Namık Kemal PARLAK
Flour, one of the most ancient and most effective forms of food, is a crucial source in human nutrition. Wheat and flour have strategic significance in ensuring food security, fighting hunger, and preventing undernutrition. Because flour, which is mostly produced from wheat and corn but also has local varieties depending on the region, is one of the most commonly distributed and consumed staple food products. More than 600 million tons of wheat and corn flour are being produced annually worldwide and are consumed as noodles, bread, pasta, and other bakery products.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which is shattering the world, once again revealed the significance of flour as a staple food. Concerns emerged that the pandemic process, which started as a health crisis first, can turn into a food crisis. While people were rushing into the markets in a panic to buy flour and pasta, millers all over the world worked 24/7 to ensure that the shelves were not left empty.
In this process, while millers are experiencing the pride of serving as an insurance of the world food security, the milling industry came under the spotlight. Milling has experienced a great transformation since the first days when wheat was started to be ground between two stones. But when people say 'the mill', the wind or water mill still comes to mind. However, the flour industry is in the age of digitalization now, following automation. Roller mills can now be managed via smart tablets. The entire production process can be followed digitally.
The transformation in the milling sector is, of course, not independent of the changing consumer habits. Consumers are not only seeking quality but also are interested in the source of the food they eat and how their raw materials are produced and processed as well as the environmental impact of the production process. The pandemic process has speeded up these consumer trends, particularly food safety.
Technology suppliers that develop machinery used in flour and semolina production and set up turnkey mill factories are also working to adopt the opportunities of digitalization in sustainable food safety and food security in all stages of the production process. Companies in the sector strive to make the machinery and technologies used in the flour production process that use less energy, work more efficiently and are more environmentally sensitive. Innovative systems that protect and develop the natural resource base while increasing productivity are being worked on.
It is quite clear that we will see software more in milling facilities and more smart sensors in mill machines in the forthcoming period.