A butcher has pipped a baker to the World Scotch Pie Championship post, as Murdoch Brothers Butchers was announced the winner of the 11th annual contest.
Highest-placed baker in the Scotch Pie category was Airdrie-based Bon Bon Cake Shop, which achieved Gold 2nd Runner-Up.
A butcher has pipped a baker to the World Scotch Pie Championship post, as Murdoch Brothers Butchers was announced the winner of the 11th annual contest.
Highest-placed baker in the Scotch Pie category was Airdrie-based Bon Bon Cake Shop, which achieved Gold 2nd Runner-Up.
A record entry of 85 butchers and bakers – 84 of them from Scotland – were represented in the secret judging, which was held at Carnegie College earlier this month. Alongside the Scotch Pie competition, there were seven other categories to enter.
The winning bakery businesses included Nicoll’s Rosebank Bakery in Dundee, which won the Diamond award in the Bridies category. Nevis Bakery in Corpach won the Savouries Vegetarian category for its vegetarian haggis, neeps (turnips) & tattie pie.
Kassy’s Kitchen in Cowdenbeath claimed the Diamond award for the Savouries Hot category with its roast lamb & mint sauce pie. The Diamond award for hand-held steak pies went to Stuarts of Buckhaven; and Charmers Bakery in Bucksburn won the Savouries Cold category with its black pudding & apple pie.
Winning butcheries were Fraserburgh-based Bruce of the Broch, which came top in the Savouries Fish category with its Smoked Haddock Pie; and T Johnston in Dunfermline took the title for the top Sausage Roll.
“The objective is to raise standards in the industry and we believe we have achieved that,” commented event organiser Alan Stuart of bakery and butchery business Stuarts of Buckhaven. “We are also encouraged to see a number of new entrants, 15 in total.”
Starbucks has announced plans to put its Seattle’s Best Coffee brand into more than 9,000 Subway stores in the US.
The freshly brewed coffee will be served in the sandwich chain’s outlets by the end of 2009, with Subway planning more store openings in 2010.
A deal has also been signed which will see the Seattle’s Best brand in 800 Canadian Subway outlets by the end of the year.
“Today, consumers are looking for and expect a high-quality premium coffee experience wherever they are,” commented Michelle Gass, president of Seattle’s Best Coffee.
Established in 1970, Seattle’s Best Coffee has more than 550 specialty coffee cafes, kiosks and other concepts in the US. It is also available nationwide in supermarkets and at more than 6,000 foodservice locations.
Finsbury Foods has announced that falling sales in its cake business have resulted in a 2% drop in revenue for the 17 weeks to the end of October.
The firm, which manufactures cake, bread and morning goods, revealed that group revenue was 2% less than the comparable period last year, and 4% behind on a like-for-like basis, excluding the recently acquired Goswell business.
Belgium-based pastry manufacturer Pidy has announced plans to increase its presence in the UK, with a particular focus on the bakery and café sectors.
Starbucks has announced plans to put its Seattle’s Best Coffee brand into more than 9,000 Subway stores in the US.
Pine nuts: These have had one of the worst seasons on record. The reduced Chinese crop, together with the failure of supplemental Russian and Siberian material to make it across the border into China, combined to create a massive shortage in a season that saw exponential growth in the development of pine nuts. China reports another poor crop, although the key to the total supply into 2010 remains on the additional supply from Russia predominantly, which will or won't make up another shortfall. Pakistani pine nuts have made a greater appearance over the past season and although they offer a price saving, it has been suggested that the quality, appearance and sizing are inferior to China.
Pumpkin seeds: After a dramatic season of under-supply and increased demand, China appears to be continuing its policy of further plantations of better-yielding oil seed crops, which, per acre, deliver a better return, albeit at lower pricing per kilo, than the excessively priced, but poor-yielding pumpkins. This has been further exacerbated by a poor crop reported this season in Austria. Prices look to be firm overall into 2010.
Sunflower seeds: Compared to pine nuts and pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds present a substantial cost saving. This will almost certainly stimulate greater demand for sunflower in its own right and as an ingredient in bakery, manufacturing and seed mixes alike.
The improved quality of UK harvested wheat and barley crops this year could have implications for UK supply and demand balance with potentially less availability for millers, according to the HGCA's latest cereals report. However, this compares to a poor season in 2008 and the results should also be placed in the context of large carry-over stocks of unclear quality, totalling around three million tonnes, it said.
Michael Archer, HGCA senior cereals and oilseeds analyst, explained: "Although quality has improved it must be remembered that this is in comparison to a very poor season in 2008." He told British Baker that the implications around supply and demand will mainly surround the availability of wheat and barley to millers, maltsters and exporters.
"We are potentially looking at a higher proportion of the crop meeting the quality requirements of millers," said Archer. "But even though it is a higher-quality crop, there is less of it."
The final results for wheat have shown a lower moisture content, higher Hagberg Falling Number, higher specific weight and higher protein compared to 2008. The barley results revealed a lower moisture content, higher nitrogen content and higher specific weight.
The survey was based on 61,000 samples of wheat and 30,000 samples of barley from laboratories around Britain.
lFats & Oils
With bakers under pressure to reduce sat fats and use sustainable oils, what are the options?
