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Marketing, Processing and Utilization

Challenges and solutions to scale up OFSP puree for bread making

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    • #12362
      Ganiyat Olatunde

      Dear Colleagues,

      We are delighted to invite you to an online discussion “Challenges and solutions to scale-up orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) puree in bread making”. Please read the background information and answer the discussions questions below. Please do not hesitate to provide additional comments.


      Brief context for the discussion forum

      The possibility of utilizing orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) puree in baked products particularly bread has been demonstrated and reported at SPHI Marketing, Processing and Utilization (MPU) Community-of-Practice (CoP) meetings. Some of the advantages that have been highlighted particularly when compared to bread containing OFSP flour include bread with improved beta-carotene content, better loaf properties such as texture and volume, as well as consumer sensory acceptance of colour and taste. Other advantages include cost savings on wheat flour, and energy savings involved in drying OFSP to the flour. You will agree with me that not much of these reports have been published in journals available online.  In spite of the potentials of using OFSP puree, the uptake of this technology by commercial bakers has not been encouraging. Two major challenges that have been identified are (1) non-availability of OFSP puree in ready-to-use form and (2) difficulty of storage with respect to retaining its quality over a minimum period of at least 6 months.


      Discussion questions:

      1. Awareness about OFSP puree as an important ingredient in bread making.

      * Is there enough information about level of awareness of OFSP puree as an important ingredient in bread making particularly amongst commercial bakers?

      *Is there a need to document current level of awareness in each of the Sub-Saharan regions of Africa where Sweetpotato Support Platforms (SSPs) operate (probably via a baseline survey/rapid appraisal)?


      1. Availability and Technology for production and storage of OFSP puree.

      * Is the definition of OFSP puree clear with respect to its properties? Is there a need to establish a standard for this ingredient with respect to range of characteristics/properties? Is yes, please specify.

      *Is OFSP puree readily available in your country (or any other country in the world) on a commercial level? If yes, kindly provide information about brand and manufacturer, package type and size, etc.

      * What appropriate technology is available for production of OFSP puree (bearing in mind availability, affordability/cost effectiveness, ease of operation/maintenance  etc.)

      * What appropriate technology is available for storage of OFSP puree for up to at least 3 months (also bear in mind a technology that does not require refrigeration or frozen storage, etc)


      1. Challenges militating against use of OFSP puree in breadmaking by commercial bakers

      *Do you agree with the identified challenges? Are there other challenges which need consideration? If yes, please specify.

      *Do you think bakers should take up the additional responsibility of producing OFSP puree (bearing in mind implications on cost of production of the final product- bread)?

      *Do you suggest there should be separate enterprises that should be encouraged to focus on production of OFSP puree alone for final end-users)?

      *What will motivate commercial bakers to take up this technology in spite of the identified challenges?


      1. Solutions

                  *Kindly suggest solutions with respect to programmes for implementation to overcome challenges and increase widespread utilization of OFSP in bread making.


      Note: Please share links, scientific papers and/or documents to enrich your answers.

    • #12370
      Roland Brouwer

      SUSTAIN Mozambique is still in an early phase with regard to puree (and bread) production as we focused initially on juice and biscuits. As the local currency has plummeted against he dollar wheat imports have become more expensive and the substitution of wheat by other locally produced ingredients economically more attractive, we will now start. This month we will work with one bakery outside Maputo city in Manhiça, 70 km north of Maputo City (the capital). At the same time we are looking at opportunities in Central Mozambique.
      Prior to our activities we had a feasibility study carried out for the central region. Mutatis mutandii this study is also useful to understand some of the dilemmas in other parts of the country.
      Issues that came up during this study:
      – Low consumption of bread: On the average people eat only 8 buns per person per month (this outside the provincial capital)
      – High costs of investment compared to revenue: If one would do the full package IR is 30% and break even is only achieved after five years assuming interest at 0%. For a commercial invest this is not very attractive as interest is 15%. This means that OFSP puree and berad making can only take off with a subsidy and a scaling up outside a project context is very unlikely
      – Will there be demand? People prefer dry white Portuguese style buns and not so much the sweeter loafs. Application in a yellow sweeter bun called “arrofada” may be a better strategy than using it in normal bread.
      – Small number of capable entrepreneurs. During the feasibility study which covered five towns and cities only three entrepreneurs were identified as having a sufficient basis to start OFSP production.
      – Will there be supply: we estimate that the expansion of OFSP achieved under SUSTAIN should be able to sustain modest bread production and expect that if the demand goes up production will follow.
      It is early to extract any lessons from this, but it is clear that the study shows that OFSP puree and bread production is not so easy and that there are considerable risks. Hopefully over a few months we are able to provide a better assessment of the causes of success (or failure) for a bakery in southern Mozambique.
      PS. There have been efforts (many) to introduce cassava in bread making. Apparently in Maputo only one bakery produces bread using cassava. Even the use of other cereals (rye, maize) has proven very limited and reaches only a very small segment of the market. This is another cautionary statement as to the difficulties of changing bread production in a sustainable manner.

