Monthly ArchiveApril 2021

NA throws its weight behind Baking Industry Exhibition

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first_imgThe National Association of Master Bakers (NA) has given its support to the Baking Industry Exhibition, which takes place from 6-9 April, 2008, at the Birmingham NEC.Chief executive of the NA Gill Brooks Lonican said: “The NA, British Baker and Birmingham all go back a long way. Birmingham NEC is the best venue I’ve ever attended for food exhibitions. It is always good to meet members, talk to them about our services and discuss all the help a small baker needs to run their business effectively.”She added that the NA would be supporting the live theatre and bakery demonstrations.The Baking Industry Exhibition will run alongside Food & Drink, Convenience Retailing Show, Foodex Meatex and the Forecourt Show, which collectively attract over 70,000 visitors.last_img read more

California: bumper almond crop

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first_imgThe Californian almond crop for 2008/9 should produce 1.5m lbs of almond “meat” – the usable part of the nut, minus the shell – according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s statistics service. The forecast is up 3 percent from the May 7, 2008 subjective forecast of 1.460 billion pounds. The forecast is funded by the Almond Board of California. The average nut set per tree is 7,452, up 1 percent from the 2007 almond crop. Richard Waycott, the Almond Board of California’s President and CEO, commented: “This forecast continues the upward trend established in the 2006/2007 indicating the possibility of another record crop year. The California almond industry is well positioned to meet the ever-growing global demand for almonds.”last_img read more

Pieminister to launch new pies for the festival season

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first_imgFestival regulars Pieminister will once again be pitching their tent at this summer’s music festivals and is to launch three new pies in celebration of the season.Created in response to requests from existing customers, the pies are a take on British classics. They are Henny Pie – made with British free-range chicken, mushrooms, white wine cream and herbs; Beefy Shamrock Pie – a take on steak and Guinness using British beef steak; and the Moo & Blue Pie – made with British beef steak, red wine gravy and aged Stilton.The Bristol-based pie firm is to launch its newest additions at Glastonbury, which takes place from 26-28 June. Customers at the pie tent will also be able to try the ‘Pieminister mothership’ – any pie combined with mashed potato, minty peas and gravy and topped with cheddar cheese and onions. And one not for the faint-hearted is the Tower of Power – two pies, on a pile of mash topped with all the mothership trimmings.Pieminister uses only free range meat and sources locally wherever possible from farmers and producers in the west-country.last_img read more

Folic acid a potential health risk?

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first_imgAdding folic acid to bread may be unnecessary and could expose people to potential risks, according to a study just published in the BMC Public Health journal. The findings of a study in Dublin suggested that mandatory fortification may actually do more harm than good, possibly putting people at a higher risk of accelerating the growth of certain cancers.Following a public consultation in 2006, the Food Safety Authority in Ireland (FSAI) had recommended mandatory fortification. “However, due to safety considerations this decision is now on hold,” read the report on the background to the study.It was advised that existing levels of unmetabolised folic acid and their anticipated increase after fortification needed to be investigated due to the potential to “mask pernicious anaemia and possibly accelerate the growth of existing cancers”.A study was carried out to examine the levels of circulatory unmetabolised folic acid in Irish adults (both fasted and un-fasted) and new-born infants (fasted).Up to now health organisations have recommended that pregnant women take supplements for the development of a healthy foetus and to prevent spina bifida. However, while the study showed the levels of circulatory unmetabolised folic acid reported in the subjects were low, “it is persistently present in women immediately after caesarean section, who were fasting, indicating that there would be a constant/habitual exposure of existing tumours to folic acid, with the potential for accelerated growth. Mandatory fortification might exacerbate this”.last_img read more

