Coronavirus impact update: Bakery ingredient suppliers

How are bakery ingredient suppliers faring in the face of the coronavirus epidemic?

As bakers and their suppliers face unprecedented challenges, the British Baker team will work to keep business across the industry informed.

We have reached out to ingredients suppliers to help them keep customers informed of the current state of their operations.

If you supply the bakery industry and would like to appear as part of this update, email vince.bamford@wrbm.com

AB Mauri UK & Ireland

(Information correct at 24 March)

As you are all aware, in light of the coronavirus outbreak, the UK and Irish nations are facing times of isolation and growing restriction concerning movement of people and goods. Our number one priority is for all of us to remain safe and well.

AB Mauri believes its duty of care is to keep its entire customer base supplied with yeast and bakery ingredient materials, to ensure bread and baked goods remain available in these testing times. AB Mauri therefore remains fully committed to maintaining trading and to continue supporting its customers, during this time.

Given AB Mauri’s multiple UK locations, movement of personnel has been minimised and restricted as much as is reasonably practicable. In addition, those who are able to do so will work from home while the coronavirus situation is of danger. This, of course, is being monitored on a daily basis.

To further support our increased manufacturing requirements, we’ve taken the contingency measure to provide several commercial and NPD colleagues with additional training, to support the normal manufacturing teams.

Regarding our own supply chain, AB Mauri is maintaining open discussions with raw material suppliers, in order to mitigate any impacts that may arise from international border restrictions, over the coming weeks and months.

This outbreak creates many practical challenges for us, as it undoubtedly has for many other businesses. It is absolutely essential that government classification of our industry, is considered as critical during these times, enabling us to continue to provide invaluable support to our customers and increasing our ability to respond to all the practical challenges we’ll encounter over the coming weeks and months.

As a key contributor to the UK and Ireland food supply chain, AB Mauri would like to reassure the bakery Industry that it is ready and able, through planning and resourcing, to support customers and key stakeholders during these unprecedented times.

Customers with questions or concerns should contact us through either our customer services team, or their account manager as at all other times.

Andrew Pollard, managing director

Bakels

(Information correct at 27 March)

What changes have you made to the services/products you offer your customers?
This is an unprecedented time for the UK and indeed the world and at Bakels, our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of everybody, both in the UK and across the Bakels Group worldwide.

We are committed to the secure supply of bakery ingredients to our customers and an internal, cross-functional emergency team are monitoring the constantly-evolving events on a daily basis, to ensure our supply chain continues to remain strong and agile through this time.

Bakels are closely following government guidelines on social distancing by limiting entrance to the facilities and offices. We have implemented working from home for those who are able to, allowing us to continue all activities as normal, to reliably serve our customers during this challenging time.

For those working on site, they are rigorously screened upon arriving and strict measures such as staggered shift changeovers reduce contact between Bakels staff, protecting their wellbeing and our manufacturing facility. Hygiene remains a top priority during this time.

A high proportion of our staff are long-standing members of the Bakels team, with extensive experience between departments and manufacturing areas. In addition to a flexible attitude, this means we are able to call upon a large pool of manufacturing expertise, should we need to.

Have you had to make changes to the way services/goods are delivered to customers?
Strong and secure relationships with our supplier and distribution partners means we are very well placed to adapt to changing circumstances.

Contingency plans have been implemented across the business to ensure we continue to reliably supply customers across bakery sectors. We have bolstered our raw materials stock and activated secondary and tertiary supply chains as and when they are required.

Extensive warehouse capacity at our Distribution Centre means we can store high volumes of raw materials and made-to-stock and made-to-order finished ingredients.

Do you foresee this situation changing?
Due to the nature of the situation, we are monitoring staff and events daily to ensure we remain prepared for changing service demands.

How should customers contact you if they have urgent queries?
Customer services and regional sales staff are on hand, as normal, to receive telephone calls and emails from customers to answer urgent enquiries.

Do you have any other comment to make to your customers?
The bakery industry is one of professionalism and collective spirit and we commend the efforts displayed by everyone in ensuring our nation have reliable supply of staple baked goods to their doorsteps.

