April

CSM purchases Harden

Bradford-based Harden Fine Foods, which supplies mini-bite flapjacks, brownies and cakes to in-store bakeries in supermarkets as well as restaurants and coffee shops, has been bought by CSM for £6.4 million. The Netherlands firm already owns BakeMark UK and Kate's Cakes.

BIE is rated a success

Exhibitors and visitors alike expressed satisfaction over the Baking Industry Exhibition (BIE), which took place at Birmingham NEC on 6-9 April. Many standholders have already signed for the next show, which will take place in two years' time.

Global supply issue forces Rank Hovis to raise prices

Rank Hovis, the miller, has announced a price rise, effective immediately. Flour has risen £34.38p a tonne, equivalent to 55p per 16kg bag.

Country Choice takes on rival in NI

UK bake-off and food-to-go giant Country Choice is planning to take on rival Cuisine de France (CDF) on its own turf, by entering the Northern Irish market, which the latter dominates.

Finsbury puts ‘free-from’ market firmly on agenda

The Finsbury Food Group has strengthened its operations in the ‘free-from gluten’ market with the £8.9 million acquisition of Yorkshire Farm Bakery (YFB) and A&P Foods.

Book review

Are you planning a store expansion strategy? Want to corner your market? This is the tale of how Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ guru, did quite literally that, en route to achieving his modest target of 40,000 outlets (scarily, the company claims it’s still on track to hit that).

Rhubarb

Early English rhubarb is coming into season now. Forced rhubarb has a more delicate flavour and a less woody stem than the outdoor garden type. It is very versatile and, apart from being used in pies, tarts and crumbles, it is also good when added to muffins, cakes, traybakes and strudels.

The craft baker

Last week I took a call from BB asking if I’d like to become a regular columnist, and I thought, ‘At last! I’ve found a new audience for my ever-rising enthusiasm for all things baking.’

April 4

"One of my aspirations was to source as much local food as we can. We are looking into a sty containing four happy, fat Gloucester Old Spot piglets, just across the road from the café where their meat will eventually be served."

17.4%

...the calorie intake of kids aged 3 to 16 in Scotland, from sugars added to food, table sugars and fruit juices, accor-ding to FSAS. With the government target at 10%, cakes, biscuits and confectionery are blamed.

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