November

viewpoint

T he sandwich market is really buoyant and heading for a 9% rise this year, according to research from Mintel (pg 4). Certainly, the choice on offer from bakeries, coffee shops and supermarkets is phenomenal. The variety of breads, flavours of filling and healthy-eating options are all terrific. But there are two more comments about sandwiches in this week's issue that also made me think.

Andrew Pollard, chairman, British Society of Baking

I enjoyed the BSB autumn conference for many reasons but, above all, for the ability to socialise and talk about general bakery issues other than just the prices of raw materials, which seems to have dominated us all in the trade for some time.

Subway adds power to EIPC

The European Independent Purchasing Company (EIPC), owned by franchisees of sandwich chain Subway, says it is now one of the biggest independent purchasers of food and paper in Europe.

Piemen await verdict in Scotch pie contest

Tension is mounting among the 70 entrants to the annual World Scotch Pie championship as they wait for the winner to be crowned on November 29.

Consumer watch

I don't often go into bakeries. I usually just shop in Sainsbury's for cost and convenience.

UK Bakeries hopes for a sale

UK Bakeries, a family-owned wholesale bakery based in Leicester specialising in baps and rolls, has called in administrators, blaming increased demand for wraps.

Pret rolls out range for Christmas season

Sandwich chain Pret A Manger says it expects to sell around 70,000 Christmas Lunch special sandwiches a week over the eight-week festive season, after rolling out its Christmas range last week.

Briefs

n Three armed robbers wearing balaclavas stole cash from a bakery in Long Melford village, Suffolk, last week. The men threatened staff and customers at The Patisserie with what is believed to be a shotgun and a baseball bat.

Premier hit by 'higher' price rises

RHM owner Premier Foods claimed this week that its British Bakeries division had been the most efficient of the big plant bakers in putting up its bread prices to cover rising costs, but that its comparatively higher prices had hit sales volumes.

Firms fined on safety breaches

Fines totalling £33,500 have been imposed on two firms after a lorry driver was crushed to death at the Allied Bakeries site in Glasgow.

Fletchers' staff seek union advice

Staff at Sheffield bakery Fletchers have been holding talks with union representatives and legal advisers over proposed changes to their contracts, which they fear could cost them thousands of pounds in pay cuts.

Sandwich sales are boosted by consumer focus on health

The expansion of sandwich bars and the trend for healthy eating has turned sluggish performance in the sandwich market between 2002 and 2006 into an estimated 9% rise in the last year, says a new report.

People

Gerry Brownridge

Mini quiches

Mini quiches are versatile and delicious snack products, which can be good enough to serve as a course at a dinner party.

This is not just bakery...

No one has done more to capitalise on that ghastly sounding word 'premiumisation' over the last few years than Marks & Spencer. In fact, the retailer has gone to such lengths to drive this home to consumers that you could coin another P-word - pornographisation - to describe it, such has been the success of its occasionally lambasted but hugely successful 'This is not just food...' marketing, whose overtones rival only Nigella Lawson for titillating innuendo.

The book of Ruth

Who said you should never put all your eggs in one basket? Not Ruth Robinson, that's for certain. She is the founder of Ruthy's Scones - a name that doesn't lend itself particularly well to diversification. "I tried baking traybakes as well as scones, then realised everyone was making them, but the scones were unique!" she says.

Is NPD bakery's achilles heel?

You may be surprised to know that research carried out as part of the Cereals Industry Forum (CIF) has shown that the cereals industry in the UK has a weakness when it comes to new product development (NPD) and innovation.

A sense of wellbeing

Health and wellbeing have been huge trends in the UK bakery market for the past few years. And it seems that the rest of Europe is not far behind, as messages of heart health, digestive health and general wellbeing resonated through the busy Food Ingredients Europe exhibition halls in London's ExCeL last week.

Knockout blow for independents

T he eagerly-awaited Competition Commission (CC) report into the power of the supermarkets has arrived. Or, more accurately, a pre-report report, which precedes the report proper to be published next year, upon which we will report in due course.

Justify your expenditure

In my newspaper recently, I read about the chief executive of a hospital trust, responsible for a hospital in Kent, which was apparently so dirty and badly managed that approximately 90 people died from Clostridium difficile (C.difficile), contracted while being treated.

CSR watch

The government announced last week that an estimated 6.7 million tonnes of household food and bakery waste is produced each year in the UK, which equates to approximately a third of all food shopping.

High street slowdown continues

Fears of a continuing high street slowdown were confirmed in the latest CBI monthly retail survey, which found that sales growth was at its slowest for almost a year.

Tate & Lyle profits plunge in 'challenging' sugar market

Tate & Lyle's adjusted profit before taxation was down 19% to £120m in the six months to 30 September, despite a modest 1% increase in sales, to £1.7bn.

Viewpoint

The year is 2013. Tesco has passed the milestone of having a superstore in every square mile of Britain. The megalithic multiple is then granted planning permission to build a store on the side of a cliff.

M&S additives aim

Marks & Spencer says it is on target to remove 99% of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives from its bakery products by January 2008, as the retailer steps up its commitment to its Plan A corporate social responsibility strategy.

