite unique. “In the team we combine technique and creativity. The science department, product development and the creative department work together as a team from the very beginning. This is not a common composition for an NPD team, but speeds up the process tremendously: you immediately get important feedback from the chef.”
Sam confirms this: “When we come up with an idea, we start working on it immediately, we don’t develop the whole idea first and then start making it. We find out along the way if it works or not. We live by trial and error.”
Maria adds that the people truly make the difference: “The people that work here have a start-up mindset. They think out of the box, anything is possible. Everyone is passionate about food, sustainability and health. Together we work towards a common goal.”
INTERVIEWEES: RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT TEAM GOLD&GREEN
New Product Development
• Proud of the Nordic
ingredients Pulled Oats
• Spends each winter a couple
of months in Thailand
Chief Scientist & co-founder of G&G
• Leading the R&D team.
• Favorite Pulled Oats product:
Pulled Oats Tomato
Creative chef and R&D
• Loves the variety of high
quality proteins that
• Had his own circular
vegetable garden at home
5 DILEMMAS, 1 TEAM. WHAT DO THEY CHOOSE?
Pulled Oats Nude or Pulled Oats Tomato?
Zhong-Qing prefers Tomato, but overall the verdict is Nude, because of the versatility. You can use it in any dish and flavor it to your preference.
Vegan or flexitarian?
The team is unanimously flexitarian. Good quality meat in restaurants is
impossible to say no to, until chefs become better at working with locals,
high-quality plant-based foods.
Sun or snow?
Although all living in Finland, the team unanimously chooses sun. Maria even lives two months a year in Thailand for it.
Gold or green ?
Maria: “Gold, this is the color of the oats, our key Finnish ingredient!” But both Sam and Zhong-Qing outvote her with choosing green.
Healthy or tasty ?
This was voted as an unfair dilemma. With Pulled Oats, you can have both!