Starbucks is looking to boost its sweet and savoury offering after its new breakfast range swelled year-on-year morning sales in the UK by 50% in June.

Gluten-free bakeries are calling on the NHS to investigate charges added to prescription gluten-free bread by whole-salers, after a spate of media reports criticised the cost of such products to taxpayers.

Pasty Presto is to up its outlet numbers, as motorway service station area Roadchef has announced it is to trial a franchise of the bakery café chain, with a view to further rolling out the brand across its estate.

Fats distributors say red tape could prevent their sustainable palm oil products from carrying a new certification logo.

Bakers' Fair Autumn, taking place on Sunday 2 October at the Bolton Arena, promises to be even bigger and better than last year.

Following her achievement as runner-up in the latest television series of The Apprentice, Greggs' Helen Milligan has been named the new head of retail for the south east region. Previously the executive assistant to CEO Ken McMeikan, Milligan will now be responsible for over 200 shops and around 2,500 staff.

In Short

29 July, 2011

Waterfields attack

Gore, ghosts and ghouls

29 July, 2011

Emma Thomas, aka blogger Miss Cakehead, recently posted a message on Twitter: "This cupcake terrifies me." A click on the hypertext link opens an image of a cake topped with cream swirls and a clown's head. Clowns might not be everyone's idea of a Halloween fright, but the cupcake is a good example of the kind of creativity that Thomas believes is needed.

Irish firms thrive

29 July, 2011

Northern Ireland is a bakery market facing cost pressures equal to, if not greater than, GB. The emergence of large multiple retailers and consolidation in the retail sector has driven down prices over the past decade. One consequence is the proliferation of pound lines appearing on the shelves, hitting already tight profits for margin-squeezed manufacturers. While the region is believed to be ripe for consolidation in bakery, with a large number of small-to-medium operators, there is a raft of thriving companies with successful domestic and export businesses.

Nick Harris

In Short

29 July, 2011

Fox's plants to stay

Caught in the Web

29 July, 2011

Something to look forward to once a month: pre-menstrual chocolates... bit.ly/rfJZKL

Mouthing off

29 July, 2011

"Throughout the course of the process Helen showed to her current employer, who kindly gave her 12 weeks off to come into this process, that he or she is going to have to be a bit of a mug not to actually promote her or give her some bigger position now they've seen what she's capable of doing"

Bathe-day cupcakes

29 July, 2011

With judging on British Baker's National Cupcake Championships under way, along comes a cupcake-maker with a product that has a distinctly synthetic aftertaste and a disclaimer that "the product is not edible". The Bath Cakery is not a cakery in Bath, but rather one with a strapline, 'Have your cake and bathe in it!' Yes, for cupcake fans it's a cake to rub on one's body in the privacy of the bathroom, without a nagging sense of guilt.

Next issue: 12 August

29 July, 2011

l High-fibre, low-Gi and seeded breads

Carrying out far more worthwhile scientific research is Dr Dom Lane, a consultant food researcher, who has been working on behalf of bread brand Vogel's to nail down the method of making perfect toast.

The government is being urged to move away from the 'nudge' approach of encouraging the population to change their eating habits (see News), to the traditional 'kick up the backside' of days of yore i.e. regulation and wrist-slapping.

Criminal checks

29 July, 2011

Employers and voluntary organisations, many of whom will access the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) information for the first time, will be able to take it into account when judging a person's suitability for a post. This service will strengthen safeguards for protecting children and vulnerable adults by providing employers with much wider access to criminal records information. But remember that you must get the employee's permission first.

Written harassment

29 July, 2011

Verbal bullying can be caught by harassment laws. But suppose employees do it in writing? What is the Court of Appeal's view on this type of behaviour?

There are many ways an occupational health advisor can assist your business, such as helping you reduce short-term sickness absence levels. But what else can they do and how much might their services cost?

All employers should comply with their legal duties towards lone workers under:

Q&A:

29 July, 2011

QOne of our employees is responsible for placing all our stationery orders. The supplier we use regularly runs competitions and, this month, our employee has been selected as its winner; the prize is a digital camera. This has caused bad feeling among other staff and a few have proposed that it is raffled off for a local charity. We don't have a problem with this, but the winner is refusing to hand it over; he claims the camera is legally his. So does it belong to us (as it was our order) or our employee (because he was the contact name when it was placed)?

A very big thank you to all those who sent messages of goodwill, as I step aside from the role of editor today.

Out with the old

29 July, 2011

D ividing and moulding by hand is no longer always realistic, when high volumes and consistent output are an economic necessity.

