“We believe that the future of bread is the past of bread; and the future is in sourdough,” Puratos CEO Daniel Malcorps said at the 2015 Puratos Taste Tomorrow event. “When we talk to consumers and ask them what type of bread they want to eat, they said ‘The good bread of old times.’”
Malcorps said sourdough had often been neglected by industry due to the length of time it would take to ferment and manufacture at scale. Now, there are other ways to boost sourdough’s productivity in manufacturing and he said it should be used to help improve the quality and creativity of breads.
The company is now keeping a “sourdough library,” where it collects different sourdough strains from across the world in an effort to “keep them alive forever.”
“We decided to protect the diversity of bread flavor thanks to this dough library,” he said, adding that each nation has historically seen the best type of bread as being from different regions, but the base ingredient has always been sourdough.
R&D across the world
Preparing a company for the future means spending money and time planning and researching. Malcorps told his company’s customers at the Taste Tomorrow event that Puratos is currently investing “twice as much as the industry” in research and development.
Puratos has seen much of the industry landscape change and knew it didn’t have the tools to move into the future, so they have invested in a €15m ($16.5m) lab in Europe and a $56m factory the US.
It won’t end for the company there, as Malcorps said “there’s no such thing as a global brand”. The company has plans to offer R&D labs across the world to create products that appeal to local consumers in each region of the world.
Finding and creating talent
Speaking with bakers across the world, Malcorps said the one thing nearly every profession said is missing in the industry is skilled, qualified labor. Puratos has the same problem, he said, so the company has invested in schools for bakers called Puratos University in Brazil and India.
“We train, in total 300 different kids every year,” Malcorps said. “We make them masters. It is something that is very important … Once they are in this business they have passion for it.”
Malcorps said the firm sees “huge potential” in young bakers across the world and hope to have at least two more schools open in the next year. He told the crowd of Puratos customers that they may eventually come to them to help get students placed in their bakery.
“It’s good for the market and on top of that, it makes it sustainable,” he said. “We are blessed to be in a growing market and I think we can do something better for a bakers’ market. We have all the tools. I’m very optimistic about what we’re going to do together.”