We look at why sales of gluten-free breadshave gone through the roof
lThe Big Interview
The resurgence of Hovis' market share has been the big story in wrapped bread. We ask brand boss Jon Goldstone how they did it
A baker who had a better idea of the value of empty flour sacks than he had of the ethics of stealing was sentenced to three months' imprisonment at Darlaston. He went to the bakehouse of a neighbour and wanted to buy 21 flour sacks, the value of which was seven shillings. The owner did not wish to sell them, and the prisoner went away, but afterwards, he was seen carrying the sacks from the premises. He was followed to a public house and, when charged with taking them, he expressed surprise that he should be charged with stealing, as the constable had recovered them. His plea, which did not obviate his imprisonment, was that he had been drinking and he did not know what he was doing.
The end of the world is nigh. Or at least it was until a chunk of baguette saved the day. Doom-mongers who fear the giant atom smasher in Switzerland the Large Hadron Collider will spark off a particle chain of events that will see the universe cave in on itself can breathe a sigh of relief. Well, for now at least.
Yes, work on the world's biggest particle accelerator, which is not yet operational, came to a shuddering halt when a bird dropped some bread on outdoor machinery, causing it to overheat. The golden question is, was this a carrier pigeon sent from the future to rescue the world with a baton? If so, it's reassuring to know that in a post-catastrophe future, there is still a market for French sticks.
Last year, in our tireless efforts to bring you news of toaster innovation, we reported on one concept 'see-through' toaster that was essentially two panes of heated glass. We scoffed then at the litany of design flaws, from the danger of burning your fingers to the impossibility of cleaning it.
More fool us, because Magimix is due to launch in January what it says is the first see-through toaster on the market. With two sheets of glass on either side to keep the outer wall cold, and windows that fold down so you can clean it, the toaster seems to tick all of the boxes. That is, if you're willing to put your tick next to the £160 price tag.
"It's a disgrace and a total farce. We can't stomach their cheap gimmicks. What good are cream cakes when we'll all be out on the street next year?"
A worker at the Johnnie Walker plant in Kilmarnock tells the Daily Record he is less than impressed by bosses allegedly "bribing" workers with cream cakes in a bid to get them to do overtime
"It is wrong to say that eating fibre is healthy when it exacerbates unpleasant symptoms for so many irritable bowel syndrome sufferers"
Professor Peter Whorwell from Wythenshaw Hospital in Manchester, quoted in The Daily Mail, which continues its crusade to find something wrong with absolutely every single thing we eat
Ok, we wouldn't advise going to the park to feed the ducks in these, but for any readers out there for whom baking and eating bread is not enough, there is now The Bread Shoe.
All for a bargain E70 (£62) and featuring the tagline "not wearable on feet...first in fashion...for interesting lifestyle...", the shoes were the brainchildren of twin Russian brothers and designers R&E Praspaliauskas. Or were they? The jury is out on the blogosphere over whether it is a hoax, a doubt further cultivated by a defunct 'BUY' button on the host website, even though three styles of bread shoes have supposedly 'sold out'. Plus, some people are crediting an obscure Norwegian comic or artist HR Giger with the bready breakthrough.
If any STW readers can come up with thigh-high women's bread boots, then we're sure that would be a first. Meanwhile, the shoe is sparking heated debates on design websites:
Teo: "This is just disgraceful. There are people starving, and we make shoes out of bread? This is even, if not worse, than starving a dog to death and calling it art. I usually don't get upset but this is wrong."
Signchic: "At last... something to go with my toe jam!"
Chuck Anziulewicz: "NO THANKS! I'm afraid I might get a yeast infection."
Jim: "I have tried this once, thinking that warm bread would be nice. The feeling was not unlike stepping in poo very unexpected. I guess it's better to wait until the bread goes stale."
Surely, 'always leave room for dessert' is one of life's truest lessons. It's certainly one that the pudding brands manufacturers will be hoping buyers keep front of mind as they sharpen their pencils, with an eye to revving up under-performing own-label puddings possibly at the expense of the brands.
"Certain supermarkets have been taking stock of their own category and organising themselves to potentially streamline next year; 2010 will be a lot tougher for brands like ours," says Roberta Herd, assistant brand manager at Farmhouse Fare, which supplies both branded and own-label pudding pro-ducts. "We're looking to retain our position as a quality brand, and also to look again at foodservice options."
The traditional pudding market in which it operates accounting for about a fifth of total chilled desserts sales has dipped in the last year, with promotions hitting value perception. "There has been a lot of work on deals, especially twin-packs, with a focus on promotion for the last year," she continues. "This is driving down price and expenditure. That's why traditional puddings are tracking slightly behind in value on last year. But Farmhouse Fare has seen really good growth about 56% in the last quarter (Nielsen, week ending 3 October 2009)." This is on the back of a new 10-strong range going into 52 more upmarket Tesco stores, as well as healthy promotional activity.
News of the renewed focus on own-label comes with the latest figures from TNS, showing retailer own-labels faring worse than the brands (see overleaf). But the biggest winner after a year in recession has been the frozen desserts category. Manufacturers supplying foodservice also report gains for frozen products, though this is offset by the struggling hotel and restaurant sector, with the latter seeing a 25% rise in insolvencies in the last nine months compared to last year (PriceWaterhouseCoopers).
