Review of the Year 2019: October to December

With 2020 fast approaching, we cast our eye over some of the bakery stories that have hit the headlines over the past 12 months.

October

  • Délifrance’s Prove It: The Great British Bakery Report 2019 revealed that 45% of Brits had changed the types of bread they buy. The results showed that, of the proportion who changed their buying habits, 60% bought wholemeal/wholegrain loaves, while 50% bought seeded.
  • Village Bakery announced it would be building a 210,000 sq ft production facility to replace the one destroyed by the fire in August. The company revealed that work would start on a replacement that would be four times larger than the original and the “most modern bakery in Europe”.
  • Delice de France demerged from Aryzta through a management buyout (MBO), led by managing director Thierry Cacaly. The MBO followed Aryzta selling businesses including Signature Flatbreads last year and agreeing the sale of a 43% stake in French frozen food business Picard.
  • Leon launched a branded sourdough loaf range into Sainsbury’s. The loaves were part of a range of grocery products comprising 14 items, including sauces, mayonnaises, vinegars and olive oils. The sourdough loaves included Quinoa Sourdough, Sweet Potato & Carrot Sourdough, Rye Pumpernickel Sourdough and Super White Sourdough.
  • To mark its 150th anniversary, Heinz teamed up with the Hummingbird Bakery to launch limited-edition cupcakes. The treats were flavoured with ketchup, mayonnaise and baked beans.

November

  • Bread Ahead opened a 11,000 sq ft site in Wembley. The project featured a 182-cover rotisserie and pizza restaurant, bakery and wholesale operation. It also included an all-day dining café and a cooking school. The two-year project was aimed at the growing local community in Wembley, said the firm.
  • Roberts Bakery created a limited-edition loaf made with cricket flour. The Crunchy Cricket Loaf contains 336 insects that are dried, ground, mixed with wheat flour and grains and baked. The loaves marked the return of the TV show I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.
  • Proposals designed to define labelling and marketing terms for sourdough were presented for discussion with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). Drawn up by five trade bodies, including the Association of Bakery Ingredient Manufacturers (ABIM), the code recommended three definitions: Sourdough (product name); (Product name) with sourdough; and Sourdough flavoured (product name).
  • Plans for a restructure of Cornish business Warrens Bakery were announced. These included the closure of 22 company-managed shops and a factory in St Just. The moves were expected to reduce the workforce from 500 to 350.
  • Leicester-based Geary’s Bakery – which was set to launch a branded bread range – revealed plans to ramp up its growth following a major investment by the Unsworth family. Fourth-generation baker Jason Geary will remain as managing director, with Rob Unsworth coming on board as chairman. The business aimed to focus on innovation, with the introduction of “world-first” technology, a new plant and further employment.

December

  • Sayers the Bakers – which operates the Poundbakery and Poundcafé brands – was bought out of administration. The business has been acquired by Karen Wood, who has formed a new company called Sayers and Poundbakery Limited. It has taken on Sayers’ bakery and distribution centre in Bolton and most of its 167 shops across northern England, North Wales, Yorkshire and the Midlands, although 11 stores have been closed.
  • Ingredients supplier Edme announced it was planning a new factory to meet growing demand for wholegrain and gluten-free products. The business has submitted a planning application to build on a 11.7-hectare site four miles from its current HQ in Mistley, Essex.
  • Turnover at Gail’s and Bread Factory owner Bread Holdings has risen 14% to break the £100m barrier. Revenue from the business’ retail operations increased to £47.7m in the 52 weeks to 28 February 2019, up from £38.8m in the previous period. Gail’s turnover rose 23% year-on-year. Bread Holdings opened 10 new Gail’s sites over the financial year.
  • Sales at bakery chain Coopland & Son (Scarborough), which recently announced the appointment of former Morrisons marketing head Belinda Youngs as chief executive (pictured above), have risen 5.7% year-on-year to £50.2m. In its financial statement for the year ended 31 March 2019, the company said it had continued to grow organically.
  • Wall’s and Pork Farms producer Addo Food Group confirmed it will close its Spalding factory next September. Details of the closure, which was proposed during the summer, have been announced as the company reported its financial performance for the year ended 30 March 2019. Turnover rose 12% year on year, from £278m to £312m, while operating profit before exceptional items rose slightly, from £7.5m to £7.6m.

Also see:

Review of the Year 2019: January to March

Review of the Year 2019: April to June

Review of the Year 2019: July to September

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