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 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.

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, with the following caption: "There is only one way to celebrate the first day of National Cupcake week tomorrow".

National Cupcake Week star part 1

Forget the world's biggest cupcake, Sayers and Hampsons devised the world's smallest cupcakes or so they claimed. A Guinness Book of Records entry has never actually been recorded. The cake measured only 3cm in height and was 1.5cm in diameter.

Gluten-free love just a click away

There's seemingly no end to the number of online outlets for lovelorn lonely hearts these days. And so we welcome the emergence of, "a social networking site for gluten-free singles and single coeliacs". The American site is "100% free" and was created to give wheat-free restricted dieters the opportunity to meet others who follow a similar diet and lifestyle. The community offers shared pics, e-cards, forums and a video service.
Not that we would belittle food allergy sufferers whose cause has been leapt on by celebrity bandwagon jumpers and self-diagnosing home medics, but should they be encouraged to breed? Won't they spawn a generation of cake-dodgers, and is this a future we're prepared to accept? "Check out what all the buzz is about at!" it proclaimed. Well, we tried, and the website had mysteriously been pulled down. The work of rogue bakery-based hackers, perhaps?

Do you dare to dunk?

Ok, we've not run the rule over the data or peer-reviewed the findings, but we're still happy to give light to research that states that some 25 million Britons have suffered biscuit injuries.
The dubious claim made by Mindlab International, which devised the Biscuit Injury Threat Evaluation method, stated that a third of adults had suffered dunking-related scalding, a quarter had choked on crumbs and one in ten had damaged their teeth on a biscuit. If that's not bad enough, the shocking litany of injuries includes biscuit tins dropped on feet, falling off chairs reaching for a biccie, and poking yourself in the eye. In fact, 500 victims have required hospital treatment.
Mindlab assessed the 'dunkability' and 'crumb dispersal' of 15 biscuits for biscuit brand Rocky. Mathematicians cross-referenced these findings with research data and a nationwide survey of 1,000 adults. The lesson learned? Choose the custard cream from the biscuit assortment at your peril.

My Career

What does your job involve?
I oversee production from our two bakeries, ensuring procedures, standards and quality are maintained. I am also responsible for the management and training of production staff (10 in total), the development of new products, sourcing ingredients and managing stock control. I have daily contact with our four shops and many wholesale clients and am responsible for the daily production orders and schedules.


Sarah Morris
Giles Foods
The new national sales executive at chilled and frozen bakery products manufacturer Giles Foods is Sarah Morris, who has worked in the food industry for most of her career.
In her new role, Morris will be responsible for looking after customers and developing the company's business with wholesale distributors, food manufacturers and quick service restaurants, as well as major pub chains in the northern half of Britain and Ireland. She has previously worked with McCain Foods and McCormick Foods.

Make more of malt

The UK baking industry faces mounting pressure to reduce costs. Pressure is coming from the consumer and the retailer, but equally importantly, pressure is coming from within its own organisation to ensure survival in these difficult times. Finding ways to reduce costs and make more profit are key drivers.

The end of a sticky situation?

As more bakeware hits the market offering claims of coatings that make greasing of tins wholly or partially redundant, is non-stick bakeware making release agents defunct for bakers? And if so, are there potential cost savings for bakers investing in non-stick bakeware compared to using release agents?
Non-stick coatings range from clear silicon glaze to Teflon. However, Teflon is best used on automated plants or at bakeries where bakeware is handled with care. Careless stacking of tins and straps will reduce the life of Teflon coating, reaching a point where the coating can break down.
Gary Atkinson, technical director, of AAK Bakery Services, which supplies release agents that are designed to enable baked products to be removed without damage from pans, sheets or oven bands, says that although hard-glazed bread pans work well, they require high levels of maintenance and regular re-glazing to maintain the effectiveness. This can be very costly for the bakery, especially if they are mis-handled during loading and unloading onto the lines.
"By moving to a slightly softer tin coating in conjunction with a small, carefully applied coating of a release agent, the interval between the re-coating of the tins can be significantly extended and the bakery can make significant cost savings than through using a 'greaseless' system alone," claims Atkinson. "Working in conjunction with our technical services and engineering teams we can supply the right release agent along with bespoke application systems to ensure that the release agent is used efficiently and hygienically to give trouble-free, cost-effective release."
Material type, thickness and tin construction - welded seams or deep drawing - need to suit the methods of handling and the number of releases required between refurbishment. Cost is therefore reflected in this process of design. Kaak Bakeware offers a range of coatings to suit breads and confectionery; tin and strap design will be largely defined by the production style, batch sizes, quantities per batch and baking profiles.
Kaak Bakeware offers 'in-house' supply of bakeware from concept to final product using 3D computer design and robotic fabrication to the exacting tolerances which are necessary for automated bakeries. This process also allows small batches of tins to be supplied to craft bakers.
So what are the potential cost savings in non-stick bakeware? "Non-stick coatings, silicon or Teflon, can show profitable returns on investment but only when the coating is not subject to mechanical damage and refurbishment occurs after a pre-described number of releases - variably between 2,000 and 4,000," says John Singleton, sales manager at UK Kaak supplier Benier. "The use of a coating may allow less release agent to be applied, which assists in increasing the number of releases obtained."
There are other benefits to using release agents, says Richard Field, customer communications advisor at ingredient manufacturer Zeelandia. One is the cost saving during the baking process itself.
"When baking tin bread, a release agent is paramount for the longevity of the bread tin as well as the perfect release of the baked loaf," he says. "During the process release agents are exposed to oxygen and very high oven temperatures - up to 250C - that ordinary oils and fats cannot withstand. Due to the contact with oxygen, a process is set in motion that begins with oxidation and leads to carbonisation. Once a layer of carbon has been built up, the transfer of heat deteriorates and the release and baking process becomes increasingly uneconomical."
Release agents, such as Zeelandia's Carlo, help release steam during the baking process, which aids crust formation and helps crust colour development, claims Field. Zeelandia's release agents, which are resistant to oxidation, also cling to the side of the tin, ensuring even release.
So the best savings come from striking the right balance between the needs of your process and the benefits of non-stick bakeware and release agents - ask your supplier for advice.

