Baking & Snack - August 2020 - 34

MILLING INTO THE FUTURE WITH HEMP
Custom Foods founder Joe Bisogno spends
his time on the cutting edge. He invests
where he sees growth potential for the
future, and one of the biggest is hemp.
To facilitate education about hemp - a
cannabinoid similar to the marijuana plant
but without the Delta-9 THC and other finite
properties - Mr. Bisogno founded KMC
Brands as a think-tank on production and
processing of this plant best known as a
fiber crop and recently recognized for use
in food and pharma. He also started the
American Hemp Academy, which focuses
on hemp agriculture and education from
seed to sale.
Milled hemp is not the same as CBD oil,
which is extruded from the plant's leaves
and flowers. CBD currently lacks federal
approval for use in food production.
"We can't put CBD in food," said Ethan
Hart, Custom Foods president.
During a panel at the American Bakers
Association (ABA)'s 2019 Technical
Conference, Mr. Bisogno explained the
health benefits of hemp.
"It's high in Omega-3, Omega-6 and
Omega-9," Mr. Bisogno said. "It's high in
potassium and magnesium, too. The things
hemp can do for the human body are
phenomenal."
Custom Foods began R&D on several
hemp-based products, including pizza crust,
cookie dough and tortillas. There's just
one catch: Hemp has a hefty price tag. It's
difficult to mill because it can easily gum
up in traditional equipment, so processing
hemp into flour or protein powder requires
specific machinery.
At the 2018 iba tradeshow in Munich,
Mr. Hart and Mr. Bisogno worked with
Treffler Milling Machinery to develop a mill
to make hemp flour in-house.
"If we're going to make products with
hemp flour, we need to mill it ourselves,"
Mr. Hart said.
The machine was designed to mill hemp
cake, the by-product of oil extraction from
the seed. Then, its multi-cutter tool grinds
the cake into a fine particulate before being
milled. Currently, it's the only mill of its
kind in the US and the only one of this type
Treffler has designed for US compliance.
For more information on hemp-based
CBD and its regulation, read "Growing
Green" in this month's issue.

34 Baking & Snack August 2020 / www.bakingbusiness.com

balls from us for more than a decade," Mr. Hart recalled. "They
came to us and asked if we could
do a crust. With this system, we
could easily take the dough with
that original formula and make a
crust. It was that easy; we just sent
it downstream through a different process."
Having convertible components
on the pizza line has not only made
the process more efficient, but it
also made crusts a bigger piece of
the pizza pie.
"This has been one of the biggest transformations for Custom
Foods," Mr. Hart said. "Three years
ago, we hardly did pizza shells at all.
Now, we are cranking them out. In
fact, two years ago, we did almost 4
million shells in a matter of about
10 months."

Engineered for efficiency
Although Mr. Hart thinks like a
baker, his heart is in engineering.
His experience as a military engineer in the US Army led him to
work on projects for Custom Foods
and other of Mr. Bisogno's businesses before he was named the
bakery's vice president of engineering nearly four years ago.
"The difference between what
I did in the military and what I
do in the civilian world is that in
the Army, I was trained to destroy
things," Mr. Hart said. "Now, I have
to build things in order to fix them.
But in both, it's all about creative
problem solving."
That expertise led Mr. Hart to
uncover opportunities to streamline efficiencies, especially for the
pizza line and a new Reiser bread
line which went through factory acceptance testing this summer.
"I'm really passionate about what
happens on the plant floor," he said.
"I love it. I could live down here."
And he's not finished making
improvements; for any bakery engineer, that's an ongoing process.

"To make a plant run efficiently,
the devil's in the details," he said.
"I'm very efficiency-driven; I'm
constantly looking for a better way."
Early on, Mr. Hart conducted several efficiency studies - and generated more than his fair share of reports - to identify and fix those gaps
in production. All signs pointed to
investing in the pizza line, which not
only led to increased efficiency but
also created capacity for growth.
"Having a quality frozen dough
means we have to keep up with
technology," Mr. Hart said. "It's
ever-evolving, and the baking
industry is continually making
improvements. It's all about the
people, food safety and quality as
well as investing in technology and
new equipment."
And, with Mr. Hart's analysis of
breakdown cost and the opportunities lost, Mr. Bisogno isn't afraid to
make investments, especially when
they bring efficiency with growth.
"Joe invests with the right opportunities," Mr. Hart said. "He's
passionate about, 'What's next, and
how do we best get there?' "
Last year the bakery also invested in a Vemag mini-cookie line
and rotary tub filler with waterwheel technology to support the
cookie business it picked up in the
school fundraising arena. Although
the pandemic put that business on
pause in the spring, Custom Foods
expects it to boom again.
"Our cookie business is picking
up," Mr. Hart said. "We've got some
other big opportunities that we're
bidding on."
And while more business could
potentially take the operation to
capacity, Custom Foods is ready to
do what it takes to get the job done.
"As we bring even larger opportunities into our facility, we are
fully prepared to upscale our operations with additional processing
equipment to meet those needs,"
Mr. Hart said.


http://www.bakingbusiness.com

Baking & Snack - August 2020

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