During April 2014 a total of 47 participant from 12 different European countries filled out the online survey of the FLOURplus project. This survey was set up to identify requirements of the stakeholders to the FLOURplus process system. It was mainly focused on how bakery companies deal with quality variations of flour today and where they see a potential for improvement.

More than 80% of all participants consider the flour quality as at least a significant concern in their production (see figure 1).




Additionally, they indicate that variations in end product quality are attributable to variations of the flour. Over 60% of the participants experience this to a significant extend (see figure 2).



Already today, bakery companies do adapt their process parameters and their recipes to varying flour qualities. 70% of the participants indicate that they do it in a reactive way “if the final product is out of specification”. About 40% decide of process and recipe adaption due to “measurements of the semi-finished product” and only 30% do it already in a “predictive way, based on raw material data” (details see figure 3).

It is a core objective of FLOURplus to develop solutions that will allow process adaptation in a predictive way. This will lead to decrease the amount of products out of specification and increase resource efficiency. The ambition is, in this way, to create a high economic value for the European bakery business.



We also asked the stakeholders if they see a need for a more rational/systematic approach in process and recipe management. Over 75% of the participants agreed and see this need as well. In addition, 35% want to learn more from experience (details see figure 4). The FLOURplus system aims to address these expectations by providing a rational system for both in-company data analysis and know-how transfer at the level of the whole European bakery business.




In order to achieve low entrance barriers we asked the participants whether they are already use electronic systems to collect and analyse their raw material, process and product data. Half of the participants still acquire their data by manual input, but surprisingly already 30% have automatic interfaces (details see figure 5).

These results indicate that in one third of the participating stakeholders infrastructure to implement such a process system already exists.




The FLOURplus system will assess correlations between analytical data of the flour, process data and data of the final product. Even though 30-40% already evaluate correlations within their data set, the majority do not (see figure 6). Overall, 90% of the participants are interested in making such assessments (see figure 7).





  For the majority of the participants it makes sense to tackle the issue at a European level.



Over 60% in total are open to contribute to the development of the FLOURpower system by sharing their anonymised data (see figure 9). It is clear to the project consortium that internal company data are sensitive information and that a concept needs to be implemented that will preserve confidentiality at all times and let each company precisely decide which (meta) data they agree to share.




In total, we found that bakeries in Europe face several technical problems. One major issue is variation in flour quality and its influence on end product quality. Currently bakeries mainly react on variations during process and see a need for a more systematic approach. The participating stakeholders are open for new solutions and highly interested in building up correlation models relating flour quality, process and end product data.


The new FLOURplus system will tackle these problems and be a further building block for a strong European bakery business.