    • #12423
      Tawanda Muzhingi

      I think this is an important subject to address the uptake of OFSP puree for bakery applications in SSA and beyond. I would like to hear from our colleague Mr Antonio Magnaghi and get his opinions from a technical and private sector perspective.

      • #12424
        Tawanda Muzhingi

        Thanks Roland for the detailed information about Mozambique and SUSTAIN activities. Can you please address the questions from private sector partners about the costing of OFSP puree versus wheat flour and how they see the cost benefits of using OFSP puree?

    • #12548

      Thanks Roland and Tawanda for starting the discussion.

      In Ghana, I would dare to say the puree-for-bread, I have named it, Vitabread, is really catching up, and may have huge potential to sustain the OFSP for health and wealth agenda. I brought someone from Accra, the capital of Ghana, and trained him at a local bakery in the North. He is now baking in Accra, and is supplying a big shopping centre in Accra.

      We were also privilege to have Tawanda and Antonio in Ghana to train more bakers in Accra. Afterwards, I have had calls from 3 bakers, and I know others are contacting our sole commercial OFSP root distributor, Mr. Darkey, in Accra. This suggest that the baking with puree is making good business.

      However, production of puree by bakers would make the bread baking cumbersome. I would suggest we promote the puree making as a separate business.

      For for puree characterisation, I think the variables to control are too numerous, thus difficult to standardised. Variety, type of cooking (wet, dry or steam), equipment for the puree, etc.

      I think one of the challenges we should consider in countries where the acceptability of the OFSP-based bread is high, is to get standards set for it.

      I fully support Tawanda’s approach, let’s talk to private businesses for promotion of the puree-for-bread agenda.

    • #12666

      I would also suggest in promoting the bread, we use it nutritional value for promotion.

      For example, the recipes I have developed in Ghana, do not require using sugar as an ingredient. So adding “no sugar” added to the bread label, would really catch the eye of consumers.

      Secondly, we need to carry glycaemic response after consuming the bread, so we can give a specific GI value.

      I think if we do these, the demand of the OFSP-bread would be high, and it it would have create a market-up for the roots. And this may sustain the other value chains: vine production, root product (stagger planting), commercial root storage, fresh root market, etc.

      Let’s use nutrition to drive the puree in bread baking.

    • #12681
      Tawanda Muzhingi

      Hi Francis

      I am happy that you have a sugar free recipe developed for the Vita bread in Ghana. From a marketing perspective it makes a lot os sense to market the OFSP puree bread as a healthier alternative from a calorific standard point. However, I would like to suggest that we don’t make this a requirement for the the OFSP puree bread because as you know the bread taste profiles differ by country, by region, education , economic status etc., . Sugar is normally added to bread recipes to enhance the flavor and taste of the bread. So if we want to be have a product that is marketable and competitive, it has to match or beat the standard bread for taste, texture and of course nutrition. Like you said we can do studies on glycemic index of OFSP puree bread and highlight this fact for marketing. There are lots of nutritional benefits of the OFSP puree bread such as the vitamin A, carotenoids, antioxidants, fiber, phytonutrients and minerals that we hammer around without joining the calorie fight bandwagon. Lets fight soft drink and candy companies on that..(joke)

      I would also like to stress that unless we open our own bakeries we do not have much say in the bread recipe formulation. We work with our private sector partners whom we encourage to adopt OFSP puree for baking. They in turn will adjust the recipe to meet their own productions, traditions and consumer expectations. So I am not against the sugar free OFSP bread, its a good nutrition message but we also should consider the final ender user preference and the business case for the bakers.


    • #12684

      Good points Tawanda.

      In Ghana, the “no added suagr” is catching up. But I know where sugar is included, it is at a lower proportion than the usual, so we can consider, “low sugar added” on our label.

      Yes, we need our own bakeries, but till we get them, we can work through existing commercial bakeries. This was the approach I focussed on in Ghana. Difficult though!

      I am in for the fight against the soft drink and the candy industries, lol.

    • #12761
      Jean Pankuku

      In Malawi, we have done quite a number of trials with OFSP Puree and the results have been very positive in bread with one two bakeries so far. with one bakery, we have gone as far commercializing the bread as we provide the puree. However, I agree with the challenges given in the introduction of this topic – lack of proper storage facilities and standardized packages. we currently have to supply on a daily basis, but this has a limitation of supplying to distance bakeries. When frozen, the puree keeps longer, but that also makes it difficult to use it immediately when needed. In Malawi, we have also noticed differences in the puree quality with different OFSP varieties. This then means that some minor adjustments have to be made during bread making every time the puree is processed from a different variety to ensure that at least the bread quality and specs are maintained.

    • #12774

      Good to hear another positive result of OFSP puree and bread. Can we also consider it by using when in season, at least for now?

