December

Muntons to spend £500k on NPD plant

Muntons has unveiled plans to open a £500,000 Centre for Excellence, at its headquarters in Stowmarket, in January 2010.
The investment, which includes a purpose-built factory, will become the focal point for the firm's innovation and new product development. The centre will feature an NPD kitchen, sensory testing room, bakery, micro-brewery and winery, and will enable the firm to reduce the cost of NPD while getting products to market faster.
Muntons' technical sales support manager Jonathan Pritchard said the centre would greatly improve the firm's ability to proactively develop new pro-ducts and grow its business.
"We will be able to produce development samples internally at lab scale, rather than relying on third-party or full-scale plant trials, which means we can cut the turnaround time of NPD projects significantly," he added.

In Short

Honeyrose accredited with BRC Grade A
Organic bakery Honeyrose has gained BRC Grade A accreditation and has seen record growth in the last quarter of 2009.
Marketing director Adrian Apodaca said it was the first time the firm had presented itself for BRC accreditation, which has been part of the strategic plan over the last two years. The firm bought and refurbished an old cement factory, converting it into a production facility and offices, all with BRC accreditation in mind, explained Apodaca. The £2m investment increased capacity by 400%.

Wetherspoon expansion offers promise for bakers

Bakery suppliers to JD Wetherspoon are looking forward to a surge in orders after the pub chain announced it will open 250 pubs over the next five years, taking its total number of outlets in the UK to nearly 1,000.
Wetherspoon plans to invest £250m and create 10,000 jobs in the expansion, which will lead to increased orders for muffins, brownies, ciabattas, paninis and baguettes. "Food is a massive part of the Wetherspoon offer, worth £260m a year. Increasing the estate by a third will increase food sales by the same amount," said a spokesman. "The bakery side of things is a big market for us."
Wetherspoon sells around 18,000 muffins a week, 26,000 paninis and 25,000 ciabattas or baguettes. Total annual sales of these three bakery categories is estimated to be at least £9.5m.
Bakehouse, which supplies Wetherspoon with stone-baked ciabattas and multigrain baguettes for its sandwiches, has seen sales with the chain increase by 30% this year, according to Nicky Cracknell, national account controller for foodservice.
"Both breads have performed really well and have been extended into seasonal and limited-edition products, such as a meatball marinara ciabatta and traditional ploughman's," said Cracknell. "The news that Wetherspoon is expanding means things certainly look healthy for the future. We are currently working on another bread line for them, as well as developing their offer in airport locations."
Wetherspoon is holding a strategic meeting with all its suppliers this week to discuss its purchasing strategy and future growth plans.
The group's new pubs will be located across the UK, inclu-ding sites in Sheffield, Livingston, Leominster, Otley, New Malden, Liverpool, Haverfordwest and Newcastle.

D&G looks to broaden customer base in 2010

D&G Food Group, the company set up to buy five McCambridge bakeries earlier this year, plans to expand the business' customer base in 2010 after reviewing operations and improving efficiency.
The company, which is headed up by former Roberts chairman Graham March and operations director David Fearnley-Brown, acquired Aldreds the Baker (Derbyshire); Queen of Hearts (Oxford); Husseys (Berkshire); Tredinnick Fine Foods; and West of England Bakeries (both Devon) from McCambridge last June.
Since then, the owners have closed the Husseys bakery and have worked to improve production at the remaining sites, said Graham March, while ditching its original plan to develop each bakery as a centre of excellence for individual product categories. Aldreds has recently been awarded A-grade BRC accreditation and the company plans to work towards BRC status at its West of England facility.
"Now we are sorted out on the operational front, we aim to improve volumes across the sites by targeting extra markets," said March.
Queen of Hearts and Aldreds will look to develop new products for coffee shops, he said, while future BRC status will help West of England target supermarket local sourcing schemes.
The four bakeries currently produce a mix of bread, confectionery and savouries.

Lallemand pioneers new yeast with Vitamin D

Yeast-maker GB Ingredients' owner Lallemand has pioneered a new yeast, which it says should help bread compete against breakfast cereals.
The new yeast, available from January, is a natural source of Vitamin D. This vitamin has recently been hitting the media headlines, with health experts saying that many Britons do not consume enough.
Bakers using Lallemand block, cream or instant dried yeast will be able to state on bread packs that the bread 'is a natural source of Vitamin D'.
Managing director of Lallemand UK Dr Mike Chell told British Baker: "This is a breakthrough pioneered by Lallemand. It will provide an excellent marketing platform for bread.
"The Vitamin D in the yeast is not an additive or enrichment; it is brought about by a natural ultra-violet action on the yeast, making the bread 'a natural source of Vitamin D'.
He continued: "Cereal manufacturers make great front-of-pack claims that their cereals are fortified with minerals and vitamins, including Vita-min D. But bread, too, con-tains nutrients."
White and brown flour is fortified with calcium, iron, thiamine and niacin, but this is not actively promoted by the baking industry at present. At the Federation of Bakers Conference earlier this year, Scott Clarke, category director for bakery at Tesco, said: "I would hold up the cereal industry as a potent example for driving consumption. Are we proactive enough in the baking industry? You should talk more about the positives."
The EU recommendation for children and adults is five micrograms or 200 IU per day. The UK recommends 10 micrograms for over-65s.
Two slices or 100g of bread made with Vitamin D yeast will provide 15% of the recommen-ded intake.
l For a full interview with Lallemand, see page 24.

