March 28

"It’s just like French bread – and besides, potatoes have iron" – Luis Ramirez, a baker in Lima, Peru, where the military has begun eating bread made from potatoes – potato baguettes, braided potato loaves and mini-potato croissants – to combat rocketing wheat prices

Stress watch

Here's something to get the drill sergeant bakery production managers among you excited. This is the Exmocare BT2 watch, designed to measure workers' physiological data, such as heart rate, location, body temperature, skin temperature and moisture levels. A central database then picks up the transmitted info for analysis, and alerts the employer to any slacking. We've been wearing them on BB for weeks now and the alarm hasn't gone off once...

Caked nappies

What's the most unappetising ingredient you could possibly imagine for a cake? Take a straw poll and you'll end up with a pretty long list before you get to babies' nappies. As unlikely an invention as it seems, the Nappy Cake is a genuine product that's available from internet retailer []. "Each cake is 'freshly baked' to order, and carefully handfinished," says the website. We wish we could have witnessed how this particular business venture would have fared in the Dragons' Den. However, one thing is in its favour: it's perfect for baby showers...


Market research firm Technomic says that 57% of around 3,500 respondents to a survey "had never been to a bakery cafe restaurant" in the US. Staggeringly, 28% of those non-customers don't visit bakery cafés because they are "not familiar with what food items the concept offers". THEY DON"T KNOW WHAT A BAKERY OFFERS?!? And we thought our UK industry had it tough.

On cafe culture

Our revered doctor would have something to say about our modern-day fixation with caffeine. Not one for popping down his local Starbucks, or its 19th Century equivalent, listening to this frightening account leads one to believe that he was supping a pretty potent brew.

Quote of the week

s, potatoes have iron

Sep 1935

The importance of seeing that everything is perfect cannot be overestimated. For instance, say you have made 24 Madeira cakes that are not all they should be. The batter may have been cold and, instead of being potential 'trade-getters', the resultant cakes are a little tough.

Getting real

Spring 2008 sees the launch of a brand new four-day food festival in the UK, the Real Food Festival. The event is designed to reflect the focus given to food standards and, in particular, provenance and sustainability in the UK and around the world. Its aim is to bring together producers and consumers in a celebration of excellent produce, reflected in the festival's profile as both a trade and a consumer show, with a dedicated trade day on the 24th.

Local baker fights back

A small bakery in Kirkham, Lancashire, has taken on a supermarket giant and won. While many bakers would hang their head in despair at the prospect of competing cheek by jowl with Morrisons, David Cross of Manor House Bakery worked in close partnership with another local bakery and used both staged investment in capital equipment and the progressive development of a healthy passing trade to score his coup.

Proof is in the prover

The bakers at the William Saddler bakery in Forfar, Scotland, are a happy bunch, especially since they no longer have to work night shifts. Not only can they enjoy a better social life, but also, they can integrate more fully with their colleagues.

A Day in the Life of Tom Shaw

== 8am ==

Grains of truth

Health has long been discussed as a key trend in the bread market, but new research has pinpointed Omega 3 and whole grains as areas with the most potential for the future.

Learning goes online

Fears that decades of baking expertise could be lost to the next gene-ration of bakers, because of a lack of training provision, have prompted the creation of a new online bakery school.

Trend watch

Heavy discounting of everyday bakery products in North American and Western European supermarkets has motivated bakery manufacturers to develop premium products that command better margins - a trend that will help the global bakery market grow to a value of $407bn (£204bn) by 2010.

Fungus threat to wheat crops

Scientists are currently developing varieties of wheat resistant to a virulent fungus, which has spread from Africa to Iran. The UG99, which began in Uganda in 1999, is a strain of black rust, which can affect 80-90% of wheat crops in these countries.

Developing markets already hit by the grain price hikes

Wheat pricing has almost tripled since the turn of the century, according to the World Bank.


has bought US firm The Coffee Equipment company and its Clover Brewing System.

Fatality explored

A fatal accident enquiry into the death of a bakery forklift driver started last week. Glasgow's Sheriff's Court will investigate the causes behind the death of agency driver Graham Meldrum in 2005. He was killed by a truck's tail-lift as he unloaded bread at the Allied Bakeries factory in Balmore industrial estate, Lambhill.


There is lots going on at the moment. The Baking Industry Exhibition opens its doors at 10am on Sunday 6 April at the Birmingham NEC and runs up to and including Wednesday 8th.

Top hotel boss plans bakery

The owner of a Michelin-starred restaurant has won a battle to open what he calls an "old-fashioned and traditional bakery", deep in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside.

Weight Watchers to get its just desserts

Greencore has revealed it is planning to launch a range of Weight Watchers branded chilled desserts within the next two months. The products are currently undergoing development in the firm's cakes and desserts facility in Hull.

Reporting in

Preservatives in bread are seen by bakers as key in delaying spoilage. But while consumers, the media and retailers generally regard convenience as a good thing, they share a negative perception of preservatives.

Barilla sells off bakery division

Italian pasta company Barilla has put its German subsidiary Kamps Bakeries up for sale, six years after acquiring in a deal worth around E1.8bn.

Legislation watch

From 6 April, 2008, both private and public sector organisations can be held responsible for corporate manslaughter and companies of any size could face an unlimited fine if found guilty.

Sultana supplies face short-term shortage

UK bakeries have faced a 15% rise in the price of sultanas over the last two months amid warnings that supplies from Turkey could dry up by early summer - three months before the next harvest.

