This is the next in our series of Supply Side Innovators featured in our Bake Twentyfive issue. Each weekday, we will spotlight a new Supply Side Innovator that can help you create the flavors, textures, and designs your customers will love.

The pace of development will dictate a change in approach from stage gate to open innovation processes, according to Roger Daniels, vice president of research, development and innovation at Stratas Foods. Stage gate is structured and requires a systematic approach, which yields good results for the few ideas that are advanced to commercial reality. Open innovation, as it relates to Stratas, is one of “the last experiment firsts” achieved via enhanced collaboration earlier in the development cycle with customers to rapid prototype multiple ideas and approaches in achieving the optimal solution. “At Stratas, we see innovation progressing via utilization of both approaches with elements of hybridization ultimately coming forward as a means to balance the dynamics of risk/reward relative to the investment of innovation,” Daniels says.

Challenging your supplier through open and direct dialog is a critical component of achieving customized solutions that are realistic and timely, he says. The technology toolbox historically was based on variations on a theme of partially hydrogenated oils. This is no longer an option. In today’s world, Daniels adds, “we now find an evolution of the technology toolbox to a technologies toolbox.”

Stratas Foods employs utilization of special oil types, unique blending and flex crystallization technologies and specialized processes, such as enzyme interesterification in the drive to provide the baker with the customized shortening, margarine or oil that works in the desired application, holds up during distribution, and meets the discerning organoleptic and nutritional needs of the end consumer.

From Stratas’ perspective, in the post-PHO world, the new focus is on reducing saturated fats. “Now that we’ve solved the non-PHO baking issue, market demands for a shortening without hydrogenated fat on the label have increased,” Daniels says. “Products with lower saturated fats are the next big thing.”

Continued progression as a return to scratch like or home like baked products infused with optimizing the impact of the new normal shortening system as they influence the finished product functionality. The market space is intensely competitive and the manner in which a baker is able to achieve success is through customization. Stratas’ contributions to customization options are via innovation.

Understanding the what, how and why bakers require what they require as it relates shortenings, margarines and oils in their unique applications continues to be Stratas Foods’ innovation catalyst, Daniels says.

Fast facts

Stratas Foods’ research, development and innovation center is housed in Memphis, Tennessee. This facility is tasked with discovery tomorrow in terms of tomorrow’s bakery shortening, margarines and oils. It contains a fully functional pilot plant, applications kitchens and analytical laboratories to accelerate the concept to commercialization pathway that has and will be the constant in winning in the marketplace.

Stratas Foods has a robust portfolio and partnering early enables a collaborative approach that yields benefit in reducing time to market with the next bakery creation or signature item.