OCTOBERSupermarket Asda signed up craft baker Greenhalgh’s to supply stores in the north-west as it rolled out a local sourcing initiative. Compass said it was selling its Select Service Partner businesses including Upper Crust and Millie’s Cookies to focus on its core catering division. British Baker celebrated its 120th anniversary with a look back on the history of the title and the big stories it had covered over the years. Greencore Group bought the London-based Oldfields sandwich business for £12.2m and sold its Greencore Pizza business to management. A compensation payment of £500,000 was made to 123 former New Rathbones staff in Carlisle, who learnt about their redundancies over the radio. The hourly paid workers were given 90 days pay as there had been no consultation with unions of staff over the redundancies – a legal requirement.Welsh chain Ferrari’s bought 22 former Sweetmans stores, boosting its estate to 64 stores. The deal put Ferrari’s just behind Greggs in terms of store numbers in Wales. Greggs’ Welsh division had 67 stores.Memory Lane Cakes saw 19 of its 1,000 staff arrested in a joint swoop by Immigration Services and the Department of Work and Pensions. It had set up a mock training session for the staff on the authorities’ hit list. Sainsbury’s claimed to be the first to introduce a low-GI loaf to in-store bakeries. The Taste the Difference Multiseeded 800g loaf also had reduced salt.Organic company Duchy Originals announced plans to build a bakery in Cornwall, to bake Cornish pasties and pastries. The new bakery will open in April, employing 10 staff.Allied Bakeries was fined £10,000 for polluting the River Beane with waste soya brine from its Stevenage bakery.RHM said it would relaunch Mr Kipling again in January 2006, after reporting poor sales. Bakery retailer M Firkin closed its central bakery in West Bromwich for a week due to a mouse infestation.
Donut retailer Krispy Kreme has yet to deliver on a promise to open a raft of stores in the Midlands as it continues to expand in the UK.It had hoped to have a cluster of stores in the Midlands before venturing up to Manchester this year, and then onto Scotland and Ireland. The company now has 26 outlets in this country and plans to open 10 more next year, including in Bristol and on the south coast. However, UK MD Don Henshall admitted: “It’s harder to visit potential sites outside London.”The company arrived in the UK three years ago when it opened a concession in Harrods. There are now Krispy Kreme stores in London, Oxford, Birmingham and Milton Keynes, while there are also 50 Tesco stores with in-store cabinets selling the doughnuts within the M25 area.Sales are rising as the company is expected to turn over £19m for the financial year to January 2007, up from £12.5m the previous year.It is a less healthy financial picture in the US where the company is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Revenues there are set to fall and it has closed 75 of its 370 factories.
Cold Stop insulated freezer and chill-store entry curtains can help bakers reduce energy costs, according to Seymour Manufacturing (Shropshire).The company says the curtains can lead to energy savings ranging from 18% to 25% in a chiller room to 30% to 35% in freezers.The Cold Stop curtains qualify for 100% tax relief under the government’s Enhanced Capital Allowances Scheme. Curtain panels are available in standard 475mm widths and bespoke heights. Panels have a window and are soft and lightweight.
High grain prices are forcing up costs, but with more money on the table, the world’s farmers can produce a lot more grain, delegates heard at the Home Grown Cereals’ Authority’s (HGCA) fourth annual conference on 14 March.”Everybody in the food chain lately has been facing the squeeze,” Jon Woolven, strategy director of the Institute of Grocery Distribution, told the Processor Conference in London. “Everybody is facing rising costs, which they are finding difficult to pass on in higher prices and none more so than the grain processing industry.”Alastair Dickie, director of crop marketing, HGCA, accepted that there was a problem for processors. “Farming is more profitable than it was a year ago and the raw materials for the proces-sing industry are more expensive,” he said. The problem was a lower world wheat crop, rather than the rise in the use of grain for biofuels. “It has very little to do with biofuels,” he said. “The food versus fuel debate ignores the economics. If you raise the price, you will get more grain. High prices secure supplies for the processing industry.”In historical terms, grain was cheap. “If you compare the price of a bakery good in 1977 the price has, broadly speaking, quadrupled and the price of grain has doubled,” he said. “I would stop worrying. Concentrate on making the product, finding raw material supplies and using some sort of hedging.”
