Processing innovation

Going back to go forward: Fedima opens debate on living, ancient bread leavening technique

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The world heritage sourdough library is housed at Puratos’ Centre for Bread Flavour, located in the Ardennes region of southern Belgium. Pic: GettyImages/leonori
The world heritage sourdough library is housed at Puratos’ Centre for Bread Flavour, located in the Ardennes region of southern Belgium. Pic: GettyImages/leonori

Related tags FEDIMA sourdough Fermentation Clean label Digestive health Health and wellness gluten intolerance Enzymes Mordor Intelligence

The Federation of European Manufacturers and Suppliers of Ingredients to the Bakery, Confectionary and Patisserie Industries (Fedima) has rolled out a month-long campaign to open debate and encourage curiosity around sourdough.

The campaign – launched with the release of the first in a series of videos​ and other informative tools on sourdough – is designed to enable the bakery sector capitalise on the growing resurgence of sourdough.

The fermentation process necessary to make this bread blends together several significant trends, including the skew towards healthier foods, the demand for natural products and a bigger focus on digestive health.

Fermentation naturally provides a clean label: it simply requires lactic acid bacteria, wild yeast and flour. The health benefits of fermentation are also widely accepted, with sourdough products packing a punch of enzymes, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics and vitamin B.

Sourdough is also highly digestible, helping consumers with yeast, wheat and gluten intolerances, and because it takes longer to digest, it helps to regulate blood sugar levels.

Not to be left out is its distinctive tangy, zesty flavour profile - particularly 'craved' by the younger generations - although variables like location, time, temperature and preferred technique can help bakers create a cornucopia of tastes.

Consumer confusion

Despite its trajectory growth – Mordor Intelligence projects the global market to register a 6.9% CAGR to 2020 – the concept is still widely misunderstood by consumers.

According to Fedima, a 2019 study carried out in nine European countries found  58% of the 5,000 respondents did not fully understand what sourdough is.

As such, the campaign aims to educate consumers on sourdough, providing information on how it is formed, its taste and history, and its value in baking traditions across Europe.

“This campaign will focus on informing consumers about sourdough in an engaging manner, providing details into many interesting characteristics of this ingredient. Our intention is to open up debate and encourage curiosity around sourdough throughout the coming months and years,”​ said Johan Sanders, president of Fedima.

Fedima represents more than 24,000 direct employees across 13 countries across Europe – representing approximately €1.5bn in annual turnover – working to support and grow the baked goods sector as a whole.

“Sourdough is an ingredient that has been part of European bread and baked goods traditions for thousands of years,” ​added Sanders.

“Through this campaign, Fedima hopes to highlight sourdough’s long and varied history, as well as its key characteristics and appeal to ensure this ingredient also has a bright future.”

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