The spell of spelt

Spelt bread, with its slightly nutty flavour, is rapidly winning consumer approval because of its perceived health properties.
Spelt is a very old kind of flour, first produced around 5,000 BC. It survived into medieval times and much of its heritage was protected by millers and bakers in Eastern Germany and elsewhere in Central Europe. Head of The National Bakery School in Dublin Derek O'Brien, who has been doing a lot of development work with spelt, says that products made from the flour have grown much in popularity since spelt flour was reintroduced in this part of the world in 1987.
"You can use either a one-hour or an overnight system, but the dough needs to be soft. It's a special flour and needs to be treated accordingly," says O'Brien. He adds that apart from the fermentation system, no other special baking methods or production techniques have to be used. It's a little more difficult to handle, but nothing too arduous.
He goes on to say that if the flour is used properly in the making of spelt bread, it is cost-effective. But he warns: "There's no point in making spelt bread and selling it for the same price as wholemeal," given the price premium the bread can command.
Sourcing spelt flour isn't a problem for the School; supplies are readily available from Irish Bakery Suppliers in Cork, which supplies Ballybrado, the only spelt flour produced in Ireland, or from Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire.
So far, artisan bakers in Ireland have taken up the spelt bread theme with some considerable success, such as Denise O'Callaghan's Delicious Bakery in Cork and Alan and Zoe Tennyson's Artisan Breads in Bandon, Co Cork.
One Irish bakery that makes no bones about spelling out the health benefits of spelt bread is O'Sullivan's, in Killorglin, Co Kerry. It says that spelt flour offers 50% [more?] amino acid than wheat, more Vitamin B, higher levels of fibre, more protein and special carbo-hydrates that help reduce blood clotting and make the body more resistant to infection. It's low in gluten, easily digested and, in general, is better tolerated by the body than any other grains.
O'Sullivan's has been using spelt flour since 2005 to make three varieties of bread: white sliced, brown sliced and honey seeded. At present, the bakery is making 3,000 units a month, baking these products twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Helen O' Sullivan, daughter of Gearoid O' Sullivan, the managing director, says: "There's interest in spelt bread throughout the country and we find demand increasing all the time."
While many artisan bakeries around Ireland have taken up the spelt bread cause, the plant bakeries haven't, as they prefer flour that's easier to handle. But Derek O'Brien sees no reason why spelt flour cannot be used in larger-scale production. It can also be used in certain types of confectionery, although that hasn't happened in Ireland, where spelt flour is confined to bread.
A close working relationship with the leading German master bakers' school, at Weinheim, near Heidelberg, has been developed at the National Bakery School; Germany has stronger historical links with the use of spelt in baking. O'Brien says that many consumers are now aware of the reputed health benefits of bread made from spelt flour, which he says should only be used in a natural fermen-tation system.
The School part of the Dublin Institute of Technology does a BSc course in baking and pastry arts management and also runs a professional baking programme; spelt bread now features strongly. The school uses many old spelt recipes that it has tweaked for modern production. This new academic year, 92 full-time students will enrol, meaning a record number will be learning about the commercial potential of spelt and, who knows, might eventually introduce spelt into Ireland's plant bakeries.

