The FAO Food Price Index rose further in May

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» The FAO Food Price Index* (FFPI) averaged 176.2 points in May 2018, up 2.2 points (1.2 percent) from April level and hitting its highest level since October 2017. The increase in May reflected a continued steep rise in dairy price quotations, while those of cereals also rose, albeit at a slower pace. By contrast, vegetable oil and sugar markets remained under downward pressure whereas meat values changed little.

» The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 172.9 points in May, 4.1 points (2.4 percent) above its April level. The index continued on an upward path since the start of this year, standing in May at almost 17 percent above its corresponding value a year ago and reaching the highest level since January 2015. International prices of all major cereals have strengthened considerably in recent months, and in May wheat values gained largely on concerns over production prospects in a number of major exporting countries. International prices of leading coarse grains also rose, mostly due to deteriorating production prospects in Argentina and Brazil. Sizable purchases by Southeast Asian buyers kept international rice prices firm in May, notwithstanding weaker currencies of some top exporting countries and soft demand for aromatic and parboiled rice.

» The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 150.6 points in May, down by 4 points (2.6 percent) month-on-month, marking a fourth consecutive decline and a 27-month low. The slide mainly reflects weakening values of palm, soy and sunflower oils, whereas rapeseed oil prices rebounded from their April’s multi-month low. As for palm oil, despite prospective production slowdowns in Southeast Asia, international prices fell due to sluggish global import demand and large inventories compared to last year. In the case of soy oil, ample supplies and stocks resulting from meal-driven crushing continued to weigh on world prices. The rise in rapeseed oil prices mainly reflected concerns about unfavourable weather conditions affecting the 2018/19 crop in parts of Europe.

» The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 215.2 points in May, up 11 points (5.5 percent) from April and marks the fourth month in a row for the index to rise. The index value stood at 11.5 percent higher than in May 2017, yet still 22 percent below the peak reached in February 2014. The rise in May was mainly driven by sizeable increases in the price quotations of cheese, Skim Milk Powder (SMP) and butter, as those of Whole Milk Powder (WMP) were virtually unchanged. Tight supplies in New Zealand, the leading exporter of dairy products, are much behind the market firmness witnessed in recent months.

» The FAO Meat Price Index averaged 169.6 points in May, marginally lower than in April. The small decline in the index in May reflected the easing of pig meat and ovine meat prices, while those of poultry meat rose slightly. International price quotations for pigmeat and ovine meat weakened, on lower imports by China in the case of pigmeat and on a stronger US dollar for ovine meat. While poultry prices are estimated to have increased slightly, poultry markets became difficult to monitor in recent weeks because of the uncertainty surrounding the situation in Brazil, the world’s largest poultry exporter, where millions of birds were reported culled following a prolonged truckers’ strike in May. Bovine meat prices remained steady on a generally well-balanced market situation.

» The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 175.3 points in May, down slightly (0.5 percent) from April, marking the sixth consecutive monthly decline. The latest decrease in international sugar prices mostly reflects expectations of a large sugarcane output as a result of favourable harvesting conditions that prevail in the Centre South region of Brazil, the world’s largest sugar producer and exporter. Concerns over a prolonged dryness affecting cane yields in some part of that region lacked strength to reverse the market trend. Likewise, reports that Brazilian mills continued to favour ethanol production over sugar, with only about 37 percent of the sugarcane harvest directed for the production of the sweetener, failed to provide enough support for sugar prices to increase.

* Unlike for other commodity groups, most prices utilized in the calculation of the FAO Meat Price Index are not available when the FAO Food Price Index is computed and published; therefore, the value of the Meat Price Index for the most recent months is derived from a mixture of projected and observed prices. This can, at times, require significant revisions in the final value of the FAO Meat Price Index which could in turn influence the value of the FAO Food Price Index.

Download full dataset: Excel, CSV

Download full dataset: Excel


Water – As a Food Processing Ingredient

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Food and food processing industry is a growing market in agrarian economies across the globe. Water is an important component of the food processing industry as it is not only present in all foods; it is also extensively used in most food plants as a processing aid as well as an agent for cleaning operations. Water is used in rinsing, dissolving, dispersing, separating and other processes within the food industry.

