Revolutionary materials: alternative packaging

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A recent government report showed that the UK produces more than 170 million tonnes of waste every year, much of which is from food packaging. The most recent series of the BBC’s ‘The Blue Planet II’ painfully highlighted the impact that plastic is having on our planet, as viewers saw sea life, like hawksbill turtles and whales, entangled by plastic waste.

According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), food packaging waste accounts for over 5.1million tonnes of the total waste arising from the UK food and drink supply chain.

Making the pledge: eliminating the avoidable

In January 2018 UK Prime Minister Theresa May, announced a 25-year environmental plan, making the pledge to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within a quarter of a century. In her speech, May said: “We must reduce the demand for plastic, reduce the number of plastics in circulation and improve our recycling rates. To tackle it we will take action at every stage of the production and consumption of plastic.”

Some campaigners, such as ASDA former CEO Andy Clarke, are urging retailers and supermarkets to create plastic-free aisles. However, without significant change, packaging-free shops, like The Clean Kilo, Birmingham and Save a Packet, Kingsbridge are increasing in popularity and challenging the market leading position of supermarket giants.

Despite plastic being the primary choice for many manufacturers, there are alternatives that offer impressive results, from plant-based bio-plastics and fibre pulps to glass or aluminium. Looking beyond the norm can help the environment and broaden the appeal of your product appears on the shelves.

Aluminium alternative: revolutionising the market

Aluminium packaging first appeared on the market in 1948 and saw a period of growth in popularity throughout the 1950s and 60s when TV dinners began to revolutionise the food market.

According to the Aluminium Federation (Alfed), most of the aluminium used in packaging is in the form of rolled products, which are used for flexible packaging like fine foils, or as rigid packaging like drinks cans and trays. The strength, flexibility and ability to withstand extreme heat and cold are some of the key benefits for choosing aluminium over other packaging options.

Aluminium trays, for instance, can be moulded in to nearly any shape or size. This creates opportunities to develop visually appealing packaging that is capable of supporting the storage and cooking of even awkward or unusually shaped. It also means that packaging can be adapted to meet the needs of any manufacturing process equipment, like conveyors or robotic arms.

Aluminium can resist temperatures of up to 400 degrees Celsius and be frozen at temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius. Throughout these extremes, the rigidity of the structure is not compromised, making it an ideal material for many products.

Pulp packaging: first class fibre

Another alternative that can produce a high-end look, while being environmentally conscious, is fibre pulp packaging. It is manufactured using 100% pre-consumed materials like cardboard, and is often used for packaging premium food products.

Fibre pulp packaging is extremely popular in Nordic markets where environmental and green cultures are well developed. However, as more customers, particularly across the rest of Europe, adopt healthy, environmentally conscious lifestyles, many are willing to pay premium prices for sustainable packaging options.

Fibre pulp is also ideal for the ready meal or the ready-to-cook market as the material is cool to touch when taken out of the oven or microwave. They can also be formed into trays that have sealed compartments, meaning no cross contamination between meal components.

Reliable sources: time for change

Now is the time to provide consumers with sustainable, environmentally friendly packaging choices. With reports from GLJ Recycling stating that every UK household produces a tonne of waste every year, a figure that is increasing by 3% year-on-year, it means that in 25 years, the amount of waste produced will have doubled.

While consumers will undoubtedly start to look for eco-friendly packaging alternatives in the supermarket, particularly after the Environmental Plan launched by the prime minister, the problem of plastic waste will continue if manufacturers keep using it to package their products.

When you consider that some waste has limited use, and ultimately will end up in landfill for hundreds of years or make its way into our oceans, manufacturers must take ownership of sourcing recyclable packaging materials — and there are plenty available.



The FAO Food Price Index remains steady

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» The FAO Food Price Index* (FFPI) averaged 167.6 points in August 2018, virtually unchanged from its revised estimate for July but down 9.6 points (5.4 percent) from its level in the corresponding period last year. While cereals and, to a lesser extent, meat values were firmer in August, the values of the other sub-indices, namely sugar, vegetable oils and dairy products, dropped.

