December

Pidy reveals designs for UK market expansion

Belgium-based pastry manufacturer Pidy has announced plans to increase its presence in the UK, with a particular focus on the bakery and café sectors.
Recently appointed general manager of Pidy UK, Robert Whittle said he aimed to double the company's overall growth in the UK over the next two years, through a "rigorous" programme of research and development and new product launches.
The growth will be driven through targeted launches such as edible coffee cups and time-saving bakery and cafe-friendly kits such as Tarto Presto, launched earlier this year, which contains pastry tartlettes and crème patissière. Whittle said these will help address some of the main problems for bakeries and cafés a shortage of skilled workers combined with time pressures and often a lack of space or resources.
"We can also offer frozen dough to the UK bakery sector as we now have adequate storage facilities we haven't had the capability to do this before," said Whittle, adding that the firm is currently in talks with Brakes about distri-buting its frozen range.
The independent family firm currently manufactures a range of ready-to-fill pastry products for the manufacturing and industrial; hotel and restaurant; contract and event catering; cash and carry; bakery; and retail sectors.
Pidy has also launched a brand new website, which includes downloadable information about each individual line, as well as serving suggestions and recipes.
Whittle joined the company following the sale of his business, Foodafayre, which manufactures filo pastry cups, tortilla baskets and associated products.
l For more details on Pidy's growth plans, see our feature in 18 December issue of British Baker.

In Short

Free-from success
Finsbury Foods said that falling sales in its cake business has resulted in a 2% drop in revenue for the 17 weeks to the end of October. Its bread and free-from businesses achieved double-digit growth, with its acquisition of Goswell Bakeries contributing to an 11% growth in sales. Like-for-like sales in the division increased 8%.

Scotch Pie champions announced

A butcher has pipped a baker to win the World Scotch Pie Championship as Murdoch Brothers Butchers was announced winner of the 11th annual contest. But bakers did triumph in the most categories.
Judged at Carnegie College last month, 85 bakers and butchers entered a total of eight categories a record number.
Highest-placed baker in the Scotch Pie category was Airdrie-based Bon Bon Cake Shop, which achieved Gold 2nd Runner-Up. The winning bakeries included Nicoll's Rosebank Bakery in Dundee in the Bridies category; Nevis Bakery in Corpach in the Savouries Vegetarian category; and Kassy's Kitchen in Cowdenbeath in the Hot Savouries category. The Diamond award for hand-held steak pies went to Stuarts of Buckhaven. Charmers Bakery in Bucksburn won the Cold Savouries category.
"The objective is to raise standards in the industry and we believe we have achieved that," said event organiser Alan Stuart of Stuarts of Buckhaven.

Skills take centre stage at Italian trade show

Italian confectionery and bakery exhibition Sigep will host a pastry and confectionery forum where master confectioners and stylists will demonstrate techniques and finished products.
The Rimini-based show, from January 23-27, which is held in 14 halls with over 400 exhibitors, showcases pastry, confectionery, bread and ice cream.
During the show, which promises to be 'creative and fabulous', 10 international teams will take part in the Sigep Bread Cup with Steven Salt of Tameside leading a British Team. The theme will be artisan breads and comprise five tests including one on 'Innovative Breads'.
The bread baking area will also host artisans from different countries, who will demonstrate recipes and teach visitors to make traditional products. Demonstrations of confectionery will take place every day.
British Baker readers can enter for free. Send an email to mrkgestero@riminifiera.it

Cumbrian bakers battle on against flood chaos

Bakeries have been among the Cumbrian businesses forced to cope with the severe flooding that recently hit parts of Workington and Cockermouth.
Michael Bell, MD of Bells of Lazonby, based in Penrith, said: "It has been a big inconvenience, but we've just got to get on with things." The bakery has only been affected in terms of distribution, he explained, adding that one of the biggest problems in Workington has been the closure of the bridges, with people having to travel miles out of their way. For Bells: "It's been business as usual, with a few little hurdles thrown in."
However, he said that a company-owned site, which is leased out and run by a local couple as a sandwich shop, has been left in a bad way. "The bakery counters in the shop have just been lifted up and tipped over," said Bell. He added that Cockermouth is home to many independent shops that do not have the resources of the larger retail chains to get themselves back on their feet. "It's going to take a sublime effort to get them trading again for the next summer season."
Peter Byrom, proprietor of retail business The Bakery, based in Main Street, Great Broughton, Cockermouth, said that although his business is located three and a half miles from the flood hit area of Cockermouth, it has been experiencing problems travel-wise. "A trip to the cash and carry would normally take 20 minutes it's now taking two and a half hours."

