Future prospects of milling industry explored at IDMA

15 May 20245 min reading

The International TABADER Summit, focusing on critical developments, innovations, and production technologies in the milling industry, was held concurrently with IDMA Istanbul. The summit featured insightful sessions led by prominent experts, covering topics ranging from digitalization and artificial intelligence in milling to the latest developments in global grain markets.

IDMA Istanbul, where the pulse of the milling industry beats, hosted an important summit.  The  Grain and Pulses Processing Technologies, Storage, and Analysis Systems Association (TABADER), which gathers the stakeholders of the Turkish milling industry under its roof, held the 5th International TABADER Summit at the IDMA Fair held at the Istanbul Expo Center. The latest trends, production processes and future predictions in this crucial industry were discussed at the summit organized at the fairgrounds. Experts shared their views in three sessions titled “New Technologies”, “New Approaches, Trends and Future” and “Economy and Logistics”. 

The inaugural panel of the summit was the ‘New Technologies’ session, moderated by Namik Kemal Parlak, Editor-in-Chief of Miller Magazine. The distinguished panelists of this session, which delved into the latest advancements, innovations, and production technologies within the milling sector, included Fabien Varagnac, an esteemed independent milling sector consultant; Mr. Igor Sviridenko, President of the Russian Union of Flour Mills and Cereal Plants; Assoc. Prof. Necla Küçükçolak, Deputy General Manager of the Turkish Commodity Exchange (TMEX); and Onur Disanlı, Group Manager of Data Science, Big Data, and IoT at Innova, one of Turkey’s premier IT solutions companies.

Offering his insights on the influence of digitalization and artificial intelligence on the milling industry, Varagnac stated, “Digitalization is imperative for mill management, whether adopting AI or not.” Despite acknowledging some advancements, the French expert noted the sector’s slower pace in embracing digitalization, providing the following assessment:  “While data management is integrated into milling processes, deeper insights into quality are lacking. AI offers the opportunity to connect all aspects of production for optimal outcomes. Currently, departments prioritize individual KPIs, leading to inefficiencies. AI’s holistic approach could reconcile these conflicts, but implementation is complex, requiring big data integration and ensuring data quality. While production data is objective, assessing wheat and flour parameters poses challenges. Standardization and control are necessary, especially in evaluating baking performance. Early adopters of AI will gain a competitive edge, necessitating staff training in technical expertise and systematization. Resistance to change is high, requiring comprehensive staff involvement in digitalization efforts. Future mills will be highly connected, utilizing weather forecasts to optimize production and resource use, reducing waste and costs while fostering innovation. This vision supports the role of millers in global food supply.”

Speaking at the grain summit at IDMA, Igor Sviridenko, President of the Russian Union of Flour Mills and Grain Enterprises, provided information on the current state of the Russian flour industry. He said that there are about 280 large-scale flour mills in Russia, with a production capacity of 13.5 million tons. Stating that they have become the world’s 4th largest flour exporter by increasing flour exports in recent years, Sviridenko announced that they expect to export 1.2 million tons of flour in 2024. 

Noting that the Russian flour industry is undergoing a modernization process, Sviridenko said, “There is a trend towards the construction of large-scale plants in Russia. Additionally, the growth in exports has stimulated the construction and modernization of facilities in regions with the most convenient logistics – near sea and river ports. The increased profitability resulting from the implementation of the Federal State Automated Traceability System for Grain and Grain Products, export development, and the availability of relatively inexpensive raw materials also encourages the re-equipment of long-established enterprises.”

TÜRİB Deputy General Manager Küçükçolak explained the mission of the institution and the role of digitalization in increasing transparency and market efficiency in grain trade. Stating that the digital economy is driving innovations that are revolutionizing the finance and agriculture sectors, Küçükçolak said, “The spread of advanced technologies such as blockchain and smart contracts is leading to a fundamental reshaping of financial transactions and the regulatory structures that support these transactions.”

Disanlı, the Group Manager of Data Science, Big Data, and IoT at Innova, highlighted that the swift advancement and widespread integration of digital technologies have fundamentally altered the landscape of the business world and reshaped traditional business models. He emphasized, “In the food industry, where conventional business practices are still prevalent, the adoption of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, digitalization, and big data analysis offers companies a significant competitive edge and bolsters their standing within the sector. To attain success through these technologies, it is crucial to accurately define your objectives, precisely determine your requirements, and then select the technological solutions that are deemed most effective. Without a proper strategy in place, there is always a risk of falling short of expected outcomes.

The final session of the grain summit at IDMA was ‘Women Power in Milling’. This special session dedicated to women in milling highlighted the industry’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. 


In addition to the summit, TABADER also organized the International Grain and Pulses Congress during the IDMA exhibition. The congress brought together scientists, researchers, milling industry professionals and policy makers from around the world to discuss and exchange information on the grain and pulses sectors. 

Empowering tomorrow’s milling leaders

During the IDMA exhibition in Istanbul, international certified milling training was conducted to address the milling industry’s need for a skilled workforce.  The training program featured experts and academics delivering instruction on technical topics including mill flow diagram, grain and pulse storage techniques, grain cleaning technology, flour production technology, rice production technology, extruded products technology, pulses production technology, pasta production technology, and alternative proteins. Those who completed the three-day comprehensive training were given certificates by TABADER.

Honoring milling industry doyens

Simultaneously organized with IDMA Istanbul, the fifth edition of TABADER’s now customary Doyens Award Ceremony took place on May 2nd at Wow Hotel. This year, awards were presented in six categories to individuals and institutions who made significant contributions to the grain and pulses industry.

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