Given the strict food safety standards that producers within the food industry must adhere to, the use of water is also monitored under strict parameters to ensure purity of water. As per the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines, water is tested along various parameters, including colour, odour, pH, taste, turbidity, total dissolved solids (TDS), heavy metals present, total plate counts (TPC), pesticide residues, chlorides, fluorides, etc.

Sources and criteria of usable water:

Water used in the food industry is primarily of two types – fresh surface water and ground water. Surface water is procured from rivers, lakes and reservoirs, and may have higher levels of suspended materials, turbidity, temperature fluctuations and pesticide residues. Ground water, on the other hand, may have higher levels of heavy metal and mineral content.

Water used as an ingredient in food must be free from undesirable taste, odour, colour and impurities. In the case of bottled water, water is the key ingredient and should be tested along more stringent parameters to ensure that it is free from bacteria and other microbes.

Both bottled water as well as water used in food ingredients need to meet standards set by the FSSAI and Indian Standards Institute (ISI).

Food processors generally obtain water from private water suppliers, municipal sources or owned wells. This water should meet all the key parameters as per IS 4251 guidelines. Natural mineral water should comply with IS 13428:2005. Packaged drinking water should pass the IS 14543:2004 specifications, and drinking water should meet standards set under IS 10500.

Colour of water may vary due to many organic and inorganic contaminations, and the apparent colour is determined through the original sample before it undergoes filtration or centrifugation.

The odour of water is recognized as a quality factor which determines the acceptability of drinking water and food prepared from it. Water can possess strange odours if not cleaned and purified properly, owing to the presence of fish and other aquatic organisms in the original source.. Most organic and some inorganic chemicals also affect the taste and odour of water.

pH value is the logarithm of the reciprocal of hydrogen ion activity in moles per liter. Neutral water pH ranges from 6-8 but in case of alkaline thermal spring waters, pH value may be more than 9 while for acidic thermal spring waters, the pH may be 4.

Taste of water should comply with the standards of neutral water and be free from any impurities. Each panelist should grade water on the 9 parameters listed in the FSSAI guidelines and confirm that the taste of water conforms to the acceptable standards.

The turbidity of the sample is the reduction of transparency due to the presence of particulate matter such as clay or slit, finely divided organic matter, plankton or other microscopic organisms.

There are various chemicals and compounds present in water including ammonia nitrogen, boron, nitrate, chloride, fluoride, total hardness, alkaline compounds, magnesium, sulphates, residue of free chlorine and chloramines, sulphide, cyanide, calcium, phenol, sodium, nitrites, total solids, hexavalent chromium, mineral oils, etc. Water with high dissolved solids and chemical elements is less palatable as well as unsuitable for many industrial applications. Presence of chemicals indicates contamination, and can cause serious health issues.


Water is an essential component in food and the food processing industry and should, thus, comply with the specifications laid out by the FSSAI and the ISI . There are various types of contaminants, including those arising from both organic and inorganic sources. There are physical, chemical and microbial tests which can be undertaken to quantify water purity. Specific filtration techniques are then used to filter the water, and only when water passes the respective tests is it considered fit for consumption/use.



Lallemand Expands Its Range of Yeast Products

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Lallemand is expanding its range of Instaferm® VitaD® yeast products, with the introduction of Instaferm® Inactive VitaD® Plus Concentrate. This 100% natural yeast product contains a highly concentrated amount of Vitamin D. It is ideal for vitamin D enrichment of bread premixes.

Vitamin D is now considered a nutrient of health concern by many health agencies. Although the Recommended Daily Value for vitamin D is 20 ?g (800 IU), more than 75% of Americans have an inadequate daily intake, averaging 3.75 ?g (150 IU)/day. In U.S.A, it is now mandatory to declare the vitamin D content on the Nutrition Facts label. According to the recent International Food Information Council online survey held on March 12-26, 2018, more than 80% of Americans ages 18 – 80 rank food containing vitamin D as healthy. Bread and yeast-leavened bakery products can be excellent vehicles for vitamin D to help prevent vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency. These foods are nutritious, safe, versatile, and inexpensive. They are also widely consumed by the population in general, regardless of ethnic, cultural and age differences.

