The Limagrain Group has posted a like-for-like sales increase of 11.6% for the full year to 30 June 2011.

Soft drinks manufacturer Britvic has announced its group revenue is up 14.6%, from £1,121.1m in 2010 to £1,290.4m in 2011, in its annual report published yesterday.

A South African company is looking to purchase half a container load of Christmas cakes, puddings, stollen and a variety of biscuits for Christmas 2012.

The Real Bread Campaign (RBC) and equipment supplier Benier UK recently hosted a one-day course on how to set up a professional bakery operation.

Harrods and Starbucks’ mince pies were the highest rated in Bloomberg’s annual mince pie taste test.

The branded coffee shop sector has continued to grow at a healthy rate, up 10% in 2011 versus 2010, and is now worth an estimated £2.1bn, with further growth predicted.

Management consultancy Allegra Strategies has published the data from its largest consumer survey to date, for its Project Café11 UK report.

Greencore is seeking inclusion in the FTSE UK Index Series, as its business continues to shift away from Ireland.

Howard Hunter, managing director of Coulton's Bread, spoke exclusively to British Baker about the company's performance in 2011, as well as plans in the next 12 months to open a new depot in Glasgow and introduce a range of potato cakes.

Yeast supplier Lesaffre has acquired Worcester-based rival Fermex International.

MP Grant Shapps, minister of state for housing and local government, has been tasked with working on Mary Portas’ recommendations for reviving Britain’s high streets.

A successful pre-Christmas trading period has meant planned redundancies have been reduced at Haydens Bakeries.

Hobbs House Bakery’s Tom Herbert and his brother Henry are to feature in new Channel 4 series, The Fabulous Baker Brothers, which starts in January.

A new report on salt reduction methods in food production will be published next year.

Cereform’s manufacturing site in Corby has achieved ‘zero to landfill’ status.

Staying power

16 December, 2011

UK eating habits are ever-changing due to tightening purse strings and hectic schedules, with consumers driven more towards convenience food. Popular trends such as red velvet cupcakes and French macarons, have also affected what customers purchase.

QCan you explain what the term 'mutuality of obligation' means and how it applies to contracts of employment?

An employer has recently been in the headlines after its Eastern European staff were instructed to speak only English when addressing their work colleagues during working hours. Although they were allowed to speak their native language during breaks, the employees felt that this was discriminatory. The reasoning behind this ruling was to ensure health and safety rules were followed by all staff.

Case study

16 December, 2011

The government is planning to double the qualifying period for those employees claiming "unfair dismissal" (currently one year). This means that employees will have to be employed for two years before they can make this type of claim.

Flexible working

16 December, 2011

When a statutory flexible working request is granted, it becomes a permanent change to the employee's contract. What would happen if, sometime later, you needed to change it could the arrangement be revoked?

employment issues

16 December, 2011

Managers often worry about tackling poor performance, which in itself can lead to problems getting out of hand. A simple, robust, employee improvement plan could make both of your lives much easier.

Dear Member

Christmas party problems

16 December, 2011

After a hard year's work, many employers reward their staff with a party. Unfortunately, these festivities can cause all sorts of problems. What can you do to prevent things getting out of hand?

Barry Callebaut has created a new premium confectionery decorations, fillings and inclusions line, designed with convenience in mind.

A touch of the Med for bakers

16 December, 2011

Kampffmeyer Food Innovation's new clean-label ingredient aims to help bakers produce authentic Mediterranean-inspired goods in short time frames.

New pack for bloomers

16 December, 2011

Planglow has produced a new eco-friendly heat seal bloomer pack, designed to keep products fresh for up to three days.

Best of British for Walkers

16 December, 2011

Leicester pie-maker Walkers has launched a brand new line of British hot pies, featuring its relaunched branding.

ADM Cocoa has introduced a new line of mildly fruity cocoa products to provide bakers and manufacturers with a delicate-tasting chocolate range.

2011 review of the year

16 December, 2011

January

Seed pricing

16 December, 2011

Pine nuts:

Although we are faced by the prospect of a far better supply of raw material from an improved Chinese, Russian and South Korean supply base this new season, the lower pricing has clearly triggered some higher and increased levels of industry and consumer demand which have lifted prices some 10-15% off the lows of September-October 2011. UK and European prices have also suffered further as a result of the weaker sterling and euro versus the US dollar of late, and also from the fact that, in expectation of weaker prices, the volumes of surplus uncommitted spot stocks have been low.

Report

16 December, 2011

While the wholesale price of skimmed milk powder, mild and mature cheddar have remained steady since October, the price of unsalted butter has fallen significantly since last month, according to the latest wholesale dairy report by Dairy Co.

Despite a slew of own-label activity in gluten-free bakery, the rapid growth in the market continues to be driven by brands.

Cake manufacturer Perfection Foods is to open a new bakery in Walsall early next year, creating many new jobs in the local area.

In Short

16 December, 2011

Macphie profits down

A leading City analyst has welcomed the move by Premier Foods to dispose of its under-performing subsidiary Brookes Avana for £30m but warned the embattled company still "has much to do".

In Short

16 December, 2011

FDF's health focus

Just Desserts, the Yorkshire-based company, has signed a deal with wholesaler FDP Fine Foods to supply foodservice customers in the north west.

Brook Foods is to launch a new school in 2012 aimed at teaching both the practical and business elements of running a bakery.

In Short

16 December, 2011

NAMB 125th banquet

ABST hosts trial workshop

16 December, 2011

The Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees (ABST), with the help of Rich Products, hosted a trial Creative Leadership/Problem Solving workshop at Tameside College on 6 December, with a view to rolling it out to the wider baking industry.

Expanding repertoire

16 December, 2011

New dough balls please!" Squint your brains and envision the newly gluten-free dieter, Wimbledon winner Novak Djokovic, masterfully return-serving a plate of bready starters in a Pizza Express: there you have the (slightly silly) metaphorical summation of another year in which the gluten-free sector aced it.

The long-awaited Mary Portas review into the state of the high street has been welcomed by bakers who have now called for the words to be put into action.

Allied Bakeries has rebranded its Kingsmill range with a new pack design incorporating a larger logo and more product visibility as part of a new £4.6m revamp.

The Bakery@Foodex exhibition is only a few months away, so make sure you have got the date in your diary and do not forget to register to attend.

Classic Catering estimates that it will save around £10,000 on annual fuel costs with the introduction of a new vehicle.

The British Sandwich Association (BSA) has announced it will mark the 250th anniversary of the sandwich, in 2012, with a year-long promotional campaign.

Waitrose has seen its total Christmas pudding sales more than double since last year, thanks to Heston Blumenthal's range of quirky desserts.

The Eden Project in Cornwall is to host the first-ever World Pasty Championship. It will take place at the Eden Bakery, between the famous Biomes, on Saturday 3 March 2012.

UK figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have shown the number of people out of work has increased by 128,000 in a three-month period from August to October.

Northern Ireland artisan bakery Ditty's has secured its first export deal in the Middle East, as global interest in the business continues to grow.

The Castledawson bakery, run by last year's Baking Industry Awards' Baker of the Year Robert Ditty, was initially asked to develop a new line of alcohol-free mince pies to Dubai's Pan Euro Foods MENA.

Allied Bakeries strike averted

14 December, 2011

A strike threat at the Allied Bakeries plant at Milton, north of Glasgow, has been averted.

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