"There is definitely a trend back to frozen due to reduced wastage," says Angus Allan, MD of Indulgence Patisserie, which supplies a number of chilled and frozen private-label products. "But if there is such a trend in foodservice (towards supplying frozen products), they are overwhelmed by the reduced number of people eating out. My gut feeling is this will last until after the election. Retail is very buoyant, foodservice is flat, but the coffee shop sector is doing fine."
Clean-label declaration continues to be a priority, which has benefited the frozen sector. "The retailers always go after the chilled, but immediately you have a life and a wastage problem," says Doug Chapman, MD of frozen supplier Speciality Desserts, which focuses on developing bespoke desserts to fit a brand concept in the hotel, pub and restaurant markets. "With frozen, you've got more flexibility. Certainly in our marketplace it's about zero wastage."
As phoenix from the flames stories go, a cupcake cases supplier being plucked out of administration and landing plonk in the middle of a boom in muffins and cupcakes is one of the more positive stories to come out of the recession-hit bakery sector.
A well-known name and a cupcake case supplier to craft bakers, coffee shops and supermarkets, Chevler Packaging filed for administration earlier this year, largely caused by an expensive final salary pension scheme that the business couldn't afford and a pressured market in carton packaging. With the recession in full flow, the bank got twitchy and pulled the plug on its investment, meaning uncertain times for the Hengoed-based business, which traded for two weeks in administration. Luckily, the management stepped up and bought out the profitable cupcake casing business from the family owners and left the plastics and carton side.
Following loan capital assistance from Finance Wales, an organisation set up by the Welsh Assembly Government to help businesses struggling to find credit, along with investment from the new owners, Chevler is back on an even keel. In fact, the outlook is so positive they've managed to create 12 new jobs without losing any.
Pretty good news, then, for nearly half the bakers in the UK that use Chevler cases, especially as it has only one rival supplier in the UK and another in Italy. "It wasn't in any way, shape or form a pre-pack buy-out. We were the first ones that [administrators] Deloitte made redundant," recalls MD Stuart Whelan. "There were competing bids. We put everything into our bid, we put our own money in and we got it. We were delighted. We knew we were getting a strong business that did not need any major surgery and customers saw very little disruption."
Sponsors of the inaugural National Cupcake Week in September this year, alongside ingredients supplier Puratos, Chevler has been busy fuelling the cupcake craze ever since. It has launched a range of coloured cases, available in small pack sizes for craft bakers; previously these were the reserve of the big guys, who bought up to 100,000 cases at a time. There are eight separate colours in the range of 51mm x 81mm cases, which are offered in cartons of just 360. The new colours join the Chevler range, which already includes gold and silver foil cases, known for their icing holding properties.
It's a simple idea, but one that can improve a coloured cupcake range display at a stroke. "Smaller bakers might only use 1,000 a year. So we listened to our customers, packaged them in small quantities and sell them through wholesalers," says Whelan. The last major breakthrough for Chevler was the tulip case, first developed for Costa Coffee, before it caught on throughout the industry.
It has also developed cases for all the main special occasions on the calendar, from Christmas to Easter, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Halloween and birthdays. A forthcoming launch will be unbleached, grease-proof products, with a more rustic look, targeted at the artisan side of the industry.
"If anything, we've had too many good ideas and have had to hold ourselves back to get the business right," says Whelan. "We turn around a phenomenal amount of samples at great expense; we have all the equipment here on-site, which means we can set up print runs. That gives us flexibility and quick reaction times, and we don't have the burden of outside printing costs."
Now the business is in solid growth, Chevler can focus on innovative case ideas, says Whelan. "The business is in good shape," he says. "We have four owner managers, which is a good blend of experience. We'll be focusing on the business and customers will see more from us going forward."
Economic hardship is failing to quell packaging and labelling innovation, as bakeries, cafés and food-to-go retailers increa-singly seek differentiation in the great high street bun fight.
While times are tough across the retail sector, the recession has both boosted and hindered independent operators, with many consumers trading down from restaurants, but others swapping take-out breakfasts and lunches for home-prepared food.
For those enjoying a lift in trade from the restaurant exodus, branding has become all-important to compete in a saturated sector ranging from small over-the-counter bakeries to chains such as Starbucks.
Manufacturers of packaging and labelling solutions have responded with new ranges of bags, bowls, cups and containers in materials offering greater scope for on-pack marketing, and responding to increasing demand for an upmarket and environmentally aware image.
Opinion is mixed as to the impact of the economic downturn on customers' willingness to pay out the premium applying to 'eco' packaging, with one trade source claiming the environmentally friendly option can triple costs. However, according to Planglow, trade in environmentally friendly lines is booming. "Packaging sales have soared over the last year or so," says Planglow marketing manager Rachael Sawtell. "Most of our products are environmentally friendly and we do tend to have a lot of bakers as clients."
Greatest sales growth has come from sandwich and baguette packs, says Sawtell, which are cardboard-based with windows manufactured from plant-based materials such as corn. Most of Planglow's packaging, which also extends to wraps, salads and beverages, is from renewable resources and is 100% biodegradable or compostable.
Last week Starbucks unveiled its new-look store on Conduit Street in London. Well, a look that's not supposed to be a look. A look that reflects its newfound back-to-roots indie outlook. So how does it, erm, look?