Reporting in Ingredients need to pay their way

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first_imgPaul Catterall, Training and bakery manager, Campden BRI’Twas the night before Christmas… Is it really next week? It sneaks up on us all every year. We seem to have plenty of time in November and then, before you know it, it’s staring us straight in the face.Of course, we in the baking industry are not surprised by this; it’s such a busy time that we have to plan well ahead. Everyone knows that for long-life products such as Christmas cakes and puddings, we start back in the spring. Other products we can actually freeze until nearer the time. This leads me neatly into one of my pet themes understanding raw materials and what they do. Now this can work in two directions: we have come across clients with products that have far too many ingredients, probably all put in for some reason that has long ago been forgotten. The record is 22 in a single cake recipe and this was whittled down to just 12 while maintaining the quality. On the other hand, we have also had customers that have taken out or changed an ingredient maybe due to cost or to clean up the ingredients label only to find a few weeks down the road that the product has a shorter shelf-life. Every ingredient in a recipe has to pay for itself. So, do you know what all the ingredients in your products are doing?In the past, this column has talked about the need for good bakery training and the National Skills Academy has been trialling what is hoped to be the first of a series of courses aimed at improving the technical knowledge and skills of the industry. More about this next year. Until then, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.last_img read more

Coopland and Cooplands bid for Ainsleys shops

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first_imgCooplands (Doncaster) and Coopland & Son (Scarborough) are on the verge of signing a joint deal to buy 22 of Ainsleys’ 29 shops out of administration.The two companies, which are separate businesses with different sets of shareholders, but which have family links, are understood to have collaborated on and agreed a joint bid with administrator Grant Thornton. It would see Cooplands of Doncaster acquire 12 stores in the city and southern perimeter of Leeds, while Coopland & Son of Scarborough would buy 10 stores in the area to the east and north of Leeds.An industry source said the companies joined forces in a bid to strengthen their chances of agreeing a deal, giving the administrator the opportunity to sell the majority of Ainsleys’ retail estate in one go. The acquisition is set to be formally completed later this month.The remaining seven Ainsleys stores are likely to be sold off to other buyers, with Greggs previously voicing its interest in some of the outlets. It is thought the central bakery in Leeds will be sold separately. Family business Ainsleys of Leeds, which employs nearly 300 people, went into administration in November, due to the pressure from declining sales and increased competition. It has continued to trade, as administrators look for a buyer. “Ainsleys won’t be the last bakery business to have over-stretched itself in the current climate,” said the source. “Consolidation in the sector will continue in the coming year with trading on the high street still very tough.”last_img read more

Maison Blanc revamp results in return to profit

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first_imgFollowing a huge overhaul of the French boulangerie and patisserie chain, Maison Blanc’s 14 shops are now positioned for the growth of the brand planned over the next three years.Maison Blanc co-founder Raymond Blanc told British Baker that the chain was “in the midst of huge changes”, but was back on track to deliver the authenticity of its brand values, with the business now returning to profit.The firm was bought by Kuwait-based Kout Food Group Company (KFG) in October 2007, having previously been owned by bakery group Lyndale. KFG UK was keen to go back to the original concept and values created by Blanc, who returned to the fold one year ago to spearhead a relaunch of the chain, which he founded with his wife, Jenny, in 1981.The financial model has been reworked, new staff have been brought in and it has invested heavily in training, said KFG’s chief operating officer Simon Wilkinson. The patisserie range has been taken from 120 to around 16 core products, and two seasonal patisserie products will be launched, three times a year. Its patisserie launches for spring are: Earl Grey Citron Chocolate Tart and Gariguette Strawberry and Cream with marshmallow. Wilkinson, who has been working with Blanc for the last eight months, said the firm would also expand the cake and patisserie range it supplies to Waitrose.Maison Blanc had previously bought in a lot of bread products from France, but now the bakery produces all its own loaves, explained Wilkinson, adding that it had a three-year strategy for its bread, patisserie and menus.Although there are also plans for more shops, the location and time has to be just right, he said. “We have identified around 30-40 potential locations, but we don’t want to compromise the quality.”last_img read more

