Month: April 2021

Month: April 2021

first_imgEaster is only a week away, so get ready to enter our Easter display competition. To take part you will need to send us a colour photograph of your Easter-themed window display, especially if it wows your neighbourhood. Next week’s issue will contain full competition details and rules, but you can prepare by taking your photo early. Watch this space.last_img


Month: April 2021

first_imgYou don’t hear many complaints from plant bakers these days about retailers selling bread below cost. But that doesn’t mean everything in the bakery is rustic. The sector still faces major challenges of restructuring and adapting to changing consumer lifestyles. And adapting to these will not be painless.Many bakers have succeeded in adding value (and with it margin) to the supermarket bread fixture in recent years. But even so, problems of overcapacity in the own-label sector have persisted: the consequences of which were played out quite graphically with last year’s rise and fall of Harvestime (2005).Innovation will be the cornerstone of bakery’s future success. As Sainsbury’s trading director Mike Coupe succinctly put it when calling for the sector to “drive trends” while remaining flexible to demand: “Differentiate or die.” Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done for plant managers in charge of equipment and production lines that have historically been designed to make ’squillions’ of the same product, rather than lots of different ones.There has been some success in the plant baking sector, however. Take the Federation of Bakers’ (FoB’s) campaign to prevent the European Union passing legislation to abolish ’prescribed quantities’, for example. Bakers had feared abolition would have a detrimental effect on the UK market where, unlike on the continent, 80% of bread is pre-packed. “There is a danger that de-regulation could throw the market into confusion and customers could be deceived,” warned FoB director Gordon Polson in his annual report.The FoB may have won the first battle in getting the European Parliament to vote for retention of prescribed quantities, but this has not been accepted by the European Council and the issue is certain to re-emerge.On health, although bakers have been congratulated for leading the way in making salt reductions, further targeted reductions have been set. But some fear that the technical limits of salt reduction are fast being approached and that any further reductions will have a serious detrimental impact on taste.And then there is the issue of fortification, with a report on folic acid fortification of flour soon to be published by the FSA. According to Polson: “If mandatory fortification is the government’s decision, there are other issues that have to be resolved: including whether the folic acid would be added to organic flour, the impact of labelling, particularly the labelling of products for export, and the costs of addition and who would pay.”Concerns over the carcinogen acrylamide, which is produced during baking, have also focused the industry’s attention. Progress has been made in reducing levels in products like bread, biscuits and breakfast cereals. But some experts believe the solution lies in reducing the amino acid aspargine (a precursor for acrylamide) in wheat, and a three-year research project has been commissioned by the FoB and the National Association of British and Irish Millers to test the theory.Bakers aren’t the only ones with overcapacity problems, however. The same is true for millers, and mill closures continue.Around 6Mt of the 16Mt of wheat produced in the UK each year goes into baking. But the lack of trust between farmers, wholesalers, millers, manufacturers and retailers has resulted in little incentive to collaborate to resolve quality and supply problems. However, things are changing on this front.The government funded Cereals Industry Forum (CIF), part of the Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA), has £2.5M funding from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and the Department of Trade and Industry, to improve the sector’s competitiveness. It is half way through a three-year programme, which includes eight ’value chain analyses’ and 48 projects called Probes, to promote business excellence.Probably the biggest obstacle the CIF faces is in reassuring suppliers that if supermarkets get involved in the supply chain projects, they won’t just exercise their muscle and grab any financial savings identified.”The problem is people are looking at forecast rather than real demand,” says CIF manager Chris Barnes. “There is still a big challenge in the cereals sector to get the chain more connected.”But better supply chain collaboration is unlikely to happen overnight and many entrenched suspicions will remain. As Barnes admits: “It will take time for the cereals industry to evolve.” FMlast_img read more


