Boost to baking

by Eric Schroeder
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Earlier this month, more than 15,000 industry professionals gathered in Orlando, Fla., for the International Baking Industry Exposition 2007, the world’s most comprehensive baking exposition. Held every three years, the show, recognized for its ability to provide an expansive forum for baking professionals to display their wares, also served as an opportunity for widespread discussion on topics currently in play in grain-based foods, ranging from incorporation of whole grains to growing food safety awareness.

With the new Orlando venue — the show had been held in Las Vegas in recent years — conference organizers arranged for Disney Institute speakers and industry leaders to provide training to bakery managers and executives. By all accounts, the format proved a success, providing participants an in-depth look at top of mind issues in baking.

On Oct. 7, bakers, manufacturers and suppliers gathered to hear food safety experts from the American Institute of Baking International during the first day of the I.B.I.E. Education Program. Three educational tracks ran concurrently during the show: Food Safety and Security, Baking Technology and Baking Management.

"It’s always prudent to attend this type of forum and ask the question ‘Does my plant program measure up?’ These programs provide a great overview of the key elements required to meet customer and regulatory expectations," said Al St. Cyr, head of food-safety education at AIB International.

Bill Pursley, AIB International’s vice-president of food safety education, cited modernization of good manufacturing practices (GMPs) through increased use of PulseNet, a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mr. Pursley said a staggering 88% of recalls are related to GMPs and may be limited or prevented through the production of food in a safe environment and the reduction of mislabeled product packaging. Training was cited as the most common failure relating to recalls.

Increasingly, the changing global environment determines a larger global food supply. Foods once considered seasonal now may be sourced quickly and inexpensively from around the globe at any time of year. Mr. Pursley said that while environmental and food safety issues are difficult to separate, ultimately a company’s actions in dealing with these concerns may result in a greater degree of desired consumer confidence in its finished product.

"With the current concern and emphasis on food safety, companies must stay current with the latest information and requirements," said Cliff Pappas, Ph.D., head of quality and HACCP programs at AIB International. Critical records include written sanitation procedures.

Mr. Pursley added it’s crucial for companies to maintain consistent standards of cleaning and documentation to prove compliance with current GMPs. AIB International is consistently updating standards to maintain compliance with emerging GMPs, government regulations and best practices.

Dr. Pappas covered the importance of implementing independent recall and traceability programs, observing that a potential recall may cost anywhere from a quarter of a million dollars to complete loss of the company.

"Traceability and recall are two separate programs," Dr. Pappas said. "Everyone is both a user and a supplier, and companies have the responsibility to take everything from a raw material down to the finished product and trace its origin."

As part of the baking management track, participants learned about "Loyalty and Service" from a Disney Institute speaker, and Kirk O’Donnell, vice-president, education, AIB International, spoke on "Developing Leaders for the Baking Industry."

Approximately 60 people attended each of the first two days of the management track programming, which covered topics such as "The ‘No Downtime’ Bakery" and "The ‘Smart’ Bakery."

Brenda Hopkin of Temple Square Hospitality said she decided to attend the management track because, "I needed help in making sure I could encourage a better performance from my staff."

Wes Killingsworth owns and operates The Country Bake Shoppe in Cleveland, Ga., and is looking to expand his small retail bakery. He said the Disney Institute speaker helped him see that he would need a clear action plan as he looks to build his company.

"I can do it by design and not default," he said. "Now I have a clear picture and goal of what is going to happen."

Examining healthy formulating

Cargill, Minneapolis, and its joint venture partner Horizon Milling, Minneapolis, came to Orlando with bakery applications targeting current consumer trends, led by whole grains but also encompassing healthy indulgence.

At I.B.I.E., the company demonstrated how it is able to help bakery customers achieve product goals and satisfy emerging consumer needs.

"Demand for (baked foods containing) fiber and whole grains is on the rise," said Kyle Marinkovich, marketing manager for Horizon Milling. "These present great opportunities for our customers." He noted, however, that consumer research found barriers to adoption of such products in issues of taste, texture and convenience.

Cargill chose to address those barriers with product applications on display, including lemon poppyseed no-sugar-added muffins made with the company’s SweetDesign sweetener system and maple brown sugar breakfast cookies using Cargill’s GrainWise wheat aleurone and Horizon Milling’s WheatSelect white spring whole wheat flour.

"The Cargill Texturizing Solutions facility in Atlanta can control allergen content," observed Jody Mattsen, research scientist. Another application from this group is a freezer-stable croissant made with the new Emulzym functional system designed for freezer-to-oven products finished by food service and in-store operators. The company’s IBR subsidiary developed not only the 7-grain bread but also the indulgent apple strudel bread.

Modernizing ancient grains

Amaranth, quinoa, teff, sorghum, millet — consumers feel the romantic pull of these underutilized grains, but working with them in today’s baking environment may be difficult. ConAgra Mills took up the challenge and introduced its Ancient Grains program of flours and seed inclusions at I.B.I.E.

"Bakery manufacturers can now be assured of consistent supply and

quality," said Mike Veal, vice-president of marketing, ConAgra Food Ingredients. The ancient grains project had been a year in the works.

"It’s exciting," agreed Marti DeMoss, integrated marketing communications manager for ConAgra Food Ingredients. "Bakers can now get these grains through a reliable source and in large quantities. We’ve managed to ‘crack the code’ in sourcing."

Mr. Veal said the new flours and seed inclusions may be "very helpful" in the food service area.

"For example, incorporating whole grains into pizza would really move the needle," he said.

New equipment an eye opener

In addition to food and ingredients, a key component of the I.B.I.E. show is equipment. This year’s exhibition was no different.

American Pan, A Bundy Co., Urbana, Ohio, showcased its new ePan. The pan is made from high-tensile strength aluminized steel that enables a thinner, lighter and stronger pan compared with traditional pans.

"Less material is used to manufacture the pan, which is twice as strong as traditional steel used to produce pans and 30% lighter and thinner than traditional pans," said Jason Tingley, engineer, American Pan. "The higher gauge steel allows the pans to heat up and cool down more quickly. This results in reduced energy costs and decreased cooling times for bakeries. Another benefit of the lighter weight pans is that they are more manageable for workers to handle and stack."

The ePan features extended pan life because of the durable aluminized steel. It may be supplied with any of the company’s proprietary coatings, ensuring thousands of trouble-free releases.

Also on display, the Peerless Group, Sidney, Ohio, introduced two concept machines. By displaying the machines at the show, Peerless said it hoped to receive baker input that would be used to go back and improve the already proven concept machines. The goal is to place the machines in an operating bakery by the first or second quarter of 2008, said Dane Belden, president of Peerless.

One new concept machine is the Fedco XPD batter depositor that is based on a proprietary rotary peristaltic pump system. The new machine offers extremely accurate deposit rates with deposit-to-deposit accuracies not found in conventional piston-depositing systems, Mr. Belden said. He added bakers would see a quick return on investment with this depositor because of its accuracy.

The other concept machine is the all-new S5 SuperGrain sheeting head that eliminates the need for scrapers at the sheeting rollers, thus reducing maintenance and process issues associated with scrapers. The servo-driven sheeting head features new Teflon-impregnated rollers made of a Food and Drug Administration-compliant nickel and Teflon surface for an extended life. Each roller within the sheeter is controlled by an independent motor.

This article can also be found in the digital edition of Food Business News, October 30, 2007, starting on Page 47. Click here to search that archive.

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