Research Day-Agro Food: Bakery and Flour Mills
July 23, 2019
In an effort to bridge the gap between Industry and Research, and within our work of the Scientific Platform, an initiative by IRI/ELCIM organized the Industry Research Day - AgroFood: Bakery and Flour Mills on Tuesday, July 23. During this half-day session, leading Lebanese Researchers presented on examples of AgroFood researches.
From NDU, Dr Christelle Bou-Mitri presented “Functional foods, packaging, labelling and claims: consumer insights and status”. From Balamand University, Dr Claudine Accary presented “Nutritional attributes, shelf life and sensory evaluation of soft bread with sun-dried tomato, quinoa and dried basil”.
During the second part of the session, researchers and industrials took part in a round table to discuss the needs of the industrials and researchers and how to better serve both of their interests. One of the questions raised had to do with new product creation: is it the market needs or the consumer demands that dictate the development of new products? It turned out that bakers are often requesting for specific recipes and state to flour mills their intended use of flours. Bakers follow international market trends while keeping in mind cost constraints to remain competitively priced and affordable for the market. We then tried to understand how bakers decide between flour mills and noted that the differences come from the quality of the wheat, the prices, the manufacturing process, the testing quality and the collaboration with bakeries to give them the quality they demand at the prices they want. One of the main problems for flour mills lies in the stability of the product: the wheat is not always the same quality at the different stages of the production process and during the different seasons of the year. Bakeries give flour mills standards to follow and flour mills try to reach them but it’s not always easy to reach those targets because the stability of the product varies. Some issues that bakeries face include the quality of the flour and the consistency of the product. They mainly compete by having proprietary recipes and trade secrets.
Though we have witnessed gaps between industrialists and academia, they are not insurmountable. The Scientific Platform was created to bridge the gap between industrials and researchers, to moderate the conversation and ease the communication between the two. The Scientific Platform will provide options for industrials to help them find researchers and direct them in the right direction. Today’s objective was to showcase research to industrials to start a conversation and begin to raise awareness. The next step will be to invite industrials from other sectors to present their problems so that researchers can help them find solutions as well as tackle the issues of IP and confidentiality.