Wheat trials begin for UK organic bread boost

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Organic bread, Bread, Wheat, Germany

Field and baking trials of new UK wheat crops are currently
underway, as part of a project to boost the country's organic bread
market.

The new 'Better Organic Bread' project, organised by the Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association Group (CCFRA), along with Defra and the Home Grown Cereals Association (CCFRA), was organised in response to the current low quality of wheat crops across the UK. CCFRA spokesperson Richard Stanley told BakeryAndSnacks.com that at the moment, manufacturers must import over 50 per cent of the wheat to be used in organic bread, due to the low protein quality of UK crops. "The protein should be about 13 per cent to make good bread but the minimum level of protein required is about 11 per cent,"​ Stanley said. "Much of the currentUKcrop fails to make the grade, and is only suitable for use in animal feed or biscuit making." ​ The CCFRA is particularly keen to focus on organic wheat as this has a higher market value in the bread sector, he added. As part of the project, scientists tested different growing methods, such as varying the level of nitrogen in the soil, on several wheat varieties including Amaretto, Fasan, Monsun, Paragon, Tybalt and Zebra. The research group will also carry out trials to measure the effect of changes to dough mixtures during the baking process. "This will provide guidelines for the bread making procedures required to obtain doughs with appropriate rheological properties for organic bread,"​ the CCFRA said. Initial results indicate that inoculating the preceding clover crop with the Rhizobium bacterium helps improve the crop, although the research body will release further findings once the trials are completed, Stanley said. Depending on the outcome of the trials, the CCFRA may represent the results at the trade show Cereals 2008. According to Mintel, breads and cereals in the organic sector showed a 19.1 per cent rise in the two years leading up to 2006, taking sales from £68m (€98m) to £81m (€117m). However, the UK Soil Association, a campaigning and certification organisation for organic food and farming, last year criticised the cereals industry for its reliance on imports for organic bakery products. Out of the finished products organic market, which was worth worth nearly £2bn in 2007 - up 22 per cent from the year before - bread trailed most other food categories in terms of provenance from the same country. An average of 66 per cent of the organic primary produce sold by the multiple retailers was sourced in the UK, led by meat (79 per cent sourced in the country), dairy and eggs (96 per cent) and vegetables (73 per cent).

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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