BakeMark UK takes on new identity

BakeMark UK is to change its name to CSM (United Kingdom) from 1 January.
Gerald Hoetmer, worldwide CEO of CSM, said: "The name change reflects our local and global corporate identity. It capita-lises on our position as worldwide leader in the industry, showing our ambition to use our combined strength as a group. CSM has the size to drive essential global strengths, such as innovation, without losing focus on local operations and local needs."
John Lindsay, UK country manager and business unit director, told British Baker: "CSM is the largest supplier of bakery products worldwide. The name change is a very positive move as it further indicates our firm intention to work closely as a leading member of the group."
Lindsay added: "Increasingly, British bakers are inventive and open-minded; CSM (United King-dom) is now ideally placed to develop pan-European and American trends through working with our CSM counterparts worldwide and sharing information on initiatives and innovations exclusively with our customers."
The name change will not affect UK and Irish operations or the firm's current product brands, such as Arkady bread ingredients, Craigmillar confectionery ingredients or Readi-Bake frozen and ambient bakery products.

In Short

Waitrose's frozen line
Waitrose will launch a range of frozen bakery products, including par-baked croissants, pains au chocolat and rustic baguettes, as part of a major overhaul of its freezer aisle at the end of January. Other new frozen products will include pies, cakes, biscuits and desserts. In other news, Waitrose has announced that it will use only Certified Sustainable Palm Oil in its own-label products, including cakes, patisserie and pastry products, by the end of 2012.

ABIM set to help BBC for bakery show

Following an approach from the BBC, the Association of Bakery Ingredient Manufacturers (ABIM) has agreed to get involved in a new television series The Great British Bake-Off to be screened next year.
The series will follow 10 passionate amateur baking fans who will compete in a 'bake-off' contest to be crowned UK's Best Amateur Baker. ABIM is to contribute some of its expertise in the field. The programme is currently in the early stages of production and the BBC has said it will begin filming in May 2010.
As well as the competition element of the 'bake-off', the programme will also look at the history of baking in Britain.

CASH criticises retailers on high festive salt levels

Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) has slammed supermarkets, coffee shops and sandwich chains for selling Christmas bakery products that contain high levels of salt.
The pressure group, which argues that salt is responsible for raising blood pressure and increasing the risk of strokes and heart disease, surveyed 87 products in seasonal ranges. These included sandwiches, salads, pies and desserts.
The highest salt product found on the high street was the Christmas Full Works Sandwich from EAT, which contained 4.2g salt per portion, over two-thirds of the daily maximum salt intake for adults.
Other sandwiches with high salt levels included Marks & Spencer's Three Wise Sarnies (3.07g), the Co-op Festive Triple (2.6g) and Subway Chicken and Stuffing (2.5g).
CASH was also critical of some sweet treats, pointing out that a Costa Christmas Chocolate cake had 0.94g salt per portion the equivalent of nearly two packets of crisps.
"The huge level of salt seen in some of the products is particularly shocking when you consider that many children may be eating these products," said Katharine Jenner, nutritionist and CASH campaign manager. "To offer new high-salt options on the menu, when the nation is trying to reduce its salt intake, is quite simply irresponsible."

Memory Lane tightens production as sales fall

By Sylvia Macdonald and Georgi Gyton
Production is to be cut at Finsbury Food Group's premium cake business Memory Lane Cakes, as sales continue to fall in the recession.
The bread, cake and morning goods manufacturer said production at the Cardiff business is likely to be cut from seven to five days a week. A consultation with employees is currently taking place on changes to shift patterns, with 95 jobs out of Memory Lane's 1,000-or-so staff at risk. This represents 4% of Finsbury's total workforce of 2,500.
Memory Lane is the leading manufacturer of the UK retailers' premium own-label cake ranges.Martin Lightbody, chairman and major shareholder at Finsbury, told British Baker: "There is a general decline in cake sales, including premium, and we have been at the forefront of premium, especially celebration and upper-tier cakes.
"The number of products sold on deals this year increased dramatically, so we have been looking at cost-cutting over innovation. We must show our customers that we can produce excellent products again."
He continued: "Our strategy is going to be to innovate for the future. In the industry I would like to see a general improvement in quality available to consumers, while affordable to our customers. We shall continue to look at opportunities to keep us competitive."
The job losses and changes to shift patterns are only being made at Memory Lane's Cardiff site, "not company-wide".
A spokeswoman said: "In the current economic climate, the firm believes this is a necessary step to safeguard the long-term employment of as many staff as possible, while ensuring that the company continues to work efficiently in providing high-quality products. Finsbury is committed to full and complete consultation with the affected employees on this matter and will aim to deliver improvements to factory operations, while keeping job losses to a minimum."
In Finsbury's November trading update it announced that "sales in its larger cake business had declined by 6% in value", slightly ahead of the overall market decline of 4%.
An analyst at stock-broking and advisory house KBC Peel Hunt said that the share price had gone down quite aggressively in the couple of days following the announcement, from around 24-25p to 20p, but had now flattened off.

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