Ep. 083 – The Food Engineer From Israel with Anton Slavkin, Product Development Engineer at Strauss Group

Anton found me randomly through linkedin, found my website, and scheduled an interview all in a span in 2 weeks. Oh, did I mention he’s from Israel?

It was absolutely amazing talking to someone my age from across the country and learning about the differences and similarities between how the food industry works. You’ll learn a little bit about the pros and cons of the Israeli university system, a lot about the daily life of a food engineer, and why Israeli’s love guacamole.

About Anton

Anton Slavkin is a cheese product development engineer in the Israeli company Strauss Group.

He has worked as a krill oil extraction process engineer in the nutraceuticals company Enzymotec Ltd and as a chocolate and cereal snacks product development engineer in Unilever Israel.

He earned his B.Sc. in Biotechnology and Food Engineering from IIT (Israel Institute of Technology – The Technion).

In his spare time, he enjoys playing the guitar, inventing new homemade recipes (a.k.a cooking) and hiking.

Anton is passionate about making our world a better place by promoting environmental awareness and using current research data for the development of better products.

About Strauss Group

Strauss Group is an international Food & Beverage company that strives to improve people’s lives, headquartered in Israel, where we are the largest food company. The company’s portfolio includes four businesses: Strauss Coffee B.V., Strauss Israel, Strauss Water, and PepsiCo – Strauss Fresh Dips & Spreads International aligned with two global consumer trends: Health & Wellness and Fun & Indulgence.

Strauss Group is active in 20 countries worldwide in our diverse fields of activity through partnerships with multinationals. The company brings its know-how in Coffee, Water, Chocolate, Dips & Spreads to diverse markets and cultures, making them accessible to people just the way they like them, adapted to local tastes and habits.

Sponsor – FoodGrads

This episode is sponsored by FoodGrads, an interactive platform for the Food & Beverage Industry, which focuses on closing the gap between students and employers with a broader mission to attract and retain people to a meaningful career in food. From Food Scientists to Farmers, Chefs to Plant Managers, QA Technicians to Dieticians, or Marketing and Sales, no matter what your passion–there’s something for everyone in Food—and they will help you find it.

Join FoodGrads for support, mentorship and guidance to start your career. Just go to foodgrads.com

Sponsor – Steviva Ingredients

Has marketing ever asked you to pull a rabbit out of a hat? I know they have with me. They want clean-label sugar reduction because that’s the trend. And in addition to clean label, we need to follow the ever-changing FDA laws, meet low cost parameters AND create a product that tastes EXCELLENT – with no aftertaste issues.

They want us to make magic happen.

Who do they think we are – Houdini?

Let me tell you who the real magicians are. Steviva Ingredients. Steviva has more than two decades of experience in R&D and clean-label sugar reduction in a variety of applications: beverage, baked goods, fillings, frostings, condiments. Give em a call. They’ll create a solution for you. If they can help me, they can help you. Go check them out at stevivaingredients.com.


If you like what you heard, like us on facebook or write a review on itunes. It helps wonders.

I am also inviting you to sign up on our email list at myfoodjobrocks.com. I am doing this new thing called the 5 course meal where I send you 5 pieces of hand picked content and deliver it every Friday morning. Like a meal kit…

If you have any questions or suggestions on how to improve the podcast, don’t be afraid to email me at podcast@myfoodjobrocks.com

Knowledge Bombs

  • Clean Label and communication all over the world
  • A discussion about food science and perspective and engineering
  • The difference between US and Israel food education
  • Will clean meat be kosher? Well, religion is not science, right?
  • What the heck is red label?

What do you tell people what you do?: I develop new cheese product. I don’t usually use the word Food Engineer unless someone knows what a food engineer is
What is a food engineer?: A food scientist who understands engineering and processing concepts
Strauss Group: Milk products, cheese products, cold filled dips
Do you think people think food scientists get a lot of negative press?: Yes, even in Israel.
Steps to be a food scientist in Isreal: All people in Israel must serve in the military. Anton served in the navy. Then studied food engineering in IIT Israel Institute of Technology. Product Developer in Unilever, Food Engineer at Enzymotec (Krill and fish oil) but the company was too small, couldn’t advance.
What’s the most important skill you need in your job?: Flexibility. Try to see the bigger picture
When you entered your first job, did you feel prepared?: Absolutely not. 90% of the things, you don’t know how to do. You just know a little bit more.
What would have been better?: Faculty should be more involved in industry. But it might depend on the institute, or even country.
My Food Job Rocks: I can eat, I can eat new things, I can be proud of what I can make
What would be your dream job title?: CEO. You get to set the direction of the products
Do you have any CEO’s you look up to?: Richard Brandson of Virgin. Steve Jobs of Apple (duh)
What do you look for most in a job?: A sense of mission. How do I make the world a better place?
Food Trends and Technology: Lab Grown Meat Clean Meat
Biggest Challenge the Food Industry has to face: Negative image of the food industry
Are there any companies that are doing a good job at improving food image?: Strauss does a bit
Favorite Quote: Hippocratus- Let Food be Thy Medicine and let Medicine be thy food
Favorite Food: Avacado – I’m making Guacamole weekly. You can actually grow Avocado in Israel.
Any advice for anyone to go into the food industry: Don’t be afraid of following your dreams
If you were to tell your freshman self something, what would it be?: Take more engineering classes. Not just food, but more complex chemistry.
Why do other disciplines synergize with food engineers?: If you understand both sides, it’s great
Anton asks me a question: How did you do this?

Other Links

Clean Label and Cost Reduction
CE 300 – Ascorbic Acid
Job Hopping
Red Label – Implemented in Chilie, Israel,
USDA Added Sugars delay


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *