Milling & Baking News - May 8, 2018 - 30
BAY STATE MILLING CO.
Bay State sees opening for
innovation in wheat flour
Levangie describes great potential in HealthSense high-fiber flour
ven as the company aggressively
has pursued non-wheat businesses
in recent years, Bay State Milling
Co. remains powerfully committed to
flour milling, said Peter F. Levangie, president and chief executive officer.
In fact, Bay State continues to probe the
flour milling business for opportunities
to add value, with a particular focus on
health and wellness.
In addition to organic wheat and whole
wheat flour, sprouted wheat (and other
sprouted grains) has been among products Bay State has been offering to satisfy
consumer interest in health and wellness.
Like whole wheat, sprouted wheat faces
"We have a line of sprouted ingredients that stretches across the entire product line, but has a strong focus on whole
wheat," he said. "A heavy emphasis of
ours is using sprouting grains to try to
improve the taste and performance of
whole wheat flour."
Mr. Levangie said flour from sprouted
wheat has a slightly sweeter flavor profile
than conventional whole wheat flour, but
he also offered a clear-eyed assessment of
both the positives of sprouted wheat as
well as impediments that could hold the
"It does have a sweeter taste, and there
are a few other performance benefits," he
said. "The challenge for that product line
is that the underlying health benefit is not
yet convincingly supported by science.
It's more of a perceived benefit."
He said Bay State is taking care not
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30 / May 8, 2018
Milling & Baking News
to claim beyond what scientific research
"Getting health claims is tough," he
said. "So, our focus is about it being a better whole wheat flour."
A second impediment for flour from
sprouted wheat is cost.
"The challenge is getting the cost-benefit right to scale," he said.
Beyond the challenges associated with
whole wheat flour and flour from sprouted wheat, Mr. Levangie said difficulties in
food ingredient innovation are heightened
by rapid shifts in consumer demand.
"The consumer is becoming more
fickle, dynamic, and brands and product
lines increasingly come and go," he said.
Considering these challenges and
thinking about opportunities in health
and wellness, Mr. Levangie said Bay State
is looking at what the company does as
millers at the most fundamental level.
"We express the intrinsic value of a
seed," he said. "That's what we do. We
process it so that it becomes more functional, more edible. But the real magic always starts in that seed, and so we have
become much more interested in taking
more responsibility for the seeds that are
actually producing the grain that we mill."
Efforts over the last 10 years around
innovation in flour milling have centered on two new initiatives, beginning
with increased collaboration with wheat
breeders. Acknowledging the milling
industry has a long history of working
with breeders, Mr. Levangie said Bay State
has become "more intentional" in seeking
desirable attributes in wheat varieties.
"The industry is much more focused
on that, too, which is great," he said.
Bay State has acquired germplasm it
hopes will lead to the development of
promising wheat varieties and in 2015
launched a small seed business, Fifth
Generation Seed, based in Yuma, Ariz.
(about 175 miles southwest of Tolleson,
where Bay State operates a flour mill).
Fifth Generation focuses on the development of grains, not only wheat, with
beneficial customer and consumer-centric
output traits such as baking performance,
nutrition, color and flavor for differentiated grain-based foods.
"We're learning a lot about wheat
breeding - what's possible, what's not
possible," Mr. Levangie said. "We're trying to use that to address all sorts of issues, better milling quality wheat, wheat
with better rheological characteristics,
enhanced flavor, better baking and then
arguably more nutritious wheat. We have
used a few varieties internally for wheat
blending to improve best-cost quality, but
it will be years before we see big impacts."
A more recent wheat milling initiative,
also highly innovative, appears to promise
a shorter timeline to commercialization.
The company in 2017 said it was joining
forces with Arista Cereal Technologies, a
partnership between the Commonwealth
Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia; the Grains
Research and Development Corp. of Australia, which funds grains industry research
and development; and Limagrain Céréales
Ingrédients, a farmer-owned cooperative
based in France that markets field seeds,
vegetable seed and cereal products. The
groups collaborated to develop a wheat
variety with 10 times more fiber within the
endosperm than what is in most wheat harvested today.
The new variety has amylose content
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