Snack and bakery industry supply-chain dynamics have taken a prominent position in discussions over the past couple of years. Complications generally related to the American workforce, the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine have particularly exacerbated supply issues related to core ingredients used in snack and bakery products.
In order to gain some fresh perspective on the grain supply chain, we reached out to Pete Levangie, CEO, Bay State Milling.
Douglas J. Peckenpaugh: What is the current global grain sourcing situation?
The high prices and lack of supply have created a challenging market for wheat, and as a result, many companies have put new product innovation and renovations on hold, even though consumer demand is stronger than ever.
DJP: How can snack and bakery companies that use a high volume of grains like wheat build more stability into their grain sourcing dynamics?
PL: At Bay State Milling, we’ve worked to differentiate our offerings and have introduced novel ingredients that are grown in our dedicated North American closed-loop supply chains. As a result, we’re able to support our customers by offering them unique, nutrient-dense ingredients with a steady, resilient, supply chain.
In today’s climate, it’s important that companies understand their ingredient supplier’s approach to supply chain management. At Bay State Milling, we think beyond one crop cycle or singular geographic crop region to ensure that our ingredients—and our customers’ end products—are buffered from external factors like some of the geopolitical and environmental issues we’re seeing today.
This model also insulates the ingredients’ price from market volatility and allows brands to deliver on their promise of assurance to customers with a more nutritious offering.
DJP: What types of available grain ingredients can help snack and bakery companies jump-start new product innovation?
PL: We’ve been focusing on unique varietals, like high-amylose wheat, that can help propel innovation in snack and bakery applications.
This high-amylose wheat flour has been chosen by many leading brands as a key ingredient in their products. It’s low-carb, packed with prebiotics, and high in fiber—offering 10x the amount of fiber in traditional wheat flour, all with the same taste and texture you’d expect from refined wheat flour.
As the need for prebiotic fiber continues to be better understood and sought after by consumers—especially for its role in feeding the good bacteria in the gut to help support a balanced digestive system and better immune health—we anticipate high-amylose wheat flour fueling innovation among bakery and snack brands given its functional versatility and reliable sourcing.