November

UCB's United Nations

Just over a year after a major fire at its Bathgate facility at the end of October last year, Scottish firm United Central Bakeries (UCB) has ambitious plans.

A Week in the life of...

Monday

French lesson

Last month's preliminary Competition Commission (CC) report into the supply of groceries in the UK contained serious flaws and omissions, which reflect an ignorance of a range of hidden elements affecting trading in town and city centres.

Flawed argument

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is currently conducting a public consultation on new guidance on food-labelling terms, such as 'fresh', 'pure', 'premium' and 'quality'. But many of the proposed guidelines are too vague to clarify any ambiguities.

CSR in the spotlight

The Carbon Trust, a private company set up by government, has invited trade organisations to apply for up to £140,000-worth of funding on carbon reduction projects.

McVitie's changes fig roll packs

Biscuit company McVitie's says it will be launching new-look fig rolls on the Irish market soon, after packaging has been changed following a recent court case (British Baker, 12 October, pg 12).

Czech Republic bakery sets up robotised facility

Czech bakery company Penam has opened the first robotised bakery in the Czech Republic, near Prague.

Lunchtime habits

More than two-thirds of office workers have sandwiches for lunch, according to new research.

viewpoint

For supermarkets, short and efficient supply chains must be the ultimate 'gold standard' to aim for. This week, Sainsbury's announced a brand new initiative on bakery, sourcing wheat from a UK farmers' co-operative (pg 4). It is an admirable way of supporting British farmers and lowering the carbon footprint, while achieving the longer-term aim of dispensing with Canadian wheat.

Whole grains help pancreas

Eating two portions of whole grains a day could almost halve the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, says new research.

The Forum of Private Business is urging consumers to avoid large shopping

centres this Christmas and, instead, buy their freshly baked products from small independent bakeries.

IGD agrees 8g/serving whole grain definition

An agreed definition and recommended level of inclusion for whole grains in foods has been put forward by UK food and grocery industry body IGD.

Ingredients watch

Antioxidant-rich chocolate, which can be used in bakery applications, helps heart health, according to new research from Japan.

Tim Smith inherits FSA chair

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has appointed a new chief executive. Tim Smith is the former head of UK dairy company, Arla Foods UK. He will take up his new post next March.

Dispute over bakery facing liquidation

Liquidators were called in to London wholesale bakery DM Holdings (UK) Ltd, trading as European Bakeries (UK), on 22 November, following a debacle over rent (British Baker, 23 November, pg 5).

Sainsbury's strikes flour deal for in-store bakery supply

Sainsbury's says it has struck a unique deal to supply its 360 in-store bakeries with traceable British flour, as part of an initiative to become what it calls "the best baker in town".

Food & Drink Expo adjoins BIE

Food & Drink Expo 2008, an exhibition for sourcing food and drink products and services from around the world, will run alongside Baking Industry Exhibition (BIE) at the Birmingham NEC from April 6-9 next year.

Show to go biennial

French bakery exhibition Europain is set to become a more frequent event, switching from every three years to every two, show organisers said at the launch of the 2008 exhibition.

Greencore profits hit by difficult summer trading

Convenience foods giant Greencore has become the latest supplier to complain that unseasonal summer weather and raw material cost inflation had hit its profits in 2007.

Briefs

n Bakery companies Walkers Shortbread and Honeytop Speciality Foods have been short-listed for the Food Exporter of the Year award and Small to Medium Business Food Exporter of the Year award, respectively, in the Food from Britain Awards 2007.

Gingerbread house

Grasmere Gingerbread is made using a 150-year-old secret recipe so secret, that it is locked away in the National Westminster Bank in nearby Ambleside. "My husband and father know it and that's it. I don't even know it," says Joanne Wilson of Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread. "My son who is four said, 'Don't tell me the recipe, daddy, otherwise someone will kidnap me.'

People

David Armstrong

Soda Bread

Chemical raising agents began to replace yeast in cakes, pancakes and some breads during the 19th century and soda breads became particularly popular in Ireland. This recipe comes from Ellen Duffin, who lived in Belfast during the mid-1800s. Her handwritten recipe book has survived and is now stored in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

Making the right match

Millers will repeatedly tell you: "There's no such thing as poor quality wheat - there are just different specifications of wheat." Bakers, on the other hand, have been heard in recent months to exclaim, "This flour is rubbish!" (The expletives have been substituted to avoid upsetting our more sensitive readers.)