» The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 168.4 points in August, representing a rebound of 6.5 points (4.0 percent) over July and of 15 points (10 percent) from August 2017. Wheat prices rose the most, by over 8 percent month-on-month, largely on tighter export availabilities in view of deteriorating crop prospects, especially in the EU and the Russian Federation. International maize quotations also firmed, up by more than 3 percent from July, influenced by a slower pace in sales by Argentina and Brazil as well as the spill over from rising wheat values. By contrast, international rice prices eased, amid efforts to attract buyers and free space for new crop arrivals.

» The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 138.2 points in August, down 3.7 points (2.6 percent) from July and hitting the lowest monthly average in 35 months. The drop in August was mainly driven by falling values of palm, soy and sunflower oils. International palm oil price quotations declined for the fifth consecutive month on persistently weak global import demand and the accompanying accumulation of inventories in major producing countries. Lower quotations of soy oil mostly reflected strong crushing activities in the United States and Brazil, while the favourable crop outlooks in the Black Sea region underpinned the fresh fall in sunflower oil prices.

» The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 196.2 points in August, down nearly 3 points (1.5 percent) from the previous month, marking the third consecutive month of decline. Price quotations of butter, Skim Milk Powder (SMP) and Whole Milk Powder (WMP) fell for the second successive month, while those of cheese rebounded marginally from the dip in July. The recent price trend reflects limited market activities, not unusual for this period of the year, as well as market uncertainty surrounding the eventual size of export availabilities. While milk production growth could be adversely affected in parts of Europe and Australia due to droughts, New Zealand is expected to produce more milk in the 2018/19 season than had been projected earlier.

» The FAO Meat Price Index* averaged 166.3 points in August, only slightly changed from the revised value for July but 4.6 percent below its level in the same month last year. The meat price index values for June and July were adjusted significantly, primarily on recent official Brazilian downward revisions to bovine meat export data for those months. In August, increases in the price quotations of pigmeat and ovine meat were offset by slight decreases in poultry and bovine meat quotations. Price quotations of ovine meat strengthened for a third consecutive month on solid import demand amid continued weak offerings from Oceania, while those of pigmeat increased due to strong import interests from China amid slow supply responses in Europe. High export availabilities from the United States underpinned bovine price weakness, while weakening import demand caused poultry values to drop.

» The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 157.3 points in August, down 8.9 points (5.4 percent) from July, the lowest level in a decade. The decline in August was largely the result of the continued depreciation of the currencies of Brazil and India against the US dollar.  As major exporters of sugar, shipments from Brazil and India become more competitive when their currencies weaken against the US dollar, which leads to increased supply of sugar in world markets. Concerns over production prospects in the EU and Asia, notably India and Indonesia, were not sufficient to offset the currency-induced downward pressure on international sugar prices.

* 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


Lallemand Announce Yeast Price Increases

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Lallemand announces a price increase to be effective October 1, 2018, or as current contracts expire, across all price zones, of 3.6 cents (US) a liquid pound (6 cents a pound compressed basis) on full tanker trucks of fresh cream yeast, 6 cents per pound on pallet quantities or greater of bag and block fresh compressed yeast and dry yeast prices will increase $0.20 per pound. In Canada, pricing will increase 10.2 cents (CDN) per kilogram on cream yeast (17 cents per kg. compressed equivalent) and 17 cents (CDN) per kg. on bag and block yeast. Dry yeast prices will also increase by $C 0.57per kilogram on an ex works basis.

Significant increases in inbound and outbound freight costs-and even the availability of carriers as well as increases in the cost of substrates due to the drought in Europe negatively affecting the sugar beet crop, as well as vitamins, packaging, labor costs and other ingredients make it necessary to implement this price change.

The pricing will be in effect until further notice as there are emerging inflationary cost increases in many areas.

