Selectum + Bühler: How an innovative snack is made

Uzwil / CH. (bg) Austrian start-up Selectum and Swiss technology group Bühler AG have jointly created a new, healthy snack category – small, crunchy wafer pillows with a creamy dip inside that are low in fat and high in protein. Selectum successfully launched this innovative snack at the end of 2019 under the brand name Paddies. Paddies have a 90-degree twisted bite-size shape, and, thanks to Bühler’s induction baking technology, the baking step has no direct CO2 emissions from burning gas.

«I wanted to bring a new product to the market with wafer technology. I envisioned an innovative, healthier snack. A snack that is gluten-free, palm oil-free, not fried, with 40% less fat than chips and nachos and on top of that, with a high protein content,» says Camilo Wolff, CEO and Founder of Selectum GmbH. «To develop this product, I approached Bühler as I knew they have the expertise and a technical laboratory for product development trials.» Together with the experts of the Bühler Wafer Innovation Center in Leobendorf, Wolff and his team created a completely novel recipe for a snack with a dip inside, eliminating the need to buy a separate dip.

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Searching for the perfect mix

Selectum and Bühler ran product development trials and assessed their results in the Bühler Wafer Innovation Center’s technical laboratory. It offers special services to start-ups like Selectum, with full support from the idea creation until after the product is running on the production line.

Camilo Wolff had precise requirements for his snack to be rich in protein and nutrients. He spent almost a year conducting hundreds of trials and tasting sessions at the Bühler Wafer Innovation Center to develop the dough and the cream. Richard Haubenberger, Food Technologist at the Bühler Wafer Innovation Center, says: «The first challenge was to find the right ingredients to use. So, we were working with different starches, such as gluten-free wheat starch, rice starch, or corn starch. We looked into rice flour and chickpea flour, which have the benefit of a higher protein level. It was a challenge to find the right raw materials. But thanks to our experience and the collaboration with our suppliers, we found the right ingredients for the best recipe.»

The laboratory is equipped with Bühler’s latest technologies, various solutions for batter and flour mixing, baking, and cream refining. It offers the services of food technologists, training courses, and even virtual trials.

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Produced with zero emissions

Another factor that was important to Camilo Wolff was for Selectum to produce its Paddies sustainably. One of Bühler’s solutions at the Wafer Innovation Center is inductive technology currently used in its wafer stick oven Franz Haas EWB. The EWB inductive oven is 100% powered by electrical energy, it uses no gas at all. Therefore, no CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere in the baking step from burning the gas. It also has higher energy efficiency in general compared to the gas heated EWB. With Bühler’s optional power pack for the EWB inductive oven, customers have the option to increase the output capacity of the EWB oven in order to adapt the production output perfectly to the respective customer requirements.

Using electricity instead of gas eliminates Scope 1 emissions, emissions that occur from sources that are controlled by the company, in baking. The Scope 2 emissions, indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat, or cooling, from the electricity can be reduced by sourcing renewable energy, further reducing CO2e (CO2e equivalent) emissions.

Emanuel Hoeckner, Product Manager at Bühler, says: «The inductive heating system has a lot of benefits in comparison to standard gas fired wafer stick oven, there is no direct CO2 emission created by gas firing. The electricity powered oven removes all Scope 1 emissions from burning the gas in the baking step, which makes the whole process much more sustainable.» It also has higher energy efficiency in general. With Bühler’s optional power pack for the EWB inductive oven, customers have the option to increase the output capacity of the EWB oven in order to adapt the production output perfectly to the respective customer requirements.

On supermarket shelves throughout Europe

Paddies, a unique combination of rice and chickpea flour, are now available in three flavors – cheese, toffee, and peanut butter, all with a dip inside. Selectum’s factory in Wolkersdorf, Austria, produces around 1.5 million, 30-gram packages per month.

Paddies are already available on the shelves of Billa and Spar supermarkets in Austria and are sold in Germany, Italy, Finland, Spain, Hungary, and Poland. «I am very proud of the product. We entered the market as a start-up, and we are already selling our product internationally. Two years ago, it was just an idea. Bühler has been a very supportive partner all the way» (Photos: buhlergroup.com).