Month: April 2021

first_imgHeidi’s Swiss Patisserie, on Hayling Island, near Portsmouth, epitomises a typical Swiss patisserie in all but location; its Swiss heritage is reinforced by the whiff of pastries and cakes and the chalet-style décor.Heidi’s, launched in 1969 by Swiss countryman Ernst Strassmann, former head patissier at Fortnum & Mason, has grown into an eight-strong chain of traditional Swiss patisseries and coffee shops, bringing the art of fine cake-making to the UK mainstream.Six years ago, the original patisserie format was bolstered by the introduction of a coffee shop and, subsequently, by savouries and sandwiches. The chain’s corporate identity has also received a make-over and the Swiss chalet beams are gradually being superseded by more contemporary features. Strassmann’s daughter Heidi Elliot now has day-to-day control of the business.With a budget of £70,000, Elliot enlisted the help of shop fitter Dollar Rae to overhaul one of its two shops on Hayling Island. She explains the theory behind the changes: “The shop design there hadn’t changed for 10 years. We thought it was time to introduce a more contemporary look as we have already had four other shops refitted over the last 10 years.” She wanted to update the design and make it lighter and brighter, but without alienating traditional customers, she says.Elliot comments: “The good thing about Dollar Rae is that it offers a complete counter service, including a design to fit the area provided and the incorporation of branding. It also supplied the fridges, installed the units behind the counter and the gantry as well as the counter itself.”A modernisation of the original corporate colour scheme – burgundy and gold – was introduced, along with new signage on the shop front and new graphics panels. A bespoke 580cm counter, with ambient, refrigerated and hot sections, and a wall display gantry were also installed. The slightly smaller counter comprises two interlocking parts where savouries and quiches compete for attention alongside cakes and pastries, such as strawberry flans, fresh fruit Danish pastries and Florentines. A selection of celebration cakes are displayed in the shop’s front windows.OUT WITH THE OLDDollar Rae director Neil Atherton says: “Our objective was to upgrade and enhance the image and customer perception of the shop, based on an impactful projection of Heidi’s reputable quality, traditional craft values and distinctive product profile, while also retaining the friendly, personal service ethos of the company. Along with revamping the shop front, this involved a total refurbishment of the bakery shop and coffee shop interiors and layouts to create more space, improve circulation, and produce a fresh, visually appealing look. The project extended to the reworking and redesign of the company’s well-recognised logo. The new corporate identity is also suitable for use on the company’s labels, napkins and packaging.”Muted ceramic tiles have been laid on the main shop floor, while light ash flooring has been used in the coffee shop. An internal staircase, providing access to the office above, was relocated outside the shop, enabling the coffee shop to be expanded from 16 to 28 covers. It was refitted with a mix of banquette seating and wooden high-backed chairs and tables. The side walls of the coffee shop are painted toffee brown and illuminated with decorative halogen lights, giving a warm aura.Elliot decided to cut the space dedicated to bread to make room for a wider variety of savouries and sandwiches. “The takeaway element of the business is a lot more profitable now than it was 10 years ago. Bread represents around 10% of sales at Hayling Island, while savoury products and sandwiches account for 25%. This does vary from shop to shop though,” she says.The job took two weeks – an extra three days on top of the estimate. Elliot comments: “All our refits have over-run by around two to three days. This has nothing to do with Dollar Rae and is usually due to plumbing or building work. It’s quite complicated to pull together a job of this scale.”The overall cost of the refit stretched to £75,000, once the new furniture had been purchased, but the reaction from customers has been good and sales uplifts have followed.POSITIVE FEEDBACKElliot confirms: “Customers have reacted well to the changes; 99% have responded very positively. They like the fact that the shop is now light, bright and smart, but that it still has a traditional feel. Business on Hayling Island is very seasonal, but the coffee shop has been a lot busier this summer and we hope to maintain this throughout the year. The coffee shop represents about 40% of our turnover.”After refitting its shops, the company will focus on expansion. Elliot comments: “The bakery at Hayling Island is capable of supporting a couple more outlets, so at this point we are thinking of opening further afield – possibly within a 30-mile radius, depending on what we can find.” n—-=== Heidi’s at a glance ===Brand: Heidi’s Swiss Patisserie, Hayling Island, HantsEstablished: 1969 by Ernst StraussmanNumber of outlets: 8 – all in the south of EnglandHead office: Hayling IslandAnnual turnover: £2m. Coffee represents 40% of total turnoverCustomer profile: Mainly mothers and retired peopleBest-sellers: Cornish pasties and sausage rollsCost of refit: £75,000Refitters: Dollar RaeChanges: New corporate logo and colour scheme; bespoke 580cm counter with ambient, refrigerated and hot sections, banquet seating and high-backed chairslast_img read more


Month: April 2021

first_imgThe Salt Manufacturers’ Association (SMA) is reminding bakers of the benefits of salt, otherwise know as sodium chloride, and says that it should not simply be dismissed as unhealthy.The SMA says that as every baker knows salt enhances flavour, increases the shelf-life of baked goods and performs specific functions when combined with other ingredients, such as yeast.”Salt is particularly important to bakers,” said spokesperson Rachel Hedges. “Everyone knows it affects the action of the yeast, the fermentation of the dough and the gluten in the flour. Without it, loaves would be sticky and unleavened with large holes.”Salt replacements include potassium chloride, ammonium chloride, citrates, formates and glutamates.The SMA claims that taste testers, however, have complained about the bitterness of potassium chloride. The Scientific Committee for Food warns that its use could result in excessive potassium intakes, which may cause toxicity to develop in people with undetected renal problems.”Reducing the levels of sodium chloride in our food is far more complicated than we are led to believe,” said Peter Sherratt, general secretary of the SMA, who questions whether less salt in our diets will benefit the majority of people.He says: “These new salt substitutes have not been subject to long-term health assessments. Despite this, they are somehow considered safer than salt – the oldest preservative known to man and a naturally occurring mineral.”last_img read more


