By FWi staff

OVERSEAS millers have confirmed that Group 2 wheats like Charger, Abbot, and Soissons meet their needs on quality, and are potentially price competitive.

But UK growers need to grow more Group 2 wheats if these varieties are going to be available in sufficient quantity to provide overseas customers with consistent supplies.

A three-day workshop organised by British Cereal Exports (BCE) – export arm of the Home-Grown Cereals Authority – brought together for the first time in the UK millers and bakers from Portugal, Italy, Spain, Morocco and Tunisia.

The millers participating in BCEs first Bread Baking Workshop tested a number of Group 1 wheats and achieved good results.

However, their premium price and limited availability means that they are unlikely to be exported in any quantity, noted BCE.

Of the Group 2 varieties, Charger was favoured most by the millers. Already used by the Portuguese, it was considered good for blending.

The Italian millers thought it would be useful in a wide range of grists, while the Spanish liked its breadmaking qualities.

Portuguese miller Artur Melo e Castro said that UK wheat is used increasingly to complement or replace French wheat.

This could signal the start of a move away from direct competition with French wheat in some markets, said BCE.

Speaking on the workshop Dr Simon McWilliam of BCE said that Group 2 wheats were more likely to meet the combined specification and price requirements of overseas buyers.

“We need to be focusing on what types of wheat were growing. For maximum flexibility we need to be majoring on Group 2 wheats,” he added.