      Jean, how do you use the frozen puree? From the thawing to the mixing. I am yet to try this out, but it looks like that is the way to go.

      How long can you keep it frozen?

    • #12964
      Ganiyat Olatunde

      Thank you all for the contributions so far. Obviously this is a very interesting topic, but beyond this, from the contributions to date, I see prospects for bread making from OFSP Puree. The journey to success (commercial uptake by bakers due to profit advantage and big time consumer demand due to health benefits) may seem far, and the pace slow at the moment, but I for see a success story ahead.

      Compared to SUSTAIN in Mozambique:
      *Nigerian currency (Naira) is experiencing her worst against the US Dollar at between N350-N400 to 1USD. This of course has led to an increase in the price of imports particularly wheat flour and of course bread. A bag of 50kg flour now sells for N10,500 as against N7,000 about 6 months ago. This I feel should make bakers look inwards and consider local substitutes OFSP puree may have a chance here……but then awareness has to be created about this option, coupled with information about profit and health benefits.
      *Bread is a major staple food in Nigeria, consumed in every household by every age group and social class, on a daily basis. With the vast population of Nigeria ( approx. 180 million), bread business is a sure income-generator for investors. This is evident in the bread production sector being shared among Nigerians (local bakeries, fast food outlets, hotels, etc) and Chinese. Also with a variety of bread being offered to consumers, OFSP-puree bread has a chance not only as an additional variety, but of course a premium, on the basis of health benefits
      *It would be good to conduct a feasibility survey with bakers within a small region in our various countries and compare notes.
      *I agree it is easier to work with bakers in towns outside the major cities for a start and if the story is convincing, naturally bakers in cities with join (just like the Ghana case). I think we should all do this and we compare outcomes.
      *We look forward to the outcome from the partner bakery in Southern Mozambique
      *Thanks once again, Roland

    • #13750
      Ganiyat Olatunde

      Dear participants, I am sorry I couldn’t continue with the moderation since my last post. I was faced with a terrible life challenge which need not be made public.

      This discussion is supposed to have ended by 30th September and I am supposed to have submitted my report by now (mid October).

      I am aware that the 3rd discussion topic have been launched by Sarah.

      However, I am seeking the permission of CoP-MPU leaders to allow this 2nd discussion to run till end of October, alongside the current (3rd) discussion. I have some posts (shortly) which I will like participants to respond to in order for me to prepare my final report.

    • #13755

      Dear Ganiyat,

      Good to hear from you again, and to know you are doing well.

      We are on the next discussion, so just summarise what you moderated. We are ok with the discussion.


    • #13759
      Tawanda Muzhingi

      Dear Colleagues

      Its good to hear from Ganiyat. I am excited about the just ended SPHI meeting in Addis Ababa. Lets congratulate Dr Francis Kweku Amagloh for becoming a member of the Africa Potato Association (APA) council. Lets hope APA, will come to Ghana after Rwanda.

      I am a believer in OFSP puree bread. We have a high quality product that hasn’t reached the western markets yet. We have a product and technology that western countries can adopt from SSA. One of the biggest challenges of OFSP puree utilization is many countries is guaranteeing supply of OFSP fresh roots to meet the demand for the bread. Another important challenges is proving or demonstrating the profitability of substituting wheat flour with OFSP puree. Most bakers have a hard time seeing the numbers. Making bread with wheat flour produces X pieces of bread loaves, when you use OFSP puree the size and quantity of the bread loaves is usually reduced and that worries most bakers. So instead they lose focus and become blind to the massive savings they make by using OFSP puree as an ingredient.

      We have a huge task ahead, having a great product is fine but we have to win the hearts and minds of the processors and the consumers.


    • #13761
      Ganiyat Olatunde

      Dear Francis, I felt the knock you gave me by not granting my request (joke). It’s fine and I had gone ahead to prepare the report based on the contributions.

    • #13762
      Ganiyat Olatunde

      Dear Tawanda, I was just dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s of my report when your contribution came in. It came in handy. I appreciate you for the post and its content because its more like a global view considering it was an outcome of a conference with a status such as that of APA. I believe we will overcome the challenges with time and get there.

      Congratulations! Honourable APA Council member, Dr. Francis Kweku Amagloh! On behalf of myself and our colleagues at Cop-MPU, I wish you a fruitful and impacting tenure.

    • #13763
      Ganiyat Olatunde

      Appreciation to:
      Roland from SUSTAIN project in Mozambique; Tawanda, the Food Scientist & Nutritionist from CIP; Francis, Food Scientist & Nutritionist from Ghana; Jean, Food Processor from a private industry in Malawi;………..for your participation and contributions, without which this forum would not have been active.
      To our Co-Leaders, Madjaliwa and Francis, for the opportunity granted me to moderate
      To Christine, the communication specialist from CIP………for bring the engine room servicing this forum
      Thank you all!

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