The customer is always right

Tomoo Moro, right, of Nippon Flour Mills, seen here with Graham Crosbie, tastes noodles made from new wheat varieties.

Taste-testing noodles may not be as glamorous as taste-testing the latest Grange Hermitage, but it is essential in the development of new wheat varieties, according to Agriculture WA principal chemist and member of the Wheat Quality Objectives Group, Graham Crosbie.

Mr Crosbie has spent many years building an intimate knowledge of market requirements based on scientific and subjective testing, used to ensure new noodle wheat varieties (see cover story) suit the market they are aimed at.

In a series of recent tests Mr Crosbie and the taste panel at Agriculture WA were joined by the learned palate of Tomoo Moro, of the Japanese company Nippon Flour Mills. Nippon is the second biggest miller in Japan and one of the world leaders in manufacturing noodle flour.

Mr Crosbie said the input from visitors like Mr Moro had been invaluable in the development of specialist varieties which breeders were confident would be not only suitable but requested for Asian noodle markets.

"Mr Moro and other specialists can taste the characteristics the noodles need to have if they are going to be successful," Mr Crosbie said.

Mr Crosbie said the Visiting Expert Program with Asian specialists had started in 1990 with support from growers through the GRDC. With about 90 per cent of WA:s wheat going to export market, these associations were beneficial for both Australian growers and endusers in Asia.