CSIC contributes to the development of an application to optimize bakery production

  • The Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC) is participating in a European project to create a digital tool to plan the production of artisan bakeries. The project has been nominated for the European Innovation and Technology Awards

  • Through mathematical models, the application allows the optimization of the resources used, which, together with a better knowledge of the local market, achieves greater economic and ecological efficiency

A research team from the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA), belonging to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), is participating in the European project PrO4Bake to develop a digital tool for production planning in artisan bakeries. Through mathematical models, the application helps to optimize the quantity of raw materials, the use of machinery and the human resources employed. By adjusting these factors and knowing the demand in the area, the system will help reduce the ecological footprint and the amount of waste generated. The project is nominated for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) awards.

The participation of the IATA research groups involved in the project, coordinated by researchers Cristina Molina Rosell and Mª Dolores Rodrigo Aliaga, consists of identifying and collecting the necessary information to develop the digital tool appropriate to the type of bakeries in Spain and the lifestyle of the Spanish population.

"In this project, mathematical applications will be developed to improve the planning of bakeries and, therefore, increase sustainability and efficiency with the help of digital tools and optimized algorithms," explains Cristina Molina Rosell, research professor of CSIC at IATA. "To adapt this tool to the different models of bakeries, production and consumption data from different participating European countries will be used" (Denmark, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Hungary). 
In bakeries, production is a complex process that combines numerous stages and a great variety of products. This makes it difficult to plan, which should take into account equipment occupancy, capacities, waiting times for each product... In small and medium sized bakeries, production planning is done according to the experience of those in charge. However, the complexity of the processes results in inefficient planning with great negative impact on the business economy. Nowadays, the greater awareness about the shortage of resources forces towards an efficient use of them. 

Using a no-wait permutation model, developed from production and sales data, the research team will design the production sequence of the different products. Optimization of manufacturing time, machine downtime, energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and combinations of these factors will lead to higher efficiency and therefore lower production costs for SMEs. 

"The demand and expectations of consumers, their opinions and possible flexibility according to the availability of products will be decisive in the analysis to achieve a reduction in food waste, minimizing the overproduction of bakery products. In short, we will develop an application with an intuitive and friendly interface for bakery SMEs that will optimize their processes and reduce consumption and ecological footprint," adds Mª Dolores Rodrigo Aliaga, head scientist of CSIC at IATA.

European Innovation and Technology Awards

The PrO4bake project has been nominated by the Board of Directors of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) for its awards this year in the Innovation category. The nominees are selected for driving European innovation through innovative products, projects and services that address global challenges in the fields of climate, energy, digitisation, food, health and raw materials. This year, 28 projects are competing for the 5 competing awards, which will be announced on December 8th and 9th.

The project began in early 2020 and will be developed over two years.  It is coordinated by Nadja Reinhardt (Bioeconomic Research Center of the University of Hohenheim, Germany) and has the participation of eight entities, among which are the Universities of Aarhus, Lund and Turin; the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences; the Higher Council for Scientific Research (IATA-CSIC); and the companies Siemens and Campden BRI Hungary.


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Video PrO4bake