Although bread is one of the few foods eaten in all countries, the consumers’ taste depends on local cultures: “In Eastern Europe and the Nordic countries, people appreciate high acidity and strong flavours, while in Asia, they prefer milder and sweeter breads. Then, in South America tastes vary greatly, requiring the use of several cereals,” says Benoit Demiselle. It’s a real challenge for Lesaffre employees! This is because some yeasts consume their substrate very quickly and do not leave time for bacteria to grow. Conversely, bacteria that produce a lot of acidity can harm the yeast. “We have to find the perfect symbiosis on the right substrate to produce sourdoughs that meet, as best as possible, our customers’ expectations,” he explains.
It is for this reason, to fully understand the local culture, that employees of the Baking Center™* regularly visit their customers. “By doing so, we can pinpoint what people prefer in terms of flavour, acidity, crispness, and sponginess,” says Zabukovec. Lesaffre employees then carry out sensory analyses on the bread products that are most popular with consumers. They break down and identify their specific aromatic characteristics, according to region, to create “a literal map of consumer expectations!” The expert regrets, however, that the sourdough-making processes of certain African and Asian ethnic groups are still greatly unknown. “There’s a real race against time that needs to be won before this knowledge disappears!”
A precious tradition that has lasted millennia, sourdough is still a relevant response to the major current trends of maintaining good health and pleasing the senses. And while ensuring its stability over time remains a real challenge for Lesaffre employees, it is nonetheless a real source of healthy rivalry within the teams, as well as a source of innovation, in order to constantly guarantee the satisfaction of all its customers.
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