In two words, 'sustainable' and 'local'. A facelift was long overdue. A recent review of coffee shops, published by The Local Data Company, said Starbucks was "entering a period of introspection" as it took stock of its strategy. "The uniform ambience doesn't seem so appealing these days and, now the bubble has been pricked, real questions are being asked about all premium coffee shops," it stated.
The chain has haemorrhaged stores, while rival Costa has continued its rapid growth. Now, Starbucks plans to open a number of stores next year, but the focus will be on refitting 100 outlets in 2010 at a cost of £25m, matching the 100 it refitted last year.
The aim is to reconnect the store to its heritage, with locally focused fittings and a less uniform approach. Tim Pfeiffer, senior vice-president, global design, flew into the UK last week to launch the plan, saying there are "several levels of environmental initiatives that we have pretty much embedded in the design going forwards".
"We wanted to embed the character of the neighourhood in this and really elevate the offering to the customer, with the overall vibe of the store, creating an environment that really is very much more bespoke and one-off. We wanted to elevate the overall value of what Starbucks represents," says Pfeiffer.
It may be the current tagline for a certain brand of crisps, but the words 'simple is better' could just as aptly be applied to Hobbs House Bakery's prize winning loaf at the Baking Industry Awards 2009. Established in 1920, family firm Hobbs House has long been in the business of making bread. And despite many of its current recipes having been in existence for 20 years or more, the bakery, based in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, has not been standing still when it comes to innovation.
Its Organic Wild White sourdough loaf shone through as winner of the Morrisons-sponsored Artisanal Bread Product of the Year a new category at the Awards this year. The loaf contains only organic flour from Shipton Mill in nearby Tetbury sea salt, water and a 45-year-old levain starter of rye flour and water. Sounds simple, but its production takes around three days, with the starter stored for two-and-a-half days before being added to make up the dough.
Hobbs House production director Sam Wells obtained the starter 15 years ago from a German baker, who had had it for around 30 years. "People think it's amazing that something's still going after all that time," says Wells.
The award category required entrants to submit three different products for initial judging. Alongside its Organic Wild White loaf, Hobbs House entered its Baguette Paysan and Organic Soda Seeds loaf, but the Wild White staked its place as the strongest contender, making it onto the shortlist. "It's the tasting that's the key," explains Wells, who recommended the judges warmed the bread before tasting for maximum effect. "Although it's an industry award, we obviously shout about it a lot to our customers," he explains. "We've made it our business to make sure we've had lots of press coverage, as well as marketing material in our shops, which we also sent to our wholesale customers. People like to be associated with winners."
Wells says he was prompted to enter, in part, due to the fact it was a category specific to artisan production. "It's a word we've been using quite a lot recently regarding our business. Artisanal products are exactly what we're about, so I thought, 'Maybe this us for us'."
When it was announced the firm had won, Wells says he was "absolutely speechless". "It was fantastic, a really good evening and Morrisons looked after us very well," he continues. "It was nice afterwards to be able to probe them (Morrisons' judges) on why they chose our loaf. They told us that all the judges had their own favourite second loaf, but, without fail, they had all picked the Wild White as their favourite, which was charming to hear and really encouraging. It's great to be able to bring that back to the bakers here, who make the loaf day-in, day-out, and to be able to give them that kind of feedback."
Wells sent a text announcing the win to his fellow directors and, when he got back to the bakery, he says: "People were really buzzing about it." One of the great things about this type of category, he explains, is that the award is attached to a product rather than a person, so it's one the whole business can share, as they've had a direct involvement with it. "To be attached to the whole thing has been very beneficial internally and externally. And since winning, we've sold a lot more of the loaves," says Wells. "Bryan Burger, head of bakery at Morrisons, said we should expect to see around an extra 10% return out of winning, which has been about right."
Stanley Cauvain, Linda Young
Woodhead Publishing, £135
Richard Hamilton of Agile Space elaborates on his step-by-step guide to revamping your shops
Is there a perfect store format or is flexibility the key to success? The initial format of a store is usually determined at the start-up of any business and is dictated in part by premises, along with product offer. However, evolution can take your brand to new customers if it evolves with flexibility in mind.
Take Pret A Manger, for example. This started out in Victoria, London in the late 1980s as a deli-led sandwich shop, offering a similar concept to the current Philpotts offer. The initial store and operation was designed with large chiller displays packed full of fresh produce, enabling customers to select their own filling and witness their sandwich being made fresh.
As Pret developed from one store, the two founders, Julian and Sinclair, began to realise what was working and that they had to strike a balance between losing the freshly made appeal versus valuable store space initially used for queuing. The sandwich prep moved to a back-of-house kitchen and the product range, although less tailored to individual customers, was now a core range, pre-packaged in display cabinets enabling a rapid transaction and increased turnover.
Take-away sales replaced the deli and the natural evolution was to stick in some stools. Eat-in could be defined as being less luxurious than a café, but for many this begins, without thought, as a row of stools against an eating bench in a window. Like many retailers, the stools were a great success for Pret, as customers could sit and enjoy their sandwich while being a living window display. However, as new competitors hit the high street, Pret recognised the need for good coffee and the value it could add if executed properly.
