Carsten Lyngsø Thomsen, President of Lantmännen Unibake, talks to Editor Caitlin Gittins about sustainability, enriching bread with fibre and a collaborative effort to drive change
Please introduce yourself and your role at Lantmännen Unibake?
My name is Carsten Lyngsø Thomsen and I’m the President of Lantmännen Unibake. I have been a member of Lantmännen Unibake’s executive management team since March 2021 and spent this period as Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Operating Officer for Northern & Western Europe to further build my understanding and knowledge of Lantmännen Unibake’s business and customers. Before joining in 2021, I held former leading positions as Head of Lantmännen Cerealia and Managing Director at Lantmännen Schulstad.
At Lantmännen you champion this concept ‘field to fork’. Could you speak on that and how it factors into the bakery industry?
At Lantmännen, we live off the land. It is the source of everything we produce and the basis of our entire operation. The land and what happens to it is therefore extremely important to us. Lantmännen is an agricultural cooperative that is owned by Swedish farmers. We use a large proportion of the arable land in Sweden. The impact for our bakery business is to take responsibility for the whole value chain, beyond our bakeries, and making sure we use our resources wisely. We follow a circular approach, to protect the earth and utilise every part of our company. For example, we convert old breadcrumbs and waste from grain production into energy and biofuel.
In your opinion, what drives this misconception that bread is unhealthy? How are you seeking to change consumptions habits toward healthier breads?
As bakery specialists, we believe bread is a fantastic dietary choice that has the power to feed, comfort and bring people together. Bread is rich in carbohydrates and carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients in our diet (fat and protein being the others). They provide the body with energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. Industrialised production of foods, rapid urbanisation, and changing lifestyles are transforming dietary patterns.
People around the world tend to eat more saturated fat, sugar, and salt than what is recommended in nutritional recommendations. We know from different medical sources that a healthy diet should contain fibre and wholegrain, since diets low in wholegrain and fibre and high in salt are amongst the top 10 reasons why people lose healthy life years (Source: Global Burden of Disease Stad 2017. Lancet 2019 393 195872). When we refine flour, we only use the endosperm of the grain. Thus, we waste a lot of the good stuff that sits in the bran: fibre, vitamins, and minerals. We have committed to baking breads with an increased content of fibre and wholegrains and thus provide consumers with healthier baked goods while wasting less of the goodness of the grains the world produces.
Could you please talk about the areas you focus on in making healthier baked goods?
Unibake has set out to positively impact public health by more than doubling our volume of healthier products by 2030...
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