A now-completed former FP6 project, EU-FRESHBAKE (2006-2009), developed new infrared oven technologies for commercial bakeries. The results promised energy reductions up to 40 % and 70 % time improvements. The EU-funded LEO (Enabling small-to-medium sized oven technology producers and bakeries to exploit innovative low energy ovens) project developed the technologies and devised plans for exploitation. LEO project developed, designed and manufactured three new types of oven based on EU-FRESHBAKE infrared technology: a batch deck oven, a batch convection oven, and a conveyor oven. Several series of test helped to improve the ovens' efficiencies, while enhancing bread's shelf-life and sensory properties. Researchers also conducted life-cycle analyses. The group collected data regarding consumables, raw materials, and energy consumption, to be used for marketing purposes. Sensory-analysis and consumer-acceptance studies indicated that customers appreciated bread baked with such ovens. Project results were incorporated into a marketing analysis and business plan. A Turkish oven manufacturer subsequently expressed interest in the equipment. The LEO project demonstrated the commercial feasibility of EU-FRESHBAKE's technology. Outcomes will be a superior form of bread, produced more efficiently and at lower cost compared to alternative oven technologies.
Infrared, ovens, LEO, baking, low-energy, bread