A noise study carried out on the shop floor of Brace’s two bakeries confirmed that workers should wear ear defenders, which have been distributed to all operatives. Visitors will be given disposable earplugs when entering the shop floor areas.Tortilla manufacturer Discovery Foods has achieved Investors in People status. Formed in 1989, the company now has over 300 staff, produces six million tortillas a week and has an annual turnover of £40m. Headquartered in High Wycombe, the company also has factories in Daventry and, its latest, in Milton Keynes. Thomas Tunnock has recalled its own-brand four- and eight-carton Snowballs and four-pack Caramel Log Wafers because of packaging errors. They have best-before dates up to and including 7 October 2006 and 9 December, respectively.Ten bakery workers were kidnapped in Iraq on 18 June. Reports say 14 gunmen stormed a bakery in the predominantly Shiite neighbourhood in Baghdad. The fate of the workers is not known, but a number of bullet-riddled bodies were found in the city later.
This week we kick off the year with Britain’s Top 50 bakery retailers (pg 4, 16-18,) covering those who sell, but do not necessarily make, baked goods. Last year, a number of craft bakers told me that coffee and sandwich shops were not bakers as they make nothing, and I agree.But our list is about retailers. And it is essential that everyone, whether craft baker, coffee shop or snacks retailer, knows how the competition is developing or shrinking. Only by reading about the success of coffee shops or noting the trend for Pret A Manger’s imaginative sandwiches can you compete with a point of difference.That point of difference could be ’freshly-made’, it might be quality ingredients, price, service or extended opening hours – you must be the judge of what is right for you. But it is so important to keep pace with change and to charge a realistic price for your products.Certainly, Greggs, which took a brief knockback on growth in early 2006 has bounced back (pg 12). Sir Mike Darrington loves a challenge and has responded with gusto, trialling new formats, products and opening hours. He pays tribute to ’Greggs’ people’. But motivational leadership plays a big part! So congratulations to Greggs for staying at number one in our Top 50 list, but credit to Subway, which is showing rapid growth with a successful format.And it is great to see traditional craft bakers adapting to the current climate with Coopland’s, JG Ross, plus Simmons and Coughlans creeping up.The growth of sandwich and coffee bars is providing great business for bakery food manufacturers such as Evron Foods and Greencore to name just two. British Baker goes to all the big bakery manufacturers who supply coffee shops and snack bars, and whose success means they buy more ingredients and more equipment. But at the end of every link in every bakery chain is a buyer and this week we talk to Sainsbury’s in-store bakery buyer, Sarah Mackenzie, who tells us about the store’s strategy and main requirements.Finally this week, congratulations to Paul Morrow of British Bakels for securing a new global role where he will no doubt be spotting trends and bringing them straight back to Britain and to Anne Bruce, our deputy editor, who goes on maternity leave this week!
Apple strudel is thought to have derived from Bavaria or Austria. Made with a very thin elastic and springy pastry and filled with apple, this classic pastry makes a heart-warming winter dessert.The strudel can be sold as a whole piece or portioned as appropriate – we cut each 27-inch strip into 12 portions. We sell ours at £1.80 a slice. *Apple Mix recipeMackle apple, chopped apples, cinnamon, raisins, lemon zest Method1 Make the strudel paste and leave in the fridge over-night. Seal with vegetable oil to avoid drying out2 Dust liberally with flour. Roll out the dough until very thin (1.5mm thick)3 Place a cloth or sheet on a table. Take the thin layer and stretch it further so it completely covers the work surface. Hint: use the back of your hands to avoid tearing the dough. Use two people.4 Gently (the dough is almost see-through at this stage) brush butter over the whole surface. Lay out a layer of sponge crumb about 9cm wide and about 5cm from the edge of the surface.5 Make a pile of apple mix along the length – we use a triangular mould 27 inches long – and leave a small gap between each one.6 Carefully lift over and encase the apple in the dough. And roll into a giant “sausage”.7 Tear off each section and tuck the ends in, so the apple is completely sealed8 Place on trays lined with silicon paper and brush with butter.9 Sprinkle liberally with icing sugar. It is now ready to bake.10 Bake at 250?C for 10-12 minutes. Finish off with icing. IngredientsStrudel paste, sponge crumbs, butter, apple mix*
Britvic’s interim results have revealed strong revenue growth for the company. The results for the 28 weeks ended 13 April 2008 show revenue is up by 28.6% to £454.7 million, and profit after tax has increased by 19.3% to £13m. Internationally the soft drinks group, which supplies Tango and Pepsi in the UK, grew revenue by 1.9% to £355.2m. The figures include the first full 28-week contribution from Britvic Ireland, which contributed revenues of £99.5m. Chief executive Paul Moody said it has been “a period of modest growth” in the first half of the year for the overall soft drinks market, with growth evident in the start of the second half. “We are well positioned to drive group earnings growth through brand and product expansion, innovation, a continued close focus on cost control and the realisation of the benefits of the outsourcing of retail distribution,” said Moody. “Britvic has delivered a resilient performance in the first half, with market share gains across the majority of our brands. This is a positive result given the challenging trading environment. The board remains confident that we will deliver on our full-year expectations.”