Recette Cake with Griottines

Out with the glacé cherries, in with the Griottines. BB spotted this new ingredient while out and about at the recent Speciality & Fine Food Fair in London.
Griottines are a type of high-quality Morello cherry, the Oblachinska, found only in the Balkans, that have been steeped in kirsch to give them a distinctive and unique flavour.
To conserve the flavour and physical characteristics of the fruit, the first maceration of the cherries in liqueur is said to take place within six hours of picking. The Morello cherries are then steeped in different liqueurs for successive macerations.
The last maceration provides the final touch of kirsch, which is the hallmark of Griottines. Keylink a supplier of ingredients, equipment and packaging in the UK is the distributor.
Try this recipe idea for a succulent, moist cake. Ensure the cake is displayed in slices to reveal the Griottines within and position it as a high quality French cake. You can also use the cherries for gateaux and desserts.
(makes enough for six x 1.5kg cakes)
Icing sugar1.5kg
Softened butter1.7kg
Baking powder6 sachets
Griottines and 36cl Griottine juice
1. Cream the ingredients together to obtain a smooth mixture.
2. Grease and flour six 1.5kg loaf tins. Dry the Griottines on kitchen paper, coat in flour and fold in.
3. Bake for 5 minutes at 240°C, then reduce to 180°C and bake for about 35 minutes. Check the cake is cooked by using a skewer, which should come out clean.
4. Cool, then remove from tin. Pour the Griottines juice over the cakes.

Spice rack: Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds are cultivated from Papaver Somniferum and are used to flavour breads, rolls, cakes and pastries in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cookery. They have a nutty aroma and taste, particularly when roasted. Poppy seeds can be added to many recipes, either as an integral part of the recipe or as a garnish that adds colour and flavour, as, for example, in a poppy seed plait, which has the poppy seeds sprinkled on the bread after proving and glazing. Their flavour marries well with citrus, so try Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins which are finished with a lemon syrup glaze when they are hot out of the oven or make an Orange and Poppy Seed Cake, adding poppy seeds and orange zest to a sponge mix, then soaking with an orange syrup once cooked.

Fit for purpose: Part 3 - the customer journey

There is a simple rule in retail design that, for many years, has been a bit of a design myth: it's the so-called Right Hand rule. Several food retailers have adopted this rule as the starting point of creating a successful customer journey and it is as simple as it sounds.
The Right Hand rule has developed from the observation of shoppers and their natural inclination to head to the right-hand side of the store on entry. This is understood to be a comfortable and natural direction for customers and determines the position of display chillers, fridges and any other point-of-sale en route to the tills. The optimal flow should be a simple square movement moving to the right, up to the till and servery counter, moving to the left and exiting down the left-hand side of the store.
Till and servery locations vary across all stores and are inevitably determined by property factors, such as power, water and drainage. But where possible, a counter directly opposite the entrance is the best location as favoured by many chains such as Pret A Manger. This enables staff to catch the attention of customers with direct eye contact on entry to the store and, by simply adding a raised platform behind the tills, staff can communicate with anyone at the back of the queue.
What ultimately makes good customer flow is simplicity, movement and a single route with the full product range on offer and no need for retracing steps or crossing queues. Laying out products in a logical fashion, both in terms of fridges and hot cabinets in the store and planograms for product display, aids the overall flow and, in turn, creates a key element of a memorable experience ease of use.
A memorable experience is also built on other elements, such as routine, brand awareness and expectation. Marketing your brand values is simple: while customers are queuing, they're captured and have time to look. It's also good to create a dedicated space in-store for promotions. It may just be a window, but it's a place that customers habitually refer to for the latest product or store news. Finally, as with everything in retail, managing customer expectation is vital to any success. Whatever your brand values may say about your product or store, they have to be exceeded for a customer to return and spread the word.
l Next month: are corner sites the best?