Dawn Foods

(Information correct at 24 March)

What changes have you made to the services/products you offer your customers?
The Dawn crisis management team is meeting regularly to assess our response to this fast-moving situation. As it evolves, we are committed to updating our response based on the expertise available to provide a solution that’s right for our people and customers.

We have contingency plans in place should we see a reduction in our manufacturing facility workforce, including prioritising ingredients production and moving production to other facilities in our network if needed. We are striving to minimise downtime, while ensuring the safety of our team members and safe products for our customers.

Dawn is limiting entrance to its facilities and offices, as well as encouraging staff who can, to work at home. All visitors must undergo a rigorous screening process before being allowed on-site, and only essential visits are permitted.

Have you had to make changes to the way services/goods are delivered to customers?
As well as for production, we also have contingency plans in place for our procurement and distribution operations. We will continue to monitor the situation and are assessing disruption mitigation actions, including working closely with our suppliers and distributive partners, building up safety stocks on ingredients as well as Dawn make-to-stock products. This includes planning alternative supplies for the midterm and organising earlier shipments.

We have put precautionary measures in place and are in close contact with all our suppliers to monitor the situation to avoid disruptions in supply of our raw materials. All materials sourced from countries, identified by the Center of Disease Control (CDC) as Travel Health Notice Level 3-risk, have been secured by increased safety stocks. Our operations have not been significantly impacted so far.

All Dawn manufacturing sites are GFSI-certified and have established operative rules for personal hygiene practices in and around the facilities. All our employees, in both manufacturing sites as well as offices, have been instructed on what they must do to prevent infection as well as what to do and who to contact in case they suspect they are infected, aligned to recommendations from WHO.

Do you foresee this situation changing?
The situation around the coronavirus outbreak is evolving fast. We are doing what we can to minimise any potential disruption in supply to our customers, but the future remains uncertain. Movement of food and consumer goods is not impacted by border closures, so we are not facing any logistical disruptions at present.

How should customers contact you if they have urgent queries?
We have a dedicated customer service team operating and customers can call or email us. Customers can also reach out to their regional sales manager with any questions or for advice.

Tim Clarkson, cluster director

EHL Ingredients

(Information correct at 25 March)

During the ongoing Coronavirus situation, EHL Ingredients has noted a shift in demand for its products, which it supplies under its Lähde brand.

In the last week, products such as rice, flours, lentils, grains such as quinoa and cous cous, and bakery ingredients have been shipped out to bakers, food retailers and food manufacturers across the UK.

Tasneem Backhouse, joint managing director at EHL Ingredients, said: “We are in extraordinary times, and when we would usually be supplying ingredients such as dried fruits for Easter baked products, we are experiencing increases in sales for rice, flours, grains, lentils and bakery ingredients.

“We fully expect bakers, brands, retailers and food manufacturers to reduce orders for non-essentials items, and secure more supplies of store cupboard necessities.

“We have plenty of stock available and also have ingredients for gluten-free, vegan and organic foods.”

Ireks

(Information correct at 31 March)

What changes have you made to the services/products you offer your customers?
Ireks has taken every measure to reassure and guarantee all our customers there will be no changes to our products or services. Our team in the UK are working from home to minimize the spread of Covid-19 and are happy to assist with every problem where it is necessary.

Have you had to make changes to the way services/goods are delivered to customers?
Under the current circumstances to ensure constant supply and minimize risk, we have changed all our deliveries to paperless. Delivery drivers have been trained to make sure everyone knows how to handle this situation for example, extra cleaning procedures or drivers wearing latex gloves. It is very important for us is to minimize the risk of contact and guarantee all deliveries are delivered as expected and on time.

Do you foresee this situation changing?
At this moment, we have to take this situation day by day and ensure the supply chain is working with no interruption.

How should customers contact you if they have urgent queries?
Our customers can contact us through their area manager, the office phone number or via our info email address. Everyone in the team is working hard to make sure that we can help with every query and reassure our customers that our first-class service continues.

Do you have any other comment to make to your customers?
All those who are on the front line in the fight against the coronavirus – from health workers to public servants – are earning plaudits for their brave and tireless work with good reason.

We would like to do even more; hopefully together with you bakers! If you want to support these heroes of today, all you have to do is get in touch with us.

