With demand for wheat – and other commodity ingredients – at an all-time high, supply remains constrained and only growing in price due to the continued crisis in Ukraine. Many top food brands are putting innovation on hold - ensuring they shore up current market share. But what about growing share through new and renovated offerings - especially in an increasingly competitive landscape?
Bay State Milling, one of the country’s top grain millers, is working with brands, both big and small, to ensure their products are not just on-shelf but that they are also renovating existing and innovating new products. The secret is the company’s specialty ingredients, including HealthSense High-Fiber Wheat Flour and SowNaked protein-rich oats.
The ingredients offer brands health benefits that can’t be matched – at a stable price due to the company’s dedicated North American closed loop supply chains. The company’s innovative model insulates the ingredients’ price from market volatility, especially as the cost of commodity wheat and grains continue to fluctuate.
Bay State Milling’s chief executive officer Pete Levangie shares his thoughts with bake magazine on how they have driven innovation.
What are the current challenges in the wheat market?
Pete Levangie: It’s been an incredibly dynamic and volatile time. We are in the oat business, and there is a global oat shortage. And there are the ongoing supply constraints and inflationary impacts. We are in such a global system that all of these supply-chain disruptions have made wheat very expensive.
How is Bay State Milling navigating these issues, and how is it performing?
Pete Levangie: Bay State Milling is 123 years old and is the fourth largest miller in the North American market. For us, it is all about innovation. We continue to move forward with some exciting innovations.
What are areas of growth in the portfolio?
Pete Levangie: On the oats side, we have built significant inventory of SowNaked Oats. We have been able to offer supply assurance. There is a very distinct benefit in oat beverages, and that market continues to grow explosively.
How is HealthSense performing?
Pete Levangie: HealthSense is made from a unique, non-GMO variety of wheat that contains much more prebiotic fiber than traditional wheat. We are promoting HealthSense to the artisan baker. It has incredible benefits and puts our customers in a position to win. When we started building HealthSense 10 years ago, we knew we had to build some resilience in the supply chain. What we basically did is build enough inventory where we could have enough supply from one- to two-crop cycles.
Great companies don’t run their customers out of product. By design, we have built enough inventory to sustain some of these challenges. We are starting to promote our supply resilience and price stability. We are incredibly well positioned.
How is Flourish performing?
Pete Levangie: Flourish was launched in the spring of 2020 and is really a product designed to put HealthSense as a drop-in solution. It bakes phenomenally – it offers the best of both worlds. It is truly a wonderful product. The role of Flourish is for us to promote business-to-business (B2B) sales. It works in a lot of formats.
Flourish is the first all-purpose flour that’s a natural source of prebiotic fiber, to support good digestive and immune health, with all the great taste of traditional flour. Flourish contains five times more fiber than traditional all-purpose flour to help everyone get more of the fiber they need – and likely aren’t getting – everyday. Flourish is verified by the Non-GMO Project.