In my world

S-l-o-w-l-y, there are changes afoot in the baking world. And when I say s-l-o-w, that's exactly what I mean. Ever since the Chorleywood process (or 'no time dough method') was developed in 1961, bread-baking has been revolutionised, dramatically speeding up a process which had existed for millennia. Suddenly, a raft of new ingredients began to be added to a product that used to be created almost alchemically, using simple flour, yeast, salt and water: ingredients such as E481 (sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate), E472e (mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids), E920 (l-cysteine), E282 (calcium propionate), E220 (potassium sorbate), E300 (ascorbic acid), E260 (acetic acid) soya flour, vegetable fat and dextrose, enzymes and I could go on. However, as bakers well know, many of those hidden processing ingredients do not have to be declared on the label.
But now, there's a move to slow it all down again and to return to transparency, as well as simplicity through a Real Bread Campaign, under the umbrella of the environmental group Sustain. (For a while, it looked like there were to be two similar campaigns running simultaneously, with the UK arm of Slow Food launching a crust-thrust of their own but the two have now joined forces, with Slow Food giving Real Bread its not inconsiderable support.) The campaign is now celebrating having secured funding from the Big Lottery Fund's Local Food Scheme.
As well as pointing bread-lovers in the direction of traditionally-created loaves, there's even 'direct action' suggested by the campaign: activists can download 'warning' stickers from the internet to peel off and apply to loaves in supermarkets/convenience stores, declaring: 'This 'bread' may be made using the following: L-cysteine, fungal amylase, hemicellulase, phos-pholipase, peptidase, xylanase, protease and a whole cocktail of other hidden enzymes', and inviting 'unsuspecting' bread-lovers to join up. It's impossible to know exactly how many stickers have been downloaded, but the simple truth is that the Real Bread campaign taps into a growing desire for food to be local (ideally, 'gold-standard' real bread will be made with 20% local flour) and without unnecessary additives.
At my own business, Judges Bakery (in Hastings), we use 'overnight' doughs anywhere from 18-24 hours, allowing loaves to rise almost at their leisure with flour, water, salt, and that's just about it. (And in the case of the sourdoughs, without any yeasts other than the natural variety picked up from the very air itself). Our bread attracts customers from far and wide which is a slight 'food miles' niggle for us, but we can just about live with it.
It's almost certainly completely impractical for the entire industry to return to pre-Chorleywood days. But many customers hanker after bread 'like it used to be' with the enhanced flavour, texture and keeping power that only time, rather than additives, can deliver. Judging from the Real Bread Campaign's success, a growing number of bread-heads are waking up to the differences between 'real' bread and the factory type. And, if you ask me, about time too

Tubs showcase pastries

Sharp Interpack has launched a new range of bakery 'tubs' or 'chests'. These have been designed specifically for products such as pastries, cookies and cakes and are available in four different depths: shallow, medium, semi-deep and super-deep.
They are made from 60% recycled APET and offer a high-clarity view of the product. Fluted walls provide a robust design and feature a recessed finger grip on the hinged lid and a sunken recess on the base of each tub.

Dream machine for dishes

Winterhalter has launched a new series of warewashers, which have been designed around caterers and retailers' dream features. The UC Series combines under-counter dish and glasswashers and claims to produce better results with lower running costs.
Winterhalter commissioned research and built a website - - to compile feedback on what would be the perfect machine.
The machines have a single start button, which changes colour to indicate the progress of the wash cycle, and a touchscreen with animations.

Fiendishly tempting treats

Premier Foods has launched its Halloween range, which includes a number of new products.
Mr Kipling Fiendish Fancies are an orange and black version of the popular French Fancy, which sold well last year. Also available will be new cake bars from Cadbury Cinder Toffee and Scary Orange. These come individually wrapped and will feature the classic Cadbury purple on-pack, with seasonal packaging. Cadbury Trick or Treat Mini Rolls, which contain blackcurrant jam and vanilla cream, are also available.
Premier has launched a number of autumnal themed products too, such as Mr Kipling Toffee Apple Bakewells and Cadbury Mini Bakes.

So you want to improve your offer?

As a bakery shop how many times have you wanted to change, improve or review your offer and didn't have a clue where to start?
The best place to begin is with what you are currently doing and, most importantly, getting right: look at what is selling well, with good margins and customer feedback.
There are a few critical questions you must ask yourself:
Are you looking to implement a hot food offer or a coffee station in-store? Has your operation got the right capacity? How will it benefit your business? And what type of customers do you serve?
Bear in mind that what you sell is directly related to who is shopping with you. For instance, corned beef products sell very well in Wales and some northern locations, whereas in the south, Cornish pasties and sausage rolls are the order of the day.
In terms of capacity, a one-metre counter is enough to cope with a coffee installation, whereas you need to have at least 1.5 metres available to include a food offer.
The last two points are crucial in terms of deciding which offer you should implement first. If your shop is mostly a morning destination for commuters, you must have a coffee station that allows you to serve the customer very quickly. Moreover, your breakfast offer will increase sales by up to 25% between 6am and 10am. Sweet and savoury bakery products and paninis are ideal to take away your customers love food freshly baked and prepared!
Once you've agreed your food and drink offer, it's time to think about merchandising. We always advise our clients that products have to be visible, appealing and attractive. Don't hide them away in a corner.
Finally, meal deals and products of the month related to a particular season are an excellent profit boost, achieving on average 35% more margin than individual product purchases alone.

