Danish enzymes maker Novozymes has invested in a new lab in Turkey to develop baking enzymes that help to prevent flatbreads traditionally eaten across the Middle East and Africa from going stale.
“If you buy a pita bread or tortilla, these breads they go stale quite quickly,” Andrew Fordyce, head of Novozymes food and beverage division, told Reuters.
“We can improve the shelf life so that they’re softer for a longer period of time.”
This type of bread goes stale when starch crystals begin to form, making it feel inelastic and hard. Novozymes will counter this with enzymes that produce a type of starch that is less likely to crystallize.
Fordyce said 20 percent of the bread in the Middle East and Africa region is actually thrown away due to its low shelf life.
Food waste is an issue globally, with the United Nations estimating that a third of food produced is not eaten.
The company is also exploring concepts to reduce the amount of sugar used in baking in emerging market countries in response to demand from their growing middle-classes for healthier options.
Novozymes will also expand its sales force in emerging markets, where the Danish company is seeking to boost sales to counter slower growth in its mature U.S. and Europe baking enzymes business.
“We see a lot of opportunities especially in the emerging markets where economies are rapidly growing, people’s wealth is increasing and they’re starting to expect higher standards,” Fordyce said.
Novozymes said on its website that for all relevant markets and applications it has products complying with kosher and halal requirements. Compliance with these requirements is certified by internationally recognized certification bodies.
The lab will open later this week. Novozymes did not give any financial details on the investment in the project.
Novozymes’ biggest rivals within baking enzymes are Dutch chemicals company DSM and DowDupont’s Danisco business.