Baking & Snack - July 2018 - 50
Although Mr. Skow is an innovator - perhaps even a
game changer in this industry of tradition - this entrepreneur also has the heart of a baker and stays true to the company's gluten-free formulas, which were born in northern
Colorado at 5,000 ft above sea level, using Big Thompson
water from the Rocky Mountain National Park.
The new line is the bakery's first venture into full automation, and it was imperative the new equipment stay true
to the original process. "We were staunch in that we did not
want to adapt our formulas or product to the new equipment," Mr. Skow said. "We were looking to expand capacity,
so in many cases, we didn't want to change what we were
doing but just do more of it. So, we needed the equipment
to adapt to - and work for - our formulas and processes."
And while Mr. Skow doesn't shy away from challenges
or innovation, he's not fully a early adapter when it comes
to a new automated line. Risks must be calculated. For
example, a key consideration for this project was proven
solutions. Although the line at Johnstown has its share of
custom equipment, Canyon takes a cautious approach to
early innovation. "We weren't interested in anything that
was 'model one,' " Mr. Skow insisted.
"We were looking for suppliers that had experience with
gluten-free," he said. "There are certain aspects of glutenfree baking that are similar to traditional, but there are also
aspects that are unique to gluten-free. Those can pose different types of problems and needed solutions, so suppliers
with that kind of experience were valuable to us."
That's not to say the bakery isn't open to new ideas for
growth ... something this facility has plenty of space for.
"There's a lot of opportunity for equipment suppliers
to say, 'We have a great innovation for you,' " he said. "We
want to look at that, especially on customized solutions, but
it just takes time."
Streamlining a complex process
Gluten-free baking is an inherently tricky proposition, and
it gets even more complicated when scaling up. The new
bakery allowed Canyon to streamline production in a space
Above: The Canyon Bakehouse workforce is committed to serving a beloved
staple to people who, for various reasons, can't eat traditional bread.
50 Baking & Snack July 2018 / www.bakingandsnack.com
So much more than gluten-free
Canyon Bakehouse began from co-founder
Christi Skow's celiac diagnosis, and while
that personal investment led to the creation
of better-tasting gluten-free foods, the company also sets high standards for quality
Products are certified gluten-free by the
Gluten Free Certification Organization,
which requires lot testing of each product
down to 10 parts per million (ppm) to qualify. But that's still not enough for Canyon,
which targets below 5 ppm and strives for a
It doesn't stop there. The bakery also
does not use any of the big eight allergens
except eggs. The facility is free from wheat/
gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish,
and shellfish, so its products are safe for a
variety of allergen-conscious consumers, as
well as those abstaining from gluten.
To ensure these standards, the bakery
relies on an extensive qualification process
and strong partnerships with their suppliers, as well as internal and third-party testing of ingredients.
Canyon Bakehouse also prides itself
on its food safety standards; the bakery
has been SQF Level II-certified since 2015.
"That's a big deal because it's all-encompassing," said Josh Skow, Canyon cofounder and CEO. "It includes food safety
and now food security because FSMA
requires that we take responsibility for our
food security as well."
The bakery is also certified Kosher Pareve,
and packaging has the Whole Grains
Council stamp to indicate products contain
8 g or more whole grains per serving.
"To end with great quality, you have to
start with great quality," Mr. Skow said.