Once coffee was fully introduced, the first café format was launched in Putney in the early 2000s and sat alongside a full range of stores from take-away to eat-in and, eventually, a freestanding kiosk. Each format worked, each format sold a core range of products, had a kitchen, sold good coffee and, critically, held true to the initial ingredients that made that first store a great success.
l Next month: what a store should look like
These are interesting times for those involved in the baking industry today. British Baker is reporting on some challenging issues and is clearly working for a response from officials, which industry can work with.
There are many products using high quantities of fat. People should be encouraged to moderate consumption. Reducing fat levels/quality of fat is a wholly inadequate solution. These products are supposed to be a "treat" not just "ordinary".
Regarding salt: it is difficult for bakers to come to agreement on this issue. Ian Barrett's letter (BB, 23 October) makes some interesting points. However, his argument is fundamentally flawed. We are talking about salt levels in the finished product. Using Baker's Percentages, many a recipe is formulated using salt at 2% on flour. Personally, I have been adding salt at 1.8% for over 10 years. I am sympathetic to trying to get this down to 1.5%, but I believe in long fermentation; I like the toughening effect of the sodium ions on the gluten in the dough; it helps to achieve full hydration; control of fermentation is implicit; and finally, yes, flavour is better. But most bread of today needs high salt to overcome lack of flavour. If you consult the work of Professor Raymond Calvel, it is obvious that salt levels in bread dough have increased significantly since the emergence of "no-time" dough.
Salt levels and 'bad' fat are part of a big picture; so too are all the hidden substances that never get as far as the label. My challenge to industry is: declare these! If the Food Standards Agency starts to get tough on this as well, today's bread industry will really have to change.
Andy Smith, bakery lecturer, Newcastle College and bakery consultant
Aniseed grows in the Mediterranean in sheltered, sunny spots. The plant produces flowers similar to parsley. It bears a strong resemblance to dill, fennel, coriander, cumin and caraway, all of which have a slight liquorice flavour.
The seeds are oval, brown and ridged and are harvested from the plant in the autumn. They should not be confused with Chinese star anise which, although similar in taste and aroma, is not botanically related. Aniseed is available commercially, both as seeds, ground and also as oil. It is traditionally found in baked goods from around Europe.
At Christmas time in Germany, Springerle biscuits are made using flour, eggs, baking powder and icing sugar.
The ground aniseed is added either to the mixture or sprinkled on the baking tin. They have special rolling pins or moulds to press designs on the biscuits before they are baked. Aniseed can be added to breads, muffins, biscuits and tarts.
Tom Herbert is a fifth-generation baker and director of Hobbs House Bakery, a multi-award-winning craft bakery, based in Gloucestershire
German firm Anneliese was showcasing bakeware: tins lidded or unlidded. Made from aluminium steel or stainless steel, Anneliese offers optional anti-stick coatings.
All the tins are compatible with automated or robot stacking and there is a wide choice of frames, some of which double up as ergonomic handles.
Capway and Rademaker announced they had entered
into a preferred partnership deal at Iba.
Under the terms of the deal, Rademaker will provide front-end dough make-up equipment and Capway will supply provers, coolers, tin or tray handling systems and robotic storage, as well as loaders and unloaders.
Capway also launched a new microwave frequency oven for breads, rolls and pizzas. The company has been working for five years with the University of Utrecht on microwave frequency ovens, particularly suitable for crustless bread, which appeals to catering companies, sandwich makers, children and the elderly.
Also new is a camera diagnostic system used for par-baked bread, which is suited to highly automated bakeries. If there is a technical problem, Capway is able to see exactly where it is occurring.
Glamour and passion were two themes on the Unifine stand at Iba. The Decorgel range of gels and toppings provide a translucent sparkling covering to desserts while imaginative fond flavours were included in goods such as Ricotta and Orange and Honey flavour cookies. New premixes, fonds flavours and fillings all fed into a 'Passion for Pastry' theme. However, longer shelf-life and elimination of E numbers also played a part.
Unifine launched a new premix for a chocolate Swiss roll and a range of top-quality jams including damson, plum and apricot. These contain 70% fruit and are freeze-thaw stable.
Unifine also showed a stabilising system for whipping cream, which can go into mousses and icings, and there were several new lines based on a gold and silver theme, which are eye-catching for Christmas or birthdays. These included 2D sugar shapes.
Toolbox Bakery Solutions offers supply chain management specifically for bakeries.
Graham Jones (below) who represented the company at Iba said: "Our customers are bakers with 20 or more shops or big industrial bakers."
The full supply chain management involves raw material handling, production, stock, distribution and transport. Jones added: "We believe users can recover their investment in 18 months because we reduce labour time and costs and provide traceability, speed and controllability through despatch."
"Bakels Multiseed is now the biggest-selling product in four of our worldwide businesses," Paul Morrow, international managing director, told British Baker at the recent Iba exhibition in Düsseldorf. Two new products were demonstrated by Bakels at the show: Diamond Glaze Extra and Frutojam Gourmet. And the firm also displayed a new Blueberry Crumble mushroom-shaped muffin.
Diamond Glaze can be applied with a palette knife on the flat surface of mousse, cakes and desserts at both frozen and ambient temperatures. When heated up to 50C it is stable on mousse cakes and pastries of any shape. It is ready to use and freeze-thaw stable.
