The Fact Finder

Kasper Christensen (31) was tired of discussing theories without anyone actually being able to provide factual answers. He was in the middle of his master’s programme when he finally realized what he wanted to be.

Contact person
Portrettbilde av Merete Kaspersen
Merete Kaspersen

Human Resources Adviser
Phone: +47 902 90 036
merete.kaspersen@nofima.no

Countless hours of calculations and model trials are beginning to produce results. Kasper Christensen will soon be able to predict the future. He works to predict new food trends by snatching ideas about food that people are talking about on the Internet.

– It stands to reason that it is pretty stupid to develop products you don’t know if people really want. For example, there was very much talk about gluten-free beer on the web for many years before it finally became a reality. As a manufacturer, if you had been able to intercept these signals earlier, you would have been the very first to provide the product and you would have earned a lot of money, he explains.

Searching for passion

Through his doctorate, he is working to develop algorithms and text search tools so that he can find out what people are saying when they talk about good food tips and trends on Internet forums and in social media. He has found that most people use certain special expressions when they write about a good idea that they would like to see in production. Passion reflected in the way people speak reveals notions about new products.

The young Dane selected business economics in upper secondary school, but had an early interest in marketing and the psychology behind people getting keen on various products.

He went to Aarhus and started on a master’s in classical marketing and consumer behaviour, but he eventually tired of the endless discussions on the subject without actually arriving at any concrete conclusions. Midway through this master’s programme, therefore, he made the decision to take data analysis and programming in addition to his major.

– It was a complicated choice for me, because I really had no special talent or foundation in this field. But I eventually became quite good at it, and then the idea occurred to me of how to snatch up trends from the web. Then I wrote a master’s thesis about this and was planning to try to get a PhD position at the University of Aarhus. At about the same time, a PhD research fellowship became available in conjunction with an innovation programme here at Nofima, and I was lucky enough to get it.

Productive working environment

He quickly found himself at home here, although he did spend a long time adapting to his new routines.

– Although Norwegian is similar to Danish, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make myself understood, and I am still struggling to understand exactly what people are saying. Humour and irony and other nuances in the Norwegian language are difficult. Learning the language and jargon has been a chore, actually, he admits.

Now, however, he is really beginning to enjoy himself.

– Most of all because of the good working environment here, where they traditionally share information and help one another. It is unique, and it is an important reason why we are succeeding so well, Kasper Christensen concludes.

MY CAREER PATH

2003 – 2006 : Upper secondary school, IBC Fredericia

2007 – 2010: Bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration SDU Odense

2010 – 2013: Master’s degree in Marketing Aarhus School of Business (BSS, AU)

2013 – 2017: PhD student Nofima Via Realtek at NMBU

THE MOMENT THAT DEFINED HIS CAREER:

When I decided to study data analysis and programming as a supplement to my original master’s, to look for factual answers to what were only theories and assumptions about the market.