The first ever Caffè Culture show was held last week at London Olympia, with a handful of bakery suppliers in tow hoping to capitalise on the UK’s growth in coffee shops.

Cookie specialist Byron Bay Cookies said there were “imminent” plans to start manufacturing in the UK to reduce costs, having imported from Australia for five years. “My job is to find a good artisan baker that understands about quality, with whom I could license products,” said European manager Stephen Hodgetts.

With further forays into Europe planned, using the UK as a hub, the firm’s European turnover would rise from £1.5m now to around £5m over the next two years, he forecast. “We’ve gone from a handful of cafés to the 800 that now buy our products,” he said. “We’re quite aggressive and we’re doubling our turnover each year.”

Caffè Culture was Kate’s Cakes’ first exhibition since its major rebrand last year, (British Baker August 19, 2005, pg 9). MD Steve Greenhalgh said its sector-specific focus was a big draw. “Many food shows have become fragmented and diluted – a muddle of food and machinery,” he commented. “But this is the first exhibition focusing on coffee shops so it is very relevant to us.”

The cakes supplier was launching a range of wrapped cookies and muffins at the show. “We’d seen a gap in the coffee sector, where we are one of the main suppliers,” said Greenhalgh. “The main focus this year will be pushing our brand.”

With the majority of business coming through retail outlets, such as Waitrose, Selfridges and independents, £2m-turnover Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding Company, based in Flookburgh, Cumbria, was exploring new growth areas, including export. “Cartmel has an ideal product for cafés and restaurants,” said operations manager Charlotte White. “People are becoming more discerning about the quality of foods in the catering industry and that’s why we’re here.”

Livingston-based Paterson Arran launched its new cookie concept for foodservice, Café Brontë – a range of luxury cookies and shortbread bars. The concept offers a unique packaging format, which conveys style, luxury, and high quality, says national account development manager Jerome Wright. “We wanted to be able to show the product’s craft baked look clearly through the film, but also to have a chic-ness and a self-standing display system.”

Cookie company Otis Spunkmeyer was there to launch its new Supreme Bars – a frozen puck that is baked-off in moulds to give a squared bar appearance. “It’s another extension of our product range,” said sales manager Darren Phillips. “At the moment we only supply cookies and muffins but we’re moving into the fresh baked cake bar market.”