GRAIN SELECTION AND PURCHASING
Grain selection to match end use is critical in determining the performance and consistency of flour in the hands of the customer. FPM's approach of using 'Identity Preserved' grain from a 'Single origin', segregated through the supply chain, allows us to ensure integrity of the grain used. Our Tamworth location, in the heart of New South Wales’ northern wheat belt, has allowed us to build and maintain close long term relationships with the most progressive farmers in the region. Key to our selection of farmers is their adherence to sustainable practices, ensuring not only the best quality wheat, but it also helps to ensure the long term care of the land for future generations.
The close working relationship allows us to carefully monitor seasonal growing conditions and the ultimate crop quality to ensure that in most seasons we are able to select consistent quality grain to deliver high quality performance to customers for specific applications. Contracts we have with farmers provide them with a good degree of certainty on the price they will receive for their efforts and it also ensures that the specific varieties of wheat we need for particular applications should be available in most seasons. An added advantage in contracting grain directly with growers is the avoidance of any additional handling costs.
Because we purchase known varieties of grain from farmers we are able to accurately segregate each to maintain its integrity through the complete milling supply chain, allowing us to guarantee 'Identity Preserved' and therefore a high level of performance.
This approach is quite different to that taken by most of the larger millers, who typically buy co-mingled grain from the central grain storage system, or if they buy direct from farm, it is often blended. For operational reasons, other millers blend grains from different varieties and regions to achieve an average flour quality which can be used with mixed success across a range of different applications. FPM selects the best single origin grain for specific applications, segregates and mills the grain to optimise its performance for specific applications to ensure it meets or surpasses our customers' requirements.
FPM's philosophy of doing things differently is clearly demonstrated by the unique milling process used to mill products. The process, recipient of an Australian Government Commercializing Emerging Technologies (COMET) Grant in 2004 allows the production of a range of different flours including wheat, barley, rice, spelt, chickpeas, soy and buckwheat using the same equipment and with minimal changeover time between grains. Traditional wheat flour mills are designed and built specifically to process only one type of grain and because they are focused on making white flour, they are based on the extensive use of roller mills.
In addition to its great flexibility, the FPM process is also very compact and energy efficient, but one of its biggest advantages lies in the quality of the flour produced. When compared with either roller mills or even stone mills, flour made by FPM's compact process is kept considerably cooler resulting in increased nutrient retention and improved functionality.
In addition to our regular range of flours, FPM has also developed some innovative and unique products, one of which is a highly nutritious flour produced from bran – AllGrain 'FinaWheat Concentrate'.
Bran, the tasty and nutritious outer coating of the wheat grain, is traditionally removed during the milling of white flour and because of its nutrient content it is used as animal feed. Bran adds flavour and mouthfeel to products consumed by humans, however, its main value is its well known fibre content. Bran however, is not often credited with having high protein, vitamin and mineral contents, mainly because during passage through the human digestive system, most of these nutrients are not readily absorbed as they are locked within the fibre and therefore pass through the body largely undigested.
FPM's 'AllGrain FinaWheat Concentrate', as the name suggests, is a fine, palatable bran flour which allows much greater access to the nutrients present during digestion. It also provides a pleasant golden colour and mild nutty flavour - something different for consumers. By adding 'FinaWheat' to white flour, bakers are able to tailor the flavour, colour and nutritional content of products to best suit the requirements of consumers.
FPM also has extrusion capabilities to allow the production of heat treated flour products and a range of other extruded products. This equipment is available for development projects on a contract basis.