In Short

Greencore results
Greencore has announced a 0.4% increase in operating profit, to 46.4m, for its Convenience Foods division for the 52 weeks ending 25 September 2009. The division includes its food-to-go, cakes and desserts, and foodservice desserts businesses. The firm said that while consumers are still willing to spend in indulgent categories, within cakes and desserts they are doing so with less frequency than before.

Aryzta sees revenue drop

Aryzta has seen revenue fall across its UK and Irish speciality bakery businesses as "substantially reduced customer spen-ding" resulted in tough trading conditions for the firm.
Revenue in its Food Europe division dropped 11.4% in the 13 weeks to 31 October 2009. The firm, formed in August 2008 through the merger of Irish company IAWS and Swiss Bakery firm Hiestand, said the fall was "principally driven by extremely tough trading conditions in the UK and Ireland", with a revenue decline in these markets in the region of 25% for the period.
Aryzta is a mix of business-to-business and consumer brands, including Hiestand, 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.

Hovis to cut waste with technology

Hovis is rolling out new supply chain technology across all its 23 bakery sites in the UK, which will cut wastage by at least 10%.
The new system, initially trialled at three Hovis bakeries, will provide traceability for every batch of bread baked by the company, using SAP management software, combined with bar-code scanning technology.
Each loaf is scanned at multiple stages along the supply chain, from the production line to delivery at the retailer, according to technology consultancy firm Capgemini, which spearheaded the project. "If the load is not correct or the delivery is not on schedule, an alert will be issued by the system so that problems can be corrected before the delivery is made to the retailer," explained Capgemini's vice-president of consumer products Anthoula Madden. "Once arriving at the retailer the load is scanned once more and a record of the delivery is logged, providing full visibility for invoicing. Savings are made across the supply chain as loaves do not get lost and perish, resulting in a minimum of 10-15% reduction in waste."
Phil McCallum, director of IT and infrastructure at Hovis parent company Premier Foods, said: "The traceability solution will deliver important benefits, including improved customer service and reduced waste."
l In related news, Premier Foods is to use sustainable palm oil in its products, including Hovis and Mr Kipling, by January 2010.

Subway slashes salt in sandwiches by a third

Subway has cut salt in its 'sub' sandwiches by a third in the past year as part of healthy eating commitments made with the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Over 90% (24 out of 26) of the chain's range of sandwiches now meet the FSA's 2010 salt targets, with the retailer working to reduce salt further to meet 2012 targets. Reductions have been made by working with suppliers to source ingredients with lower salt levels and removing some altogether, such as pickles and olives.
Bread supplier Evron Foods managed to reduce salt levels in white and brown bread by 8.7% and 7% respectively, to meet 2012 salt reduction targets. This was achieved by using slow-acting yeast to control CO2 and by slowing down the dough thawing and proving process to improve fermentation.
Other highlights from the project include cutting salt levels in the six-inch steak and cheese sub by 45%, from 3.5g to 1.9g, while salt content in the beef sub was reduced by 39% to 1.5g.
Last month, the chain also incorporated salt reduction targets in its guidelines for new suppliers, while serving staff at its 1,400 stores in the UK and Ireland have been trained to ask customers if they are 'all set', rather than directly offering them salt and pepper.
Other commitments include looking to reduce fat and saturated fat in cheese, pepperoni, salami, meatballs, cookies and muffins, with plans to introduce a range of lower-fat sweet baked goods, such as a 'skinny' muffin.
Subway was criticised by consumer group Which? earlier this year for the salt content of its six-inch Meatball Marinara, which contained 4.7g. This has now been reduced to 3.3g.

In Short

Conran has designs on Coffee Republic
Coffee Republic has appointed Terence Conran's architecture and design company Conran & Partners to revamp its stores, starting with two outlets in London and Brighton. The decision was prompted by research showing women were less likely to be attracted by the dark colours of the stores' current interiors. "Design quality is sorely lacking in the other high street coffee shops," said a Conran & Partners spokesman.

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