Baking Management's first Healthy Baking Seminar proved successful as attendees engaged in an open dialogue with industry leaders about manufacturing healthful bakery foods. The standing room only event took place at the Anaheim Convention Center on March 17, in Anaheim, Calif.
"The Healthy Baking Seminar was one of those right on track seminars that provided an abundance of information that was presented in a clear, concise and meaningful fashion," Brian Jacobs, Tumaro's Gourmet Tortillas' vice president, said. "The seminar provided me with just the right ingredients and knowledge to create a new line of bakery products that I hope will meet the needs and demands of today's consumers."
More than 100 people packed into the crowded room to see several baking industry leaders speak about topics such as sourcing organic ingredients, baking with flaxseeds, omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oils and whole grain formulation. Lynn Gordon, French Meadow Bakery's founder, capped off the day's events with an in-depth look at her wholesale bakery.
The Healthy Baking Seminar served as a kick-off for Natural Products Expo West, which is the largest natural and organic products tradeshow in the world. This year's exhibition featured 2,590 exhibits and 38,000 attendees from 83 countries.
Baking industry trends
Keith Seiz, Baking Management's editor and associate publisher, kicked off the seminar with an overview of the healthful bakery foods market. Seiz began his presentation by explaining how fad diets, such as Atkins and South Beach, have spawned a new generation of healthful bakery foods.
"Although low-carbohydrate diets obviously hurt the baking industry, they also have made consumers more aware of food labels and the foods they eat," Seiz said. "This has created a wealth of opportunities for high-volume bakers to manufacture healthful bakery foods."
Seiz focused his presentation on two trends dominating the healthful bakery foods market: whole grains and functional breads. He illustrated these trends with examples of whole grain and functional bread offerings.
Omega-3s prove popular
Omega-3 fatty acids have made waves in the baking industry, and Healthy Baking Seminar attendees were treated to two presentations on this healthful fatty acid. Mary Ekman, Pizzey's Milling's general manager, USA, presented information on the formulation of bakery foods with flaxseeds, and Jennifer Berry, Ocean Nutrition Canada's sales manager of healthy ingredients, explained how to incorporate fish oils into bakery food formulas. Both flaxseeds and fish oils are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Berry's presentation focused on the challenges and benefits of formulating a product with omega-3 powder. Berry began her presentation with an eye-opening statistic from a 2003 Gallup poll that said 58% of consumers have a specific awareness of omega- 3 fatty acids, and 32% of consumers considered themselves deficient in the nutrient.
Next, Berry explained how to incorporate omega-3 powder into bakery food formulas without negatively impacting taste and appearance.
Ekman provided information on baking with flaxseeds. She discussed how products with flaxseeds can gain Food and Drug Administration health claims. She also informed attendees about the functional benefits of flaxseeds in low-carbohydrate and high-fiber bakery foods.
Whole grain challenges
The biggest trend in healthful bakery foods is whole grains, and Kirk O'Donnell, American Institute of Baking's vice president of education, gave step-by-step directions for manufacturing whole grain products. O'Donnell started his presentation with mixer challenges, including whole grain's intolerance to overmixing and the use of colder doughs and low mix speeds. O'Donnell also discussed whole grain's proofing and baking performances. Because whole grain products are denser than traditional bakery foods, they require longer proof and bake times, O'Donnell said.
French Meadow Bakery
Gordon ended Healthy Baking Seminar by detailing her bakery's operations. Gordon started French Meadow Bakery in her kitchen in 1985, and has presided over its growth into a wholesale bakery supplying breads, rolls and tortillas to natural foods stores and traditional super-markets nationwide.
Gordon focused her presentation on French Meadow Bakery's four functional breads: Women's Bread, Men's Bread, HealthSeed Spelt Bread and Hemp bread. Gordon discussed these formulas and explained how ingredients play a role in a healthful diet.
Baking Management's Healthy Baking Seminar provided the ideal outlet for bakers interested in this booming product category. Plans are already underway for next year's Healthy Baking Seminar, which will take place in Anaheim, Calif., in March. Information on the 2006 event will appear in Baking Management and on www.bakery-net.com in the near future.
On the scene
Jennifer Berry of Ocean Nutrition Canada.
Mary Ekman (right) of Pizzey's Milling informs attendees about the benefits of flaxseeds in bakery foods.
From left to right: Kirk O'Donnell, American Institute of Baking; and Keith Seiz, Baking Management.
Prescott Bergh (left) of CIRANDA Inc. speaks to attendees about organic baking.
Jim Hankes, Baking Management; and Kurt Kreuter, Ocean Nutrition Canada.
Dick Turanski (right) of Glory Bee Foods speak to an attendee.