October

Irish firm extends its Softee touch

Northern Irish bakery Irwin's has made a number of additions to its Softee bread range: Finger Rolls, White Rolls and Wholemeal Rolls. The new rolls are designed to be ideal for picnics, barbecues or lunchboxes, and are slightly smaller than the average roll, said the firm. The lines were rolled out into the independent and multiple retail sector earlier this summer, and consumer response has been "extremely encouraging" added Irwin's.

Free-from mix

Macphie has launched a gluten-free cake and muffin mix in response to rising consumer demand for free-from products. As well as gluten, the mix is also free from artificial colours, preser-vatives and flavours, and contains no hydrogenated fat. It can be used to make cakes, muffins, cupcakes and whoopie pies and is available in 12.5kg bags.

Under pressure

Faced with widespread discounting, bread bakers in Ireland are just about holding their own, according to Bord Bía, the Dublin-based state agency that promotes Irish-produced food. "Wrapped breads have shown some decline in both value and volume in the Irish Republic, but overall the category continues to be resilient in the current marketplace," says Bord Bía spokesperson Sheila Boylan.

Fair's fair weather

Bakers' Fair saw a healthy visitor turnout brave the rain to make the trip to Bolton Arena last weekend. Exhibitors included suppliers of machinery, ingredients, finished goods and packaging, and the Fair also played host to the seventh annual Richemont Club competition, with the Live Cake Decoration Challenge drawing a big audience.

Report Mintel's survey sees home baking thrive

The rising popularity of home baking shows no sign of slowing, with the market predicted to grow 10% this year, according to a new report from market research company Mintel.

Seed pricing

Pinenuts: Any hope that prices into 2011 might be restored to their "normal" levels depends largely on whether China and Russia can resolve their cross-border differences. Then, weather permitting, a restored and optimal Chinese new crop, topped up by the supplemental Russian supply into China, should result in prices dropping back in early 2011. Between now and early 2011, availability remains very tight and prices are likely to remain very expensive. Demand may see some decline after the strong seasonal demand seen over the summer months.

Reporting in Can you afford to ignore raw material price rises?

Nick Harris

Brace's puts pressure on Warburtons to sell bakery

Warburtons is under pressure to sell rather than close its Newport bakery after Brace's announced publicly that it was keen to buy the site and called for union and Welsh Assembly Government support.

Finsbury looks to claw back decline in cake sales

Finsbury Food Group is banking on a return to growth for premium cakes as it tries to bounce back from a tough financial year in which sales fell for the first time in the company's history.

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