Warburtons extends deal for British wheat supply

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first_imgWarburtons has announced a long-term extension to its UK milling wheat contract with farmer-owned business Open-field, as it continues to maintain its support of British wheat.The extension of the contract, now in its 12th year, will see the supply agreement reach its 18th year, and will be worth an additional £140m to British wheat farmers. The contract has already been worth £172m to Openfield members with over one million tonnes of contracted wheat delivered for Warburtons flour and this figure is expected to rise to £312m before the end of 2016.”Top-quality milling wheat and traceability are at the heart of both our bread-making process and British farming, so we are delighted to announce this contract renewal,” commented Warburtons’ group purchasing director Bob Beard.Openfield group commercial director Graham Lacey added: “Many farmers have been committed to producing Warburtons’ wheat since the contract began; this has helped them to secure some exceptional returns from their wheat.”The contract is, however, about far more than just volume, as we’ve worked together to ensure that not only fair prices have been paid to growers each year, but also that as much as possible of the contracted wheat can be used by Warburtons even during more difficult harvests.”Any growers interested in supplying Warburtons as part of the new contract should contact their Openfield farm business manager.last_img read more

In Short

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first_imgPhat into foodservicePasty van franchise operation Phat Pasty is launching a range of branded frozen pasties into the foodservice sector for the first time. The firm currently delivers to workplaces across the country, but is targeting its new bake-in-a-bag range at any outlets with the facility to bake-off, such as the catering and hospitality sector.Northern reorganisesNorthern Foods’ bakery division saw like-for-like sales increase by more than 10% in its second quarter. The firm also announced a new organisational structure in a bid to streamline the business and achieve cost savings. Its current three divisions: Bakery, Chilled and Frozen, will become two: Branded and Chilled.Costa launches TV adCosta Coffee’s first-ever venture into TV advertising, launched on 7 October, features a room full of monkeys trying to make a cup of coffee, which descends into chaos. It ends with a Costa barista expertly hand-making a cup of coffee.Supporting press activity will run in national newspapers featuring headlines stating that ’not all coffee is made equal’.Moseley to head FDFJim Moseley, MD of General Mills UK, Ireland and the Nordic markets, has been elected president of the Food and Drink Federation. His term will start on 1 January 2011.last_img read more

