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“Consumption of baked goods increased drastically over past 6-8 months”
Monday, 29 March, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Cargill India’s over three decade presence in the country focusses on refined oils, food ingredients, grain and oilseeds, cotton, animal nutrition, industrial specialties, and trade structured finance. Brands of edible oils such as NatureFresh, Gemini, Sweekar, Leonardo Olive Oil, Rath and Sunflower brand of hydrogenated fats are a household name today. Yet another is its wheat flour under the NatureFresh brand name having a B2C presence in India out of all countries. India is a market with multiple demands and needs and as a brand we have always believed in providing nothing but the best to our customer, said Piyush Patnaik, MD, Cargill’s Oils business in India, in an email interview with Nandita Vijay. Excerpts:

Give us perspective on the bakery industry, its growth and challenges.
The pandemic has led to several changes in food consumption patterns. For example, consumption of baked goods has increased drastically over the past six to eight months. Firstly, we have observed very high demand for baked items from the end-users of snacks and bakery items. Secondly, with home-baking culture is evolving at a very fast pace in our country and NatureFresh Professional Lite adds to the dexterity of homemade bakery products. We have also observed that post the pandemic, health, and hygiene are amongst the top priority for the consumers. Being a vegan fat, where most of the world is moving towards currently, it has an excellent melting profile which is lower than the body temperature making our product a preferred choice. Owing to this, we have also observed a drastic shift in consumer behaviour and increased demands of baked products that subsequently influences the trends in food production making it very critical for brands to launch products that qualify in consumer checklists without compromising on its premium quality and authenticity. One of key challenge that the industry continues to face is labour availability. Most of the bakery workers during the pandemic moved back to their hometowns and haven’t returned to work as yet. Because of which many bakers have had to compromise on the scale.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has seen a rise in demand for healthier products and alternatives. Comment.

We have witnessed a significant increase in in-home consumption and a subsequent focus on health, wellness and safety. Our products are already equipped to take care of these requirements, being not only fortified but having have products like Gemini Rice Bran oil and NatureFresh Acti Heart as part of our brand portfolio. These edible oils have specific health benefits such as NatureFresh Acti Heart, which focusses on heart health and Gemini Rice Bran Oil which is known for its cholesterol cutting properties. Even as far as our bakery customers and consumers go, we are seeing many of them opt for healthier fats lately, catering to this rising demand. We already have trans-fats- free solutions for cookies, cakes & breads and will soon launch a trans-fats-free solution for puffs as well.

Throw more light on the relaunch of NatureFresh Professional’s multispecialty fat lite for vegan baking.
India is a market with multiple demands and needs and as a brand we have always believed in providing nothing but the best to our customers. In line with our commitment towards our consumers, we relaunched the NatureFresh Multispecialty fat Lite. Lite is a multipurpose premium specialty fat which can be used to bake all types of prevalent applications like cookies, cakes, butter cream & also the exotic ones like Danish Pastry, Brownies, croissants, fudges,?etc. Currently, the fats which are being used by bakers are very single application centric and meant for one application i.e. a cake, cookie, or a puff. But this fat is capable of baking multiple applications, which a baker would love to have. The fat also takes the output of final bakes many notches higher in terms of mouthfeel, taste, texture, and?aroma along with a slight buttery note to it. ??

What are the kinds of new technological innovations adapted by your company to suit the growing needs of the consumer in the baking category?
NatureFresh Multispecialty fat Lite can be used for diverse and multipurpose applications. It not only enhances the finesse of the final product due to its premium quality, but also ensures even creaming & right consistency to the product. The low melting profile of the fat makes it suitable for many trending healthier applications like granola bars, gluten-free cookies, banana breads, etc. Currently, this is one such fat available in the country which delivers a subtle buttery flavour to the finished product. It is yellowish in colour, which gives golden brown finish to the end product.

Detail on your specialty portfolio and venture into baking space.
Our specialty portfolio consists of highly specialised products for majorly food companies whom we serve with customised solutions based on their product requirement, consumers and competition. These innovative oils and fats are created as per the needs of the different industries, to help their business grow. We leverage our extensive global portfolio and knowledge to help our customers create unique products that fill product pipelines and reduce time to market by connecting our diverse capabilities in understanding the pulse of consumers, markets, application expertise, risk management and refining. Bakery is a field where Cargill has ventured to analyse the industry’s shortcomings and manufacture products that make the baking experience seamless. To our customers in bakery manufacturing, we offer much more than high-quality ingredients. Being a leading name in global bakery business, we take pride in our offerings. Our deep knowledge of fats and oils, our global processes and capabilities and our broad portfolio of ingredients creates customised formulation solutions to meet end-consumer needs.

The company has positioned NatureFresh Professional, an innovation in the bakery space. Comment.
We are a leading manufacturer and marketer of bakery shortenings and margarines under the brand name NatureFresh Professional. NatureFresh Professional also provides the bakers with world’s most advanced research and development expertise. The product ensures excellent mouth-melting texture along with a promise of excellent flavour release. Its comprehensive range can be used for varied applications including kharis, puffs, donuts, biscuits, cookies, cream, cakes and more. Our formulation capabilities produce best croissants, Danish pastry, brownies and fudges. Moreover, the high-end premium applications like croissants, American spreadable cookies which were earlier possible only through butter, can now be made with a better outcome with NatureFresh Professional Lite.

Our Application Centre situated in Gurgaon is a unique facility where all analytical work is carried out in-house, by trained bakery chefs. The vision is to collaborate with the bakers, solve their problems on a day-to-day basis & uncover new opportunities for them through rapid delivery of nutritional, technical & regulatory support. It provides the ability to develop and scale up customer solutions with technical experts who convert their knowledge to value on process or new product development.
Through collaboration with our technical experts, customers can benefit from rapid delivery of concepts and prototypes for consumer projects and testing of products with new formulations. Our pilot testing-based product development delivers unique visual, taste, texture and appeal to your products.

Further, we have created a world-class facility ‘Bake Zone’ located within the premises of the Cargill office in Gurgaon to support growth of our partner bakers’ business to increase innovation and efficiency. It comprises The Master Chef Zone, Bakery and The Retail Counter. This facility adds value to every bakers’ innovation and efficiencies and at the same time constantly engages to enhance their skills and knowledge.

Now the Master Chef Zone is a medium to understand the real-life problem a baker faces while baking on daily basis. This zone will provide hands-on experience of difficult situations with proper guidance from expert in-house chefs of the brand.

The Baker is a state-of-the-art operational bakery that will be used for manufacturing baked products for all the corporate houses, multiplexes, café chains, etc. It is a beneficial medium for bakers which will help them understand the intricacies of large-scale production of baked products. The vision is to replicate a model bakery that serves as an ideal example for all the artisan bakery partners.

The Retail Counter / Café is an apt place to understand consumer requirements and current trends prevalent in a bakery on a real-time basis as the Café will be open for consumers, where innovative and new bakery goods will be available for consumer to taste as an endeavour to understand consumer behaviour. We created special retail counters at the lobby area of bake zone, which acts as a billing area for the various baked goods made by the chef team on a daily basis. We are trying to capture the real- time customer experience in terms of pricing standards, packaging of goods. This helps us in improving our system with a more realistic and consumer-oriented approach.
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