Health may appear to be the driving force in bakery lately, but the main thing bakers are after when it comes to fats and oils is performance. After all, there is little point in producing pastry with an incredibly low fat content if it’s going to taste like cardboard.The challenge for manufacturers of fats and oils is to reduce the fat content, while maintaining all the same qualities as before. ADM, one of the largest oil-producing companies in the UK, makes up around a third of the total market. Technical director Rob Winwood explains that the world of fats and oils for use in bakery products has changed significantly in recent years, partly due to pressure from consumers for healthier products, as well as an increased demand by supermarkets for them. Issues such as allergies and GM concerns also pose restrictions. “If we look back 10 years, we would probably only see around 4-5% of our products still being produced today,” he says.Legislation has also had some effect on the sector. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has set stricter targets on the levels of fat in products. Broadly speaking, the aims of the FSA, as laid out in its Saturated Fat and Energy Intake Programme, are to reduce the average intake of saturated fat from the current level of 13.3% of food energy to below 11% by 2010 for everyone aged over five. But as Winwood points out, fat cannot suddenly be cut down; it is key to the way products perform.ADM stopped using hydrogenated fat around two years ago and has developed its NovaLipid range of solutions, which includes lower saturated fat and additive-free options. Winwood says the switch to non-hydrogenated fat has been a major change and not without its problems. In most cases, it has been possible to achieve an exact match, he says, but it has not been an easy process and there are still areas where it is almost impossible. “For example, if you want to make a chocolate couverture product, these were traditionally based on hardened palm kernel oil, which is a very strong, tough material and has particularly nice melt-in-the-mouth characteristics,” says Winwood. “The problem is, there is no really good alternative. You can get something that works, but it doesn’t quite do the same thing.”The main criteria for fats and oils are that they perform, agrees David Astles, marketing manager for artisan, BakeMark. He says the drive towards healthier products has been a mixture of baker, consumer and industry demand. “However, the majority of bakers are not as concerned by these issues until they are driven by the consumer, either directly or via the supermarkets, which are now specifying reduced fat and salt levels.”Stephen Bickmore, Vandemoortele’s UK commercial manager, believes that products with lower-fat content and healthier benefits are not really being driven by the craft bakery sector, which lags behind the plant sector. “It’s mainly the industrial bakeries that are asking for these products, because if they’re supplying places like Marks & Spencer, that’s what they’re looking for,” he says.Ingredients manufacturer, Vandemoortele, has long since ditched hydrogenated fats, and now offers a range of reduced-fat and clean-label products. It has also switched from using citric acid to natural alternatives such as lemon juice. “We have a range where we’ve reduced the level of fat in the margarine from 80% down to, potentially, 60%, without losing the quality of the product,” says Bickmore.One of the obstacles to growing the market for lower-fat products, he says, has been the economic climate, resulting in bakers trying to cut costs. Achieving high-quality products with an excellent mouthfeel but with reduced-fat content is possible by adding certain ingredients – fat replacers – but Bickmore explains that the additional cost can put bakers off. “Sometimes there is a cost attached to that kind of quality,” he says, adding that, at the moment, companies are focused on keeping costs down and often don’t have the time or resources to test out all the products available to them.Changing industry standards and consumer tastes will continue to drive NPD in this sector. For example, this November, BakeMark will be launching Melanges, a mixture between margarine and butter, which contains all-natural ingredients. And Vandemoortele is working towards achieving less than 50% fat in its products.”It will also be incumbent on us to advise our customers on how they can revise their formulation, to achieve these lower fat levels,” says ADM’s Winwood, who believes the combination of new products and the education of bakers on how to use them is the key to meeting lower fat targets.There is no denying that consumers and the baking industry alike will continue to demand products with healthier credentials, but maintaining quality will also continue to be high on the agenda.—-=== Palm oil – sustainability issues ===Around 28m of the 95m tonnes of vegetable oil produced per year is palm oil, which can only be produced in certain tropical areas in Asia, Africa and South America. It is an edible plant oil derived from the fruit of the Arecaceae Elaeis oil palm. However, the destruction of rainforests for its production is reported to be having disastrous effects on the eco-system and, on a larger scale, is said to be affecting global warming. ADM has joined a number of other large oil producers in an organisation called the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which is to work towards ensuring sustainable palm oil production for the future. For more information please visit [http://www.rspo.org].
