Baking & Snack - June 2018 - 30


est in consumer trends. All items, he said, contain no
preservatives or artificial flavors. It seems the movement toward local, natural and clean label apparently
knows no borders.
"What makes us different is the concept of having
fresh, quality products all the time," Mr. Babarit explained. "We use only 100% French wheat. We never use
margarine, only butter. Local farmers provide our milk.
Our baguettes receive a traditional resting time to make
sure they're made the proper way."
Stéphane Babarit, director of
R&D and industrial process,
coordinates production and
new product development
at La Mie Caline's central
production facility.

Deeply grounded in grains
Describing the storied history of this constantly evolving business is genuinely complex. Even the chain's
name is subject to a play on words. Literally, La Mie
translates to "the crumb" in English while Caline
means "comfort" or "cuddle." Even Wikipedia inter-

preted the name differently as "the cuddle Mie" while
some locals affiliated with the bakery suggested it more
figuratively means "my friend Caline" to them.
Comfort and friendship are some of the attributes
that aptly describe the company's culture, according to
Mr. Babarit. "You get a very warm welcome every time
you go into one of our stores," he said. "We want to be
like your neighborhood bakery."
To discover the company's origins, venture back to
1850 when the Barreteau family started up a flour mill
among the rustic marshes in the Vendée region. Then,
jump ahead to 1957 when the next generation anchored
the family's current presence in St. Jean de Mont by
opening another neighborhood bakehouse. In 1977, the
third generation took over their parents' small business.
That's when the concept for La Mie Caline was born.
Overwhelmed by the onslaught of summertime vis-

Looking to invest at iba and IBIE
Monts Fournil SAS, the parent company
of La Mie Caline, has spent millions of
euros over the past few years to upgrade
its central production facility in west-central France. In 2018, the industrial bakery
started up two production lines that will
bolster its croissant capacity and produce
new products. Down the line, the company plans to further add mixing capacity
to keep up with its investments.
Collaboration is vital to its capital
investment process. Stéphane Babarit,
director of R&D and industrial process,
observed that the bakery partners with
vendors to develop custom-designed
equipment for new products and improving the quality of existing products.
"After-sales support and being reactive
to our needs is important to us," he said.
Keep in mind that the bakery always asks
for three bids on each project. Obviously,
price matters as well.
Mr. Babarit plans to attend iba, which
runs Sept. 15-20 in Munich, to scout out
new equipment and possibly find new
partners. He also hopes to attend the
International Baking Industry Exposition
(IBIE), scheduled for Sept. 8-11, 2019, in
Las Vegas. "We'd like to see equipment at
IBIE that we might not see at iba," he said.
"We also hope to visit some bakeries in
the US to see new technology in action."

30 Baking & Snack June 2018 /

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