Source: Lallemand


Zero-calorie sweetener to launch in December

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Amyris, Inc. will launch a sugarcane-derived, zero-calorie sweetener Dec. 3 at an invitation-only tasting event in New York. An independent panel has determined the sweetener is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).

“We’re pleased to bring a product to market that lets people enjoy all the goodness of the sweet taste without the calories and without the bitter aftertaste we’ve all come to know from other natural and artificial sweeteners,” said John Melo, president and chief executive officer of Emeryville-based Amyris, which develops and produces ingredients for the health and wellness, beauty, and flavors and fragrances market.

Mr. Melo also spoke about the sweetener during an Aug. 6 earnings call.

“We’ve confirmed with three of the world’s leading sweetener solution companies that we have the purest and best-performing zero-calorie natural sweetener product on the market,” he said at that time. “Over the next three years we have the most supply available and lowest cost performance of any high-purity natural sweetener product and now have our supply through the end of 2020 called for by four customers that are each leaders in their respective markets. This represents over $200 million of aggregate revenue for this period and over $80 million of non-GAAP gross marge in the contract phase with these four customers.”



ADM, Bunge Talks Advancing Quickly

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Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. is in advanced talks to acquire commodity trader Bunge Ltd., accelerating the pace of consolidation in the global grain-trading industry, according to people familiar with the matter.

ADM and Bunge, which has a market value of about $11.5 billion, could reach an agreement as early as this week, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The takeover talks are ongoing and could still fall apart, while other bidders could still be interested in acquiring Bunge, the people said. ADM is scheduled to announce full-year earnings on Tuesday.

Bunge, is the B in the so-called ABCD companies that dominate global agricultural trade, alongside ADM, Cargill Inc. and Louis Dreyfus Co. After several years of bumper crops, trading profits have fallen, prompting industry executives to talk of consolidation.

The potential ADM-Bunge deal may trigger a bidding war as Glencore Plc made an approach last year to Bunge about a merger with its own agriculture unit. While Glencore, which is partnering with Canadian pension funds, rarely gets in involved in competitive takeover battles, the commodity trader, led by Ivan Glasenberg, could try to trump ADM with a cash offer.

Bunge shares rose 4.3 percent to $82.01 at 9:48 a.m. in New York while ADM climbed 0.6 percent to $41.68. ADM, Bunge and Glencore declined to comment.

The takeover would also matter well beyond the tightly-knit world of agricultural traders. The companies buy crops across the planet — from soybean growers in Brazil to wheat farmers in Ukraine — and supply the world’s largest food companies such as Nestle SA and Kraft Heinz Co. A merger of two giants of American agriculture will also attract the attention of politicians across the bread-basket states of the Midwest.

An ADM merger with Bunge would probably face significant antitrust hurdles in the U.S. and perhaps in Brazil and China. To satisfy regulators, a deal would likely require the divestment of assets, such as silos and processing plants in North America, certain to attract interest from competitors.

ADM, which has a market value of about $23 billion, made a preliminary approach to Bunge in recent months, a person familiar with the matter said in January.

ADM’s approach came after Glencore raised the idea of a merger with Bunge last year. The Swiss-based company was rebuffed and signed a standstill agreement that prevents it making a hostile bid for the time being.

Bunge, based in the outskirts of New York, has struggled over the last year and a half. It cut profit guidance several times as large surpluses of wheat, corn and soybeans reduced trading opportunities. Soren Schroder, Bunge’s chief executive officer, said in July that clear overcapacity in the industry meant there was a need for consolidation.



Final countdown for iba international trade event in Munich

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With more than 1,300 exhibitors expected to visit Munich, Germany, for iba, this year’s event is attracting a huge level of interest. Neill Barston speaks exclusively to project manager Claudia Weidner

As project manager for iba, Claudia Weidner is well aware of the major logistical, technical and practical challenges arising from staging a major global industry trade fair.
The executive explains with great enthusiasm that this year’s event in Munich is coming together in timely fashion, after three years of preparation and painstaking research visiting key clients around the world.

