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Mühlenchemie hands out finest flour sack award


October 31, 2011
By Bakers Journal

October 31, 2011, Hamburg, Germany – The fourth Mühlenchemie international milling symposium celebrated the fine art of the flour sack, handing out the first award for sack design.

At the end of a two-day information marathon, featuring 28 experts from research institutions and industry, Mühlenchemie managing partner Volkmar Wywiol presented the inaugural Flour Sack Award.

The aim of this new competition is to find the most attractive motif with a historical, regional or milling background. Three mills from Mexico, Russia and Lebanon reached the final round; the winner was the mill Harinas del Sureste from Mexico, with a picture of a pheasant.

In his speech, Wywiol shared his delight at the deep significance of the motif: “The pheasant with its brightly coloured plumage is a bird that is often found wild in the Mexican state of Yucatán. It is so common there that it is regarded as typical of Yucatán. So in the whole of Mexico, Yucatán has become known as the land of game and pheasants. In the Middle Ages the pheasant was initially seen as a symbol of luxury and high living. Later, it came to be regarded more and more as a prestigious delicacy. By using this motif typical of the region, the mill appeals to the feelings of identification and pride of the people of Yucatán. Customers from other regions associate it with history and prestige.”

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During the symposium, Mühlenchemie displayed over 2,400 flour sacks, which the company began collected 13 years ago. In 2008, Mühlenchemie created a permanent home for these sacks – the flour art museum (www.flourartmuseum.de) – where exhibits from every corner of the earth can be viewed. The many facets of the topic “flour” addressed at the museum are equalled only by the diversity of the ways in which visitors experience them.

When asked by some of the participants in the symposium why Mühlenchemie collects flour sacks at all, Wywiol replied: “In a world of increasing standardization and levelling-down, individualism and originality are often lost. We enjoy collecting products from our customers – products that may no longer exist, perhaps, in 25 or 50 years’ time. And it’s exciting to decode the motifs and find the idea behind the idea.”

By the next symposium, to be held in 2014, the flour sack museum hopes to house 4,000 exhibits. In order to achieve this target, Mühlenchemie is asking millers around the world to send in existing sacks and create new, interesting motifs for the future. 

The future of flour symposium, which ran Sept. 8 to 9 in Hamburg, Germany, drew 300 millers from 60 countries.