Face to face with...

Q How did you come to be teaching bakery?

Dealing with disability

Even though the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) has been in force for over a decade, employers, employees, lawyers and medics still grapple with this highly complex area of law, in order to address the needs of those who are disabled within the employment arena.

Learning from one's peers

Once again I have been on my travels, getting ideas from my successful peers. The latest of these have come from David Smart of Greenhalgh's, based in Bolton.

Irish independents to struggle

Independent retailers in the Republic of Ireland are set to feel the squeeze from large international players tempted by the market's impressive growth rates, according to a new report.

Commodities watch

The Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) and Scotland Food & Drink has launched a new campaign called All About Oats, which aims to promote the health benefits of oats and encourage people to eat them.

'Dirt-cheap acquisitions' up for grabs in 2008, says report

Tighter spending and higher commodity prices will combine to make 2008 a much tougher year in the UK bakery market, according to business analyst Plimsoll Publishing.

Swedish bakery

Scotland's first Swedish bakery is to open at a multi-million pound development on the site of Edinburgh's former Royal Infirmary.

viewpoint

Is Allied Bakeries up for sale? Speculation is rife in the national press with city analysts pitching in (pg 3). It may well be the case, but I can't help wondering how much of it is also driven by the multiples forcing competition between the big brands - Warburtons, Premier Foods' Hovis and Allied's re-launched Kingsmill.

Geoff Dossetter, external affairs director, Freight Transport Association

The price of crude oil has been on the rise all year. And all year the result has been increasing diesel and petrol prices for bakery distributors.

Dean's joins tourist trail

Dean's of Huntly has opened what is claimed to be Scotland's first-ever shortbread visitor centre.

McDonald's redesigns restaurants and menu

McDonald's is revamping many of its restaurants with 200 outlets set to be 're-imaged' by the end of next year.

Legislation watch

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has called on the government to lift barriers preventing smaller businesses competing for contracts from public authorities.

Get ready for Breakfast Week

Plans are well advanced for Farmhouse Breakfast Week 2008 from 20-26 January when farmers, producers and retailers are encouraged to celebrate the importance of a good breakfast.

Maple Leaf UK acquires Bernard Matthews site

Maple Leaf Bakery UK last week made the latest in a string of acquisitions, buying a Bernard Matthews bakery in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

Allied sale rumours mount as plant bakery battle hots up

Speculation was mounting in the national press this week over the future of Allied Bakeries, if parent Associated British Foods (ABF) should decide to sell the business.

Factory re-opens

British Bakeries' Bradford bakery operation has been given a reprieve after production had started being wound down in October.

Bread takes centre stage in ad

Briefs

n Peter's Food Service, which makes Peter's brand pies, pasties and sausage rolls, has been named Business of the Year at the Caerphilly Business Awards. The awards is designed to recognise business achievement in the County Borough of Caerphilly in South East Wales.

November - April Highlights in the coming months include the CCFRA course on Wheat, Milling and Flour Quality and the Baking Industry Summit on Corporate Social Responsibility

November

Gâteau Opéra

T his is a classic, multi-layered, coffee and chocolate flavoured cake or slice, which appeared in Paris in the 1930s. It was created in honour of the Paris Opera House.

A Week (and a bit) in the Life

Tuesday 2 October

Directors' duties

Directors have powers to take majority business decisions on behalf of companies. As such, various duties are imposed on them to ensure that the companies' interests are protected.

International activity

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, one of the largest labour unions in the US, representing 1.4 million people, has announced a plan with Yucaipa Companies and Bimbo Bakeries USA (BBU) to purchase Interstate Bakeries, helping to save more than 9,500 jobs at the bankrupt firm.

McDonald's enjoys sales boost

Fast food chain McDonald's has announced that global comparable sales in its restaurants rose by 6.9% in October.

Carr's Flour profits crash as 80% wheat price rises hit

Carr's announced this week that operating profit in its milling business more than halved over the last year, to £1.1m (from £2.5m) on sales up 2.4% to £57m (from £55.7m).

Swedish bakery

Scotland's first Swedish bakery is to open at a multi-million pound development on the site of Edinburgh's former Royal Infirmary.

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