UBUK gets into the Christmas spirit early

United Biscuits UK (UBUK) is ready with its Christmas range, including new, redesigned and returning cakes and biscuits for the festive season.
New to the McVitie's range is a Disney Cookies & Cream biscuit assortment and a Classic Collection Gifting Tin. Newcomers include a Penguin Yule Log, following the success of Penguin Mini Rolls, while making a return for 2009 is McVitie's Christmas Jamaica Ginger & Rum cake; McVitie's Irish Cream Bars; and McVitie's Mint Digestive Slices.

Warburtons grows Farmhouse Loaf range

Warburtons has added an 800g Brown Farmhouse Loaf to its range. The new loaf builds on the success of the firm's White Farmhouse Loaf its 800g variant is the fifth best-selling bread SKU in the UK with sales growth of 34% versus last year (AC Nielsen, w/e 11.7.09). "The new loaf will give people greater choice," said a spokeswoman.

Great British chip flavours

Tyrrells has launched three new 'Great British Potato Chip' flavours to coincide with British Food Fortnight. The new varieties are Welsh Rarebit, Beef Wellington and Pork & Apple and retail in newly designed packaging featuring bunting and an invitation to "join the celebration".
They are sold in 40g handybags and will be available for a 12-month period. The trade launch will be supported by a sampling campaign and free point-of-sale material for over 3,000 independents, to include a bespoke counter-top display unit, bunting and a poster.
Tyrrells will also be launching a consumer campaign, which will offer a monthly 'British' prize for example classic car weekends and tea party kits.

Brands given added bite

Finsbury Food Group plans to extend its share of the snacking cake category by extending the Toffee Crisp and Munchies confectionery brands.
It has launched new Nestlé Toffee Crisp and Munchies Mini Bites in Tesco and Morrisons and plans to further extend distribution.
Toffee Crisp Mini Bites are a crispy cereal product, blended with toffee caramel and coated in milk chocolate, while Munchies Mini Bites combine a biscuit and chocolate base, layered with smooth caramel and covered in milk chocolate. Both products come in boxes of 15 and contain no added colours or flavours.
Brand manager John Steele said: "We have worked closely with Nestlé to develop cake versions of Toffee Crisp and Munchies confectionery, adapting the concept to create a mini bite. We believe they will be popular among consumers for office sharing, take-home indulgence and treats."


The results of a study recently published in the Nutrition Journal revealed that eating rye breakfasts can suppress the appetite during the period before lunch.
The aim of the study, conducted by Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, was to investigate subjective appetite for the eight hours after a rye bread breakfast, varying in rye dietary fibre composition and content.
Two studies were carried out - one on the satiating effect of iso-caloric bread breakfasts including different milling fractions of rye. The second was on the dose-response effect of rye bran and intermediate rye fraction. Both studies used a wheat bread breakfast as reference and appetite (hunger, satiety and desire to eat) was rated regularly from 8am to 4pm.
The findings revealed that, with the milling fractions study, each of the rye breakfasts resulted in a suppressed appetite during the time period before lunch (08:3012:00) compared with the wheat reference bread breakfast. The one with rye bran induced the strongest effect on satiety. The effect of decreased hunger could still also be noticed in the afternoon from all three rye bread breakfasts compared to the wheat reference bread breakfast.
In the dose-response study both levels of rye bran and the lower level of intermediate rye fraction resulted in an increased satiety before lunch compared with the wheat reference bread breakfast.

Seed Pricing

Pinenuts: The market continues to go from bad to worse. There has been some respite over the past month when there were offers of Pakistani pinenuts, however many manufacturers find these more oily with generally a shorter shelf life than the Chinese. There is increasing demand for a product that has had one of its worst years for supply. The hope is for a better new crop from China and/or a relaxation in cross-border supply into China, but this will not be arriving into Europe before the end of December.
Pumpkin: It will be about four months before we see any respite from new crop, and all indications are for prices to climb before this can offer any relief. It looks like stocks will struggle to see off demand this side of early January so users are strongly advised to try to identify their additional requirements while stocks last. We are already seeing 2010 deliveries being offered at a near 20% discount to current crop, despite the concerns over a repeat of the poor supply this year.
Sunflower: Prices continue to show excellent value both in comparison with pinenuts and pumpkin but also across the wider seed sector. Fortunately, China has some competition from the US which relieves the pressure, and supply has been a relatively equal match for demand.
l Based on information provided by ingredients supplier RM Curtis

