Nutrition needs innovation
Hunger, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight are the major issues today. Bühler addresses them and offers solutions for alternative protein sources and new lifestyle trends like gluten-free food.
Hunger, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight are the major issues we face when discussing the question of food. An estimated 840 million people suffer from hunger, and one third of the developing world’s population suffers from micronutrient deficiencies. At the same time, overweight remains a key issue for industrialized nations and is also becoming a serious problem for the developing world. On top of that, there are indications of a huge protein shortage. In fact, our calculations have shown that to feed the world's growing population we will require an additional 265 million tonnes of protein by 2050: an increase of around 50%.
Pulses = nutritious alternative with potential to help protein gap
Pulses are gluten-free, satiate, and are high in proteins, dietary fibers and micronutrients. Peas, beans, and lentils can be processed into protein-rich flours, pasta, snacks, and even meat substitutes. Another interesting application is pasta made from cereal grains and pulses: this particular combination of raw materials contains an optimum amount of essential amino acids. Bühler offers application centers worldwide where we work closely with our customers on new products with a strong emphasis on improving their nutritional profile.
In the medium to long term, however, the use of new raw materials that are not in competition for arable land is inevitable. Insects and algae especially stand out as high-grade sources of protein. For this reason, Bühler is working on using the potential of these alternative protein sources on an industrial scale to make food and feed.
Grain, food intolerances and lifestyle trends
Together with rice and maize, wheat stands as one of the basic staple foods today. It makes an important contribution in sustaining our ever-growing world population. In many cultures, wheat is central to each dining experience. We are convinced that wheat will remain an intimate part of our diets.
At the same time, our eating habits are increasingly influenced by real and perceived food intolerances and lifestyle trends. The health benefits of processed cereals have also been questioned increasingly by consumers in recent years. This opens up opportunities in other grains such as oats, millets, and quinoa. Bühler is helping the grain-processing industry to take advantage of new opportunities in this dynamic market environment.
No matter what the raw materials, Bühler can achieve top-quality processing results with practically any cereal, including wheat, spelt, rye, barley, oats, rice, corn and millet, pseudo-cereals such as quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat, and, finally, oilseeds like soy, chia, and sunflower. Every raw material, however, has its own specific properties and the processing stages must be precisely adapted to accommodate them. In the case of quinoa, oats, or millet, for example, the high fat content poses a challenge. To reduce it, millet, for instance, is additionally treated in a pearler. Our new Osiris vertical pearler, launched at the Bühler Networking Days, is a particularly hygienic and efficient way of achieving this.
We believe that providing more nutritious food will be paramount to nourish the growing world population. As we play along the value chain from field to fork and a big part of grain passes through our machines, we are convinced that we can and have to play an important role in achieving this goal.
This is a contribution from Nadina Müller, Group Expert and Nutrition Programme Manager at the Bühler Group.