The Worshipful Company

of Bakers held its second annual ladies' lunch last week presided over by the Master of the Company John Renshaw (centre). Guests included, from left to right, Jill Renshaw; the Lady Mayoress of the City of the London, Theresa Lewis; Dee Cassey, marketing manager of California Raisins and Sylvia Macdonald of British Baker. The event was held at Bakers Hall in the City close to where the Great Fire of London was started, allegedly at a bakery. The Lady Mayoress spoke of her empathy with bakers as she too runs a business and works with her hands - creating pottery. The fire, however, is confined to her kiln. The Worshipful Company funds bakery education through scholarships and sponsorships.

More time for awards entries

The deadline for entries to the Baking Industry Awards has been extended to Friday, 16 May.

Trademark bid leads to 'gingerbread war'

Cumbrian bakery The Gingerbread Shop says it will have to wait until August to find out if its application to trademark the term 'Grasmere gingerbread' has been successful, after objections from a local cafe owner.

Baker wins scholarship at New York institute

A Scottish craft baker has won a £9,400 scholarship to study traditional artisan bakery techniques in New York.

Soaring euro adds to pressure on struggling baking industry

Bakers and suppliers who source ingredients, finished products and machinery from Europe say they are under increasing pressure from the strong euro.


n Supermarkets could be made to adopt the traffic light system of food labelling in a deal made between the Department of Health, the Food Standards Agency and the European Union, according to the Daily Telegraph. Public health minister Dawn Primarolo has confirmed it is the government's favoured option, but Tesco, and around 50 other firms, prefer a system of guided daily amounts to alert consumers on health issues.

What the judges said

About skills achievement and Paul Barker:

What the judges said

About marketing and Tricia Barker:

Cinnamon Square at a glance

Established: November 2005

Theatre of baking

Husband and wife partnership Tricia and Paul Barker run a very individual bakery and café called Cinnamon Square, in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. What makes it unusual is that this is Britain's first 'theatre of baking', where customers can watch the bakers make cakes and pastries and quiz them about how they do it. This area is known as the Makery. Children's parties can be held here and Paul Barker also runs evening courses in bread and cake-making.

June 1894

"Tabloid" tea is the finest Ceylon and Indian teas compressed into a small tablet of uniform size.

Top toasters: Krusty's rotating toaster

Debate raged on one blogging site recently about the merits of this amateur inventor's solution to that age-old riddle: how do you toast your bread evenly? This beautifully illustrated idea involves an electric motor to turn the centre shaft, and "the slow rotation of the gear shaft produces a more evenly toasted piece of bread." Comments included:

On breathing properly

Bad habits - whether it's smoking, drinking or over-eating - are the bane of society and a drain on the NHS. But who ever considered breathing through one's mouth an outrageous habit? Yes, you guessed who. There appear to be one or two major health risks involved in Dr Allinson's remedy, but what do we know, eh?

Donuts on the brain

Krispy Kreme donuts play key role in neurological research, shock! New research from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine sheds light on why our brains kick into action at the sight of sweet fried dough. Subjects taking part were tested twice - after chomping down as many as eight Krispy Kreme donuts, and after fasting for eight hours. They were then shown pictures of donuts and screwdrivers, while having their brains scanned. After the eating binge, their brains registered little interest in the donut images, while the opposite was true following the fast. "The brain is able to detect what is motivationally significant. It says, not only am I hungry, but here is food," said senior author Marsel Mesulam, professor of the bloomin' obvious.

March 14

"The meat and potato ones are really good"

Soft drinks: how to boost sales

Ensure you have a varied and diverse range of soft drinks available.

Coca-Cola gets to grips with packaging

Coca-Cola Enterprises is to introduce an easy-to-hold 'grip" packaging design across all its 500ml PET bottles of leading soft drinks brands - Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

Bakers' soft sell

There was a time when the only soft drinks you could buy in a baker's were cans of Coca-Cola and lemonade. But there has been a revolution in the soft drinks available from manufacturers and in the public appetite for new and different types of drink. Coca-Cola and other carbonated drinks are still available, and still popular, but these days they are likely to be sold from a free chiller supplied by the manufacturer.

What winning the award meant to their business

"Year 2007 and the start of 2008 have been incredibly difficult. Our performance has been more affected by price rises and the ability to pass them on than ever before. Without the award, it may have been more difficult."

All Bells and whistles

Visiting Bells of Lazonby, near the heart of the Lake District, can be a confusing experience. On the one hand, you have miles and miles of quintessential country lanes, punctuated by centuries-old hedgerows and traditional stone cottages. On the other, lying in a lane just off the village high street, you have one of Britain's most forward-thinking bakeries - one that has national distribution, was the winner of Sainsbury's Bakery Supplier of the Year and considered corporate social responsibility (CSR) a part of its very ethos long before most us had even got our heads round the slogan.

Bells at a glance

Established: 60 years ago. Michael Bell's father, John Bell, started off working as a one-man band, making and delivering bread and cakes to the doorsteps of many family homes in Cumbria.

A total of 12 young bakers

have recently graduated from a three-month foundation course in the skills of baking that is open to 14 to 16-year-olds. They attended Warburtons Bakers Academy at Birmingham College of Food and Tourism.

Irwin's opts for new software

Irwin's, the Irish plant bakery, has installed the latest version of QuickStep Food and Beverage from Lawson Software, along with Lawson Business Intelligence, to improve communication across its UK-wide supply chain.

Noise ban hangs over bakery

Memory Lane Cakes in Cardiff failed to get a council noise abatement order lifted last week when a High Court judge refused a judicial review.

Warburtons plans to open Yorkshire depot

Warburtons plans to build a distribution site at Howden in east Yorkshire because it has outgrown its existing depot in the region at Gilberdyke.

My Account


Most read