Ecuadorians learn about Canadian wheat for milling, baking and pasta processing


The participants learn about the use of Canadian wheat for baking bread at Cigi.

The participants learn about the use of Canadian wheat for baking bread at Cigi.

This week a group of seven representatives from Moderna Alimentos in Ecuador have been attending a technical exchange program at Cigi to gain an understanding of the quality of western Canadian wheat and its use in milling, baking and pasta processing. The participants are employed in areas such as sales, accounting, and supply chain management.

Formed by a merger of three major milling companies in 2009, Moderna Alimentos is Ecuador’s leading miller and marketer of wheat  flour, controlling about 40% of the market. The company operates three wheat flour mills and produces the country’s leading flour brand (Ya), manufactures and markets bakery products, and manages a chain of franchised bakeries. In addition to working with large to medium baking companies, Moderna supplies flour and other ingredients to about 75% of the country’s 6,000 small bakeries as well as offering training and technical support.

While at Cigi learning about milling, analysis, and end-use processing in pasta and baking, the group has also attended sessions with the Canadian Grain Commission and Pulse Canada, and toured crop plots, a primary elevator, and the grain storage facility at the University of Manitoba.

Danny Delgado, Supply Chain Manager with the company for the last 12 years (previously with Grupo Moderna), says this program offers staff outside of his company’s technical areas an opportunity to learn about all aspects of milling, wheat, and flour. “We know a bit about production and milling but usually millers or quality control people are sent for this type of training. So we have been thinking that other people in our company need to know more about the business we are in. Although I have learned about some things before I have never seen it in such detail.”

He says his job requires involvement in the production and distribution of end goods and ingredients. “Because I am the supply chain manager I see the vessels come in and have always wondered how those quantities of wheat can be transported. So I have had a chance to learn about that as well as about grain grading which I enjoyed.”

Moderna Alimentos imports CWRS for milling because of its high quality, Delgado says. Recently the company also started up the only durum semolina mill in Ecuador so the company purchased about 15,000 tonnes of Canadian durum last year. About 10,000 tonnes of  CWRS and CWAD are purchased monthly.

“This program is very educational,” he says. “Our company has a factory for everything we have seen here (at Cigi). We are in the business of using wheat in every way so this is all very interesting.”