Mühlenchemie selects flour sack of the year
March 26, 2013
by World Grain Staff
HAMBURG, GERMANY — An independent jury from Mühlenchemie recently recognized a flour sack from the mill Shree Govindam Prime Food PVT. Ltd. in India as the finest flour sack of the year.
Sacks are judged by the designs and the story behind them. This sack tells a story, or rather several stories, with multiple layers of meaning:
• The three colors of the sack refer to the flag of India.
• The illustration shows a “Halwai,” a member of the traditional caste of sweet-makers. The name comes from the Arabic helva meaning “sweet.” The Halvai live mostly in the north of the country and the sack comes from Bikaner, a city in the north-west of India. Thus, the product name “Bikaner Halwai Special” reflects both the origin of the grain as well as the sweet-makers who live there.
• It also has symbolic meaning. In India with its caste system, foods must meet strict standards of ritual purity. Most food is therefore prepared in the home. However, food made by the Halwai is deemed acceptable, an important consideration since sweets are also offered to the gods and must therefore be pure. Halwai therefore symbolizes food that is pure and can be eaten without risk. Thus, the illustration and the product name communicate that this is a very pure flour, so pure that it is suitable for making sweets that will be offered to the gods.
Mühlenchemie’s Flour Worlds Museum near Hamburg, Germany, holds the world’s largest collection of flour sacks – over 2,700 of them, from 127 countries from Argentina to Zambia. No mill is too small to find its way onto the shelves of the “Sackotheque” or sack library. There are sacks from historical windmills that have been in operation for over 200 years, and many more from industrial mills that turn out hundreds or thousands of tonnes of neatly bagged flour each day. Like all product packaging, flour sacks bear brand names, claims, promises and pictures, art that is original and imaginative, and surprisingly varied.
The museum’s collection continues to grow, and each year the museum’s founders — the owners and executives of Mühlenchemie — under the leadership of Volkmar Wywiol and Lennart Kutschinski select the finest flour sack of the year.
Many sacks are illustrated with scenes that relate directly to their contents, such as abundant fields of grain or delightfully fresh bread.
Others bear imaginative and evocative symbols such as images of the sun, athletes, or even religious motifs. This reflects the enormous cultural significance of flour in almost every corner of the world.
The museum staff is currently expanding the museum exhibits from “Flour Art” to “Flour Worlds” to reflect the thousands of years of flour development, its historical and current significance, and the vast variety of products made from it. The expansion will also incorporate exhibits around the ingredients of flour and the requirements of modern nutrition, to create an experiential museum where knowledge transfer takes place.
For more information, visit www.flour-art-museum.de.