“Flour really does have a special significance for mankind. Not just culturally, but also in view of the rapidly increasing global population. The millers and the flour processing industry have a great responsibility to feed humanity now and going forward. I am all the happier that we now have an official holiday on which we can show our appreciation for flour, and for the people who work daily to take grain from field to final product.”
World Flour Day is celebrated around the world every year, on 20 March. This date is firmly established on the commemorative day calendar, and is observed with many activities. Although flour is one of humanity’s oldest staple foods, World Flour Day is still young. It was created on the initiative of one Carsten Blum. We asked this family man and Head of Marketing of Mühlenchemie about what motivated him to launch this commemorative day.
You had the idea for World Flour Day. How did that come about?
Carsten Blum: I enjoy holidays. They are occasions for getting together with family and friends, and celebrating and appreciating special things. Since I love flour, I asked myself whether there is a day when the world’s most important staple food is celebrated. There turned out not to be one. I researched further and found an organisation in the US that officially registers such commemorative days. Since the organisation gets 20,000+ proposals a year and only implements 8 to 10 of them, a few conversations were necessary. Ultimately, I managed to convince the committee to add the 20th of March to their calendar as the official World Flour Day, and record our unique flour museum as the initiator.
Flour is one of the oldest and most important staple foods in the world. Why wasn’t there a day to celebrate it much earlier?
I was surprised too. Flour really does have a special significance for mankind. Not just culturally, but also in view of the rapidly increasing global population. The millers and the flour processing industry have a great responsibility to feed humanity now and going forward. I am all the happier that we now have an official holiday on which we can show our appreciation for flour, and for the people who work daily to take grain from field to final product.
How has the industry responded to your efforts?
The acceptance of the holiday has been overwhelming! Right from the first year, many well-known companies in the industry supported our commitment and celebrated the day with employees and customers. Now we’re looking forward to the third World Flour Day, and I can say that the holiday has become established. We now have a special day on which we can all join together in celebrating the flour we love. Employees will gather in many mills and bakeries. They’ll bake and eat together, and invite others to join them. All of this will also be represented in many wonderful ways in digital and classic media, which will further spread the idea.
What’s behind the day? How is it filled with life?
I see the idea of the holiday as an extension of our commitment with the FlourWorld Museum. The museum and World Flour Day are dedicated to flour and to the millers of the world, expressing our deep appreciation with flour. Each year we create a motto that puts flour into an emotional context with people. Last year, a year of an ongoing worldwide pandemic, the motto was “Flour Heroes”. We collected stories that showed how tirelessly millers met difficult challenges in order to continue to supply all of us with this vital food. This year, the focus is on the significance of flour for each individual. To me, for example, flour means “family time”, be it baking together or enjoying specialities from different cultures, on holidays in particular. There are so many different varieties, and so many great recipes to try from around the world. World Flour Day is about that as well.
The first World Flour Day was celebrated at the start of the pandemic. This year, the third one will also be under the shadow of Covid. What does the pandemic mean for this holiday?
We wanted to celebrate the first World Flour Day in style in our museum. Naturally the start of the pandemic made that impossible. For 2022 we’re hoping to hold a small celebration in the Museum and observe the day together. Right now we don’t know if that will be possible. One thing is very clear: safety and health come first. We’ll celebrate flour one way or the other, online if not in person.
Do you have more ideas for the future up your sleeve? Are you planning any new activities?
In addition to the “Milling Hall of Fame” initiative, which recognises people in the industry for special achievements, which we now do together and which has found a home in our museum, our focus right now is on further extending the museum. It will soon feature a spectacular new installation which will illuminate another aspect of flour history. It’s something to look forward to!