Dr Terry Sharp, head of baking and cereal processing, CCFRA

Heavy rain during the summer means there is probably not enough UK wheat to produce bread to our exacting quality standards in the coming year.

Ingram Bros moves factory

Scottish bakery ingredients manufacturer Ingram Brothers is moving to a purpose-built factory in Paisley close to Glasgow Airport.

Unifine set to expand range after takeover

Royal Cosun, parent company of Unifine Food & Bake Ingredients, has bought the French food ingredients specialist Caullet and its exporting business Caulinter for an undisclosed sum. Negotiations had been underway since May.

Health watch

Experts have warned the baking industry against adding folic acid to flour or bread, linking an excess of the vitamin with increased risk of cancer.

Asda extends Irwin's contract

Northern Irish bakery Irwin's has boosted its business in Great Britain with a contract to supply 200 Asda stores with five products from the Rankin Selection Irish breads range.

SSP on track to open new sandwich outlets

Travel and leisure foodservice operator SSP is extending trials of two new sandwich formats, Camden Food Co and Panopolis.

Briefs

n The HGCA has collaborated with the Flour Advisory Bureau to produce a new multimedia educational resource called The Grain Chain (www.grainchain.com). This offers children aged five to 16 a fun way to learn about the 'field to fork' cycle of how wheat is grown and used to produce breads and cereals, plus advice on eating for health and vitality.

NA blasts report on supermarket power

The National Association of Master Bakers (NA) has slammed the Competition Commission's report into supermarket power, accusing it of having "no concerns or interests about the viability of the high street or town centres".

BSA unveils hygiene code plans

The British Sandwich Association (BSA) is to beef up its code of practice, turning it into a health and safety guide for bakers, foodservice and retail sandwich bar operators.

Coca-Cola prizes

Coca-Cola has announced the winners of a prize draw competition it ran at the recent Bakers' Fair North West on Sunday, 14 October.

Allied stabilises sales

Associated British Foods (ABF) said it had "stopped the rot" at its Allied Bakeries business as it posted preliminary results for the year to 15 September this week.

Bakers lose out to Subway in sandwich sales battle

Bakers' shops have seen their share of the sandwich market slip in the past year with sandwich and snack bars and supermarkets growing their sales, according to a new report from market research company Key Note.

Magic with marzipan

Once upon a time, in the Middle Ages, a Venetian baker's daughter was helping her father blanch and chop almonds to mix with a large portion of cake dough.

Muntons explores its darker side

T he great thing about using malts in breads and cakes is that they can replace quite a bit of the salt and sugar." That statement, from Andy Janes, general manager - marketing, Muntons Malted Ingredients, should have the Food Standards Agency beating a path to its door to find out more.

When the chips are down

Corporate social responsibility may be the buzzwords on everybody's lips, as green issues hit home with bakery manufacturers. But while some companies are ebbing with the tide of public opinion, others don't need a gun to the head to bring sustainability to the forefront.

Commodities tracker

Almond prices have remained firm on the back of a large shipment figure for September 07, according to Mark Setterfield, RM Curtis' MD, in the company's Edible Nuts & Dried Fruit Market Report: Sep-Oct 2007.

Brennans sees positive trend

Brennans Bakeries in Dublin saw turnover rise 7% to €54.1 million (£37.69m) in 2006, with operating profits up by 28% to €5.41m (£3.77m). An €80,000 interest payment boosted pre-tax profits to €5.49m.

Bakkavör blames tough trading for performance

Icelandic giant Bakkavör said that the 'toughest trading conditions in decades' had affected the group's performance, as it revealed its results for the first months of the year last week.

Tribute to a lady of great character

Gwen Clark, who died on 15 October 2007, aged 91, was one of the great characters of the old London Region of the National Association of Master Bakers (NA), writes Tony Cavan. She helped to run Clark's Bakery in Ealing until the death of her husband, Leslie, in 1972. She continued to support the London Ladies Section for many years and organised its Summer Dinners at the Bell House Hotel, Beaconsfield, which raised generous contributions for trade charities.

Viewpoint

Boils need to be lanced, ears need to be unwaxed and tongues need to be bitten. That's the rather messy - and painful-sounding - scenario facing those charged with bringing the disparate elements of the industry together to create a unified voice for skills training, following turning-point talks between student leaders and sector skills council Improve this week (pg 5).

Julian Hunt, director of communications, Food and Drink Federation

Forget all the hype around possible elections. Tucked away in Gordon Brown's speech a few months ago at the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth was a real gem: the PM talking about how he wanted the UK to be leading the global economy, with modern manufacturing at the heart of his vision of the future.

Burns carries off top West Country award

Glastonbury-based Burns the Bread won 'The Best' West Country Baker' award at this year's Western Bakery Championships, while St Mary's Bakery in Torquay won the Open Confectionery Championship for the second year in a row.

Richemont heads meet up

Nine members of the Richemont Club of Great Britain, led by club president Trevor Mooney, recently attended the annual meeting of Richemont presidents in Croatia.

FDF targets packaging waste

Members of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) last week launched a five-pronged commitment to make a difference to the environment in areas where they felt they make the biggest impact.

Packaging watch

The Village Bakery in Melmerby, Cumbria, has announced that it will package its bread range in biodegradable and compostable bags.

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