Having originated in 1949, this key bakery and confectionery event held every three years, has grown to become a leading international showcase for industry equipment and processes, as well as proving a key hub for exchanging ideas and innovative practice.

For the last event in Germany in 2015, a total of 77,000 visitors came from well over 100 countries to examine the latest sector trends. With the bakery product market continuing to expand to an estimated $530 billion by 2023, there is anticipated to be strong demand for this year’s iba, taking place between 15-20 September. Its halls will be packed with a number of special features including virtual bakery tours, key topics including the to-go market, and a speaker’s corner addressing offering market insights.

With the six-day show attracting 1,350 exhibitors from the bakery and confectionery world ranged across 132,000 square metres of floor space, a considerable range and depth of innovation is anticipated across the fair.

Speaking exclusively to Confectionery Production, the project manager believed this year’s fair held particularly strong prospects. “Iba is a very special event as it serves all areas of the bakery trade, as well as confectionery – from small artisan businesses, through to some really large companies. One of the really remarkable things about it is that you can see all the machinery in action and smell the bread, rolls and other baked goods that are being made on the site. It gives the exhibitors the chance to show what they can do, which is something that visitors love too,” explained Weidner.

She added: “For us, the most exciting part of it all is when the doors first open and you can see what you’ve worked towards. It’s a very special occasion, as we work closely with the exhibitors, and for them this is the real opportunity to launch equipment to the world. It’s a melting pot of innovation – this is what makes it an important event,” explained the project manager of the Munich trade show.

New elements

Among the event’s brand new elements is the iba digital marketplace, an online service offering a complete guide to special activities and exhibitors participating in the show, which organisers believe will make a major difference to visitors’ planning –  Other new areas of interest include it’s iba to go hall (b3), which represents a first in combining snacks and baking innovations at a central point – in which the entire chain of snacks will be presented, from ingredients through to sustainable packaging.

Linked closely to this will be “iba Operate” a hall focusing directly on packaging and processing solutions – which will doubtless prove an especially popular zone of this year’s event.

“There is a real focus this time with the whole overall experience that visitors have, and we are trying to offer both them and those who are exhibiting the best chance to make contact. Through coming to the trade show we hope that it will show people how to offer them more creativity and show them what they can do to make further enhancements to their businesses,” explains the organiser, who said its teams had travelled to 50 countries around the world in order to help refine the event for 2018.
As she explained, one of the key elements has been the show’s series of special events and live demonstrations, which offer highly engaging experiences.

Major digital trends

According to the project manager, iba has remained at the forefront of highlighting major breaking trends within equipment and processes for the sector.
While many manufacturers are keeping relatively tight-lipped on precise details of equipment being launched in Munich, Weidner believed digital solutions addressing industry 4.0 requirements would be a signature theme.

In terms of equipment, visitors can expect a considerable focus on machinery that delivers greater levels of energy efficiency as part of ongoing sustainability developments from many manufacturers.

Claudia added; “Another of the biggest trends has been in digitalisation, which will play a huge part of IBA. This will be in a number of forms including through the speakers corner that is set to show what opportunities there are for digital developments and production optimisation, changing business models and improved use of social media, as well as looking at issues relating to point of sale.

There will also be a special day organised by the VDMA (German manufacturing association) on industry 4.0, with the packaging and labelling market being one of the areas of production that is already quite advanced with this,” added the project manager who felt that it was important that continual refinements to the show are made.
Having experienced the event for nearly a decade as a project manager, there must surely have been many challenges and changes over the years?

“The baking industry has changed significantly over the years. It appears there are less smaller companies around and it is the larger businesses that are more prominent, but we of course have a lot of smaller enterprises that are coming to visit the show, with many of them being quite specialised. That’s the really interesting thing about IBA, is that is a reflection of the market.

