Bakery and cereal derived products
In Europe, most of the cereal production is concentrated on 4 species: soft wheat, grain corn, barley and durum wheat. Other cereals grown and consumed in Europe include rice, oats, sorghum and rye.
Several food products, intermediate or finished, are derived from the processing of :
Durum wheat for the manufacture of pasta and couscous;
Soft wheat for the manufacture of bread products, pastries, pastries, cookies and breakfast cereals.
There are different product ranges for different sectors: bakery, pastry, animal feed, starch, baby food etc.
Europeans are looking to incorporate healthier options into their diets, including more ‘power ingredients’, such as fibre, grains, fruits and nuts, while cutting back on fat and sugar. Additionally, there is increased adoption of the plant-based diet, longer shelf life and frozen bakery products to avoid food waste.
In the European bread segment there is an increasing demand for bread containing whole grain, high in fibre, gluten-free, or healthy and fortified bread.
In the breakfast cereal category there is a rapid growth of the ready-to-cook market that includes products such as muesli, granola and other hot cereals (oats, oat bran, wheat bran, and porridge) especially the whole grain based, for healthy reasons.
Types of bakery and cereal derived products
The different types of cereal products :
- Cakes and Pastries with cereal base
- Breakfast cereals (ready to cook or ready to eat)
- Pasta and Couscous
- Baby food
One of the main differences between these products is the kind of wheat used to manufacture the product.
Tender wheat derivatives
Flour is the main product obtained after processing soft wheat. Different ranges are elaborated according to different sectors:
- Bakery and pastry products
- Bakery products: common breads, packaged breads (sandwich bread etc.), special breads (for hamburgers, kebabs, etc.);
- Viennese pastries: croissants, puff pastry, raisin bread, etc. ;
- Pastries: choux, chocolate éclairs, macarons, etc.
There is also a segmentation by technology (fresh and frozen; raw, precooked or cooked).
- Cookies, rusks and cakes
The industrial cookie, cookie and cake industry is divided into four segments:
- Dry bread-making includes in particular rusks (rusks, special toasted breads, breadcrumbs, etc.);
- Sweet cookies (with eggs, butter, etc.);
- Savoury cookies (excluding potato chips);
- Industrial cakes.
- Breakfast cereals
Hard wheat derivatives
Durum wheat is mainly used in the manufacture of semolina. These are used in the manufacture of dry pasta and couscous.
The rising demand of gluten-free, plant-based and more sustainable products is driving the change of wheat by other cereals like rice, corn, and also some legumes, seeds and other vegetables.
The challenges of the industry and the matrices
The challenges in terms of food safety in the cereal products sector mainly concern chemical risks (50%) with pesticides, allergens (21%) and physical risks (12%).
Bakery products tend to be low risk in terms of food safety as most ingredients are low moisture content, however depending on the kind of bakery product some potential growth of microorganisms could appear because of the increase of the availability of water (for example in the cooling process of bakery products or because the use of ingredients as meat products, egg, milk, cocoa). Another safety challenge is the presence of process contaminants such as acrylamide that needs to be controlled using the proper processing tools.
The use of several ingredients could pose a risk in case of ingredients with allergens and the possibility of cross contamination in the processing facilities.
Risk by matrix
In order to support the industry in its development, Mérieux NutriSciences offers a complete range of specific analyses for each type of matrix.
Cereal-based products are processed by different methods: drying, foddering, cooking-extrusion, kneading, etc. The safety of these products must be integrated throughout the different production processes (see diagrams).
Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs
Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers
Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 microbiological criteria for foodstuffs
Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 food additives (sweeteners, colourants,…)
Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 contaminants in foodstuffs
Regulation (EU) 2017/2158 Acrylamide
Countries’ regulations are in place in most of the EU countries.