Month: April 2021

first_imgSandwich chain O’Briens says sales have risen by 14% across 50 stores, which have been redesigned in the past two months.The store makeovers include a reworking of in-store signage and images, with soft seating, lighting and café tables introduced.The franchise chain now plans to roll out the new look across all 100 of its stores in the UK and its 120 in Ireland, as well as across its total of 300 stores worldwide.”The redesign has helped differentiate O’Briens from other high-street sandwich bars. The fact that we are owner-operated also brings an independent feel that consumers seem to trust and feel comfortable with,” said Fiacra Nagle, CEO of O’Briens Sandwich Bars.last_img


Month: April 2021

first_imgThe Food Standards Agency (FSA) has appointed a new chief executive. Tim Smith is the former head of UK dairy company, Arla Foods UK. He will take up his new post next March.Dame Deirdre Hutton, chair of the FSA, said: “Tim has close links to both the retail and agricultural sectors.”He replaces John Harwood, the FSA’s chief executive since March 2006.last_img


Month: April 2021

first_imgSausage brand Wall’s is to take on Ginsters with the launch of its new savoury pastries. Its Full of Filling range will compete directly with the West country brand and target male snackers shopping in convenience stores.Valerie Kubala, Wall’s pastry senior brand manager, said: “There is a huge opportunity for Wall’s to use its meat, quality and value credentials to reinvigorate the pastry sector with this new range.“It has been developed to offer a quality, on-the-go product supported by the reassurance of an established brand. Consumers trust Wall’s and know it will deliver on quality and value.” The 12 new products are: sausage roll, two pasties (large Cornish; onion and cheese); five slices (ham and cheese; chicken and mushroom; peppered steak; chicken and bacon slice; chicken tikka) and four pies (individual pork pie, individual pork and pickle pie, two snack pork pies and Scotch egg).Wall’s made its first foray into pastry products last year when it launched the Stroller – sausage meat wrapped in pastry – in three varieties, including one topped with cheese.last_img read more


Month: April 2021

first_imgPembrokeshire bakery Tan Y Castell Welshcakes has struck a deal with Arriva Trains to supply its ‘Welshcakes Snack Pack’ on board all the company’s trains across Wales. The pack containing two Welshcakes has just been launched by the bakery and had been developed to cater for the snacking-on-the-go market.“Consumers are becoming increasingly busy with work and general lifestyle. We felt there was a gap in the market for such a product, which is easily available and ready to eat,” said Tan Y Castell managing director Paul Mear.“Arriva Trains is the first to take on board our Snack Pack of Welshcakes and we look forward to working together with them.” The Welschcakes are made to an original farmhouse recipe and contain no additives or preservatives. The bakery also supplies to wholesalers in ambient and frozen formats.last_img read more


Month: April 2021

first_imgI recently read Richard Branson’s book, Business Stripped Bare, and found it very refreshing and inspiring.While there were a few principles that I thought reflected my attitude to business, there were a lot more that I thought made so much sense that I made a New Year’s resolution to adopt them as soon as I got back to work.He was very critical of the banks not “protecting against the downside”, behaving as though things would never get worse. Simple, but true, and we’ll all be paying for that for years to come.We probably all apply that principle to our own businesses on a daily basis, because of the competitive and dynamic nature of the trade we’re in. Can you imagine any retail or wholesale baker or allied trader resting on its laurels and thinking things can only get better for us?One of Branson’s core beliefs is that a business shouldn’t get too big that it should try to be the best at what it does, be different but not grow to the extent that it loses sight of what it set out to do.We often seem to be under pressure to rapidly expand our businesses, but it’s not always the best solution in the long term. By all means improve, innovate, change, develop and prosper, but there’s nothing wrong with realising your personal or financial limitations and making the most of what you have, leaving a little time to enjoy life, family and friends whenever possible.last_img read more


Month: April 2021

first_imgNew pasty shopHusband and wife team Jeff and Jackie Welsh have opened a pasty shop in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, selling 39 different varieties of pasties. Newquay Pasty Shop Company is supplied by Cornish firm Crantock Bakery and has a 33-seat café.Irish cupcake dealIna’s Kitchen Desserts in Dublin has signed a 0.8m (£0.73m) deal to supply Super Valu and Centra stores throughout Ireland with luxury cupcakes, a contract that will create four jobs at the 32-strong company.Raisins contestBakers are being encouraged to come up with the best bread using California Raisins in the 2010 California Raisin Bread Competition, to stand a chance of winning one of five trips to Las Vegas and California. Both bakery chains and small craft bakeries can enter; contact Dee Cassey on 020 8741 8513 or email [email protected] for an entry form.Labelling driveThe Food Standards Agency now wants cakes, puddings and yoghurts to carry front-of-pack nutritional labels. Its fresh guidelines are an attempt to end confusion and follow pressure from Tesco and many leading food manufacturers to drop the traffic light warning system. Instead, food companies will only have to print the words ’high’, ’medium’ or ’low’ alongside the key nutritional information, and how much each category makes up of an adult’s recommended daily allowance.Starbucks motors onStarbucks is to open its first motorway services outlet in the UK, as it explores new avenues of trading. The US giant plans to open 29 sites at Welcome Break service stations over the next 16 months, replacing the Coffee Primo own-brand.last_img read more