Top Baking Industry Executive Tells Wheat Producers High Quality Hard Red Winter Wheat Needed More Today Than EverThu, 05 Mar 2020 08:06:02 CST
Today’s modern bakeries require high quality wheat, often referred to in the industry as “high functionality” wheat to reflect the needed flour properties. That was the key message delivered to the southern plains wheat industry by Hayden Wands, vice president of Global Procurement and Commodities for Grupo Bimbo, the largest commercial bakery in the U.S.
I talked with Wands at the recent 2020 annual OGI conference in Edmond after his keynote presentation to the group.
Grupo Bimbo, with headquarters in Mexico, was founded in 1945 and about 20 years ago expanded into the U.S. market, buying such well-known brands as Sarah Lee and Mrs. Bairds.
Wands said efficiencies in the grain handling and baking industries have made it imperative to have high quality wheat.
We used to have 25-carload trains of wheat and now we are handling 100 carload trains with high speed loading and unloading, Wands said.
The technology on the baking side is even more dramatic where they have advanced from baking 70 loaves a minute to 150 loaves a minute.
This has moved the focus on value more than price.
It all has to do with the functionality and quality of the flour,” Wands said.
He adds the consumers are demanding fewer additivities so now the bakeries must rely more on the actual properties of the wheat flour.
He said they are interested in buying more hard red winter wheat, the kind we grow here in the High Plains, as opposed to the spring wheat, if they can find the right quality.
The industry is going to have to move towards a collaborative effort where the needed quality varieties can be grown, harvested, segregated, transported and stored all throughout the system.
Wands said he would prefer to pay a premium to the producer for high quality wheat.
It takes a village where we all work together, Wands said.
With U.S. wheat acres decreasing, Wands said we need to focus on producing quality rather than quantity, in order to compete in the global market.
To hear my complete interview with Hayden Wands, click on the LISTEN BAR below.
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