Frutojam Gourmet is a range of bakery jams containing 45% fruit while Bakbel Blueberry Fruit filling is made from Wild Canadian Blueberries.
Bakels group chairman Armin Ulrich said: "These are much more expensive than the farmed varieties but you can really taste the difference." The fruit fillings range, called Lafruta, typically contains 70% fruit.
Claire Brown, national sales manager, weCAN Solutions
So, you supply electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) systems into bakeries. Much interest?
A few years ago, I asked the financial director of a large bakery firm, "Do you have a keyboard I can borrow?" My question was met with a quizzical, then a glazed look. "We bake bread, we don't do IT," she said.
Tesco is to improve the security of goods in transit by introducing tamper-evident trailer seals by Secureseal. The supermarket will replace the electronic seals for all new-build trailers, as well as any existing faulty seals in order to increase the security across its 4,000-strong fleet.
Secureseal is a permanent reusable seal with a unique random security number generator that monitors unauthorised door openings. The devices, made with stainless steel, have a life-span typically exceeding eight years, said the firm. Tesco's fleet engineering manager Cliff Smith said: "Secureseal offers a more reliable, better-value and longer-term solution that will improve the security of goods in transit."
Coldpack has launched Airliner, an insulating film material that enables temperature-controlled transit packaging for food products.
The product comprises two layers of a special film, manufactured using DuPont Surlyn resin, which are separated by an aluminised honeycomb structure. When filled with air, the design of the packaging creates multiple compartments known as 'baffles'. The temperature is preserved inside the pack, so the inclusion of coolants such as gel packs and dry ice can be used to achieve the required temperature.
The Airliner maintains products in packs of up to 70 litres either at ambient temperatures, typical product temperatures (for example, from 0° to +4ºC for food products) or at -18ºC temperatures for frozen products.
The contents are protected depending on the thermal fluctuations anticipated during transit usually a 48-hour shipment but special extended cooling systems are also available to offer protection for up to 120 hours.
Spooner Industries has announced it is to extend its products and services for the UK baking industry.
The company, which specialises in forced convection technology, will now offer a range of air conditioning and ventilation systems to complement its existing work in the design and manufacture of ovens, provers and coolers.
Services specific to the industry, include: bread cooling plant, developed especially for optimum efficiency in controlling product cooling and weight loss; steam, gas or electric heated bread-proving equipment; and air blast systems, developed to control dough piece quality for use with either steam, gas or electric.
Spooner has also introduced a technical services division to offer full service and support for new and existing customers.
A new healthy snack food range, Gourmet Raw, has been launched this month. It comprises two varieties of Gourmet Raw Brownies Celestial Cacao and Cocobanana and three varieties of Flackers Salsa, Jive and Sunshine. Flackers are being marketed as an alternative to crackers for snacking or bread and could be served with dips, such as guacamole or salsa, or filled with houmous and salad as an alternative to a sandwich.
A range of three gluten-free snack bars are currently in production and will be launched soon. These include: Oracle (goji berries, hemp- and other seeds), Supadoopa Slice (nut-free and sweetened with lucuma), and Mutiny (coconut and chocolate).
To claim their raw status, none of the products are heated above 40.5°C. They are free from refined sugars, artificial colours, preservatives and flavours, and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
By Max Jenvey of Oxxygen Marketing Partnership, a strategic management agency that focuses on business and brand development within the bakery, foodservice and convenience sectors.
Everyone seems in such a rush these days, but thankfully the majority of bakery customers still enjoy a well-earned rest and a sit-down with their favourite drink and snack.
Our colleagues at market researcher him! say the customers who like to eat-in form a very diverse group: the majority, 46%, are full-time workers, but there are also "at-home mums", students, singles and child-free couples visiting cafés and enjoying a breakfast, lunch or snack.
So how do we maximise sales opportunities within these groups? Simple: target full-time workers. him! tells us that only 10% of consumers actually prepare their lunch at home, so what are the other 90% looking for? Variety, quality and special offers and, if that's not enough, they also want the old favourites, too. So think about a daily special sandwich or pastry and link it to a meal deal to increase your average spend, which will also satisfy consumers' need for value. Speaking of value, ask your current suppliers for support with promotional material.
With over 25% fewer customers visiting food outlets than before the recession, customer loyalty is increasingly important. On average an eat-in customer keeps going to his/her favourite food outlet for almost three years, says him!
This said, there is every reason to enhance your customer's loyalty with a loyalty card or reward scheme. Research shows that the accumulator buy 10 drinks and get the 11th free is one of the most valued reward schemes for your customers and a cost-effective way for you to easily implement a reward system. All you need is cards with your brand no bigger than a business card and a small stamp behind the till.
You can easily link the accumulator system with your lunch or snack offer. him! tells us that almost 40% of customers visit a café or bakery for their lunch, so why not encourage that extra visit to your store by offering something on the third or fourth purchase?
Finally, ask your customers what they want, why they keep coming back to your store and how could you improve their experience? Knowing what your customers think will help you get it right for their next visit.
