At the Center of Innovation

Bakers looking to strengthen their tortillas, take products from freezer to oven or freshen up refrigerated breads need look no further than Caravan Ingredients. The Lenexa, Kan.-based company has built its reputation on providing bakeries — as well as snack food manufacturers — with solutions to various challenges, from creating the first bagel base to reducing the trans fat content in baked goods and their ingredients, and offering technical expertise for businesses large and small.
How does Caravan do it? First and foremost, the supplier’s Product Development Center (PDC), led by Dr. Rick Jackson, vice president of product development, focuses on quick turn-around for short-term projects. Meanwhile, Caravan’s Innovation Center (IC) looks at emerging technologies in baking and emulsifiers that could change the future of the milling, baking and food industries.
Both centers work together as needed, and projects often move between the two. To that end, the PDC will be relocating from Totowa, N.J., to Lenexa, sharing space with the IC. This move will increase communication and further Caravan’s efforts to advance research and development.
“Our Innovation Center consists mainly of the laboratories, which are innovation in themselves. There are no internal walls and no restrictions on utilities thanks to an elevated floor,” says Troy Boutte, director of the Innovation Center.
 “We recognize that the innovation needs of our customers will change over the years to come so we want a facility that can adapt both technically and physically,” he continues.
So far, technical innovations have included the introduction of new products such as Alpadim 2 HS, a high-diglyceride that’s being used as a major component in trans fat-free shortenings and margarines. Alpadim 2 HS can be labeled mono and diglyceride, yet it performs the same functions as fully hydrogenated cottonseed oil, rapeseed oil and expensive palm fractions.
Caravan featured two of its newest innovative developments at the recent International Baking Industry Exposition in Orlando. The ingredient company’s booth was front and center at the show, stopping many a baker with its new Fridge Soft and Straight2Bake technology.
For consumers who are sick of stale sandwiches, Fridge Soft might be the answer. The extended life dough conditioner provides anti-staling applications for refrigerated bakery goods and other products that require extreme resistance to staling. Breads treated with Fridge Soft remain fresh in the fridge for several days. This innovation is especially beneficial for the pre-prepared sandwiches that populate convenience stores, grab-and-go outlets and vending machines.
Customers interested in baking yeast-raised products directly from the freezer can turn to Straight2Bake, Caravan’s new family of freezer-to-oven dough conditioners, which includes a 4% powdered condition for manufacturing self-rising pizza shells. No proofing is required, but the finished product looks and tastes like a freshly spun dough. This is especially relevant to the onslaught of sandwich shops around the country adding pizza to their menu offerings. Unlike similar products on the market you can add Straight2Bake to any existing formula retaining the taste and texture you want but with the convenience of freezer-to-oven.
Caravan has been at the forefront of tortilla technology since the wrap went mainstream during the low-carb boom of 2004. It even has its own manufacturing line for testing tortillas. In response to the ever-growing popularity of tortillas as sandwich carriers, Caravan have developed Strong Tortilla, a 6% base that ensures cold roll-ability for great performance and taste. Strong Tortilla prevents two major obstacles in mass-produced wraps: sticking and tearing. The product contains 0 g. of trans fat per serving and requires no additional fat or shortening. It’s one of the few products available in paste form.
Yes, innovation is job one for Caravan Ingredients. With more than 100 years of experience as a supplier of variety breads, gourmet sweets, industrial ingredients, and nationwide technical support, this industry leader is only getting stronger.
Editor’s Note: Information for the above advertorial was provided by Caravan Ingredients. For more details about the company, visit .