For companies to thrive in the food industry—or any industry, really—an eye toward what’s next is critical for survival and growth. Bay State Milling was founded way back in 1899, and we’ve always managed to adapt to changing tastes and conditions with that kind of forward thinking.
Quaker Bakery Brands, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer and marketer of breads, buns, rolls and pizza crusts serving the Upper Midwest, operates on the same principle. As a Bay State Milling customer since the mid-20th century, Quaker Bakery has always offered their customers the next big thing.
Today, both companies believe the next big thing lies in the evolution of wheat flour. That evolution has brought us sprouted wheat flour, specifically, BeneGrain Sprouted Wheat Flour.
“We believe healthy products are not a fad but a trend,” said Franz Hofmeister, President and CEO of Quaker Bakery Brands. “If one looks at flour as a continuum, the market started at white, then moved to wheat, then, whole grain. We believe in sprouted because its naturally sweet profile is superior to whole grain and because it will appeal to millennials and others seeking healthier alternatives.”
Quaker Bakery Production Manager Josh Wendt recalls that the ActivFit brand was created to exceed nutritional standards for the school lunch program. At the time, ActivFit was not sprouted, but they sought a greater differentiator when they expanded the line to retail.
“Sprouted was the next evolution in wheat so we decided to move the retail segment into a sprouted formulation instead,” said Wendt.
With the decision to formulate a line of sprouted breads, buns and rolls locked in, the Quaker team needed to choose between sprouted flour and sprouted mash. Some bakers use a mash process where the grains are soaked and immediately milled while still wet. According to Quaker Bakery’s research, the mash process is much harder to control, leading to variability in flavor, shelf life and nutritional benefits.
The BeneGrain sprouting process is built on precision, control and consistency. Our sprouting partners are forward-thinking malting experts, who have perfected the sprouting process. The end result is the same high-quality flour every time, which eliminates variability for Wendt and his production team.
“[Sprouted wheat] is vastly superior in performance as a flour and has better controls than most mashing operations,” said Wendt.
ActivFit is on trend and consistent, but it also holds the key to consumer’s stomachs—great taste.
“ActivFit sprouted breads and buns taste great even when not toasted,” Hofmeister said. “For many brands, even whole grain products, much less sprouted, need to be toasted to be liked.”
You can learn more about ActivFit sprouted breads and rolls at activfit.com.
If sprouted is a step on the evolutionary chart of wheat flour, then breads and rolls are the beginning of the evolution for sprouted products.
“As the market for sprouted develops, I believe it will move into additional categories beyond those we have introduced,” envisions Hofmeister.
The future is certainly wide open for innovative sprouted wheat-based products.
Learn more about the entire line of BeneGrain sprouted ingredients here.