The Drury Tea & Coffee Company has launched a range of Christmas teas and infusions. The loose teas include Christmas Flavoured Black tea and Christmas Flavoured Green tea in 125g packs, as well as Christmas Rooibos Infusion and Christmas Cookie Infusion in 100g packs.
The black tea features apple, cinnamon; almonds, star anise and vanilla. The green tea features ice crystal sprinkles, pink peppercorns, chocolate chips and clove buds. Cinnamon, orange blossom, blackberry leaves, cardamom seeds, ginger clove buds and safflower are included in the Rooibos infusion, while the Cookie Infusion features apple pieces, hibiscus, rosehip, orange pieces, cinnamon and ginger and cloves.
While industrial processed fruit, such as strawberries, can be damaged by mechanical and thermal treatment, freezing or pasteurisation, with a negative effect on the fruit texture, S Black has introduced FirmFruit to combat this effect for manufacturers of sweet pies.
Patented by DSM Food Specialities to improve fruit firmness and give clearly defined fruit pieces or whole fruits, the effect is achieved with fruit pectin demethylation in the fruit and fungal pectin methylesterase (PME) enzyme and calcium. This overcomes the negative effects of treatment during processing. The process can be applied to fresh, frozen or thawed fruit pieces, slices or purée.
Organic pork pie producer Brockleby's has won a contract to supply its pies to supermarket chain Waitrose.
The company, from Asfordby Hill, near Melton Mowbray, will be putting its wares into a Waitrose store in Stamford early next year. Brockleby's hopes its pies will later go nationwide with the chain.
The contract was signed when the company was contacted by Waitrose after winning a taste competition in the retailer's Made in Britain Awards, organised in association with Country Living magazine. Ian Jalland of Brockleby's said: "Our pies are very popular, but they aren't widely available at the moment. I don't know what volumes are involved, but it will be a significant piece of business for us."
A Waitrose spokeswoman said: "We are working on the launch of the pies into the Stamford branch with a view to extending the product into more stores at some point in the future."
Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association chairman Matthew O'Callaghan said it was "extremely good news that the excellence of Melton Mowbray pies has been recognised by a major supermarket".
After supplying pies to Everton Football Club for several years, Clayton Park Bakery has cornered the football pie market in Merseyside, signing a contract to supply Liverpool Football Club.
The Lancashire-based firm will supply Anfield with a wide range of products for both hospitality and concourse catering. The concourse pie range includes potato and meat; steak; and 'scouse' pie, which is made with lamb, potato and vegetables. The hospitality range includes unusual options such as the breakfast pie, made with gammon, sausage and beans, and a potato, meat and mushy pea pie. The company is also working with Liverpool's head chef to develop mini pies and an exclusive Liverpool FC pie.
"Football clubs account for around 15% of sales," said MD Barry Thomas. "It's a good market to be involved in because of the prestige and exposure for the company."
Clayton Park supplies pies to football clubs in all four English leagues in the north west, including Oldham Athletic, Rochdale, Preston North End and Accring-ton Stanley. It also supplies Lancashire County Cricket Club, Spar and Booths supermarkets.
The European bakery market will continue to consolidate over the next five years in the wake of the recession, with frozen bakery companies leading the way in mergers and acquisitions, according to a new report.
The Rabobank report, The Bakery Sector Beyond the Down-turn, predicts that the bake-off market will go from strength to strength in coming years, as retai-lers look to offer 'freshly baked' products, while reducing wastage. Higher margins in frozen bakery mean firms in the sector are also well-placed to make acquisitions.
"Higher profitability can be attributed to the value-added nature of their products, which requires specialisation," said the report. "Bake-off products are prepared for use by bakers in batches, as required for sale, thus optimising stock and reducing wastage. They also attract a higher consumer price because of their 'freshness' in stores. Due to frozen bakery products' longer shelf-life and transportability, a business model can extend across a region, improving scaleability."
As consolidation continues and companies focus on their core business, controlling input costs will become more important, said the report. "Bakery players are expected to use hedging products or introduce joint buying arrangements with other players. They will also aim for back-to-back contracts with buyers and clients to minimise volatility," it said. Other factors shaping firms' resilience include controlling distribution costs and increasing exports.
Big supply deal
Distribution company JJ Food Service has struck a multi-million pound deal, which will see it supply ambient, chilled and frozen products to Cooks the Bakery stores across the UK. The open-ended contract, worth £4m per year, covers 72 Cooks stores, previously supplied by 3663.
Northern Foods is to plough £26.5m into its Fox's Biscuits brand, with new automated technology replacing hundreds of jobs. The firm plans to introduce automated equipment at its Batley, Kirkham and Uttoxeter sites, resulting in a reduction of approximately 220 employees "mainly through voluntary redundancy".
In its half-year results, the company said key investments over the next 18 months would include a new Creams line at Kirkham, new automation for its Melts line at Batley and a new wrapping system at Uttoxeter.
For the 26 weeks ended 26 September 2009, its bakery division revenue rose by 3.9%, with profits up 26.2% to £8.2m.
A £2m marketing drive for the Matthew Walker pudding brand will be launched ahead of the Christmas period.
The baking industry in the north west is set to benefit from over £1m of government investment, which will be used to develop new products and boost production.