One of the most important drivers of the bakery market is now the ‘to-go’ category, which is why we have created a special area for this section at this year’s event. There are also increase in the vegan and market, and tapas style snacks which are part of this segment.”

Looking ahead

With the international event calendar offering many choices to those working within sector, iba’s project manager says it remains a challenge to maintain its position as a leader within the sector. But as she added, the organising team is already making headway on preparations for the following Iba in 2021, which will require considerable analysis of exhibitor and visitor feedback.

“I think the event is looking in really good shape – and have still been receiving applications, which are now unfortunately too late. But we have worked hard to gain input for the event – over the past three years we have travelled to 50 countries to gain input for the event from the whole of the baking community.”



Two nutrients invigorating bakery products

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Consumers are turning to functional foods to support their health and wellness, and digestive and immune health support are among the top fortified benefits they seek. For example, global food and beverage launches with digestive health-related claims grew 25% annually between 2012 and 2016, according to Innova Market Insights. Research by Global Data in 2015 also shows that improving immune function is a leading health concern among consumers.

Kerry Ingredients’ product range includes clean label solutions for extended shelf life, functional proteins, specialty enzymes, emulsifiers and texturants. Jordan Miller, content marketing manager, Kerry, said two of the nutritional solutions Kerry offers
— Wellmune and GanedenBC30 — deliver effective, science-backed digestive and immune health benefits to shoppers who are looking for functional foods.

Wellmune, a beta glucan extracted from a proprietary strain of baker’s yeast, is clinically proven to help strengthen the immune system.

“More than a dozen clinical studies have confirmed the safety and efficacy of this natural immune health ingredient, which is the perfect ingredient for a range of healthy baked goods including nutritional bars, crackers and baked snacks,” Mr. Miller said

GanedenBC30 (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086) is a spore-forming probiotic that’s extremely stable and remains viable even in the high-temperature processing environments found in industrial bakeries.

Probiotics have a reputation for being fragile, which is why they have traditionally been confined to chilled dairy products,” Mr. Miller said. “However, these healthy bacteria are now making inroads into the baked goods aisle.”

GanedenBC30 can deliver digestive health, immune health and protein utilization benefits in applications such as bread, cakes, pastries and cookies.

With the rapid rise in consumer demand for plant-based protein, Cargill, along with PURIS, the largest North American producer of pea protein, have signed a joint venture agreement to accelerate growth of sustainable and label-friendly plant-based foods.

“As consumers continue to look at better-for-you options, bakery is a great space to offer products with improved nutritional profiles,” said Paige Ties, senior technical service specialist, research and development, for Cargill.

For example, PURIS pea protein delivers 80% protein with a high-protein, digestibility-corrected amino acid score.

With PURIS, it’s possible to develop bakery products that achieve a “good source” claim for protein while still meeting consumers’ sensory expectations. Similarly, Cargill’s Oliggo-Fiber chicory root fiber offers a label-friendly option to incorporate more fiber into most any baked foods or snacks without affecting the taste or texture of the final product.

Bakers are realizing that these proteins can be incorporated in their final products with limited effects on taste or mouthfeel. Cosucra provides texturing solutions with pea protein isolate and native pea starch. The company’s pea protein, Pisane B9 is a functional pea protein isolate with optimized water-retention properties. Frank Truong, general manager, said Pisane B9 may be used for creating gluten-free bread with a crisp crust, moist crumb, protein-rich bars and crunchy biscuits that are both gluten-free and egg-free.

“Nastar, a functional native pea starch product of Cosucra, contains a high amount of amylose and has excellent gelling properties,” he said.

Consumer trends show that people can’t get enough protein but that they are also craving simple, yet nutritious, ingredients that add value to their favorite baked foods.



Hydrosol develops texturing systems to compensate

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Hydrosol technologists and scientists have developed a new line of sugar reduction solutions based on stabilizing and texturing systems. Innovation has determined the optimum interplay of individual components in various food products. The result is individual ingredient combinations for foods like yogurt, drinking yogurt, mixed milk drinks and pudding, as well as for fruity refreshing drinks, energy drinks, ketchup and plant-based whipping creams.