Calling all young bakers

29 July, 2011

The search is back on for the UK's top young talent.

Over the next few months, employers will start receiving requests for additional paternity leave. Should you get one, you have the right to demand proof of eligibility. But what information can an employee be asked to produce?

Young pretender

29 July, 2011

There are probably not too many 18-year-olds whom you could have a lively conversation with about the challenges of inventing a porridge/Genoese mix Scottish breakfast cake, decorated with a blue and white fondant Scottish flag. No wonder that the inventor of that particular regional delicacy, Kyle Hendry, made an impression on judges of the Trainee Baker of the Year Award at the Baking Industry Awards last year.

Ginsters is building on its Cornish Bara range with the introduction of the All Day Breakfast Bara.

Walkers' Sensations range of crisps has undergone a packaging redesign, with a new flavour also added to its portfolio.

Bakery ingredients specialist CSM United Kingdom has launched an improved recipe for its Wrap Ice icing which has a natural vanilla taste, smoother application, better coverage and longer shelf-life.

Garrlins' decks appeal

29 July, 2011

Foodservice equipment supplier Garrlins has added the mini twin deck Mazzoni CD5050 pizza oven to its range.

Northern Foods' Fox's and Rocky brands have launched in mini sharing bags: Fox's Mini Melts and Rocky Rocks.

Unifine has launched a new product guide Unifine Goes Halal, to inform its customers about the products and ingredients in its portfolio, which can be used in day-to-day halal foodservice.

Till management and EPoS systems firm Aures Group has launched the new W-Touch "all-in-one" touchscreen equipment. It features a slimline, fanless and splash-proof design, and has been developed predominantly for wall-mounted till applications.

Coding and marking equipment manufacturer Allen Coding Systems has introduced a 'greener' labelling system. Diagraph's Platinum E Series All Electric Labelling System claims to use 50% less energy than other pneumatic models. UK sales and OEM manager Steve Ryan said it offers all the performance and features of its earlier equipment, but with the added financial and environmental benefits of using less energy. The firm said the new system uses less power than a hairdryer and, as it does not use compressed air, it can be moved easily from one production line to another, as no air hoses are in the way.

Cadbury Boost is now available in a cake bar format, alongside a new Turkish variant. The Boost cake bar consists of a layer of chocolate sponge topped with a chocolate and biscuit filling, surrounded by caramel and covered in Cadbury milk chocolate.

Raymond Blanc's patisserie chain Maison Blanc has unveiled a number of new honey-inspired products for summer. The Beehive is made from a light polenta sponge with poppy seeds, encased in a blend of honey and diplomat cream, and sprinkled with chocolate shavings. Its Bumblebee Cupcakes are made with a soft vanilla sponge, and topped with either mango or zesty lemon icing.

A House of Lords committee, chaired by Baroness Neuberger, has been tasked with finding ways to reduce obesity.

In Short

29 July, 2011

Weights guidance

Report

29 July, 2011

Almost three-quarters (73%) of small businesses have been paid late in the last 12 months, according to new research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Seed pricing

29 July, 2011

Pine nuts: Prices from China have stabilised for now, as the positive news on the developing crop takes effect. Buyers are currently able to cover additional requirements at more attractive prices than those seen at the end of 2010. The view is that the combination of both Chinese and Russian optimal crops should secure stable and possibly easier pricing for 2012 deliveries. However, we cannot count on the weather.

To all those bakers, coffee shops and retailers getting involved with National Cupcake Week (NCW) this autumn, British Baker is urging you to support our partner charity CLIC Sargent to raise money for children with cancer.

Bakery colleges report that increasing numbers of students are signing up for courses this year due partly to increased publicity and a raft of bakery-related TV programmes.

Look ahead to SIAB 2013

29 July, 2011

SIAB exhibition, the Italian bakery, machinery and confectionery show will take place in Verona in May 2013. Supported by Fippa, the Italian Federation of Bakers, the show will major on international innovation, while attendees will have the opportunity to discuss raw material prices and their impact on the baking industry.

British Baker is delighted to announce all 31 finalists for the Baking Industry Awards 2011.

In Short

29 July, 2011

Cupcake finalists

The powers that be in Twickenham are on the hunt for an artisan bread baker to join their current line-up of shops.

The Original Cake Company is to break from its fruity roots with a new range of cakes, developed with the help of funding from Food and Drink iNet (Innovation Network).

Bakery transport companies are concerned that European Commission proposals to limit the height of UK trailers could mean a big change to their working practices.

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