November

In Short

Calorie counter
Data from the New York health department the first US city to require calorie information to be placed visibly next to prices in restaurant chains has found that the number of calories ordered in coffee shops has fallen by 10%, but little change was noted in most chain restaurants, with only 15% saying it affected purchase decisions, reported the New York Times. A similar voluntary scheme is being monitored by the FSA in the UK.

Orders spur organic firm to expand

Organic pasty and pie specialist Jones Organic has announced plans to expand its production facilities, adding a new site to cope with increased demand from specialist retailers in London and south-east England.
The firm, based in Bridgend, began distributing its pies through Stratford Fine Foods in September, and now has orders coming in from London-based speciality retailers, including Planet Organic and As Nature Intended.
It signed the lease for a neighbouring 750sq ft factory unit in October. "We've been really tight for space in the bakery to meet orders recently," explained founder and MD Mike Sweetman. "Both our organic bake-off range and our baked chilled range are selling very well we've had no choice but to extend our bakery to cope."

Impless acquires Irish arm of O'Briens chain

The Irish arm of the sandwich chain O'Briens has been bought out of liquidation by Impless, a newly formed subsidiary of Irish fast food group Abrakebabra Investments (AIL).
The chain, which was put into examinership the equivalent to administration in the UK in July this year, was put into liquidation in early October, after attempts to sell the business failed. Paul McCann of Grant Thornton, the official liquidator, confirmed the trade and assets, including the brand of O'Brien's Irish Sandwich Bars, had now been sold to Impless.
The AIL Restaurant Group is owned in partnership by entrepreneur Graeme Beere and promoter Denis Desmond. In a statement, the pair said they had always respected O'Briens as a brand and were "delighted to put this well-known Irish brand back on a solid financial footing".
O'Briens comprised 85 franchised outlets in Ireland, but AIL would not confirm whether any stores had been closed.
Commenting on the deal, Don Cahalane and Collette Moyles, franchisees from Cork, said: "We have invested heavily in the O'Briens brand and are delighted that this deal has gone through."
However, according to the Irish Times, it is believed that a number of franchisees are opposed to the arrangement and are considering legal action in an attempt to block it.
The UK arm of the business, comprising 109 franchised outlets, was put into administration in August this year but its position is not affected by the deal in Ireland. A spokesperson for the firm confirmed that the business is still in adminis-tration, though "it is business as usual".

In Short

Palmers' pie party
Palmers Bakery in Haughley is to celebrate its 140th birthday on 4 December by giving away free mince pies with each purchase. The Bakehouse, established around 1752, was taken over by William James Palmer as a bakehouse, pastry cook, booksellers and newsagents in 1869. The business, which produces fresh breads and confectionery, is now run by father-and-son team Kenneth and Kieron Palmer.

SIAB to stage world-class competition

Italy's biggest bakery exhibition, SIAB, is to launch a new Breads of the World competition, which will see nine international teams going head to head.
Held at the Verona show, from 22-26 May 2010, the new contest will see bakers from around the world test their bread-making skills against each other, with one section dedicated to creating products of excellence, using "poor" ingredients that breadmakers from disadvantaged countries might use.
As well as new equipment and products, the exhibition will host demonstrations from Italy's own top breadmakers and confectioners. Meanwhile, Richemont Club Italia members will provide their own demonstrations and tastings, giving visitors to the chance to enjoy techniques and knowledge shown by members of the prestigious international school.
Conferences at the show will be co-ordinated by Inap, which is the National Institute of Bread Tasters.

Cooplands reveals its bullish plans for growth

Cooplands (Doncaster) is aiming to double in size over the next five years under new chairman Chris Peck.

FSA plans out its second wave of attack on sat fats

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) will launch a second wave of saturated fat posters early in 2010, as part of a renewed campaign to reduce saturated fat intake, following a drive to target pastry earlier this summer.
"We intend to come back to saturated fat as a campaign probably in January, with poster advertising," Stephen Airey of the FSA told The Big Bakery Debate on Sat Fats and Calories.
He told delegates at the Landmark Hotel in London that the strategy of the agency was to "set a direction of travel for the industry as a whole and to recognise that it's in the hands of industry to deliver this advance in public health".
The FSA is currently consulting on a 10% reduction in sat fats in baked products. FSA head of nutrition Rosemary Hignett said the agency was working to influence European law to allow bakers to make a 10% reduction claim on-pack; the law currently requires a 30% reduction in fat to make a claim.
"We agree with you that it would be helpful to make a 10% claim and are making that case to the European Commission at the moment," she told delegates. "Signs are that they are very open to the argument that the 10% reduction claim will actually help reformulation, so please don't take the fact that the law at the moment is how it will always be."
l See pgs 14-17 for more details on the Big Bakery Debate

BB's retail estate shrinks following administration

The number of BB's Coffee & Muffins stores in the UK is expected to nearly halve after going into administration last month, prompted by two years of trading losses.

EAT opts for less contact

Sandwich chain EAT is the latest firm to roll out contactless payment across its stores. Following a successful trial in 24 London based stores over the past 18 months, EAT will roll it out across its entire network of 100 stores from mid-November.
The system allows customers to pay for items totalling £10 or less, by touching their credit card against a sensor. Rene Batsford, head of IT at EAT, said that the success and feedback from customers during the scheme's trial period meant the decision to roll it out across the entire network was an easy one to make.
More than 9,000 outlets in the UK, including branches of Subway, Pret a Manger, Coffee Republic and Krispy Kreme, now accept contactless pay-ments with Barclaycard's OnePulse system.

In Short

Rise for Allied
A strong performance by Allied Bakeries in the year to 12 September 2009, helped increase sales at Associated British Foods' grocery division by 13% to £3,188m. Profit declined by 2% to £191m, mainly due to first-half problems with its ACH subsidiary in the US and a highly competitive UK retail sugar market for Silver Spoon, said the company.

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