Sugar reduction in foods is a topic of great interest around the world. In Germany, retailers are advertising the lower sugar content of their house brands. In Great Britain, since April of this year, there has been a sugar tax on soft drinks. In other European as well as Latin American countries, nutrition traffic lights on packaging alert consumers to the sugar percentage in foods. In India, regulation to this effect is currently being finalized. Just yesterday we reported the results of a new study which showed that a majority of US consumers check for sugar content, while earlier this week a new study showed how dairy manufacturers were innovating to reduce sugar content in dairy products.

The main driver for all this activity is the ominous increase in obesity on all continents, that is increasingly being linked to high sugar consumption. It is, therefore, no surprise that the number of sugar-reduced or sugar-free products is growing rapidly around the world.

Soft drinks and dairy products are among the fastest-growing categories for new product activity, according to Innova Market Insights data. This growth is NPP is set to continue, as obesity is a key risk factor for cardiovascular diseases that are a major strain on healthcare systems, and more and more governments are devoting attention to the issue. The new need is “low sugar,” and new solutions from retailers and industry are in higher demand than ever.

And here is where the challenge lies. From a technological point of view sugar has many desirable properties. It binds water, acts as a preservative, and is very readily soluble. Most importantly, it gives products flavor, body, texture and a pleasant mouthfeel. Merely replacing sugar with intensive chemical sweeteners or alternative sweeteners is generally not a viable alternative for food manufacturers from a technical standpoint. Instead, they try to replicate the many functions of sucrose through combinations of other ingredients.

This is just what the new stabilizing and texturing systems from Hydrosol accomplish. “With our new stabilizing and texturing systems we can compensate for lower sugar content,” reports Katharina Schäfer, Product Manager Dairy & Deli Foods at Hydrosol. “The targeted combination of different individual components gives each product the desired qualities. Hydrocolloids and starch give stability, body and a pleasing texture, while special plant fibers improve mouthfeel.” A positive side effect is that if the fiber content is high enough, it can be marked on the product as an added health feature.

In terms of focus for the new systems, Schäfer notes to FoodIngredientsFirst that they will be particularly targeting dairy and deli food, beverages or vegan alternatives to dairy. “We see a demand for products that combine trends like plant-based products that are reduced in sugar and high in protein,” she adds.

In order to get the requisite sweetness, depending on customer wishes Hydrosol uses low-cost conventional sweeteners or raw materials like stevia, which has a positive image with consumers. Natural flavorings round out the flavor profile. “Our sister company OlbrichtArom even offers a ‘sugar booster,’ especially for sugar-reduced products. This natural flavoring amplifies the delicate sweetness in the final product without affecting its characteristic flavor,” explains Schäfer.

Hydrosol’s new functional systems enable different sugar contents as desired, from sugar-reduced to sugar-free. “A reduction by 30 to 50 percent is relatively easy for us to achieve in most products. We follow European food law,” says Schäfer. This states that foods and beverages can be labeled as “reduced sugar” if they have at least 30 percent less sugar than comparable products, as long as calorie content is not higher than comparable products. For labeling as “low sugar” the consistency is the determining factor. Solid foods like yogurt can contain no more than 5g sugar per 100g food. For milk beverages, soft drinks and other liquids the upper limit is 2.5g per 100ml. “Sugar-free” products may not exceed 0.5g sugar per 100g or 100ml.

In terms of specific technical considerations to keep in mind when applying these systems, she notes. “A reduction of sugar has influence on the dry mass of a product and this results in different product behavior. This is a reason why we need to work closely with our customers and can support in recipe formulation and technical adjustments on site,” she explains.

