Longer-lasting freshness can cut bakery waste

Research builds knowledge about how to keep a crispy crust and moist crumb

Bakery products contribute a lot to the 88 million tonnes of food waste in the EU each year.* In the UK alone, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has estimated that consumers throw away 24 million slices of bread every day.**

A main reason is staling. From a consumer and retailer point of view, pastries and bread are neither enjoyable nor saleable when they have lost their outer crispness or become dry on the inside.

At Lantmännen Unibake, we invest in research aimed at cutting waste by keeping bread and pastry products fresher for longer after baking.

Several routes to fresh-keeping

Our R&D teams work with several approaches to improved fresh-keeping. These include optimising raw materials and bakery processes and understanding the fundamental mechanisms that cause staling to occur.

In Denmark, our project manager Henrik Søe Larsen has led a study to control the crust quality of breakfast rolls, where crispness is key. 

We needed to understand why the level of crispiness fluctuates. During our work, we have looked at whether we could get a crisper crust using another flour type or by altering the baking temperature and time or by using more or less oven steam.

Understanding the mechanisms

Fundamental research carried out by Lantmännen R&D contributes valuable knowledge to this work. Here, projects have focused on water migration, for example – specifically, how to ensure that moisture evaporation from bread crumb does not soften the crust. 

Another R&D project, which is now being implemented at one of our bakeries in Belgium, has successfully tested a new technique for cooling par-baked baguettes. The tests have shown that the crust is significantly crisper and less flaky after the final baking.

Before long, customers will benefit from research that has come up with a way to delay dryness development in croissants.

Knowledge forum

“When we can get both improved crispiness and softness in the system, we have a much higher chance of reducing waste. Our goal is to do that without adding e-numbers,” says Christian Malmberg, food R&D project manager at Lantmännen.

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