The North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has awarded grants to Bells of Lazonby, Peter Hunt's and United Biscuits for a variety of projects in the region. Bolton-based Peter Hunt's has secured a £250,000 grant under the Grants for Business Investment (GBI) programme to invest in new equipment, enabling the savouries company to diversify into the £100m par-baked Continental pastries market. The company believes it could gain 5% of this market within three years.
David Wood, Peter Hunt's MD, said: "The UK imports large quantities of freshly-baked croissants and Danish pastries, available in supermarket in-store bakeries. With the help of this NWDA grant, we will soon be producing high-quality products for this growing UK market from a new production line in Kearsley."
Meanwhile, Cumbria-based Bells of Lazonby has secured a £480,000 grant from the NWDA under the Grants for Research and Development scheme. The money will be used to improve the nutritional value of 'free-from' products by cutting salt, fat and processed sugars and boosting fibre content over a three-year period. As part of the deal, Bells will also invest £1m-£1.5m.
Said Bells' MD Michael Bell: "This project will bring the principles of thoughtful nutrition to free-from baked goods."
United Biscuits has also benefited from a £425,000 GBI scheme investment at its Aintree factory, enabling the firm to increase the output of TUC crackers and to start manufacturing Jaffa Cake Bars.
The NWDA is funded by the government, via the Single Budget, and the EU via the European Regional Development Fund. Its budget for 2009/10 is £397m.
Gallani to leave BCCC
Barbara Gallani is to step down from her position as sector manager for the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Sector Group and take up a new role. From January 2010, she will be the new director of Food Safety and Science at the Food and Drink Federation.
Glasgow-based sandwich chain Henry Healy's five former shops are now up for sale after the business went into liquidationin October.
The chain, which has been trading since 1913, had suffered in the face of competition from national chains, coupled with the impact of the recession, said Scott McGregor, joint liquidator at business rescue and restructuring specialist Begbies Traynor. Its 27 staff were all made redundant.
Henry Healy's former shops are located on Hope Street, Queen Street, Mitchell Street, Howard Street and Stockwell Street and are still fully fitted with a good selection of catering equipment. Acting on behalf of the liquidators, business agent Christie & Co is inviting offers for the leasehold of the shops by 12pm on Friday 27 November.
Terence Conran's soon-to-be-rolled-out Albion café and bakery concept is part of an influential new breed of independent bakery shops that combine upmarket retail with casual dining.
That's the view of retail analyst Greg Hodge, from research company Planet Retail, who says that upmarket bakery shops and cafés, such as Gail's, Hummingbird, Konditor & Cook and Patisserie Valerie, are having a growing influence on larger chains. "These independent retailers are at the cutting edge and are starting to have an impact on the larger players," he said. "The deli-cum-café concept is all about fast-casual dining and you can see this trend developing with chains such as Carluccio's and Nando's, which combine elements of retail and foodservice in a relaxed setting."
The latest in this new generation of outlet is Shoreditch-based bakery and café Albion, due to be rolled out to three sites in London next year. Restaurateur Terence Conran has invested £10-£15m in the project, which will open new outlets in Covent Garden, Victoria and Regent's Park in the spring and summer. The chain could also be exten-ded nationally.
"Albion has been such a smash hit in Shoreditch we really feel it is something that could work throughout London and beyond," said Conran. "Albion is in many ways a British version of Carluccio's, with a small shop and a café. But it makes bread instead of pasta and has well-known British dishes on the menu."
Hodge added: "People like the quirkiness of independents and the fact they are not a chain."
Market research expert Mintel has revealed that sodium reduction features in its 2010 global Consumer Packaged Goods predictions as "the next major health movement". Mintel director of trends and innovation David Jago said the difference with sodium reduction was that it is being "pushed by food companies and health bodies, not by consumers".
A new qualification has been launched in Scotland, which aims to "open up new horizons" for employees in the food and drink industry.
The Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Food Science and Technology, which commenced at the end of October at Glasgow Metropolitan College, is a subsidised two-year day-release course that offers existing employees the chance to qualify as a food technologist in a bid to bridge the skills gap in this area.
The course does not have specific bakery units, but covers a lot of the general science behind baking including nutritional analysis and scientific process, said a spokesperson for food and drink sector skills council Improve. It costs £540 a year.
Starbucks has turned around its fortunes following a troubled patch, which saw it shed stores, as the UK's second-biggest coffee chain gears up to roll out its new "bespoke" outlets.
A spokesperson told British Baker: "We have more customers than ever before and our like-for-like store sales in the last three months have returned to growth.
"The last year has been challenging for us and for some of our customers, who have faced a real squeeze, but we've taken a number of steps to improve the value and experience we offer our customers and it's paying off," she added.
The firm will spend £25m over the next year refurbishing 100 stores as part of an exercise that "allows us to take a root-and-branch look at environmental performance", she said. Star-bucks designers will carry out all the designs on a store-by-store basis.
"The new approach means our designers will look at each UK store individually and ensure it reflects the environment and community in which it is placed," she said.
Among the changes will be a 20% cut in energy costs and around 10% in water use. The choice of food has been widened for breakfast, with crepes, fruit toast, porridge and whole fruit on the menu.
Starbucks' reward card scheme now offers free extras, such as a shot of Fairtade espresso, and free Wi-Fi will be available in-store.
l See Interior Motives, page 22