She notes that there is not one composition which is suitable for every kind of sugar reduction in products like e.g. yogurt. “Depending on the technical conditions like a homogenization step we need to adjust our blends individually for each customer. The complex mixtures can consist of stabilizing and texturing components or can be all-in-compounds which contain next to these ingredients, raw materials like flavorings and sweeteners,” Schäfer concludes.

Hydrosol GmbH & Co. KG headquartered in Ahrensburg near Hamburg, Germany, is a fast-growing international supplier of food stabilizers, with subsidiaries around the world. Its specialists develop and produce tailor-made stabilizer systems for dairy products, ice cream and desserts, delicatessen and ready meals, as well as meat, sausage and fish products. As a member of the independent, owner-operated Stern-Wywiol Gruppe with a total of twelve sister companies, Hydrosol can make use of many synergies.



Albert Adria, from the pastry chef of el Bulli to the owner of el Barri

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Your career started at el Bulli where you created desserts which became legendary. How did it happen that you decided to join your brother? And why did you decide the pastry section?

My carreer started when I was 15 years old, but it was only later that I fell in love with my work. My beginnings resemble so many similar stories: a kid that doesn’t feel at ease in school so his parents send him to work. However, at that time Ferran was already working at el Bulli for 2 years and joining my brother was the best option for me as a teenager. Before discovering pastry I went through all the different sections of the kitchen. I learnt all the basics of how a restaurant works. My crustacean allergy, which was stonger at the time, made me feel better in the dessert part, moreover in that area there were still more things to develop at that time.

Now you own important restaurants. Do you see yourself more as a cook or a patissier?

I always considered myself a cook, but it is incontestable that I worked as a patissier for 20 years. There is generally lower interest for the pastry section in the kitchen, which results in a lower level of desserts compared to the main courses (that’s really still a problem of many restaurants). That’s why I consider myself privileged seeing many youngsters willing to work with us.

For you, what is most fascinating about pastry and is there anything you dislike?

I am fascinated by the fact that contrary to the other kitchen disciplines where it all starts from a main ingredient and everything gravitates around it, the pastry work is really 3 dimensional – you start from zero to create something unique.
The thing I don’t like however is the actual situation of pastry work, where pastry chefs are treated like the poor brothers of the cooks, so it is really hard to gain some recognition. It is especially hard for the young pastry chefs who are very passionate and work hard towards building their career.

You are one of the most creative pastry chefs in the world. What is inspiring your creativity?

I think that in everything, in pastry as well as in savoury cooking, you have to be receptive all the time and always keep an open mind. The most important thing is that the subconscious is always alert and that any input can be transformed into a new idea.

If you had to express your pastry work in words, how would you describe it?

In pastry, like in cookery, there are always two words: humility and passion. For humility, I  am talking about being constantly aware that you don’t know everything, and for passion, to work 14 hours a day.

What about chocolate? How is your relationship with chocolate? How important it is in your desserts and how do you enjoy it best?

My relationship with chocolate is total. I suppose that for 95% of people, chocolate will always be the most requested dessert, as it covers the almost spiritual necessities. I have a great respect for chocolate desserts because working with chocolate is a full elaboration in itself and I think that even if it’s quite easy to make a good chocolate dessert it’s very difficult to make something different with chocolate.

If a young chef asked you to give him your best advice on chocolate, what would it be?

I would tell him for sure to go and learn from the best chefs, and thank God we have many of them in Spain. This is the key for the future. Learning from them means acquiring a solid base which is the key for the future.

What would be your “rules” for a perfect restaurant dessert? What would be the main thing you would be careful about when creating it?

I think that most important is to give as much weight to the dessert as to the savoury part. Leave a space in between for the customer to enjoy it.  Avoid desserts that are too high in calories and too filling. After a nice dinner it is not recommended to saturate the palate even more with sugar. Serve something light and delicious that makes a perfect finish to the special occasion.

What is your favourite dessert to eat and what type of desserts do you enjoy creating best?

I think using fruits of the season is my favourite. There is nothing better than creating a dessert with an excellent mango, pear, cherry…

Is there any type of dessert which you think is not gaining the attention it should deserve?