Reporting in Craft bakers tackle salt reduction

The one thing that is probably on the mind of every craft baker at the moment is the recommendation by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to reduce salt levels in bread.
The expected reduction by 2010 is to 1.1g per 100g of the finished baked product, and not on flour weight, and by 2012 1g per 100g of the baked weight. From 8 October the Government is planning a big public awareness campaign regarding salt in all food products and while this won't be specifically about bread, it is high on the government's agenda as they believe that 20% of the daily salt intake of the nation is from bread.
While it is not yet legislation we as a craft industry do not want the consumer to think that we don't care about their health. The NAMB under the direction of Anthony Kindred has produced loaves of bread with the current salt level, 2010 salt levels and the salt levels required to reach by 2012 and has had various taste trials. The results showed that it was difficult to see and taste the difference between them and these were loaves of bread tasted side by side.
I was surprised by the results. Realistically in our bakeries we have, or will, reduce salt over a period of time and reduce salt by small amounts, so that the consumer is less aware of the effect. Members of the NAMB have received suggested recipes with the recommended levels of salt and suggestions of how to achieve them. If anyone is worried or concerned about this, help and advice is available.

Starbucks to develop local stores

Starbucks is to give its UK stores a facelift in a bid to make them more local and less global.
The coffee shop chain is reviewing its approach to store design, and aims to put a bigger focus on "local relevance and environmental responsibility".
Darcy Willson-Rymer, MD Starbucks UK and Ireland, said its new global store design strategy set the stage for a "reinvigorated customer experience". He said: "The new designs aim to reflect the character of each store's surrounding neighbourhood and help to reduce environmental impacts. Further announcements regarding the development of this strategy in the UK will be introduced over the coming months."
In an interview with The Independent, Willson-Rymer said there was no single design in mind when deciding how to decorate UK shops, but that bolder colours, local artefacts and even second-hand furniture were all being considered. Starbucks currently designs stores using colours and furniture from a central corporate palette.

Waitrose agrees deal to sign up Duchy Originals

Waitrose has joined forces in a new agreement with Duchy Originals that will give the supermarket the exclusive right to originate, manufacture, distribute and sell Duchy products.
Waitrose aims to more than double the current range of 200 products to around 500, and will pay a royalty to Duchy Originals on all wholesale and retail sales.
Products, including a range of biscuits and snacks, desserts and breads, will continue to be sold in all 214 Waitrose stores and new lines are planned from Spring 2010. Waitrose will also sell the products wholesale to independent retailers.
To date, Duchy's has donated almost £7m to charitable causes throughout the UK and overseas, and it is hoped that sales growth of the brand will generate a substantial increase in the royalties to charity.
The deal was described by Waitrose MD Mark Price, as "a match made in heaven".
Andrew Baker, chief executive of Duchy Originals, explained: "Because of our constitution, and the fact that we are owned by a charity, Duchy Originals has never been able to build up reserves for investing in future growth. This is a deal where everyone wins it is good for Duchy Originals, good for Waitrose, good for our consumers and good for charity."
In July this year, due to its failure to turn a profit, Duchy Originals' Cornish bakery was taken over by Tamar Foods, part of the Samworth Brothers Group, which now produces the brand's sweet tarts under licence.

Europastry on track for export growth

Spanish firm Europastry is to open a commercial subsidiary in the Netherlands to widen its distribution links in Europe.
The new site will serve markets in Germany, Belgium and Northern Europe, to which it already distributes.
The firm, which produces part-baked bread and frozen pastries, also has subsidiaries in Portugal and France and exports to 20 countries.
With plans to expand further into international markets, Europastry said it already obtains 15% of its income from outside Spain. Last year it achieved a E360 million turnover (£320.4m) and grew by 10%.
It has seen high growth rates for a number of its products, such as Pan Gran Reserva a country loaf and its doughnuts. "During the first six months of the year, doughnut exports grew by 40%, making Euro-pastry the largest European manufacturer of frozen doughnuts," said a spokesperson for the company.
It has also invested E12.3m (£10.94m) on research and development this year, and has worked to eliminate hydrogenated fats from its products and launch a new range of healthier pastries for children.

In Short

M&S sandwich deal
Chilled and frozen food producer Uniq has awarded NFT a three-year contract to distribute sandwiches to Marks & Spencer. Uniq produces an average of 250,000 units a day, which NFT will deliver through its network. NFT is a provider of logistics solutions within the food retail and manufacturing sectors.

