Grands Moulins des Antilles wins 2018 “Flour Sack of the Year Award”
At the annual meeting of the Caribbean Millers Association (CMA) in December 2019, Grands Moulins des Antilles of Guadeloupe was formally presented with the 2018 Flour Sack of the Year Award. The illustration of a young Creole woman from the Antilles won over the independent Jury.
The prize-winning sack will receive a place of honour in the Wittenburg FlourWorld museum “Flour Sack Hall of Fame.” The finely detailed drawing shows a young Creole woman whose vitality reflects the life-giving strength of flour as a staple food. Initiator Volkmar Wywiol is delighted with this latest flagship exhibit of the museum he started: “Diversity and community, femininity and strength, quality and enjoyment of life - those are the connecting lines that this flour sack displays in a beautiful way. It’s an artistic portrayal of Guadeloupe society, and we are proud to honour it.”
The island country relies on imports for many agrarian products, including wheat, which is processed at industrial scale on the island and enriched with important micronutrients. This makes flour an essential part of the diet of the population of Guadeloupe.
The Flour Sack of the Year 2016 comes from Egypt
The “Flour Sack of the Year 2016” shows a proud Bengal tiger. This time it was the turn of the Egyptian company Arabian Milling & Food Industry to be honoured with the award presented each year by Mühlenchemie. The official ceremony took place in Hamburg on 20 April 2017, in the context of the “Global Miller’s Symposium”.
Like its predecessors, the winning flour sack will find a place of honour in the “Hall of Fame” of the FlourWorld Museum in Wittenburg. The motif of the Bengal tiger was chosen for this gallery of prizewinners by an independent panel of judges. Volkmar Wywiol, the founder of the museum and a shareholder of Mühlenchemie, underlined the judges’ verdict in his speech: “The Bengal tiger gazes at the viewer with pride and confidence. Above all, the tiger stands for the power and strength conferred on man by flour. The tiger’s typical attributes – courage, speed and stamina – are associated with the quality of the flour. The success of the mill’s exports to other African countries is confirmation that the company is right”.
From the cultural point of view the symbols on the flour sacks are often interesting and tell us a lot about the significance of flour in the region from which they come. Arabian Milling & Food Industry is the biggest enterprise in the Egyptian food industry. The impressive motif of the tiger symbolizes the high quality of the mill’s premium brand, that is distributed mainly in the equatorial region.
Bamboo as a symbol of purity, strength and naturalness
The symbols on flour sacks reveal a lot about the cultural significance of flour in the region from which they come. An independent panel of judges decided that a bamboo motif from the Indonesian wheat mill Sriboga had the most interesting cultural background of the year 2015. So the German company Mühlenchemie presented the “2015 Flour Sack Award” to the producer from Jakarta at the end of 2016.
The motif tells of the rise and increasing significance of flour in a culture in which the history of wheat and bakery products is still comparatively short. With bamboo, Sriboga chose a symbol that translates values like purity, strength and naturalness that are associated with wheat in the Western world into the language of the tropics. The reason for the choice was that conventional motifs like the sun or an ear of wheat would provoke different associations in South-East Asia.
At the FlourWorld Museum, “Bamboo” will find a place of honour among the Finest Sacks of the Year. As Volkmar Wywiol, the founder of the museum and a shareholder of Mühlenchemie explained, “The motif surprised me with its creativity and expressiveness. It tells a regional story all of its own. It is a motif that succeeds in conveying the importance of flour and its life-giving strength to parts of the world where wheat is not immediately thought of as one of the traditional staple foods.”
Sweet temptation, the food of the gods
In 2012 an independent panel of judges from Mühlenchemie again held a competition for the finest flour sack of the year. The winner was museum sack No. 2366 from the mill Shree Govindam Prime Food PVT. Ltd in India. This sack is a “bearer of significance” in the truest sense of the word.
The three-colour design of the sack is a reference to the Indian flag. The motif shows a “Halwai” from an ethnic group that traditionally makes sweets. The name is taken from the Arabic word “halwa”, meaning “sweet”. The Halwai live mainly in the north of India, where the town of Bikaner is situated too. So the product name “Bikaner Halwai Special” refers to both the origin of the flour and the sweet-makers who live in the region.
In India, with its caste system, there are strict rules concerning the “purity” of food. Since sweets are offered to the gods as a gift, it is especially important for them to conform to the religious purity requirements. But it is considered acceptable in general to buy and eat products baked by the Halwai. The message of the motif on the sack and the name of the product is therefore that the flour is especially pure and suitable for making sweets as a gift to the gods.
All this information is to be found on a single sack. Congratulations to the Indian millers for choosing this attractive motif so full of meaning!