Flashback to 2016 and the shift to healthier eating was accelerating.
Sustainable sourcing of ingredients was a hot topic, and so GrainCorp Foods set about creating a unique, plant-based edible oil fit for this new era in food production.
It was the start of a four-year development program, culminating in the launch this year of Pin and Peel, a plant-based baking blend that uses Australian non-GM canola and coconut oils sourced through the GrainCorp processing supply chain.
Bringing a sustainable edible oil to market involves deep and extensive testing, from flavour to performance in a production environment.
Quality and Innovation Manager Peter Lymberis and Technical Key Account Manager Peter Waddell were steering the program, combining advanced food science with real-world baking experience.
By 2017, they had chosen the oil sources they were going to work with.
“Non-GM canola was an easy decision because of its flexibility and high performance, sourced directly from growers across Victoria and southern New South Wales,” said Peter Lymberis, Quality and Innovation Manager.
“Plus, we had extensive experience with canola sourced through GrainCorp’s harvest supply chain, crushed at our facility in Numurkah, Victoria, and processed at our West Footscray plant in Melbourne.
“And by pairing with coconut, we introduced a quality oil traditionally associated with confectionery and high-end offers.”
As 2018 came around, the team was running internal baking trials, validating blends for their intended function in cakes, soft buns, frying, cookies and lamination.
Flavour was a huge focus and they ran countless trials with many blends to achieve the natural taste they were chasing.
This included customer validation trials outside Australia.
By the end of 2019, they had tested more than 200 flavours from around the world and trialled single and multiple blends, all in pursuit of that prized dairy flavour, pre- and post-baking.
Would it work in full-scale production?
Before conducting customer factory trials, countless tests were run at the West Footscray factory simulation plant.
The plant has the capacity to run prototype blends in a production environment, but on a smaller scale.
When Pin and Peel debuted at The Baking Industry Trade Show in Sydney in May 2021, it was the culmination of one of GrainCorp Foods’ most exhaustive R&D programs so far.
“Customer reaction has been extremely positive, and Pin and Peel is being used in many applications in out-of-home and retail offers, including shortbread, cookies, pastries and pies,” says Peter Lymberis.
“Pin and Peel has also made its way to international customers, where its unique blend and high quality finish are now on the way to becoming standards in the international baked goods market.”