Northern Foods revealed its bakery and pastry divisions had been seriously hit in the early weeks of 2006, as it announced it is starting a strategic review of its business this week.The supplier’s biscuit sales in January and February were 12% lower than the previous year and the market continues to be heavily price-promoted, it said in a trading update for the year to April 1, 2006. Sales of pastry products in January and February were 11% lower than last year, it added. Director of communications Hilary Baker told British Baker January is usually a slower month, due to shoppers cutting back after Christmas. However, the healthy eating debate “may be having an impact” as the overall market is down, she said. The board has started to examine the business model, product portfolio and cost base, Ms Baker said, but added it would be “premature” to talk about closing factories. The frozen division has continued to perform well in very competitive trading conditions, Northern Foods said.The board now expects profit before tax and exceptional items for the current financial year to be approximately £45m (compared to £62.2m the year before). Northern Foods will report on the review at its preliminary results, scheduled for May 31, 2006.
New low-fat and reduced-salt bacon products are being developed by Northampton-based TMI Foods in conjunction with sandwich and food manufacturers in the UK and continental Europe, which the company supplies.TMI has also responded to Government directives to lower the salt content of foods and worked with customers to meet consumer demand for lower-fat products. “You have to retain a certain amount of salt and preservatives for it to be proper bacon, but we are able to provide a wide range of distinctive tastes through our precise curing techniques,” says TMI Foods managing director David Abbott.The company has invested heavily at its Coventry curing plant, installing the latest in smoke ovens to use natural smoking techniques with beech or oak wood and cure a variety of new flavours, including traditional dry cure, sweet, maple, cherry, apple and malt.“Sandwich manufacturers are always looking for new flavours and we have recently introduced pancetta, a long dry cure with herbs and spices, cherry wood and mild-cured succulent loin slices,” says Abbott. “We also produce a large number of different cook levels from traditional cooked bacon to crispy.
With over 50 years’ experience in the baking and confectionery industries, Perrett and Kane Machine Services (Backwell, Bristol) has supplied the majority of celebration cake manufacturers with its machinery designs, including sheeters, horizontal cutters and shape stamping machines.Latest machine to join its range is the P&K 2D Shape Stamping, which has taken five years to develop and can produce a line of two-dimensional shapes in icing, pastry or marzipan every three seconds.Shape boards can be changed in minutes by an operator and are a fraction of the cost of conventional rotary machine change parts, claims the company. The 2D shape boards utilise a number of technologies in their design and are durable in everyday bakery use, adds the firm. All of the details in the customer’s original creation can be reproduced in the finished moulds.
Big name bakery firms including Warburtons, Allied Bakeries and Subway were among exhibitors at the Convenience Retailing Show, held in Birmingham last week.Thousands of visitors flocked to the annual show, organised by William Reed, to check out new products and services and to network.Highlights of the show included the Sandwich & Snack Solutions area, sponsored by British Baker’s sister title Bake & Take, where a series of demonstrations took place, designed to help retailers maximise profits from food to go.The line-up of companies on the stand were Cuisine de France, craft bakery Geary’s, coffee company Kenco, Allied Bakeries, drinks suppliers Pro Juice, Snowshock and Infuzions and ethnic food companies Patak’s and Buddha Brunch, as well as crisp company Kettle Foods.Elsewhere at the exhibition, Country Choice launched a range of smoothies and a new pizza; sandwich chain Subway was also present, targeting petrol forecourt operators with a mini-Subway model. Sandwich supplier Snacktime also exhibited.
Bennett, 33, was born in Guildford, Surrey, but the family later moved to Tunbridge Wells in Kent. He remembers enjoying home economics while at school in Surrey, but says his decision to become a pastry chef “just kind of happened naturally”.He studied for an advanced diploma in culinary arts for two years at Slough University, where he was made student of the year. But he found it difficult to get a job as a trainee chef in London. “Nowadays, people can just walk into a job, but in the early 1990s, it was very difficult. The only place that would give me a job was as a third commis chef at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane.”While he was at the Hilton, Bennett had the opportunity to work on pastries and desserts, and soon realised it was the thing for him. “It was the creativity of it,” he says. “All the different processes amazed me. It opened up a whole new world.”After 18 months, he moved on to other five-star hotels, including the Dorchester and Hyatt Carlton Tower, gaining experience and ideas as he went. His employment also included Michelin-star restaurants. And, at the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, he was made head pastry chef before moving to The Waldorf.
London-based artisan bakery Gail’s has announced plans to open a new shop in Queens Park, hot on the heels of its latest store opening in Clapham last month.The new outlet, Gail’s fifth, is due to open in November and will have its own unique interior as with all other Gail’s shops. Co-general manager Emma King told British Baker the company will be keeping many of the existing features of the building, such as some old tilework, and the design is planned to have a Moroccan feel to it. “We don’t want to be a cookie cutter-type brand. We try to ensure each store is different,” said King.Gail’s sweet range has recently had an overhaul, with around a 90% change in the on-shelf offer compared to last month, she said. It is also trialling a range of products at Harvey Nichols.