Here’s the plan: We will supply you with our success product Spelt & Honey, completely free of charge, if you bake it for free and pass it on to all the nurses, doctors, public servants, truck drivers etc. out there.

Please contact Maurice van Tongeren or Lucas Fußnegger to discuss the details. Please note that this campaign is valid until revoked.

Bring a smile to their faces and salute them for all their hard work.

Renshaw

(Information correct at 23 March)

What changes have you made to the services/products you offer?
At Renshaw we started our crisis planning early and the purchasing team in particular were quick to start contingency planning when the first cases of coronavirus were reported in China. We are currently in a fortunate position where we have all key ingredients available and, despite the schools closing, all our production lines are running as planned. So customers can continue to follow their normal buying patterns without concern.

Have you had to make changes to the way services/goods are delivered to customers?
No, other than taking the necessary precautions to ensure delivery drivers remain in their cabs and minimise interaction with others.

Do you foresee this situation changing?
The external situation is changing daily, but based on the facts as we currently know them, we are in a positive position, all things considered. Our leadership team meets daily to review the latest government advice and assess any potential responses, with our focus being on employee safety and continued service to our customers.

How should customers contact you if they have urgent queries?
Customer service are on hand to field any calls as are their account managers.

Do you have any other comment to make to your customers?
There is demand for takeaway, so thinking about how to offer that is an opportunity to mitigate the loss in sales to some degree. For anyone looking for an online route-to-market, there is intuitive software like WooCommerce, or local community shopping apps that could help to tap into the growing list of customers who are self-isolating or looking to minimise contact with others. We’re also seeing that SME bakeries, supporting local communities, are seeing an uplift in demand as supermarkets struggle. Furthermore, those supplying more premium outlets are struggling to keep up with demand, which is reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis when the term ‘affordable indulgence’ appeared – as we see holidays, meals out, trips away being cancelled we are turning to other treats to entertain ourselves and our families. It is a very unpredictable time but we’re a resilient industry and we’re here to help our customers as much as we can.

R&W Scott

(Information correct at 27 March)

What changes have you made to the services/products you offer?
To date we have no changes to our range and have adequate safety stocks to fulfil the fluctuating demand we are experiencing just now. We continue to supply a range of chocolate coatings, confectionery fillings, jams and speciality soft icings, both traditional and no-added sugar recipes.

Have you had to make changes to the way services/goods are delivered to customers?
We have adopted the government recommended measures in relation to driver and staff precautions to minimise interaction and risk.

Do you foresee this situation changing?
This is clearly a fluid situation, with changes happening every day. We are endeavouring to maintain our flexible and rapid service to allow us to meet customer requirements over the following weeks and months.

How should customers contact you if they have urgent queries?
Both our customer service team and account managers are contactable by email or phone.

Do you have any other comment to make to your customers?
Please continue to communicate with us in your usual way if you have any questions or requests throughout this challenging period.

Ulrick & Short

(Information correct at 23 March)

We are conscious of rapidly changing retailer requirements, and the higher than usual demands being placed on the development and technical departments to reformulate and problem solve, so to meet the production demands of your factories.

We can help by providing immediate telephone or video technical support for queries regarding processing or reformulation issues. We can also trial and test concepts and send the finished applications for review

Our development and business support teams are still fully operational, and able to assist in any way possible. We have a full range of starches, flours, fibres and proteins; and our supply chain is running smoothly.

During this challenging time, if there is anything you feel we can help you with, then please contact us.

Zeelandia

What changes have you made to the services/products you offer?
Currently it is business as usual.

Have you had to make changes to the way services/goods are delivered to customers?
No, delivery is as usual.

Do you foresee this situation changing?
It may well change in the future, and we are constantly reviewing the situation and will respond as needed.

How should customers contact you if they have urgent queries?
Please contact us in the normal manner.

Do you have any other comment to make to your customers?
We are constantly reviewing the situation both in the UK and abroad. Across the group we have implemented measures to ensure the safety of our colleagues, customers and suppliers. We are in regular contact with our sister companies, including those in the worst-hit regions, to share information and learnings. In the UK we have increased stock levels where possible to minimise the effects of disruption.

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