Today, Lallemand Instaferm® VitaD® product range includes products tailored to your needs:

  • Instaferm® VitaD® Plus Concentrate Vitamin D IDY for cream yeast enrichment
  • Instaferm® Inactive VitaD® Plus Concentrate Inactive Vitamin D yeast for bread premixes
  • Instaferm® VitaD® Premix SB Vitamin D Premix for dosing in 50-275lbs/23-125kg batch size
  • Instaferm® VitaD® Premix LB Vitamin D Premix for dosing in 400-1300lbs/181-590kg batch size

All Instaferm® VitaD® Products Are Clean Label and Vegetarian

Just a reminder that all our VitaD® products are Vitamin D rich ingredients suitable for Clean Label and Vegetarian products. They do not contain any chemical additives and are obtained from a natural process. Vitamin D3, on the contrary, is obtained from sheep skin that undergoes harsh extraction procedures. Yeast is a natural vegetarian ingredient; bread made with VitaD® yeast products can therefore be a great source of Vitamin D for vegetarians/vegans.


Contamination in Chocolates

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Chocolates are regarded as the world’s most popular snack food. An average American consumes over 4kg of chocolate annually, while in Switzerland, the world’s leading chocolate producer, a Swiss consumes over double this amount. Indians also have a sweet tooth, and consume considerable amount of sweets, including chocolates.

In fact, chocolates hold a special place in celebrations as they are not only eaten but are gifted to a whole lot or friends and relatives. However, not everyone is aware that chocolates can be contaminated or adulterated just as easily as other foodstuff. In fact adulteration in chocolates has a long history and since they are a very popular food item, they have been adulterated by unscrupulous manufacturers for profits for centuries.

Branded chocolates as well as home-made chocolates have seen a spurt in sale in recent years because of rising incomes. The market for chocolates is one of the fastest growing markets in India. Urban populations prefer them over traditional Indian sweets. India has a few chocolate manufacturers but a lot of chocolates are imported. Imported chocolates are often intolerant to India’s heat and with lack of efficient cold storage they melt and deteriorate which could then become a source of microbiological contamination, if not stored in the right temperature. Leading global chocolate brands have suffered cadmium and/or lead contamination.

According to FSSAI, standards chocolates are not permitted to contain any vegetable oil and fats except cocoa butter. However, Codex permits five percent vegetable fat in chocolates but a lot of chocolate manufacturers allegedly add more than 20 percent vegetable fat in the chocolates. Recently, FSSAI has published a proposed draft that will regulate sugar, salt and fat content in food products which would be applicable to beverages as well as confectionery items like chocolate to prevent health hazards, like obesity, in children.

Contamination in Homemade Chocolates

A lot of people make chocolates at home as a home based industry. These chocolates are particularly flavoured during festive season. While homemade chocolates are very popular in some cities, they might not be regulated unlike chocolates made by leading chocolate manufacturers. There is no way to determine if those making chocolates at home have the license to make these products. Since they come under the unorganised sector there is also no way to determine if they are following the hygiene requirements as laid down in the FSSAI regulations.

These chocolates could be subject to bacterial contamination like salmonella unless the raw materials like skim milk powder, milk, eggs and cocoa have been adequately heat-treated, pasteurized and handled to keep them free from bacterial contamination. Personal hygiene is a major problem, especially since many chocolate products are finished by hand-dipping.

Cocoa beans, nuts and other ingredients can be contaminated by insects, rodents, and mycotoxins unless stored properly. If the machinery is not cleaned and washed thoroughly and sanitized it could lead to infestation by insects or microbial contamination.