I get by with a little help from my friends” is a familiar phrase. “I get by with a little help from my local regeneration agency” is, perhaps, less catchy. But that’s exactly how one start-up bakery has managed to survive the daunting prospect of setting up in one of England’s most deprived districts.Keith Glenton opened Newbiggin Home Bakery in Newbiggin-on-Sea on 25 October 2006 and, following its huge success, in May this year he expanded to open a factory outlet in North Seaton Industrial Estate.”My family and I have worked hard to get the business to where it is today without the incredible support from my wife, Janet, the business would not have got off the ground to begin with, and the two of us could not have done it without the strong chain of support present in the area,” says Glenton.He was fortunate throughout the set-up of the business to be able to cherry-pick advice from Go Wansbeck, a long-term, government-backed Local Enterprise Growth Initiative programme that began in 2007 to turn around the area’s enterprise culture.The county council’s regeneration team also stepped in to help out when, as a result of converting his premises from residential to commercial, the electricity estimate came in at a shocking £10,000. “I had no idea how to cover the cost and without this and all the support, the business would not have made it past first base,” he recalls. “And for that I feel extremely lucky.”Profitable productsSince opening, Glenton has worked hard to increase the profitability of the business in a number of ways first and foremost through focusing on making scratch products. “We have always worked hard to produce as much as possible from scratch,” he says. “Avoiding outsourcing has radically reduced costs and, although it increases workloads, guaranteeing our customers are getting quality, homemade products is hugely important to us.”In recent months, Newbiggin has begun to promote itself within the local area and region and has received press coverage in both the local newspapers and on television. “The results have been fantastic,” he enthuses. “Many people have come into the shop having seen the publicity, and profits have increased. I have learnt that it is about embracing all opportunities that come your way raising the profile of the bakery in the community is a huge and valuable boost to business.”On 19 December the bakery will be hol-ding a Christmas Fair at both of its properties, where it will have Christmas products on sale, as well as tastings and samples for people to try. “Seasonal events are something we have missed out on in the past, due to lack of time and resources, but this year we very much plan to make the most of all the marketing opportunities,” explains Glenton.Despite recession, he has a view to expanding the business into a chain of shops. “I definitely want to continue to spread the success of the bakery in the future,” he says. “In an ideal world, one day I will be able to open another five shops around the coast of north-east England. For now, however, I intend to continue building on the success of my current bakeries and to provide a high-quality service to the community.”l For more information on Go Wansbeck visit tinyurl.com/yf52fgz
Aryzta has announced negative growth in bakery for the six months ended 31 January 2010, with its UK and Irish markets seeing the highest revenue decline.Its food business, which is primarily focused on speciality bakery, saw underlying growth fall 10.1% in its European arm, with revenue down 7.7% to €533.6m. Operating profit for Food Europe stood at €60.7m, down 5.1%.Its bakery business has a wide customer base including convenience retail, restaurants, gas stations, catering and hotels. Chief executive officer Owen Killian said credit availability remained difficult for many customers “who need to maintain and develop their consumer-facing investment”, which led to customers reducing costs and postponing investment decisions.According to a statement from Aryzta, consumers continued to switch channels during the period, with foodservice more impacted than retail. However, some growth came from new customers in Continental Europe. Meanwhile, underlying growth in Food North America dropped 2.7% although Aryzta’s Developing Markets division saw growth of 3.4%.The firm formed in August 2008 through the merger of Irish company IAWS and Swiss bakery firm Hiestand. It is a mix of business-to-business and consumer brands, including Hiestand, Cuisine de France and Delice de France.
Foodservice firm 3663 has unveiled a whole host of new Christmas lines including a number of bakery products. These include a Whites Feta and Pesto Tartlet, containing Greek feta cheese and pesto sauce with black olives and rosemary. Also new are Icefresh Orange Cream Enrobed Chocolate Profiterole Bites; Raspberry Trifle Cheesecake; Sidoli Cranberry Rocky Road brownie; and Greenhalgh’s individually wrapped Christmas Fruit Cake Slices, stollen slices, and stollen log.”Fads like whoopie pies and cupcakes are great for other times of the year, but it is important to keep some tradition in the festive menu,” said Isabelle Davis, 3663 marketing manager. “But you can add an interesting twist to it, such as our special trifle cheesecake.”
If you employ van drivers to deliver your goods you should be aware of the EU rules on breaks during the working day. After a driving period of no more than 4.5 hours, a driver must immediately take a break of at least 45 minutes. A break taken in this way must not be interrupted. For example:l Driving 4.5 hours break 45 minutesl Driving 2.5 hours other work one hour; driving 2 hours break 45 minutes.A break is any period during which a driver may not carry out any driving or any other work and which is used exclusively for recuperation. The break may be taken in a moving vehicle, provided no other work is undertaken.Alternatively, a full 45 minute break can be replaced by one break of at least 15 minutes followed by another break of at least 30 minutes.These breaks must be distributed over the 4.5 hour period. Breaks of less than 15 minutes will not contribute towards a qualifying break, but neither will they be counted as duty of driving time. The EU rules will only allow a split-break pattern that shows the second period break being at least 30 minutes, such as in the following examples:l Driving 2 hours break 15 minutes; driving 2.5 hours break 30 minutesl Driving 2 hours break 34 minutes; driving 2.5 hours break 30 minutes.l For further information you can download a full copy of the EU & AETR Rules on Drivers’ Hours