As the year draws to a close, we look back at some of the major stories that have impacted the baking industry in 2017.
- Supply issues with butter were brought to the public’s attention when Arla Foods CEO Peder Tuborgh told the BBC’s Today programme that bakers were set to face a butter shortage by Christmas.
- Food-to-go supplier Tasties of Chester was rescued from administration in a deal that saved 188 jobs. The business was sold to newly-formed company Street Eats Limited. It was understood that former Adelie Foods CEO Gavin Cox was a key player in the new business.
- Following the opening of Lola’s Cupcakes’ first bakery site – Lola’s Bakery – in West Hampstead, managing director Asher Budwig told British Baker he would like to see 20 to 30 stores in London. Budwig also said he believed Lola’s Bakery could be developed globally.
- Adelie Foods ceased production at its Middlesbrough plant, putting 180 jobs at risk. The sandwich maker set out a proposal to transfer production from its Middlesbrough plant to other factories in the group, and relocate its Midlands distribution centre from Leicester to Tamworth.
- A Game of Thrones-inspired bakery service – ‘You Know Nothing John Dough’ - was created by Ben Hawkey (pictured above), who played orphan and baker Hot Pie in the show. Hawkey offered mini loaves of Direwolf-shaped bread through online food delivery service Deliveroo for £1 each. The bakery is no longer taking orders for the products.
Rolando Tuano, owner of Premier Catering
- Finsbury Food Group announced plans to close premium baked goods business Grain D’Or, with the potential loss of 250 jobs. Grain D’Or had operated at a loss for some time, according to Finsbury. The company confirmed the closure in October.
- Tesco came under fire on social media after changing the recipe for its own-label custard creams. The biscuits contained reduced salt and sugar compared with previous versions and the retailer said a panel of 250 consumers preferred the new texture and praised the crumbliness and creaminess of the biscuit. Many consumers on social media disagreed.
- Real Good Food (RGF) founder and executive chairman Pieter Totté resigns following company announcing earnings for 2017 will be £2m, around £3m lower than previously forecast, and that payments for consultancy services made to Totté and non-executive director Peter Salter had not been fully disclosed in transaction notes for accounts. Later that month, RGF further reduces profit expectations for 2017 to £1m.
- Wrights Food Group acquired Stoke-on-Trent bakery Premier Catering, which had been supplying it with bread for more than 30 years. Premier Catering was moved from its current site in Anchor Road, Longton, to a purpose-built unit attached to the Wrights’ bakery centre in Crewe.
- The great and the good of the UK bakery world gathered at the London Hilton on Park Lane for the biggest hoedown this ol’ industry has to offer. The 2017 Baking Industry Awards brought together hundreds of the biggest guns in British bakery in a Wild West-themed ceremony. West End and TV star Denise van Outen hosted the event and presented the winners with their awards across 11 categories.
- Roberts Bakery unveiled a radical relaunch featuring new branding and NPD including Gin & Tonic Fun Buns, Fiery Corn Ready-to Rolls with hot chilli flakes, and wrapped bloomer loaves. The launch was described by the business as a “seismic shift” and was designed to overcome the decline in the wrapped bread category.
- Bells Food Group created a new arm of the business dedicated to manufacture and supply of pastry. The new division, named Bells Professional Pastry, was launched to provide an “added value pastry offering to food manufacturers, wholesalers, bakeries and butchers”.
- Starbuck and Uppercrust operator SSP opened new concept Knead Bakery with Paul Hollywood at London’s Euston station. The bakery serves breakfast butties including sausage and bacon sandwiches, as well as baked pies and sausage rolls sold by the inch.