Lead and Cadmium Contamination

Contamination can result from heavy metals such as lead and/or cadmium. Scientific studies indicate that lead present in the air can be absorbed by the cocoa plant which is the main ingredient of chocolate and chocolate products. Lead can cause serious health problems in young children, as studies by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi has found. Cadmium can also be a serious health hazard as it can have cardiovascular effects, renal damage, developmental defects in foetus, as well as cause skeletal lesions.

Contamination of Cocoa

Since cocoa is the main ingredient in chocolate it has been a subject of considerable study. Cocoa when dried loses its volume by about half. Therefore unscrupulous chocolate manufacturers mix cocoa shell powder, hazelnut shell powder or soya flour into cocoa powder to add bulk. This product is inferior or substandard as it has intentionally been adulterated. An unintentional contaminant in cocoa comes from iron. Modern cocoa processing causes this iron contamination because of the grinding tools of the hammer, agitator blades and ball fillings which make up the rotating ball cocoa mills. Though the iron is removed with the help of magnet separators yet iron can remain in the cocoa powder which contaminates products made from cocoa including cocoa powder and chocolates. Sometimes cocoa beans can become mouldy during fermentation, incorrect drying and storage in humid conditions because fungi can grow on them. The cocoa beans can also be infested by pests which can lead to microbiological contamination and these get processed into the chocolate.

Unintentional ways of Contamination

Unintentional contamination of chocolates can also arise from carelessness and lack of hygienic practices during manufacture, packaging and storage. In each of the above stages, contamination can occur through insect body parts, rodent hair and rodent droppings. These modes of contamination can lead to serious health consequences. Therefore, stringent quality control measures need to be in place during the entire process from cultivation of beans to manufacture into chocolates and chocolate products.

Intentional Adulteration

Intentional adulteration is done by unscrupulous businessmen for financial gain. These can occur in the following ways:

  • Inferior quality sugar and cocoa is used for making chocolates
  • Sometimes starch is used during the manufacture of chocolates
  • Minerals are often added to increase the bulk and weight of the final product;
  • Sometimes, non-permitted artificial colouring can be used to impart an attractive colour to the chocolate, but which can cause serious health consequences.

It is quite clear that chocolate contamination is a real threat to our health. Since young children consume large quantities of chocolates it is important to safeguard their health. Therefore, chocolate manufacturers should take the utmost care in maintaining high standards of quality. Moreover, standards and regulations must be followed so consumers can be provided with safe chocolates and chocolate products.



Why banning palm oil based on its palmitic acid content is a bad idea.

Palmitic acid is the most widespread fatty acid in the world and plays an important role in biology and in our body. Edmond Frémy discovered this particular fatty acid in 1840, in saponified palm oil, which is an edible oil from the fruit of oil palms growing in tropical areas. In these regions palm oil has been consumed as a source of fat for thousands of years. Today, we know that other fats and oils also contain palmitic acid and that we even produce palmitic acid in our own body.

While palm oil is naturally rich in palmitic acid, palm oil and palmitic acid are not one and the same thing: anything discovered about palmitic acid does not automatically apply to palm oil. Calling for a ban on palm oil based on palmitic acid research is meaningless and may prove counterproductive to our health.

First of all, what is palm oil?

Although unknown to Europe, humans have been consuming palm oil for more than 10,000 years. Palm oil is a stable food for many Asian and African countries. It delivers basic food, energy and essential nutrients to more than two thirds of the world’s global population. It is a very effective crop and provides 3-7 times the amount of oil per ha compared to other oil crops that are more familiar to Europe, such as rapeseed or sunflower oil.

In the past century palm oil was introduced in the diet of western countries, mostly because it provided good product characteristics and shelf life, it could be easily produced, and efficiently transported. Currently, more than half of the products we consume in Europe contain palm oil, usually in combination with other fats and oils or in the form of emulsifiers in which palm oil is a key ingredient.

To better understand the role that palm oil plays in our diet, please check our short video on palm oil and nutrition.

Why do we have saturated fat and palm oil in our food?