The genial stuff can’t be completely forgotten, but time flies by for everything, and for example, the coulant can be created in so many ways and  it will never go out of fasion.

What about ingredients? Are there any ingredients which fascinate you more than others or is there any ingredient which is still not explored enough by you?

Coconut and banana are products that I feel really comfortable with, however I think that there are still many fruits which I haven’t worked much with yet.

You have built a great collection of restaurants. How do you manage to handle all of them – even more because they are so different  from one another?

The basis is to have a strong team which shares values and visions, this we were taught by Ferran and Juli at el Bulli, and we also learnt that an aligned team is much stronger than whichever mind privileged individually. Without them I would have been nothing and what we have built over the past few years would mean nothing. The creativity, the logistics … everything follows the same philosophy and values that the team and I develop day by day. My role is to supervise, support, coordinate and guide the staff.

What are you working on at the moment?

At this moment I am completely absorbed by Enigma, which is the last restaurant I opened, and with which I am closing the circle of el Barri. Contrary to the others, that we can consider as my brother says “pret a porter gastronomy”, Enigma is meant to be without a declaration of intentions. I have an extraordinary team (all those who built the 41º which I closed in 2014) and I think that I can’t escape from who I am: I grew up in el Bulli as a professional and as a person, and even if we don’t want (nor can’t) compare ourselves to what el Bulli meant, we know the potential that we have and we know we are going to enjoy the journey. Where we are going to land…is yet to be seen …

Source & Image: Cacao Barry


Kraft Heinz and Oprah Winfrey Collaborate to Launch O, That’s Good! Frozen Pizza

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Pizza night just got even better. Oprah Winfrey, in collaboration with Kraft Heinz, today announced the expansion of O, That’s Good! with a new line of premium frozen pizzas. This launch is the third category from Mealtime Stories, LLC, the joint venture between Kraft Heinz and Oprah Winfrey, which released refrigerated soups and side dishes in 2017. The O, That’s Good! Brand was inspired by Oprah’s love for nutritious, great-tasting food.

O, That’s Good! Frozen Pizza is a delicious, convenient option for pizza night that the whole family will love. Each pizza is made with a nutritious twist; one third of the classic crust is made with cauliflower* but it’s so delicious you won’t taste the difference. The new line is also made with no artificial flavors or dyes.

“Pizza is a favorite, fun and easy food to share with family and friends,” said Winfrey. “I am always looking to add a nutritious twist to my foods, so we made part of the crust in my new pizza with cauliflower while maintaining that classic, cheesy pizza flavor you and your family love.”

“At Kraft Heinz, we understand that the trifecta of great taste, real ingredients and convenience in food options is nearly impossible to find,” said Christopher Urban, Head of Mealtime Stories at Kraft Heinz. “After the success of O, That’s Good! Refrigerated Soups and Sides, we wanted to bring excitement to the pizza category and give families even more delicious options to please everyone at the dinner table.”

Mealtime Stories will support O, That’s Good! Frozen Pizza with a robust 360 degree marketing campaign, including a new national TV ad featuring Ms. Winfrey.

O, That’s Good! Frozen Pizza (SRP: $6.99) is available in the frozen pizza aisle at grocery stores nationwide in four varieties: Pepperoni, Five Cheese, Supreme, and Fire Roasted Veggie. Along with pizza, the brand is extending its original line with four new refrigerated soups (SRP: $4.99) and sides (SRP: $4.49) with a nutritious twist: Chicken With White & Wild Rice Soup, Roasted Corn Chowder, Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli Cheddar Rice.

Ten percent of Mealtime Stories’ profits will be equally split between charitable organizations Rise Against Hunger and Feeding America to support the fight against hunger. The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation intends to make annual donations on behalf of Mealtime Stories to these charities until the joint venture becomes profitable.

For more information on O, That’s Good! offerings and where to buy, please visit

*Less than ½ cup vegetables per serving