Nation turns to toast and crumpets in downturn

Bread is reclaiming its place at the nation's breakfast table, with recession-hit shoppers turning to morning toast as they seek greater value from their loaf.
This effect has reversed a long-term decline in bakery products consumed at breakfast as the category has fought back into growth.
According to TNS Usage data on the number of occasions bakery was consumed at breakfast, for the year to November 2006 saw a decline of 4.7%.
Latest figures for the year ending July 2009, revealed in the annual Warburtons Bakery Review, show this is now in growth, up by 2.6%.
"While the number doesn't look that big, 1% actually represents 162 million additional servings of toast. It accounts for a vast number of occasions," said Warburtons' customer strategy manager Martin Baptie.
The turnaround means breakfast now accounts for 29% share of bakery consumption occasions. Said Baptie: "Over the last four years there has been a consistent decline, year on year, of bakery products consumed at breakfast. The recessionary effect has turned this around."
The biggest category winner was crumpets, with value sales shooting up 29.2% year on year. Executive director Brett Warburton told British Baker: "Crumpets has been phenomenal for us. We're investing in new capacity at the moment. It's a very flexible product a snacking product that people are taking to throughout the year. It is clearly an area that gets promoted, but promotions are only part of the story."
Bakery at breakfast has also seen the strongest value growth, up 9.3%, against the relatively static 'sandwich alternatives' and 'tea break' categories, under Warburtons' definition. The remaining category, 'Meal accompaniments' was also in growth, up 4.3%. "Evening meal accompaniments have seen an acceleration of growth, driven by things like naan breads and chapatis," said Baptie.

In Short

Equipment from 1913
The Beamish Museum is working on reconstructing a 1913 bakery and is trying to find old bakery equipment from 1900-1914 that might still be around. If you can help them out or have any equipment you could donate, please contact Kate Reeder on 0191 370 4009 or email

Selenium in bread could save lives

It has been reported that adding trace mineral selenium to UK wheat may cut the risk of cancer and increase the overall health of the population. However, many are opposed to the idea on the grounds that it would be enforced 'mass medication'.
According to a speech made by Professor Steve McGrath, of Rothamsted Research, at the British Science Festival earlier this month, research has shown that adding selenium to fertilisers used in UK wheat production could have a wide range of health benefits. These include a stronger immune system, lower cancer rates and slower cognitive decline. Selenium also forms part of the body's antioxidant defence system, preventing damage to cells and tissues.
His research suggests that adding about 20g of selenium per hectare of wheat would give 10mg in each slice of bread, reported The Times. However the idea has been compared to the 'mass medication' of the population through adding fluoride to water, and has outraged campaigners.
Food Standards Agency (FSA) guidelines recommend a daily dose of 0.075mg a day for men and 0.06mg a day for women, and its Eatwell website states that bread is already a good source of selenium. Other sources include brazil nuts, fish, meat and eggs.

Belfast bakery struggles under weight of debts

Millers Traditional Bakery is fighting to stay in business and protect 60 jobs after running up big debts.
The Belfast family-run baker hopes to reach a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) with creditors to avoid liquidation after one of those owed money Latimer Electrical Services Limited brought a wind-up petition.
A hearing at the High Court last week was adjourned to 8 October after lawyers for Millers outlined the efforts being made by the company.
Less than two years ago, the company moved from a site in Newtownabbey to a new 16,000 sq ft production facility, installed equipment to improve baking capacity and funded a marketing campaign to position itself as a specialist food producer.
In a statement, MD William Millar said: "The sudden downturn in the economy and its impact on the competitive grocery trade has presented us with major challenges in meeting the debt of expansion in a depressed market.
"But we are confident that measures can be taken that will enable us to trade out of these problems and maintain and expand our customer base with the support of our creditors.
"We will be endeavouring to do everything possible to turn around the situation and create a sustainable solution which will underpin employment and maintain ongoing business for our suppliers."
The craft baker launched in 1997 and has a 150-strong product range, supplying retailers including Centra, Mace and Dunnes Stores, as well as its own shop in Chapel Lane. Millers continues to fulfil orders and run the shop while it resolves its financial problems.

In Short

Pret director tributes
Pret A Manger's former commercial director Simon Hargraves has died from cancer. Tributes in Sandwich & Snack News spoke of his popularity in the office, his ability to make work a pleasurable experience and his high standards and intuition.

Website set to cut point-of-sale design costs

BakeMark UK has launched a new website to help bakers reduce design and print costs for point-of-sale (POS) materials.
The company commissioned research in the artisan bakery sector, which revealed that bakers were keen for support with professional POS materials.
The new website which launches this month, enables bakers to create bespoke POS without the high costs incurred from photo shoots, design agencies and printing.
Bakers can incorporate their own messages and branding, and the POS is available from A1 to A5 size, whether it be for counter top displays or wall hanging designs.
Trials have been carried out to test the usability of the new site, which BakeMark said was "extremely positive, with 100% of respondents indicating that they would use the site again".
Bakers simply choose a template for their desired POS from over 130 different images of popular bakery items, insert their text and upload their logo. The bespoke POS is then professionally printed and posted directly to the baker.