In nature, all fats and oils contain saturated fat, and the amount varies according to its biological purpose. Fats high in saturated fat are solid at room temperature, whereas oils high in unsaturated fat are softer or liquid at room temperature. Many fats and oils from seeds produced in a temperate climate are relatively low in saturated fats and are liquid at European room temperature. On the other hand, oils and fats originating from the tropics and a warm climate, such as palm oil and coconut fat are usually relatively high in saturated fat.

Just like when you prepare food at home, food technologists create recipes using a mix of fats and oils to develop foods with specific requirements, high or low in saturated fat. Palm oil has a natural balance in saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, with characteristics between liquid oil and solid fat. It is added to products such as margarine to improve characteristics and help the uptake of essential fatty acids, but it is also widely used in readily available high-energy food, such as cookies and filled chocolate.

Now what about palmitic acid?

Palmitic acid is the most common type of saturated fatty acid found in animals, plants and microorganisms. It is also the most abundant saturated fatty acid in our human body. On average a 70 kg person is made up of 3.5 kg palmitic acid. And there is a good reason: 20-30% of the phospholipids of each cell membrane are made of palmitic acid to enable its proper functioning. In other words without palmitic acid, our cells would not function properly.

So where do we find palmitic acid in a typical western diet?

Palmitic acid is also part of almost every fat or oil in temperate regions. It is highly present in meat, cheese, butter, and dairy products and in smaller concentrations in regional oils such as sunflower and rapeseed oil. Together they deliver most of the palmitic acid that we currently consume in Europe.

The importance of palmitic acid in the human diet may be illustrated with human breast milk. Human milk is high in saturated fat (38-41 energy %), and usually high in palmitic acid (around 45% after birth to 25% at later lactation). Whether the palmitic acid serves a biological purpose or how much is needed is not really clear. What we do know is that the composition of saturated fat in human breast milk is relatively stable.

Our body functions with palmitic acid. But do we need to get palmitic acid from our diet?

Palmitic acid is such an important fatty acid that our body has developed ways to produce it from other nutrients. This internal ‘control mechanism’ (de novo lipogenesis) ensures that the concentration of palmitic acid is kept relatively stable. If needed, our body can produce palmitic acid internally from other fatty acids, sugars, and alcohol and even from proteins. In other words, changes in palmitic acid intake from the diet itself hardly influence the amount of palmitic acid present in the body: in normal conditions, our body will keep the concentration relatively stable.

What about new studies relating palmitic acid with chronic disease?

In poor dietetic conditions, such as excessive intake of energy and sugars in a sedentary non-active lifestyle the ‘control mechanism’ is disrupted and health issues may arise. In these circumstances, palmitic acid in our blood increases and is associated with increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease.

So what about this ban on palmitic acid or palm oil?

The call for a ban on palmitic acid is meaningless, because our body will hardly respond to lower palmitic acid intake. It will simply start to produce its own palmitic acid from other nutrients. In poor dietetic conditions this will be counterproductive, because it may lead to overproduction in our own body.

Any call for a complete ban on a specific nutrient or a stable food is non-justified because of the role they play in our diet.  Instead of calling for bans, we should focus on truly implementing the dietary advice from health authorities to lower energy intake, eat a larger variety of sustainably produced, plant-based foods and adopt a less sedentary lifestyle.



Food revolution: robots takes over

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The rate of growth is going at a rapid pace, for over 30 food businesses. As the use of robots allows them to turn to automation, during a showcase at OAL’s Food Manufacturing 2030 Conference.

With a combination of inspirational speakers and demonstrations, OAL, the University of Lincoln and ABB educated food manufacturers on the use of robotics and automation to overcome their manufacturing challenges.

The UK is uniquely placed to pioneer the food robotics revolution bringing with it higher skilled jobs and fantastic export opportunities. In the process, a new food manufacturing industry will be created, no longer characterised by low paid, unskilled labour but higher skilled, better paid jobs to run our autonomous food factories.

