The bakery lab – part of the company’s Collaboration Center which also features a culinary applications kitchen and labs for beverage, dairy and bar NPD – is now fully operational after nine months of construction and a small opening ceremony in August, 2014. The lab includes replicate equipment for a range of bakery styles, including commercial, artisanal and in-store.
Eric Bastian, vice president of R&D at Glanbia Nutritionals, said work in the bakery lab would be particularly focused on ancient grains.
“We acquired a specialty grains business in 2007 that includes flax and chia – the demand for such ancient grains is increasing, particularly in the bakery area. We needed the ability to produce prototypes using equipment that is similar to that used by our customers,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com.
He said the ability to produce prototypes for bakery manufacturers on similar equipment was a “huge advantage in reaching a commercial endpoint”.
“This facility allows us to work alongside our customers, as we have done in the past, to shorten new product cycle times and meet the needs of our customers more directly.”
Beyond ancient grains, the lab teams could also assist with high-fiber, gluten-free and clean label development.
Europe versus US?
Asked if there were different research and development needs between the US and Europe, Bastian said: “Bakery is quite different around the world and certainly the types of products produced for US markets don’t necessarily reflect the needs in Europe.”
He said shopping habits also differed. “I think most Europeans still want to buy products from the neighbourhood bakery rather than from a larger supermarket where bakery products are distributed from a more central location.”
However, he added that many club and retail stores in the US were increasingly implementing on-site bakeries.