The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Pagen has been baking bread through 5 generations, and over the past 135 years the small family bakery has become an international success. In 1961, the company designed an office space with an open floorplan, which is now very common in Swedish office design. In newer companies it is difficult to determine whether this layout is a product of the Swedish law that every office or workspace must have a window, or the Swedish ideals of a flat organizational structure and limited hierarchy. Because Pagen’s office preceded The Work Environment Act, it is clear that their reason for this common organizational climate is the latter, and that they have been in touch with this integral part of Swedish culture since the beginning.

Pagen keeps a database in which any employee can enter an idea. The company’s leaders value and appreciate each and every employee, whether they are a baker working tirelessly in the factory or a customer service representative who spends all day managing complaints. So how does a company with such a rich history and strong roots ensure that they continue to innovate, in order to both provide a modern workforce with the necessary support, and sell a product that appeals to customers in the 21st century? This is a challenge that Pagen must face as tastes and preferences evolve and change.

The most difficult part of keeping up with the times is determining whether a change in preferences is permanent or merely a temporary fad. The avoidance of carbohydrates and popularity of gluten-free diets are examples of fads that Pagen wisely avoided. Alternatively, Pagen has adjusted its recipe to eliminate preservatives and unnecessary additives, going above and beyond to prioritize freshness. With its 135 years of experience, Pagen has been quite successful in differentiating between passing trends and evolving consumer tastes.

In a maturing market, Pagen must ensure that its products remain relevant. In order to accomplish this, Pagen has been creating new products and expanding internationally. Swedes are always looking toward the future, paying high taxes to ensure that they have health care, pensions, and additional benefits. These same priorities are present in Pagen’s organizational focus as they look toward future expansion and new product development. However, no matter how consumer tastes change, for Pagen, there is nothing that’s the best thing since sliced bread.