Greg Cadoni, head chef/director has been with Bachmanns for just under five years and oversees all production at the Continental patisserie. His Chocolate Christmas Pudding is not a chocolate-flavoured version of the traditional dessert, but a "cartoon-style" take on a Christmas pudding, moulded entirely from chocolate.
"We took the concept of an Easter egg two chocolate halves, filled and stuck together and adapted it to take advantage of the Christmas demand for chocolate novelties," explains Cadoni. The two halves of the pudding are moulded milk chocolate, filled with Rocher clusters caramelised split almonds, covered in chocolate. The whole thing is sprayed with a dark chocolate, giving it a velvety texture, both in the mouth and in appearance. The pudding is then decorated with marzipan holly leaves and berries. "We made it in four sizes, from 2.5in to 20in," he explains. "The biggest one, which had a box of chocolates inside, was a sort of Christmas Day piñata, so you could place it on the dinner table and leave everyone to help themselves."
The judges said the Chocolate Christmas Pudding clinched the top prize, as it had "real wow factor". They were impressed that the product met a customer need, while remaining "incremental to the rest of the business and maximising production capabilities".
Warburtons' Sandwich Thins
Family-owned plant bakery Warburtons makes wax-wrapped loaves, wraps, crumpets and pancakes, as well as gluten-free breads. It distributes two million products nationally every day to customers. Started in 1876, the firm employs 5,000 people at its 14 bakeries and 15 depots. It boasts an annual turnover of £492m.
Warburtons' Sandwich Thins, launched this February, come as a six-pack of flatbread, pre-sliced rolls, which can be toasted or used to make sandwiches.
Produced on a stress-free sheet-and-cut line, they have a tender-eating quality, unlike the more usual flatbread or wrap texture. Darren Littler, director of innovation, says: "They meet customer demand for 'healthier' bread products each two slices of Thin are just 100 calories. "We get a lot of inspiration from the US, and flatbread-style products are massive over there."
Puratos Puravita Breakfast
Puratos has been supplying ingredients and product solutions to bakers for 90 years. Family-owned, it has 50 production plants and 5,500 employees worldwide, boasting an annual turnover of E1bn (£0.9bn); its UK office turns over around £35m-£45m.
The firm's Puravita Breakfast Bar mix is designed to help bakers "regain a hold" on the breakfast market. "On average, we miss 90 breakfasts a year in the UK," says Puratos marketing executive Lydia Baines. "Consumers rely on other 'grab and go' products so bakers miss out."
The Puravita mix contains wheat, oat and spelt as well as apricots, raisins and figs. Baines says the 100g soft bread bar has a high proportion of slow-burning carbohydrates.
"It can be baked off, frozen, thawed and refreshed. We hope it will help bring customers back into bakeries at breakfast-time."