IBA lines up bakery competitions

Prizes for pastry decoration and bakery window displays are up for grabs at the upcoming IBA international bakery exhibition in Düsseldorf.
The show from October 3-9 will host a competition for apprentices organised by the Association of German Con-fectioners, for the best decorated gateaux, and for sales staff to find the most appealing bakery display window.
The IBA Cup, an international competition for bakers and confectioners, will also take place at the exhibition, along with factory tours to give foreign visitors an insight into German bakeries, while seminars and discussion forums will highlight future industry trends.
More than 990 companies have booked over 123,000 sq m for the show, which is set to be larger than the last one in 2006.
l For further details, visit:

James Allan grows retail estate with East End deal

Torrance-based James Allan Bakers has acquired all bar one of East End Bakery's retail estate as part of the continued expansion of the Scottish firm.
Five out of East End's six shops were purchased for an undisclosed sum as the Inverclyde-based business was reportedly on the verge of going into liquidation.
The previous owner of East End Bakery, Stephen Hutcheon, will continue to run the remaining shop in Belville Street, Glasgow, as well as the firm's wholesale operation from its bakery in Port Glasgow. His business will trade as Clydeside Bakery.
James Allan's new shops three in Greenock, one in Kilmacolm and one in Gourock will continue to trade under the name of East End Bakery. The 30 full and part-time staff previously employed at these outlets, will continue to stay on under the new owners. Products have been supplied to the new shops from James Allan's main bakery in Torrance since 15 September, following the temporary closure of two of the new shops on 14 September for a staff briefing and training session.
"We are very pleased with this acquisition, which represents a significant growth in our retail presence in the West of Scotland," said James Allan Bakers' managing director Mark Bradford. He told British Baker that the trading history of East End and the fact it was a well known business in the area were key factors in the decision to buy the outlets.
"Despite the economic climate, our sales are holding up well and this is testament to our philosophy of sticking to the traditional "home baking" style of making our products," he said.
Following the acquisition, James Allan Bakers has a total of 16 shops and employs 90 staff.

Broad remit for hygiene scores

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has established a broad top band for its new six-tier 'Scores on the Doors' rating scheme.
The national scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland will provide consumers with information about hygiene standards in food businesses.
Sarah Appleby, FSA head of enforcement, said: "A broad top band represents a fairer scoring system for food businesses. It will mean that local authorities can concentrate their resources on helping the high-risk establishments at the lower end of the scale to improve their rating.
"A key objective of the scheme is to encourage businesses to improve hygiene standards and the decision we have announced today is consistent with that."

Cupcake Week makes the headlines as sales rocket

National Cupcake Week (14-19 September) has been a great success, with the national media picking up on the celebrations, as well as many local papers.

Exhibition set to boost sales

Don't forget to register to visit Bakers' Fair, supported by Norbake, taking place at Manchester Armitage Centre on Sunday 4 October. Entry is free, and visitors will have the chance to pick up lots of new tips and ideas for their businesses, as well as checking out the Richemont Club of Great Britain's Annual Competition, including its live cake decorating challenge.
At the Stage Area, visitors can watch presentations from NAMB chairman Mike Holling, who will be talking about how craft bakers can survive on the high street, while NAMB director Anthony Kindred will discuss salt reduction. Software company RedBlack will illustrate the benefits of bakery software.
The show is open from 9.30am to 4pm. For tickets, call 01792 365902 or register at

In Short

Cupcake contest
Following last week's successful first ever National Cupcake Week, don't forget to send in your entries for British Baker's cupcake window display competition. Winners of the best cupcake-themed display, to promote the week, will win the fantastic prize of two tickets to the prestigious Baking Industry Awards in 2010. For the chance of winning, send your photos to or post them to Elizabeth Ellis. British Baker, William Reed Business Media, Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex, RH11 9RT. Deadline is 30 September.

Warburtons opens learning centre

Warburtons staff in Blackpool are getting a career boost after the company and Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union forked out for a learning centre.
They have invested £5,000 in the new facility, which staff can use during their breaks and production shut-downs.
More than 20 staff in Marton are already using new computers to improve their IT skills and take up business-related training in computers, health and safety, finance, touch typing, and online skills for life. Courses for literacy and numeracy will also be introduced soon.
Jason Hall, unit manager at Warburtons, said: "We already have around a third of our staff working to gain better qualifications and more sign up almost every day. The new centre will give employees the opportunity to further their skills and qualifications in an accessible way."

My Account

Most read