A fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly flour supply chain

By valorising the entire cereal to serve food and feed customers, while reducing its environmental footprint, the European flour milling industry is a pillar of the sustainable food system.

Indeed, as a traditional low-margin industry, the sector was a pioneer in developing and adopting more efficient strategies for sourcing, processing and delivering.

Sustainable sourcing, mostly from local farmers

The European flour milling sector is the largest single food user of local wheat, rye and oat in Europe. It is crucial for the long-term health and prosperity of the industry that local farming systems are sustainable and that biodiversity loss is prevented.

Resource efficiency

Resource efficiency is a cornerstone for the European milling industry, which has a long tradition of valorisation of agricultural raw materials to produce food, feed and non-food products. Food losses are therefore close to zero within our activities and have reached a technical optimum.

Supply chain efficiencies

The European flour milling industry was a pioneer in adopting more efficient strategies for transporting raw grain and milling products. Cereals are shipped in bulk from the production areas to the mills, where they are milled and the flour is distributed to bakeries. Most flour is shipped by bulk tanker trucks (or ships when possible) that are loaded and unloaded pneumatically with air, with no packaging materials that must be disposed of or recycled. This has been a major improvement in manufacturing and transportation efficiency and this trend is expected to continue.

Processing efficiencies

In this traditionally low-margin industry, sustainability is necessary for survival. The European flour milling industry has continuously improved the efficiency of the milling process. All of the agricultural raw material (wheat, rye and oat) is processed into edible products such as flour, bran that is consumed by humans or livestock. Therefore, there is no significant waste stream to be transported or for disposal.

Power input per unit of product has steadily declined as more efficient motors and lighting fixtures are used. Staffing levels within mills have also decreased due to the adoption of more reliable equipment, electronic control systems and IT.

Reduced usage of chemical fumigants

European mills are food manufacturing facilities and therefore hygiene is a top priority. Consumers demand, and EU food law requires, the highest levels of hygiene in our mills. The European milling industry no longer uses fumigation with methyl bromide to control insects & mites and has replaced it with careful monitoring and alternative non-chemical methods to maintain food safety. This assists in meeting the twin goals of reducing agro-chemical use & maintaining the highest level of food hygiene.

A common aspirational path towards sustainable food systems

European flour millers has signed the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices making a firm commitment to contributing to the transformation of the food systems in which it operates.