During the past year, the bakery sec- tor has been active in addressing key topics that have popped up in
And one of the most important involves
the sanitary design of equipment.
The old saying within the
bakery sector that everything
goes through a kill zone —
the oven — is no longer a
valid argument in addressing
the issue of sanitary design.
Equipment manufacturers and
bakers have a vested interest
on improving the old standard
as bakery has always lagged
behind other food sectors in
addressing sanitary design.
The previous standard,
which was the Baking
Industry Sanitation Standard
Committee (BISSC), had not
been changed or updated for
many years. Thankfully, bakers and equip-
ment manufacturers have come together
for a meeting of the minds. That has result-
ed in the ANSI Z50.2 Standard which is a
giant leap from the BISSC.
Many bakers did not respect the old
BISSC standard as valid, and discounted its
importance outside of a certificate on the
wall. Simply put, bakers realized BISSC had
worn out its welcome, and also saw the
writing on the wall with new FDA standards
and legislation being put forth.
Some, though, question if the standard
has gone far enough. Keep in mind the
new ANSI Standard, although it addresses
making equipment more accessible and
open for cleaning and inspection, is targeted for mostly dry cleaning such as airhose
blow off, vacuuming and wipe down.
Many of the larger bakery groups take a
further step by specifying the AMI (Meat)
and 3A (Dairy) Standards for equipment.
This is in part due to their Internal Risk
Management programs. More cleanable
and accessible equipment is more likely to
be cleaned properly and at a reduced labor
time. This is especially true for equipment
that meets wash-down standards. This
equipment also tends to be more robust
in build to handle the rigors of wash-down
and the use of detergents and sanitizers.
The debate of wash-down vs. dry clean
is ongoing, but many bakeries have already
made the move to a wash-down standard.
Many smaller bakers — and some larger ones — claim with lower bakery margins they cannot afford the cost of more
hygienic equipment. The old adage ”goes
through a kill zone” is not enough. What
about the raw frozen dough manufacturer,
and lines where they may produce both
a product with allergens and without, or
products/equipment conditions after the
oven? How do you balance what is the
best you can do for the consumer, from a
sanitary standpoint, to the low returns on
profit? These are valid points in addressing
if the ANSI Standard has gone far enough.
One issue that still needs to be
addressed is policing of the ANSI Standard
which, at this time, relies on self-inspection
and not a separate auditing body.
Another involves used equipment,
which is prevalent in the baking industry.
Although it can be said that used equipment may not meet the ANSI Standard,
the purchase of used, sub-standard sanitary
designed equipment is still rampant within
the industry. There seems to be a conflict
between self-auditing and the practice of
purchasing used sub-standard equipment.
The good news is the ANSI Standard is a
giant leap from the BISSC and is an evolving standard with a commitment to being
updated and amended over time.
The next big issue likely on the table is
producing or achieving a healthier product.
In the past few years, bakery has been
on the defensive to low-fat, low-sugar and
low-carb. Past attempts to address these
issues have met with limited success, with
taste being a main drawback.
Consumers are also becoming more
adept at reading labels. Some of the ingredients to replace sugars and fats don’t fare
as well in terms of taste and readability.
One of the attempts to address healthier
products consists of a compromise rather
than an ingredient change. More manufac-
turers are changing to portion control or
single-serve sizes. This is prevalent in the
side of bakery
such as cookies and
On the bread side of the business, you now see more whole
grain variations and organics as
an alternative to white bread. Also, the
consumption of flatbreads (pita, wraps,
tortillas, ethnic breads) is on the rise and
is a steady growth segment within bakery.
These breads are seen as healthier by the
consumer and do not sacrifice taste.
An offshoot to healthier products is the
hot topic of gluten-free. More people are
being diagnosed with Celiac Disease (
getting sick from gluten, prevalent in bakery
from wheat) or being gluten intolerant.
Most large bakeries have not attempted
to address this issue, as a separate facility,
free of wheat flour, is required to produce
gluten-free. Larger bakers do not see a
return, in terms of value, to produce gluten-free at this time based on total sales.
The gluten-free effort has been picked
up by smaller niche bakers, in dedicated
bakeries, using ancient grains which have
no gluten. By using these grains, taste and
handling become an issue. Bakers are still
working to achieve a better-tasting product
and are improving in terms of formulation.
Sweet gluten-free products are the easiest bakery segment to correct, by masking off flavors with sugar, eggs and other
ingredients. Bread will be a tougher segment to achieve a better-tasting product.
Good tasting or not, the product is still
needed. That is evident as demand for gluten-free products is growing. Once a family
member has been diagnosed with Celiac
or as gluten intolerant, the family generally tends to stick to gluten-free products
within the household instead of purchasing both gluten-free and standard bakery
products. One interesting point is that the
largest segment of people consuming gluten-free do not have Celiac or are not glu-ten-intolerant. They are people who deem
the product as healthier even though it is
priced higher than regular baked goods.
These are just some of the challenges
the bakery sector is looking to address. ◆
Bakery Sector Keeps
Rising With the Times
By Ken Hagedorn, Vice President of Sales, Naegele Inc.; Food Processing Suppliers Association Board of Directors