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Bakery, health & wellness innovations dominate 2nd day of Fi Conference
Friday, 07 October, 2011, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Anurag More, Mumbai
The second day of the Conference Series, 2011, a part of the two-day Fi India 2011 event held in Mumbai recently, was bifurcated into two themes. The first-half focussed on innovations in bakery and the second session was dedicated to health and wellness innovations.

In the first session, Suchitra Tripathy, senior application scientist, Novozymes South Asia, presented the impact of changing consumer trends and application of biotechnology to meet consumer demands and increase the potential for exports. She said that the bread sector was growing at 3% in India and biscuit was showing double digit growth. There are lot of challenges in the industry like rising fuel prices and ever-increasing inflation, on which we do not have any control, according to her.

Tripathy also spoke on the international food market – globally packaged food was worth US$2 trillion and grew at 75% annually – Western Europe was the largest market.

She also spoke about three key urbanisation factors that drove food demand and pointed out that current food trends pertained to health and wellness, and convenience. The health and wellness food market is worth US$628 billion. Asia is the largest market for naturally healthy products growing at >10%.

Trends such as a young Indian demographic profile, increase in per capita income and purchasing power, untapped domestic market, more number of working women reflect creation of more wealth, urbanisation, convenience, and health.

Tripathy said that with the help of biotechnology, raw material cost could be reduced, flour upgrade, flexible wheat sourcing, providing healthy options, reduction of calories were also key.

According to her, flour upgrade is important because large differences can be seen in the quality of agricultural raw materials, which are caused depending on their biological nature. She felt that biotech could provide reduced acrylam and bio-innovation and sustainability went hand in hand.

Pankaj Agarwal, head, operations, Britannia Industries, spoke on application of the latest most cost-effective techniques in formulation and product development to maximise the shelf life of bakery products and increase the potential for exports.

He pointed out that the bakery market in India comprised of 82% bread and 18% other products. New and attractive products are constantly coming up. Socio-economic environment change, newer raw materials, additives, and packaging material, which were helping to keep product stable for longer time, were key, he said.

Threats to the industry are low margin, variation in ingredient quality, stringent regulations, current labour availability issue, difference in Indian laws versus those of other countries, non-governmental support and focus, ambient Indian conditions, hygiene conditions in factory and market, environmental emissions and waste, international competition, change in customer taste, and strict regulations. Technologies advancement helps to handle variations which we could not, as most of bakery products were under micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME). Technology upgrade, synchronisation in plants, energy integration in mixer for consistent mixing, forming line capacity / control over weights / control temperature, time, standing time, avoiding baking variations, adequate humidity, and atmosphere-controlled packing section with adequate capacity were the key requirements in the industry.

With regard to product shelf life concerns, he said that there were two main concerns - mould growth and staling. He also spoke on ingredients, additives and their role, and packaging solutions for extending shelf life. Enzymes played very important role in bakery products, he said. It was very difficult to make bakery products without the help of enzymes, due to tastes and preferences, he pointed out.

The simple solution for extended shelf life was to carefully scrutinise all raw materials’ specifications. The challenges in the sector included microbiological criteria on raw materials, new generation packaging, use of crumb softeners for avoiding early staling, proper baking, post-handling contamination, and low cost. He also spoke on preservation techniques and said that cost savings became mission-critical as ingredient costs continued to rise, as well as fast-growing shortage of ingredients, increasing fluctuations, improving cost efficiency and better cost neutralisation.

P Krishna Kumar, senior general manager, Modern Food Division, Hindustan Unilver, and executive committee, All India Bread Manufacturers' Association (AIBMA), said that cost-effective techniques could maximise shelf life of bakery products. Shelf life is very important to the bakery industry.

As far as organoleptic changes such as staling are concerned, there are two types of staling, crust staling and crumb staling. Crust becomes soft and leathery. Crumb staling is more important than crust staling, it is less in bread with higher protein, reduced staling with higher gluten, larger volume, and softer texture. Microbial spoilage caused by bacterial acetic acid addition controls growth (0.1% to 0.2%).

Roy Silva, technical consultant, product development and technical marketing, USA, spoke on developments in the baking world and reviewed the bakery market. He said that the bakery market was growing in India and it was a mature market in USA and Europe and the consumer needed quality product. He also spoke on bakery marketing trends - natural or artificial, challenges to growth, sustainability marketing potential, clean label trends - additives, DDA etc. He elaborated at length on preservatives, improvers, colours, emulsifiers and sugar and also on opportunities for clean label bases.

He spoke about healthy concepts and bakery products - natural, nutritious, and calorie-conscious. The trends in the industry include brown bread is overtaking white bread, bakery shortening developments, fat reduction, trans fat elimination, reduce saturated fat, increase mono unsaturates and PUFA, growth of Omega 3, and importance of emulsifiers. He also spoke on milk and egg replacers for baking, gluten-free baking, market demand due to celiac disease, how gluten-free has shown substantial growth, and that bread and cookies are the market leaders among gluten-free products.

After all the presentations, a panel discussion was held. The panelists discussed how government did not allow enzymes in bread and people were demanding more shelf life. Issues pertaining to the bakery industry such as industry not fulfilling the demand, dealing with stringent regulations, controlling manufacturing cost, and need for amending laws. The panelists hoped that the changes would happen. They also felt that FSSAI should come up with better regulations for the bakery industry like regulations in other countries. They also discussed problems like manpower, automation, and healthy margin in the bread industry.

In the second session on health and wellness innovations, Rajiv Subramanian, principal consumer and retail, Tata Strategic Management Group, spoke on leveraging the health and wellness (H&W) opportunity in India. He spoke on changing lifestyle of the Indian consumer and key trends like rising affordability, urbanisation, demographic dividend, improving literacy levels, deteriorating lifestyles, health concerns and demand for convenience. There is also change in consumer-consciousness, like eating habits, safety / hygiene, general well being, food as cure and prevention, and specialised nutritional requirements.

He also spoke on the health and wellnes
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