Rapid economic growth and an evolving demand for baked foods has put pressure on the Asian baking industry to quickly mature to meet consumer needs. This has required technical expertise in manufacturing and formulating as well as a labor force to support the industry.

“Ten years ago, there were only a limited number of overseas companies on the equipment and ingredient sides at the Bakery China shows,” said Christine Jiang, head of international marketing and sales, Bakery China Exhibitions Co. “Back then, foreign companies might have found it hard to start a business in China due to the limited market for bakery products.”

Today, all of that has changed.

“There is great demand for premium bakery ingredients, equipment, technologies and professionals,” she said. “That’s why every year at Bakery China, we see a growing number of overseas companies and even start-ups that want to open their bakery business in China.”

She expects that in the next five years, the Bakery China shows will be featuring more globalized and varied products, reflecting this continued growth.

India’s baking industry has seen a lot of growth in terms of incorporating automation; however, the country’s baking industry struggles with labor issues and lack of formulation expertise.

“This industry has seen the development of technological expertise and also tremendous entrepreneurial development,” said Raj Kapor, national convener, Indian Bakers Federation.

Today the industry uses automatic mixing and dough resting. Modern ovens with rotating racks, probes and microprocessor controls provide even bakes and precise control over temperature and humidity, he reported.

“This gives bakers unprecedented control over crust, browning and texture,” he said. “The new technology has resulted in safe and economic bakery products.”

However, ingredient sourcing and formulating knowledge is a place the Indian baking industry has room to grow. The country only has a few flour mills that supply specialty flours to bakers, and that will challenge the growth of this industry, said Mr. Kapor.

And like the North American baking industry, India struggles with workforce.

“During the past few years, the baking industry has been struggling to employ low-cost workers who are usually trained on the job,” he said. “The baking industry, especially small and micro bakeries, need to hire certified and skilled bakers to ensure quality and safe products. At the same time, it is necessary to train and certify bakers in order to alleviate the problem of a shortage.”

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has begun training food business operators through the Food Safety Training & Certification program.

“Each food business should have one food safety supervisor certified by FSSAI for every 25 food handlers,” Mr. Kapor explained. “This is increasing awareness among the industry.”

This article is an excerpt from the July 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Asia, click here.