The fully integrated American multinational was founded in 1902, and operates over 270 plants and 420 crop procurement facilities worldwide, where cereal grains and oilseeds are processed into innovative plant-based products that support healthier living.
“We’re really excited because we are on this journey of evolution – beyond just an ingredient supplier – to be real baking solutions partner,” Paula LaBine, ADM’s marketing director for Milling & Starch told BakeryandSnacks at the recent IBIE in Las Vegas.
“This is about bringing leading edge innovations the baking space hasn’t seen before and combining it with our technical expertise.”
The company was showcasing three concepts designed to tackle the key global trends – from holistic wellbeing support, including physical and emotional wellness, to lifestyle diets, such as keto, gluten-free and flexitarian.
The Biotic Blueberry Apple Crisp Bar was made with plant proteins, prebiotic fibre, probiotics and postbiotics, “so it’s got the entire microbiome solution,” added Jeff Hodges, manager of Bakery, Snacks and Confections, Creation, Design & Development.
“It also heavily features our flavour ingredients, but also our wholesome ingredient solutions … and shows what is possible in other baked goods. So, even if you’re not a bar manufacturer – maybe cookies, muffins or something else – this solution will work across the industry.”
The second concept on the show floor was a Spicy Garlic Low Carb Cracker featuring culinary-inspired flavours, fibre, ancient grains and extra protein.
“This is unlike some of our other low carb solutions … heavily wheat-focused, but also bringing those same wholesome ingredients,” explained Hodges, adding it was created by the team at ADM’s New Jersey facility, which specialise in custom-built culinary bases for different applications.
Then there was the Expresso Black Bean Brownie Cookie with its whopping punch of caffeine from green coffee extract, for that “pick-me-up in the mid-afternoon.” It also incorporates pea protein, making it vegan and gluten-free.
Eye on future innovation
Hodges said these concepts were developed to showcase many of the different aspects of ADM’s portfolio.
The biotic protein bar contains pre-, post- and probiotics, “which is something that has been difficult for the baking industry in the past. With [ADM’s] recent acquisitions, we now have access to heat-stable probiotics ... allowing us to expand into the bakery space.”
The cookie showcases the company’s pulses portfolio – “I’ve actually been surprised at how well the beans have worked” – as does the cracker.
“All of these wholesome ingredients can be implemented in a wide variety of baking applications,” said Hodges.
Added LaBine, “Customers at the show have their eye on the future for innovation, but the really pressing challenges for them to address right now are rising costs, inflation and things like that. So, we know that it’s important that we aid our customers in addressing these challenges.”
She pointed to a case study to help a customer create a protein pancake cake mix. “The team was able to assess a variety of protein options for them and help select the right one that help them meet their cost parameters.”
Hodges added that currently, eggs are a big challenge for the baking industry, with in supply and cost.
“The team has been able to address this through various egg replacement options … but what I love about our portfolio is that we’re really able to, what we call, ‘replace, rebalance and rebuild’,” he said.
“So, there’s a whole range of substrates, proteins, flavour modulation … it isn’t about just one particular ingredient, it’s about a system tailored for their products.”
Industry-first carbon-neutral network
ADM’s recently achieved net carbon-neutral status for its US flour milling operations is an industry-first of its kind and scale.
“We have been supporting sustainable and regenerative agriculture programmes for a long time,” said LaBine, noting the company’s 22 US flour mills are net carbon neutral, attained through various climate-friendly strategies, such as renewable energy and carbon sequestration.
“Customers who buy our flour know it comes from a carbon neutral mill … [but are also supporting] regenerative agriculture projects that help us to incentivise its producers to implement low carbon practices. We can measure the carbon footprint – wheat to the flour – and then by implementing lower carbon practices at the farm level, we [have created a chain] all the way to the customer.”
Going forward, LaBine said it’s about doing much more than just custom blending of ingredients.
“We have this vast portfolio … but also the ability to blend these ingredients together to make it easy and turnkey in bakery; a space that we’re pursuing.”
Listen to the podcast to find out more about ADM’s cutting-edge concepts, its carbon neutral journey and its forecast of the key consumer trends of tomorrow.