Supermarket Perimeter - December 2020 - 61

SPOTLIGHT

featuring these ingredients
have worked their way into the
center aisles and perimeters of
grocery stores.
" While the pandemic has
restricted travel, it has also
prompted consumers to seek
out exciting eating experiences,
international flavors and foods
they may have tried had they
been able to go on vacation, "
he said.

A new level of popularity
Artisan bread's ascent in
popularity began at least 15 years
ago, and has now reached a level
the category has never seen
before, said Rolf Tschenscher,
baking business development
manager for Lesaffre Corp.
" There are already indications
that commercialized bread isn't
as favored by consumers as
artisan bread, " Tschenscher said.
Part of it has to do with
ingredients - health-minded
shoppers, in particular, don't like
some of the unpronounceable
words they're more likely to
find on commercial bread.
Education is another reason for

artisan's rise, and the explosion
of social media has exponentially
increased the number of people
exposed to artisan breads, how
to make it, what's in it and other
information, Tschenscher said.
Organizations like the Bread
Bakers Guild, founded in 1993,
have also done a great job of
getting the word out, he added.
From a producer's point
of view, there are financial
advantages to expanding
your artisan bread portfolio,
Tschenscher said - namely,
higher margins.
" Today (artisan is)
more dominant than the
commercialized aisle, which is
shrinking, " he said. " And we're
also seeing, through social media,
an explosion due to pandemic
home baking of sourdough. "
Demand has gotten so
high during COVID, many
supermarkets have run out of
yeast, Tschenscher said.
Fortunately for commissaries,
third party kitchens and other
offsite suppliers of artisan breads
to supermarkets, technological
breakthroughs have made it

Lesaffre helps commissaries, central kitchens and other facilities where
baked goods are made scale up their production of artisan products
without sacrificing quality.

much easier for producers to turn
out artisan product efficiently
while not sacrificing quality,
Tschenscher said.
Thanks to new equipment,
there is now, he said, " the
capability to produce larger
amounts and supply local
supermarkets. "
And Tschenscher is optimistic
about the artisan industry's ability
to scale up even more to bring
artisan bread to more and more
Americans.
On a trip to his native
Germany, Tschenscher took
some Americans who manage
industrial bakeries on a tour of
what he called an " industrial
artisan " bakery.
" One of the visitors said,
'I cannot imagine this on a
large scale in North America,' "
Tschenscher recalled.
The manager of the German
bakery said " Yes, you can, " and
Tschenscher concurs.
" You just need to assign
a designated space. And
technology will help us get there. "
Lesaffre's recent investments in
its Cedar Rapids, Iowa, facilities,
including a recently opened
ingredients plant, shows the
company's commitment to
scaling artisan, Tschenscher said.
Lesaffre is doing everything
it can to get the word out
about how it can help bakers of
artisan breads.
" What not a lot of people
know is that Lesaffre offers the
biggest assortment sourdoughs.
We make starters, in powder
and liquid form, and active
sourdoughs without the use of
commercialized yeast. "
First launched in Europe, these
and other products are now
finding homes in North American
markets.
Commissaries, central kitchens
and other offsite facilities that
supply retail grocers are doing an

supermarketperimeter.com

excellent job with artisan bread,
and their presence is growing,
Tschenscher said.
For many such facilities,
however, adding artisan can be a
steep learning curve.
" It comes with challenges, "
he said. " It requires lot of skills
and time to make sourdoughs.
Fermentation tanks, other
equipment, refreshing on a
regular basis. "
Lesaffre offers significant
support to help commissarybased and all artisan bakers find
the right way to produce good
sourdoughs bread with the right
equipment.
" We support them to take the
next step. "
The future for artisan is bright,
Tschenscher said. Even with
the success of the gluten-free
movement, bread is " in " again.
" Gluten-free is still very strong,
but even there, we're seeing
a big increase in gluten-free
sourdoughs and will continue to
see more and more of those. "
From baby boomers on down,
the demand for higher quality
bread is strong, Tschenscher
said. What's happened with
microbrews, chocolatiers and
other higher-end food and
beverage makers is happening
with bread.
And after the pandemic,
when home bakers go back to
work, they'll still crave those
artisan breads they made during
quarantine. Many won't have
the time to keep baking them;
instead, they'll start buying
them at their local grocery store
or bakery.
" We will see chains come
up with better quality breads
than they have in past, "
Tschenscher said. " It's a very
strong movement, to go back to
exploring new foods, whether
artisan breads or craft beers or
the butcher, or pastry products. "
DECEMBER 2020 - 61


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Supermarket Perimeter - December 2020

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