Greggs chief executive Ken McMeikan has said his top priority is to “simplify the business” in order to better prepare it for expansion. The announcement follows his initial review of the business since he took over in August. The bakery retailer also released its latest trading update, which shows total sales for the 25 weeks to 6 December 2008 are up 6.6%, with like-for-like sales up 3.8%.The company will also continue rebranding its Bakers Oven shops as Greggs, in order to move to a single fascia throughout the UK.McMeikan said he is confident in the business’ potential for future growth across the UK, particularly in the south of England and the north west. “As a cash generative business with no debt we are in a strong position not only to weather the current downturn but also to exploit the opportunities for future growth,” he said. Greggs will also continue its move into locations away from the high street in order to “serve its customers at work and as they travel”.However, he announced that the company will be beginning consultations with employees at its 10 outlets in Belgium, with the intention of withdrawing from the country altogether, as the shops are currently making a loss. “Over the coming year, our priority will be to simplify the business and strengthen its capabilities to ensure that we are ready for accelerated growth and expansion,” said McMeikan. The review also highlighted opportunities for extending the chain’s product range, following the results of customer research.
Andrew Jones Pies’ two shops have reopened and a new factory has been sourced following a tragic explosion at its factory on Good Friday, which left one man dead. The explosion happened at Andrew Jones Pies bakehouse in Old Leeds Road, Huddersfield, only minutes after the 5am shift had started, causing part of the roof to fall and start a fire.Thirty-seven-year-old baker David Cole died at the scene and his colleague, 23-year-old Marcus Cartwright, was taken to hospital. The firm’s two shops in Marsh and Brighouse, which were closed following the incident, are both open again.“We have resumed limited production in the bakehouse behind our Brighouse shop, which accounts for about 12% of our normal turnover, and we’ve sourced a new factory in Lockwood, Huddersfield,” said commercial manager, Graham Easby. “We have equipment going in today – ovens, mincers and depositors – and we intend to have up to 75% of our previous production back on line within the next two to three weeks.”Easby said that most of the staff have come back to work and are helping clear the excess machinery from the new factory so it can be cleaned and got up to food hygiene standards.The Old Leeds Road site currently has a prohibition order on it and is listed as an unsafe building. The investigation into the cause of the accident is continuing.
JJ Food Service has struck a multi-million pound deal which will see it supply Cooks the Bakery store across the UK.The open-ended contract, worth £4m per annum, covers 72 Cooks stores, which were previously supplied by 3663.Distribution company JJ Food Service will supply ambient, chilled and frozen products to the national bakery chain.Richard Prime, managing director of Cooks the Bakery, said: “We are looking forward to working with JJ Food Service, with the confidence that our stores will receive the ingredients necessary to deliver quality products to our valued customers.
Independent English firm Daymer Bay has launched a new range of iced teas, available in peach, lemon and mango flavours. The company, which takes its name from a stretch of sandy beach in North Cornwall, focuses solely on producing iced teas. The tea is sourced from Sri Lanka, where a penny for every bottle sold supports the local orphanage Singithi Sevana. The tea is then blended in the West Country and distributed in Cornwall by Chaffins Foodservice, and by JJ Foodservice to the rest of the UK. The teas are free from preservatives and artificial additives.Additional flavours will also join the product line-up following the company’s research into consumer preferences.www.chaffinsfoods.co.ukwww.jjfoodservice.com
The baking industry has to wait until autumn to discover whether the Food Standards Agency (FSA) will be axed as part of the government’s cost-cutting agenda.It had been reported that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley would announce the demise of the FSA, as he unveiled a White Paper on NHS reforms. Instead, Lansley referred only to a public health paper in the autumn, which will study quangos with public health responsibilities, including the FSA.The Conservatives had proposed moving the FSA’s responsibilities for nutrition, diet and public health into the Department of Health. But the stalled decision leaves bakers and coffee shop owners wondering whether issues such as salt reduction targets and the Scores on the Doors scheme will be affected.A spokesman for the Depart-ment of Health said: “As part of our drive to increase public bodies’ accountability, we will consider where some functions of the FSA should best sit to ensure they are delivered most effectively.”