== Panera recognised == == Costa turns to ads == Spanish manufacturer Europasty has invested E18m (£16.6m) to increase its production capacity for doughnuts. The firm, which specialises in par-baked bread and frozen pastries, has installed a new production plant and freezing warehouse, giving it a total capacity of 300 million units per year. In 2008, Europasty’s doughnut sales represented approximately 25% of the total Spanish market. Costa has launched its first advertising campaign this month, in an effort to draw customers away from Starbucks. According to claims made following a recent blind tasting by research company Tangible Branding, seven out of 10 people who saw themselves as ’coffee lovers’ preferred Costa’s cappuccino to that of its leading competitors. == Pennant purchase == US magazine Health recently voted the US’ largest bakery chain, Panera Bread, as the healthiest restaurant in the fast food category in the country, due to its wide menu offering and healthy choices, the use of healthy fats and preparations and healthy sodium counts. McDonald’s is reported to be opening a number of its McCafé coffee houses in Israel. They will sell pastries produced in a factory in France, which also supplies a number of its European McCafé outlets, as well as sandwiches and cakes. == Israel for McDonald’s == US company Pennant Foods, a provider of speciality bakery products to the foodservice and retail industry, is to purchase a portion of the General Mills Bakeries and Food Service frozen bread dough business. The deal includes four US manufacturing facilities. == Spanish firm invests ==
Canada Bread Company, the parent company of the UK’s biggest bagel supplier Maple Leaf Bakery, will take no further action following an internal investigation into allegations that an employee at its UK bakery operations may have sought to influence the pricing of a competitor.Lynda Kuhn, senior vice president, communications and consumer affairs, told British Baker that initial allegations made in a tabloid newspaper in December 2008 involving The Bagel Group – a company Maple Leaf had previously been in talks with to acquire – were unfounded and that no evidence had been supplied to substantiate the claims, despite requests.She said: “While we requested a copy of the video tape [which allegedly showed an employee involved in price fixing], we have not received it – and no further action will be taken by the company.” The Office of Fair Trading does not plan to conduct an investigation into the matter.
Judging by the number of bakery suppliers working the room at the UK Coffee Leader Summit 2009 two weeks ago, you could easily imagine 2010’s event being rebranded the UK Coffee & Bakery Bandwagon Jumpers’ Summit. And why not? With the branded coffee sector set to grow by at least another 1,000 outlets before it gets anywhere near saturation, who can blame them?Starbucks’ UK and Ireland supremo Darcy Willson-Rymer told BB that while the coffee giant was “primarily a coffee shop ser-ving great food,” food and bakery was a key development area for the coffee chains. And, with the likes of food-focused Bakers Oven, Pret A Manger, EAT and O’Brien’s classed among them, people will increasingly have to squint to distinguish what is and is not a coffee shop.”We’re going to continue to innovate and food is an important part of our business,” said Willson-Rymer, adding that the menu would continue to be reshaped to allow for healthier choices. “Health and wellness is a trend we’re seeing a lot of interest in. We recently did a big piece of work taking out trans fats, reducing salt, working in conjunction with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and making a commitment around calories.”As such, Starbucks is now weighing up whether to include calorie counts on menu boards, following a pilot initiative from the FSA to give consumers more calorie information at the point of purchase, he revealed. “We’re looking at it and I don’t think it’s anything to be worried about,” he said. “First of all, Starbucks has a lot of options with low-fat milk, 2%, full-fat, and I think that if we publish calorie counts, we’re giving customers information to decide whether to buy one product in favour of another.”We have to be nimble and prepared to adapt,” he explained. “Customers will always want ’indulgence’ as well as ’healthy’. You have to be able to offer both. The notion that Starbucks will be all of one or all of another isn’t appropriate to us.”The view that coffee and sandwich shops, bakeries and patisseries, would be battling for the same ground over food was put forward by Jeffrey Young, MD of market analyst Allegra Strategies. “Branded coffee outlets are going to look a lot more like food outlets over time,” he said. “The markets are going to get blurrier. We think a strong food offer throughout coffee shops will be essential and there will be a greater influence through this on healthy eating.”He also warned the recession would have “a long-lasting impact on value expectations”. That was well illustrated by the premium-positioned sandwich chain Pret A Manger, which recently battled to ’unposh’ its brand as the economy nose-dived, with a 99p filter coffee launched in regional and two London shops.”This is not just a reaction to the credit crunch,” said Rebecca Hemsley, head of coffee at Pret, acknowledging that the firm’s management wanted to extend a hand to hard-pressed customers. “This is a long-term strategy to have a 99p coffee. We were concerned that we were perhaps being too posh for some people. Particularly in the regions, the feedback was that we ’looked a little bit expensive’. Having a 99p coffee helps people understand that, at Pret, it is possible to get good quality and good value.”The key to the product’s success was not cutting corners with cheaper coffee – Pret uses the coffee it has always used, she said. “It’s quite early days for us, but in the regional shops it’s doing a positive thing, because