Research and Development
The LEO project will enable small-to-medium sized oven producers and bakeries to exploit a key research result from the completed FP6 EU-FRESHBAKE project, “Freshly Baked Breads with Improvement of Nutritional Quality and Low Energy Demanding for the Benefit Of the Consumer and of the Environment” (Project no. 036302, FP6 FOOD-2004-T0).
The result to be exploited by the LEO project consists in an infrared technology for baking purposes.
A prototype batch oven was built by ONIRIS and the use of only infrared lamps for heating was successfully demonstrated for baking dough during the EU FRESHBAKE project. Compared to a standard baking oven, the pre-heating step with the prototype oven required between 20-40% less specific energy with a gain in time up to 70%. The invention has been patented by ONIRIS in 2009 (WO 2011/006955-A2).
Only laboratory scale demonstrator of the low energy oven technology was investigated during the EU FRESHBAKE project. However, the LEO project will enable the manufacture of prototypes and their testing in-situ within French and German bakeries. Also an assessment of their environmental, social and economic life-cycle impact in line with the International Reference Life Cycle Data System will be conducted, and a market study and comprehensive business plans will be developed in close relation with all the actors of the value chain to optimise the spread of the technology on the market.
This novel low energy infrared oven has an excellent potential for commercial exploitation in the bake-off market. Small to medium-sized companies represent an important share - 40% - of European bake-off bakeries, and most of these bakeries use medium scale ovens similar to the conveyor oven envisaged in LEO project. Also batch oven prototypes will be constructed to target small traditional craft bakers which represent the bulk of the European baking industry. The graph below presents the actual sources of fresh bread supply in Europe. In 2013 it is estimated that craft bakers will represent 62% of the market, even if in constant decrease they remain the principal source of supply for fresh bread in Europe.
Graph of the LEO infrared baking technology (e.g. Extract of the patent WO 2011/006955-A2)