OAL demonstrated the use of digital technologies with their APRIL Robotics Flexible Food Manufacturing platform. APRIL puts robotics at the heart of food manufacturing allowing end to end handling and processing of food ingredients with minimal human interventions.

Applications demoed included cooking, weighing and use of artificial intelligence systems for validation.

To inspire action, the event featured major British automation success stories:

  1. Chris Brett from Ocado technology shared how they were transforming food retailing with digital technologies.
  1. Steve Sanders explained how JSP Safety Products had transformed its manufacturing processes with over 30 robots, onshoring jobs to the UK.
  1. Mike Wilson from ABB discussed robot adoption best practices. And it definitely sunk in. A Director at from a major UK food business stated: “This is something that [major food manufacturer] need to do now! The day has opened our eyes to what is around and available.”

During the debate, the need for demonstrators and funding was raised. These areas were addressed by Liz Berry from the Food and Drink Federation. Liz explained the latest funding opportunities for food companies. While Val Braybrooks encouraged food manufacturers to work with academia more to explore and trial these new technologies.

Source: Asia Food Journal


Get Ready for iba 2018

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Visitors can experience outstanding artisan achievements, discover new ideas, open up additional areas of business, learn about technical developments in the trade, watch new machines in action, test products, listen to lectures, talk to experts and thereby promote their own company. iba’s organizers explain the reasons that a visit to the trade fair is a must for those in the trade:

1: Discover and Experience Innovation in Action

At iba, companies reveal their new products for the first time. Here, exhibitors frequently show their machines and entire production lines in action, invite attendees to try out the products, and as a result, transform the 12 trade fair halls into the largest, most flavorful bakery in the world. As a leading international trade fair, iba also cooperates with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to offer start-ups the perfect stage for presenting their business ideas to potential customers across the globe.

2: Get a Unique Overview of the Market

Visitors experience the entire spectrum of the trade. More than 1,100 exhibitors from over 45 countries (as of April 2018) present their products and services. Here, bakers and confectioners from companies of all sizes, food producers and traders, caterers and restaurateurs will find the suitable offer for their company.

3: Profit from Current and Future Trends

The “iba.SPEAKERS CORNER” in Hall A1 will celebrate its premiere at iba 2018 with a focus on new raw materials, digitization, smart production routes, cashless payment, and new legal regulations. A new trending topic of the trade will be highlighted every day in lectures and panels. Researchers, producers, and users will debate current challenges and provide specific tips that both bakers and confectioners can benefit from. Additionally, the iba.FORUM in Hall B3 will offer all sorts of input from and for practical use, including innovative ideas from World Master Baker Champion Jimmy Griffin from Ireland and patisserie trends from Confectionery World Champion Bernd Siefert.

4: Visit International Bakeries at the Trade Fair

At the new “Virtual Bakery Tours” experience area in Hall B3, trade fair visitors can immerse themselves in a completely different world within seconds and, using virtual reality glasses, experience the way colleagues in Germany, France, Greece, Iceland, and the USA work, the techniques and ingredients they use, and what makes them so successful in their country.

5: Pick up New Ideas for the Catering Market

The trend of eating out remains in force across the globe. Trade fair visitors will receive suggestions, concepts, and individual advice at the new “iba.TO GO!” area in Hall B3. Here, they will find innovations and solutions relating to food and beverage concepts, from shop design and front-of-house baking through to hot and cold beverages and accessories for food preparation. In addition to the entire process chain showcased in this area, visitors can also participate in free workshops and demonstrations.

6: Watch the World’s Best Up Close

iba includes the championships for bakers and confectioners, which will take place in large, specially set-up and fully-equipped bakeries directly at the trade fair. These offer the opportunity to learn from the best in the trade, find out how they cope with time pressure, see what masterpieces can be created, and learn the tricks. Here, visitors can pick up inspiration for future projects and tasks and develop new ideas. At the iba-UIBC-CUP of Bakers (September 15-17), teams from 12 different countries – Japan, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Peru, the United Kingdom, Korea, the USA, Spain, Russia, France, and China – will compete against each other. The motto of this year’s competition is “space”, and the teams will conjure up unbelievable creations to take the gold medal at the end.

