The Food Innovation Academy (FIA) in Vlaardingen started to use an ultra-modern training bakery in early June. Under the watchful eye of a number of people closely involved in the project, Alfred Bruin, FIA director and acting director of Royal Steensma, performed the opening act. He did this by cutting a freshly baked 1.5-metre baguette in half. The Bakery Innovation Academy (BIA), as the FIA bakery is called, is a multidisciplinary training bakery for professionals and students.
The BIA has a bread bakery (165 m2), a confectionery (over 100 m2), an oven street, a washing/rinsing room, a freezer room, a cold store, a warehouse, a weighing room, workplaces for the test bakers/product developers and teachers, a theory room and an instruction/meeting room: more than 900 m2. The introduction of the BIA is a new milestone for the development of the Food Innovation Academy: a place where people are working hard to deliver tailor-made training, research and innovation, and to improve the image of food in general, but particularly bread and pastries.
The BIA is unique because professionals and students work side by side. Its construction was partly made possible by partners Veenhuizen Groep/MIWE, EverBake Group, Dübör, Bakkerij Kamstra and Booij Machinetechhiek. Veenhuizen Groep and MIWE supplied the ovens with accessories (bread and pastries), braked cabinets, refrigerator and freezer and waste bag holders. They also provided ice machines and a pancake carousel; EverBake was responsible for the (mobile) workbenches, waste bag holders, a large stock of baking trays and cans and a dough frying line.
Dübör provided a jelly sprayer and greasing machine, as well as supplying all release oil for the entire FIA, free of charge. Bakkerij Kamstra in Wolvega donated a custom-made dough cabinet with dough processing set; Booij Machinetechniek is responsible for installation and maintenance.
Alfred Bruin is very proud of BIA, that was worked on for years. “We are going to use this training bakery to train a new generation of young people in the region, and we intend to seek out close links with local businesses. This is possible because the companies can then have representation in the FIA and have a say about food education; this is a great opportunity for them to have their voice heard and to decide how to train.”
Bruin states that Royal Steensma, one of the initiators of the FIA, is a very keen participant for that very reason. “Some companies do not have a great turnover and only have enough resources to simply earn money. We want to work on continuity: of the bakery industry in general, and of Royal Steensma specifically. By working with committed partners within the FIA and the BIA, and by bringing together technology and craftsmanship, we are able to achieve our ambitions.
Future assurance is central to this. We are therefore very grateful to be able to work constructively with our partners. Working together, we’ll create something great.”
Patrick Veenhuizen, owner of Veenhuizen Groep, supports the words of Bruin. “We also want to stoke the fires for a new generation of craftsmen in the field of bakery, ice cream and catering. This is why we joined the FIA as a partner, to do our bit. And you can see there are other partners joining in too, which is great. Because by working together, you really can make a difference.”
Peter Eversdijk is seeing a dream come true with the arrival of the FIA and the training bakery. “An institute like the FIA, in which business and education meet, has always been my wish. EverBake does not have the means to realise such a project alone. The FIA shows that you can do it together. Our interest is indirect: by transferring knowledge and inspiring young people and new entrants to the bakery trade, we are working to ensure the future of our industry. As a company, we also benefit from that.”
Working on the influx of new bakers, introducing them to innovative techniques and solutions, transferring knowledge and inspiring them are the reasons for Dübör and Bakkerij Kamstra to become partners of the FIA. “Release oil is not a sexy product,” explains Piet van Dongen of Dübör Netherlands. “But if you are a baker, and you are able to apply the right release agents to the right baking agents, you will achieve fantastic, distinctive products. We want to transfer that knowledge. Dübör cannot do this alone, we can only do it in combination with the partners we meet in the FIA, and it certainly works!”
In the coming months, work will continue on the further completion of the BIA. The first demos and training courses are planned for this autumn.
What is the FIA?
The FIA is also known as the clubhouse of the food industry in South Holland. It is a unique place where entrepreneurs meet, build relationships, and conduct research with MBO, HBO and WO students. FIA is also a knowledge and innovation centre. Food students receive practical lessons and work together with companies on innovations.
FIA can be found in a building on the Industrieweg in Vlaardingen. The building has four floors. A Try & Taste on the ground floor: a space where coffee will play a central role. The entire coffee preparation process is discussed. Try & Taste is also a space for cooking, eating, gathering and meeting. For anyone interested in the food industry. Or just to eat a sandwich and have a drink.
The test centre is located on the first floor: a place where all kinds of production machines are set up. HBO and MBO students learn how they work, professionals can carry out testing, and business can improve processes. The Ice Centre is located on this floor. The second floor has three laboratories for practical and applied research and practical lessons. The third and top floors house an auditorium, workshop space with seven test kitchens, a meeting point, instruction room and conference room.
An airbridge between the FIA building and the adjacent production location of Royal Steensma Bakery Ingredients provides access to the BIA, where the bakery part of the FIA can be found.