we have to build up customer loyalty outside London. If all the 99p coffee does is get people through the door, because they know they can afford to buy at least one product, it serves us well.”Indeed, Pret’s ’all below £2.50’ sandwich campaign was held up as exemplary for a premium price promotion. “They’re saying, ’that’s the most you’re going to pay’. That’s how premium brands try not to distract from their core values and don’t get dragged down into a cycle of discounting,” said Gary McCann, sales and marketing manager of Beyond the Bean. Similarly, Starbucks calls its offers ’pairings’ to improve the perception of meal deals.Preserving the premium feel of branded coffee shops is certainly key to the sector’s growth, with turnover predicted to rise by a storming £0.5bn in the next three years alone. Not only that, but a new generation of stylised, quality-obsessed independents is springing up in the UK, having migrated from Melbourne and Wellington – the Antipodean cities widely considered to be the ’ground zero’ of modern coffee culture. One of them, Matthew Clark, co-owner of five-outlet Sacred in London, said: “When we opened, the UK was five to six years behind Wellington. I expect it to catch up within a year.”—-=== Riding the recession: Insomnia Coffee, Dublin ===Are operators risking a downward spiral of discounting to entice recession-hit customers? And how easy is it to pull the plug when muffin sales on price promotion go through the roof?Gary McCann, sales and marketing manager of Beyond the Bean, observed 50+ outlet Irish coffee chain Insomnia responding last summer to falling transaction value, business and footfall with a value offer: any sandwich plus any coffee for E5. This was a huge success due to its simplicity; no terms and conditions applied and the only restriction was ’no panini’. Those people who bought coffee in the morning began buying a sandwich, where previously they hadn’t. Wastage went down, sales went up, and Insomnia dragged in a lot of new consumers.”So then what happens? Everybody copies it,” said McCann, who saw a glut of copycat promotions springing up in Dublin. “And like every promotion, the date comes where it has to stop. But everyone who has ever run a hugely successful promotion will think ’what will happen to our sales when it stops?’”Rather than retreat, Insomnia extended its promotions, offering ’any coffee plus any muffin for E3’, which sparked a sevenfold increase in muffin sales, and any panini plus any coffee for E6. The danger, warned McCann, was a risk of long-term margin loss, although short-term use can introduce new customers to your brand.”Does it spiral? When all this discounting stops, where are we going to be?” he asked. “Marks & Spencer’s £2 meal deal drove a huge amount of sales, but they pulled it two weeks ago. Sooner or later, all good things come to an end.”—-=== UK branded coffee shops: a snapshot ===* 3,790 branded coffee outlets (including food-focused operators such as Pret A Manger, Eat and O’Briens) in the UK* This is predicted to break 4,000 within 12 months and 5,000 before it hits saturation* 124 outlets were added in the past six months* Estimated market turnover of £1.6bn in 2009 (and a £2.1bn market predicted by 2012)* Stronger food offer and greater influence of healthy eating seen as major opportunitySource: Allegra Strategies UK Coffee Shop Market Update, May 2009
lDesserts & puddingsLast year saw the rise of frozen desserts, but how did the category perform in 2010? We analyse the latest data and report on trends. Plus fantastic recipe ideas from Dan LepardlKeeping it localWhether it’s box schemes, local food hubs or grocery delivery websites, we explore new ways to get products to customers as they continue to trawl the internet for local food producerslValentine’s DayAre you ready for one of the key trading days in the seasonal calendar? It’s time to start looking at the latest products and ingredients
Muntons has launched Maltichoc a new ingredient designed to enhance chocolate baked goods, while reducing raw material costs.Andrew Fuller, Muntons product development technologist, said a reduction of 50% in cocoa powder was achievable with the inclusion of Maltichoc, while seeing no loss of product quality. “In fact in our sensory panels many tasters preferred products made using the Maltichoc recipe,” said Fuller. The ingredient is a blend of roasted malt flours and dried malt extracts, which has a bitter/roasted flavour, with a sweet background flavour, according to the firm.Fuller added: “The addition of this new ingredient to a value product or to a core recipe instantly enhances the product, providing a richer chocolate flavour, and dark chocolate colour.” The clean-label ingredient is available in 25kg sacks, with samples available on request.
Yorkshire company Tim’s Bakery took time out from battling through the snow to visit children at Grimethorpe Ladywood Primary School.It laid on a free buffet for pupils after the bakery’s van made it through the freezing conditions to reach almost every customer, even in more remote areas. Some elderly regular customers also received special doorstep drop-offs.Cudworth-based Tim’s Bakery has gone from making 200 bread, pastry and cake items a day to up to 3,500 in just three years. Owner Andrew Haynes (pictured with Ladywood Primary School pupils Ebon Dean and Bailey Arnold) plans to add a second vehicle, so it can supply more businesses and operate further afield in Doncaster and Wakefield. Business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley helped it switch production to a manufacturing unit at Grove Park, Grimethorpe. Said Haynes: “Free support from Enterprising Barnsley has made a huge difference. As well as helping us find a unit, they’ve assisted with staff contracts, health and safety and accessing funding. We’re now getting help with website development, which will be key to us being able to expand the wholesale side of our business further.”