In 2018, the best young confectioners in the world will join iba for the first time. Trade fair visitors can look forward to seeing what the highly skilled new talents from Brazil, China, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Spain, and Taiwan have to offer at the UIBC Junior World Championship of Confectioners on September 19 and 20. The best bakers in Germany will determine their champion at the fourth German Championship of Master Bakers on September, 18. This year’s motto is “Europe”.

7: Find Desired Products and Exhibitors Easily

iba is also offering its visitors a tailor-made digital service. Through the online marketplace, visitors will be able to prepare for the trade fair more quickly and in a more targeted way, as well as finding corresponding offers and contact partners to suit them. You can quickly access solutions in the areas of catering offers, digitization, energy efficiency, or ingredients at iba. The tool allows for orientation tailored exactly to individual visitors’ needs. Additionally, visitors will be able to contact exhibitors directly and arrange meetings with them using the link:

8: Participate in Bakery Tours and Seminars

The guided bakery tours offer an exclusive glance behind the scenes. A number of bakeries in and around Munich are opening their doors for international visitors and will introduce them to the variety of recipes for German bread and baked goods. In addition, visitors can take part in trade seminars at the Akademie des Deutschen Bäckerhandwerks (Academy of the German Baking Trade) in Lochham, where international visitors can learn more about the preparation of wholemeal and mixed bread. And in Hall B3, iba is offering international visitors new baking workshops in English. Under expert guidance, visitors will learn how to make German classics hands-on. Be it pretzels or cheesecake – the experts of the Akademie Deutsches Bäckerhandwerk will reveal all their important success secrets twice a day.

9: Cultivate and Expand your Network

Visitors and exhibitors can exchange ideas, network, and enjoy a memorable evening in a relaxed atmosphere in the exclusive iba.OKTOBERFEST TENT directly on the fairground, at Hall A6. There, they can get a taste of the “Wiesn” atmosphere as part of iba a week before the start of the most famous fair in the world, which begins on the Theresienwiese on September 22.



International sourdough library keeps cultures alive

The Puratos sourdough library specializes in strains of naturally fermented yeast cultures from around the world. This unique library houses samples of flour, water and starter from various countries, in an attempt to research the global biodiversity of sourdough bread.
The wood-panelled library features a forest canopy on its ceiling, emphasizing its natural interest in organic matter. It stores over 100 specimens of sourdough cultures and refreshes each one with local flour and additional ingredients directly from its specific region.

For bakeries to have their starters preserved for posterity on the shelves of the Puratos sourdough library, each inductee is asked to provide the ingredients needed to keep the cultures alive. Each inductee must provide local flour and additional specific ingredients from their region in order to feed the starter.

Sourdough librarian, Karl De Smedt is excited about this project, as it allows researchers to locate certain strains of yeast not only by region, but also by latitude. Several different micro-strains and properties of flour can also be filed and catalogued from around the world.

Of particular interest, de Smedt has found a strain of benevolent bacteria from a culture extracted from a bakery in the Swiss alps that was nearly identical to a strain found in Chile. In this particular case, de Smedt hopes other bakeries at the same latitude will come forth with their sourdough strains, in order to help add data to the study of latitude on the effect of bread-making.

Toronto bakery, Blackbird Baking Company is the first Canadian bakery to have its sourdough culture inducted into the Puratos sourdough library. The bakery is based out of Kensington Market and known for its sourdough breads, unique flavour and of course, it’s sourdough starter.

Puratos welcomes viewers to tour the virtual sourdough library:

If you have any sourdough or bakery-related questions, you can reach Karl de Smedt via Instagram @the_sourdough_librarian.


Nestlé plans to slash 500 IT jobs in Switzerland

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Food giant Nestlé is planning to cut about 500 information technology (IT) jobs in Switzerland as part of the re-organization of its global IT activities.

The company unveiled plans for re-organizing parts of its IT activities to benefit from its existing technology hub in Spain and other locations.

