“Despite a small decrease in recent years, the consumption level of bread in Turkey is excellent. Turkey’s consumption is three times more than the UK. I wish the UK consumed that much. However, the UK and the rest of Europe, there are concerns with diet and misinformation. In fact, I heard the same concern here in Turkey. Still, I wish to see British people consume just like Turkish people do. Recently, Turkey has become the leader country in bread consumption.”
Joseph Street, the President of the International Association of Plant Bakers
Joseph Street, the President of the International Association of Plant Bakers (AIBI), representing 75 percent of the world bakery business industry, spoke to BBM Magazine. Street worked as the Manager at Fine Lady Bakeries between 1990 and 2015. Spending 53 years in the bakery sector, Street acknowledged that he looks Turkey’s bread market with envy. AIBI President Joseph Street expressed that the industry has been negatively affected by the misinformation in recent years about the consumption of bread; he said that they are fighting against this problem all over the world. Street noted that AIBI would do more to fight against these misinformation based on more views rather than research. Street visited BBM Magazine’s fair stand and answered question on the bread market.
Mr. Joseph Street, where is the world industrial bakery sector going to? What kind of trends are there in the bakery sector?
In fact, it varies from country to country. In the UK, the closure of retail shops has been bottomed down. But the majority of retail shops are seen as take-away shops. It is a little bit different in other countries. According my experience, in Germany, there are other trends. I don’t think that these trends are replicated somewhere else. There is no global trend in bakery. I spent 53 years in this sector. We introduced different products and recipes. But I see these products and recipes all around the world. They are available in all sorts of places. When I think whether there is a global trend, I cannot say that there is. Each producer tries to come up with different products. But I don’t know what the future may bring.
What kind of changes do you see when you compare today with the past? Also, can you tell us about the global size of the industry?
When I compare, there are more bread being produced at industrial. A lot more. There are bigger bread producers in the UK. In Germany, there are bigger and bigger bakeries. In France, 25 percent of breads are produced in the industrial. It increase one percent every year. So I can say that the sector is shifting from small bakery plants to large industrial bakery systems. I do not want to give a figure about the size of the sector since I do not want to put out a number without reference to a document.
What would you say about the technology being used in the bakery sector and energy saving and efficiency?
I think that the bakers are making great efforts to use the energy well. In 1965, 10 years ago, when I was just entering this job, 10 workers were making XXXXX bread in an hour. But now seven workers can produce ten thousand breads in an hour. That started to change. With the development of technology, the bakery sector is constantly changing. There are big facilities in other European countries like the UK. I would image that energy saving is improved significantly over the time. This is inevitable anyway. The ovens are better now. There is better equipment. With different types of oven, we cook more quickly than the old one.
Do you think R&D studies in the sector are at a sufficient level?
Research and development processes in the main sector are continuing. The research and development of the additive materials industry is also continuing. Those who operate in this field should produce better things than their competitors. Work on additives, enzymes, developers is also ongoing. For this sector, human health is an essential. So I think that AR-GE should always be done. Additives manufacturers are also working on different things. They have to show that they are one step ahead of the others.
Where is the industrial bakery sector going? What difficulties does the industry face?
There are a lot of difficulties for our sector in the world in general. It also appears elsewhere. One of the problems is salt. Years ago, in Barcelona in 2001, this salt issue came again. This continues to be a problem. Health problems are also a separate problem. There is also food safety as well. In Europe these are solved by legislation and the European Commission’s directives. There is fad diet problem. There are people with weird diets. These issues appear all the time. I don’t know whether there is enough research on these diets. Some people are following certain diets. For example, some people do not eat bread. Because of the press, these diets seem to make sense.
What can be done against such misinformation?
As the International Association of Plant Bakers, we are trying to respond to such negative publications. As you hear today’s conference, people are trying to popularize bread because there is concern among suppliers, millers, additive producers and bakers. There is a decline in bread sales. There are attempts to popularize and make bread better. They are trying to get everyone together.
What is the role of Turkish companies in the global plant bakery sector?
Despite a small decrease in recent years, the consumption level of bread in Turkey is excellent. Turkey’s consumption is three times more than the UK. I wish the UK consume that much. However, the UK and the rest of Europe, people are concerned about diet and misinformation. In fact, I heard the same concern here in Turkey. Still, I wish to see British people consume just like Turkish people do. Recently, Turkey has become the leader country in bread consumption. It used to be the same level in Germany once.
What kind of studies does the International Association of Plant Bakers conduct for the sector’s future?
Our priority is to deal with the negative coverage of the press on the bread. By finding more members we aim to increase our voice. You read lots of things on the paper. You see big news on the paper, but you see small apology for these coverages later on. Much of this news is based on views, not on research.
How will we trust research studies?
It changes throughout the history. Fifty years, we gave salt tablets to bakeries since the ovens were hot. But now, we do not even put salt to breads. Now, this is recommended. I do not know what the recommendations will be after 50 years. We put salt in juicy waters that we gave to workers. Researches evolve and change. It is recommended not to use salt if you have high blood pressure. When I was making my breakfast, I saw breads with little salt added. People added more salt to these breads.
What kind of bread do you eat? So which one is your favorite bread?
Multi-grain breads are my favorites. When I bite, I like the taste of the different seeds of the mouth.
Can you inform us about the UK’s bread market?
In general, 80 per cent of the UK bread market is made up of businesses, 13 per cent are bakeries in retail shops, and 7 per cent are artisans / craftsmen. In the UK, the most important issue when people buy bread is its freshness. The market value of bread in the UK is 3.6 billion pounds ($ 5.2 billion) a year. Of this, 941 million pounds ($ 1.3 billion) is made up of products sold from artisan ovens, while 2 billion 700 million pounds (3 billion 820 million dollars) is made up of packaged breads.
Can you talk about the AIBI’s activities?
The AIBI is based in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. AIBI is a nongovernmental organization with 16 noble members consisting of national and large bread producers in Europe and beyond. The organization’s policies are determined by the board of directors, which is convened twice a year. AIBI represents 75 percent of bakery businesses. AIBI’s main priorities are; communication / training in the bread industry and issues related to bread at the political level, and awareness through the expansion of the AIBI position as authoritarian voice. Also, the AIBI conducts information management on general issues and problems, market researches and trend. We also provide lobbying and active support for legal issues related to the sector. We also deal with salt, origin, enzyme communication, acrylate regulation, labeling and food informing for consumers, processing aids, portion sizes, nutrition profiles, health declarations, allergies, freshness definitions and food wastes that are related to bread.