ST. LOUIS — Prior to 2020, a great deal of product innovation was executed in the labs and innovation centers of bakery suppliers. But once the pandemic hit, lockdowns, travel restrictions and supply chain disruption changed all that. Innovation doesn’t stop, though, and many suppliers have gotten creative on how they work with their customers. And in many cases, they’ve even stepped up their game.

“Our team has performed wonderfully,” said Rick Oleshak, VP of marketing for AB Mauri. “We’ve been fortunate in how our people have performed. And as much as the supply chain has been challenged, the team has done a great job. We’re poised to tackle anything that’s out there.”


AB Mauri’s bakingHUB, Fleischmann’s Technology Center and Pasteur Hall, all once places of gathering, are still sanctuaries of innovation. And AB Mauri bakers are experimenting, testing and troubleshooting every day.

“Innovation doesn’t stop,” Oleshak reiterated. “Companies still have a need for new products, or they need to make adjustments based on the evolving trends. Under ‘normal’ conditions, we would go into the bakeries, or they would come into our space and spend some time here. Pre-pandemic, we had customers tell us they could save two or three months by spending a few days with our bakery team.”

With the classroom-like setting of Pasteur Hall, bakers could easily develop products in the bakingHUB and walk 50 paces to troubleshoot the results.

Today, AB Mauri technical sales managers are taking advantage of tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and smartphone technology to bring the customer into the space virtually. Meanwhile, bakers like Scott Wise, innovation scientist, have been AB Mauri troubleshooting heroes in the bakingHUB throughout every challenge.

“On a typical day, we’ll have teams working on a variety of products,” Oleshak said. “We could be working on tortillas, cakes and donuts, or projects like perfecting a clean protein bread that launched last year under the Burgen brand.”

“Innovation doesn’t stop. Companies still have a need for new products, or they need to make adjustments based on the evolving trends.” —Rick Oleshak | VP, marketing | AB Mauri



AB Mauri’s Burgen Complete Protein Bread Mix was developed to meet consumers’ increasing demand for healthier, higher-protein options for products like bread in the age of keto-friendly eating. The mix was formulated with plant- and pulse-based proteins to provide a complete source of protein in two slices.

The Burgen line initially launched in 2017 to help bread bakers develop products in the better-for-you space. Throughout the pandemic and the supply chain disruption that followed, the supplier’s technical baking team has assisted bakers in areas like ingredient cost and availability, which have been particularly challenging in the past year.

“Two that come to mind are gluten and traditional emulsifiers,” Oleshak said. “The pandemic and inflation created an opportunity for our team to assist with gluten reduction as well as replacing emulsifiers with clean label options.”

As long as bakers’ R&D needs continue, AB Mauri bakers will keep going, no matter what new challenges lie ahead. To learn more about the bakeryHUB and Pasteur Hall, visit