Totting it up for tots

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first_imgThe pitter-patter of tiny feet is not everyone’s cup of tea. A mother let’s call her Jane Smith tells how her mums and toddlers group has boycotted their local branch of Starbucks in Hampshire after the manager was a little too honest.On the group’s final visit, the kids were playing among the empty sofas. “There was a man sitting nearby on his laptop who decided to shout out at us about our children, saying he was trying to work. My friend asked the manager: ’Do you have a problem with me bringing my children into your shop?’ and he said ’Yes’. We were absolutely stunned.”Starbucks’ head office is “terribly sorry” to hear of the incident, and insists that “children are always welcome”. The fact is that welcoming mothers with children, babies and toddlers can be a demanding business equipment has to be bought, menus have to be looked at, attitudes overhauled. So is it worth going after the junior customer?Many in the bakery sector, however, report that they do not make any special provisions for babies and children in eat-in areas, although they sell items such as cute biscuits targeted at children. Those that do offer child-friendly facilities include Scottish chain Aulds. Development director Fiona Phillips says: “We normally try to provide baby-changing facilities, one or two high-chairs per shop and have a children’s lunchbox on the menu.”But there is a problem with space, she says what is known as “pram jam”: “In small coffee shops, if the younger customer is actively encouraged, the pushchairs and prams and toy areas can take up considerable space and reduce that available for tables and chairs. To cater well for children, the coffee shop tends to need to be bigger.”Steven Halstead, who owns Norwich’s Cafe Morello with his wife Pam, is proud to fly the flag for child-friendliness. And his bank manager shares his pleasure. The café only has nine tables, but there is always room for a little one, even though parked buggies form a corral sometimes.Halstead says: “We love children, and we love them coming in here. It started with a high chair and a couple of booster seats, and we installed changing facilities a couple of years ago.”The café’s menu is all homemade and it offers child portions and drinks he says such as lukewarm hot chocolate which will not burn a child’s mouth. His staff will heat up bottles and babyfood without any mention of “health and safety” which is often cited in cafés to avoid the inconvenience of heating bottles.”The odd customer moans a bit if a baby is crying, but that happens very rarely. If anyone complains about breast-feeding I tell them to leave,” adds Halstead, whose company ethos comes from the heart.But being child-friendly has kept the business very profitable he says. The mothers with babies and older children tend to come in at quieter times, rather than the lunchtime peak, which allows a steady turnover throughout the day. And the café has built up a strong and loyal following in the area as the children grow up.Outside the café sector, and at the other end of the scale, successful 782 pub chain Wetherspoon’s growing success suggests it knows what it is doing. It is now targeting the younger market as it muscles in on traditional coffee shop territory. Wetherspoon’s offers a kid’s menu, designed by children’s nutrition pin-up Annabel Karmel, coffee and cakes, plus other requisites of child-friendliness high-chairs, changing facilities, children’s TV, drawing equipment.Paul Ettinger, business development director of Caffè Nero reports a similar position: “A lot of mums and babies’ clubs come into Caffè Nero and we make sure we have products that are suitable. There is an issue of space, however facilities for buggies for example. We have to make sure there is space for everyone.”Keeping it cleanStaying on top of cleanliness is also vital. A “what’s-on” website reviewing Jane Smith’s branch of Starbucks gives further insight. “The carpet area in particular is filthy and hosts a very large buggy brigade every morning,” says one review.”It has always been absolutely filthy, with food debris all over the floor in the sofa area and I’m sorry to have to say this it reeks of baby sick,” says another.A premises that encourages children will probably have to step up the cleaning schedule to make sure the environment stays pleasant for all. But for more traditional and old-fashioned businesses, currently happy in the comfort zone of serving old age pensioners, actually attracting a younger clientèle makes sense if the company is to survive and thrive. What cheaper way is there to do that than by installing a flipdown changing mat in the toilet and putting some high-chairs out?Cafés and eateries that pass muster soon gain a reputation spread by word-of-mouth among the local “mums Mafia” and, increasingly, on social networking sites and websites with local listings, or those such as mumsnet and netmums.The Jane Smith Starbucks story from earlier, for example, was subject of a lively debate on Facebook on the merits of petitions, boycotts and, perhaps, more “direct action”.Here’s the end of that story: “We’d been going there weekly for at least a year, mainly as we thought it was child-friendly. Also, we all bought drinks and cakes for all of us each time, spending £20-£30. This man was sat using their wifi with just one small drink. I couldn’t help but notice, over his shoulder, that he was actually shopping online, not working.”Maybe Jane should have asked the manager: “Do you have a problem with us putting £1,000+ a year off-peak revenue into your till?” The answer might have been quite different, something along the lines of, “Let me give the floor a quick clean.” Child-friendly checklist Enter mum, toddler in tow, scanning the café as a checklist plays out in her head: high-chair, check; space to park the buggy, check; any sign of a toilet with baby changing facilities and a buggy-wide gangway through the chairs? You may think that selling gingerbread men makes you child-friendly. Think again. Customers bringing babies and children into your premises are looking for a lot more than a few cute products for example:l space to park buggies perhaps an awning or a back room could be used?l high-chairs stackable ones that aren’t too heavy to drag round l baby-changing facilities and soap and paper tissues on handl bottle/food warming facilities motorway service stations offer microwaves, utensils and disposable bibsl a play area for toddlers also make sure the front door is secure so they cannot run onto the roadl toys, books and drawing equipment.l staff primed to help customers carrying trays if also pushing a buggy/praml good-quality/value food and drink for children organic super-premium products with super mark-ups fit that description with this demographicl clean premises the floor should be clean enough to eat off as that’s what may happenl a friendly atmosphere. Would your café cut the mustard? Mums on the net frank assessments of local café establishments may be found online, on blogs and review sites. How would you measure up against these comments?”Staff are always helpful and always offer to carry my tray to a table while I push the buggy.””I thought this place was dreadful! Full of OAPs tut-tutting at my three-year-old and his friend, who were not even running around or anything! Never going there again and the food’s totally overpriced!” “Table corners are perfect height for bumping toddlers heads, there are no high-chairs or toys or special menus or anything. I cannot remember seeing a baby-change in the one tiny toilet either.””I really like this café. It’s clean, bright and has good high-chairs. The staff are great and always carry the high-chair to the table for me and bring my coffee too!””So great for bigger meets, obviously nice surroundings, plenty of space for buggies, Hipp organic babyfood jars for sale (a bit pricey though). They also have baby beakers, bowls, spoons and a microwave out on a table for you to use to heat up baby food.”last_img read more

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