Nestlé said none of its production sites in Switzerland will be affected by the plan, which is subject to a period of consultation with the concerned employees.

Nestlé executive board member and group head of human resources Peter Vogt said the company will explore all possible options to provide support and to mitigate the impact on our colleagues.

Vogt said: “Nestlé remains fully committed to its home base in Switzerland. The relationship between Nestlé and Switzerland is mutually beneficial and the company will continue to invest in the country.”

The company’s Nespresso coffee business intends to set up operational centers in Spain and Portugal to benefit from existing Nestle e-commerce and supply chain hubs, and plans to create a center for boutique operations in Italy too.

Nespresso aims to offer roles in the centers to all of the 80 employees affected by the proposed change.

Nestlé’s employee base in Switzerland increased to more than 10100 in 2017 from about 6700 in 2003. The company made several investments in the country in the past years.

Last year, Nestlé invested CHF 289m in production, distribution, real estate and IT infrastructure in Switzerland, where about CHF 300m is being spent in 2018.

At present, Nestlé is strengthening its research entities in Lausanne, which is the central point of its worldwide research and development activities.



Sweets and Snacks Expo: A Sweet Treat For the Confectionery World

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From chocolates to candies to snacks, sweets is a topic that has fascinated many and is beloved by millions. The confectionery industry also accounts for 465,000 jobs.

Recently, the Sweets and Snacks Expo was launched from May 22 to the 24th in Chicago with the goal to unite candy and snack lovers across the world. With more than 800 exhibitors and nearly 18,000 candy and snack professionals, the event was full of new innovation, new products, new trends and new ways to captivate snack lovers.

Rick Brindle, Vice President of Industry Development at Mondelez, International and part of the Sweets and Snacks Expo committee, told Abasto that the Sweets and Snacks show is one of their best shows of the year. Being on the committee, he said that in fact, planning for the next show would begin as soon as the show ended on Thursday.

“…We’re all about continued improvement of the show and so there’s so many aspects to a show from the density to the services to even the signage and branding… We meet all year long… We talk about how to increase customer involvement, how to get more customers engaged, as well as how to bring new exhibits, how to make sure we let the new candy companies come in- the smaller, the larger… we try to make it a very well rounded, diverse show,” Brindle told Abasto.

Along with Mondelez’s chipotle chips, the expo showed the effect Hispanics have on the market. From avocado chips to spicy and sour gummies to Dia de Los Muertos skeleton lollipops, the show was exploding with Hispanic influence.

The expo had educational sessions focused on the multicultural consumer

The show also held education sessions, such as the Multicultural Opportunity in Treats and Snacks, which featured panel speakers Jim Dudlicek, Editorial Director at Progressive Grocer, Don Longo, Editorial Director at Convenience Store News, Leslie Johnson, Assortment Manager-Snacks at Wawa, Inc., Jaime Enrique Parra, Executive Director Multicultural/Hispanic Consulting at Winston Weber & Associates Inc. and Jeff Hancock, Sales and Marketing Manager at Jewel-Osco.

The session discussed insights on multicultural shoppers as well as recommendations on how to capture that demographic consumer.

“…In a year and a half, by 2020, what we’re going to see is the youth of America will already be majority multicultural, it will be over 50%… Of that population, half of those will be Hispanics, so roughly one fifth of all the children in the U.S. will be Hispanic… This is really not just a multicultural endeavor, but with all the crossover opportunities, it spills over to the general population. So, in a large sense, a lot of the things you could do to attract multicultural will also attract other consumers,” said Parra.

The show’s highlights included the 2018 Innovative new product awards, the specialty market hall, which featured organic and premium snacks, the new product showcase and the latest trends in merchandising and technology.

According to the Sweets and Snacks website, Chicago is a perfect location for the expo because the state of Illinois is one of the top five confectionery-producing states in the U.S. More than 60 confectionery manufacturers in the state employ nearly 7,700 people and produce $4.49 billion worth of confectionery shipments each year, according to the company page.

Source: Abasto