September

Waitrose to ramp up convenience bakery offering

An increasing number of Waitrose bakery products look set to hit the market as the supermarket announces plans to increase its presence in the UK convenience market.

Through a development of new formats and channels, Waitrose aims to make its stores “accessible to more customers”.

It plans to ramp up its convenience store openings, and has announced plans to trial smaller 2-4k sq ft convenience shops, with the potential for 300 outlets in total. So far it has opened two 5-7k sq ft branches, in Trinity Square, Nottingham and Clifton, Bristol, with two more planned to open this year.

It also plans to open a further nine motorway service station sites as part of its franchise partnership with Welcome Break, following the successful trial of two outlets on the M40 at Oxford and the A1-M25 at South Mimms.

Its convenience stores currently offer a range of bakery products and a patisserie counter which sells freshly made sandwiches and baguettes, for example. Its service station outlets do not have counter facilities but offer a range of sandwiches, said a spokesperson for the supermarket.

Managing director Mark Price added that the supermarket has already broadened the appeal of its brand with innovations such as Essential Waitrose, the ‘Seriously’ range of indulgent cakes and desserts and Duchy Originals from Waitrose.

FSA warns of fraudulent inspectors

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has put out a warning to operators of food businesses, to be aware of fraudsters that visit food business premises claiming they are from the FSA.

The fraudsters claim they need to carry out an inspection and then extract substantial amounts of money as a fixed penalty fee for the premises being allegedly unhygienic.

The FSA has stated it does not carry out food inspections and there are no fixed penalties for food safety breaches.

Inspections are carried out by authorised local authority inspectors who carry relevant identification when visiting a food business.

If your food business is visited by anyone claiming to be from the FSA you should not part with any money and should contact the local police or your local authority.

You can also report the crime by emailing foodfraud@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk or by phoning the food fraud hotline: 020 7276 8527.

CASH hits out at salt in free-from bakery

Consensus on Salt and Health (CASH) has hit out at supermarket free-from products, which it claims contain a much higher salt content than their standard alternatives.

Research carried out by CASH analysed the contents of 71 supermarket own-label products in ‘free-from’ ranges (gluten, wheat or dairy-free), and compared them to the retailer’s standard version.

However, only just over half (56.3%) of the free-from products contained more salt, and 26.7% contained less.

Topping CASH’s saltiest free-from list was Sainsbury’s Free From Jaffa Cakes which contained six times a much salt in the free-from range - 0.67g of salt per 100g, compared to 0.1g of salt per 100g in standard Sainsbury’s Jaffa Cakes.

Other products on the list were Morrisons free from Chocolate Chip Cookies, which contained 1.5g of salt per 100g, compared to 0.5g per 100g in the standard version, and Asda Free From Double Chocolate Muffins which contain 1g of salt per 100g, compared to 0.3g per 100g in the standard version.

“In general, it has been the supermarket own-label products that have led the way in salt reduction, but it seems that own-label products for people with existing health problems have not been a top priority for the retailers,” commented Graham MacGregor, chairman of CASH and professor of cardiovascular medicine.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s was quoted in The Daily Telegraph as saying the supermarket was actively working on reducing the salt levels in its free-from range.

Aryzta reveals falling revenue in Food Europe

Aryzta revealed its UK and Irish business has been hit the hardest by the recession, as the Switzerland-based firm announced revenue losses in its Food Europe division.

In a statement announcing its full year results for the year ended 31 July 2009, the firm, which focuses primarily on speciality bakery, revealed a drop in revenue of 2.2% to €1,137.2m (£1,047.74m) in its Food Europe division. Operating profit stood at €135,103 (£124,561.29), up 11.4%.

The firm said its Irish and UK business had been most affected by the recession, and a result substantially reduced its cost base. Its, now fully commissioned, Grangecastle bakery helped enhance efficiencies.

Its Food North America division saw revenue increase 12.5% to €555.1m (£512.01m), and operating profit increase 30.1% to €67,481 (£62,267.69).

Aryzta chief executive officer Owen Killian said the economic downturn is reflected in the firm’s underlying revenues, which swung from double-digit growth to a decline, within the twelve month period.

In the financial statement released by the firm, it said that in the recessionary period encompassing the latest financial figures, credit from banks became very restricted and consumer spending slowed. However it stated that it remained focused on cash generation and improving operating efficiency.

Aryzta formed in August last year through the merger of Irish company IAWS and Swiss Bakery firm Hiestand.

It is a mix of business to business and consumer brands, including Heistand, Cuisine de France and Delice de France. Its Food Europe division comprises its speciality bakery businesses which span across Switzerland, Germany, Poland, the UK and France.

Finsbury Foods announces new CEO

Martin Lightbody has stepped down as chief executive of Finsbury Foods, with immediate effect, as the Group announces an improved second half performance in its full-year results.

Lightbody will be replaced by chief operating officer John Duffy and will assume the position of non-executive chairman following the firm’s Annual General Meeting on 25 November.

Finsbury Foods announces new CEO

Martin Lightbody has stepped down as chief executive of Finsbury Foods, with immediate effect, as the Group announces an improved second-half performance in its full-year results.

Lightbody will be replaced by chief operating officer John Duffy and will assume the position of non-executive chairman following the firm’s Annual General Meeting on 25 November.

Aryzta reveals falling revenue in Food Europe

Aryzta revealed its UK and Irish business has been hit the hardest by the recession, as the Switzerland-based firm announced revenue losses in its Food Europe division.

In the BB archives

One of our friends in the South of Scotland has sent us an announcement of a novel fashion of advertising his bread. He announces to his customers and all others who wish to give his batch bread a trial feeling confident that his bread has no equal in the district that he will have 10 shillings in cash per day put into all his batch bread baked on July 1st, and continuing until July 7th. Everyone can have a chance to participate in this £3 to be given away in these six days, by purchasing a loaf at 2-3d. He merely asks as recognition of the genuineness of the 'Hidden Treasure' that the prize winners at once communicate with him full their name, address and amount received. We may say at once that it is a method of doing business of which we are not enamoured. It is no more or less than a lottery, and the conduct of lotteries are illegal.

Extreme wedding cakes

We're not sure who these cakes were made for, but it has been speculated that they were baked for the Kuwaiti royal family. Whoever they were for, we're always happy to see pimped-up cakes.
http://www.zuzafun.com/royal-cakes#more-483

National Cupcake Week star part 2

It's not often that British Baker gets picked up by political bloggers. It turns out that the humble cupcake is all that's needed to make the link. These colourful Tory-themed cupcakes were posted last week on a Conservative blog www.torybear.com, with the following caption: "There is only one way to celebrate the first day of National Cupcake week tomorrow".

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