A professional magician is set to entertain visitors to Chalcroft Construction (stand X147) at Foodex-Meatex. Chalcroft designs turnkey solutions for food construction projects. The company says it works to a client’s brief within a short time frame. The firm claims its method of insulating cold storage centres from the outside, combining insulation with weather-proofing materials, are what sets it apart from competitors.
I was amazed to read the start of the piece by David Powell on fruit bagel bars in the British Baker Recipes Supplement of February 24. He asks: “Who says bagels have to be round?” The answer is anyone who eats bagels. You may choose to call something a “fruit bagel bar”, but if it’s not round, if it doesn’t have a hole, if it’s not dense and chewy it certainly isn’t anything I, and millions of others, would recognise as a bagel.I know that strip-products are available in the US and are called “bagels” but they are not bagels and it would be most unfortunate if such products were to be introduced into the UK as “bagels”.Peter Backman, MD,Horizons For Success, London
Independent flour miller FWP Matthews is to build a £1m warehouse at its Cotswold base in Shipton under Wychwood. Work will start on the 675sq m building in late summer and will be finished by the end of the year. It will house a new automated palletiser to speed up logistics while four lorry loading bays will mean loading can be done under cover for the first time. The family company had a mill re-fit last year and has recently employed a sales rep, which marketing manager Angela Francis said had prompted the move. “Production is higher and sales are up, which means we need more warehousing space to relieve the pressure. Staff have also been working in a Portakabin so it’s another reason why we had to take such a big step,” she said.The first floor will house office space as well as a test bakery where staff will be able to try out new ideas, along with a viewing area where visiting groups can see millers and bakers in action. FWP Matthews produces 600 tonnes of organic and conventional flour each week from UK wheat and sells a range of imported Moul-bie French flours direct to plant and craft bakeries as well as retail packs through the Co-operative Group. A mock-up Ronde des Pain shop, complete with Moul-bie flour branding, will be set up in the new warehouse for those bakers interested in linking up with the French brand. Said Francis: “It will have branded bags and literature and will give them a better idea of what their shop could look like.”French bakers will also hold bakery demonstration in the new facility.
CSM’s purchase of Kate’s Cakes is a smart move (pg 4). It not only opens new doors for CSM in the UK via its subsidiary BakeMark UK, but also new opportunities in Europe.However, its decision to let Kate’s Cakes run more or less independently is wise, too, and is not a contradiction if the two work in ’harmony’.The Wirral, where BakeMark is based, and West Sussex, the headquarters of Kate’s Cakes, are miles apart, but Kate’s MD Steven Greenhalgh’s skill in building up key accounts and producing ’cakes with a twist’, ideally suited to its coffee shop customers, provides a formula that works.When one successful business takes over another, the best thing they can do is listen to one another. Pooling expertise works far better than imposing your philosophy or way of doing things on the newly acquired company – particularly if they have a proven track record.So congratulations to the two companies! We hope to be updating readers on the shared opportunities shortly.If you want to be reminded of what is so inspiring about this industry, then do read about the people running two entirely different companies. Peter Cook runs a one-shop craft bakery in Ludlow (pg 20). He is a passionate baker who cares about the art of his craft, the quality of his goods and his relationship not only with his customers but with his community. People like Pete keep all of us – bakers, journa-lists, members of the public – in touch with what is so great about making ’the staff of life’.The second of the two, JG Ross, started with one shop in 1962. From the family’s new £4.2m factory, it now supplies its own 25 outlets, plus supermarkets and wholesale. On pg 16 you can really sense how the family is driving the business forwards. But equally, you can sense the wisdom behind every well thought-out decision.Finally, Leigh Anne Carr gives an interesting insight into her daily job as a buyer at Booths supermarket chain. The company’s success in bakery speaks for itself, with turnover up 30% year-on-year. Leigh Anne explains what she does and does not want from suppliers – and hark! Did you see that comment? Can anyone out there supply thin-sliced bread? If so, Leigh Anne is waiting to hear from you!
Passion Fruit or Passiflora edulis is native to South America but is commercially grown in South Africa, California, Florida and Kenya, among other places. The fruits are round to oval and dark purple or yellow when mature. The interior is filled with many seeds coated in an intensely scented juice.There are two types of passion fruit: the bright yellow variety, known as Golden Passionfruit or Maracuya, is larger and has a pithy skin and the smaller, dark purple passion fruit, which is more commonly available. They should feel heavy for their size and, if used immediately, should be wrinkled and not smooth. If they are smooth, ripen them at room temperature for a few days and store any ripe ones in the refrigerator.Use passion fruit in cakes, muffins, cookies, shortbreads, cheesecakes, tarts and as fillings in meringues and cakes. The pulp can be sieved to produce juice which can be made into passion fruit curd as a filling for cakes or used in tarts similar to Tarte au Citron. The diluted juice can be made into syrup to pour over a sponge cake. The seeds can be left in for added texture or removed.In season: November – MarchBy Fiona Burrell, co-author of Leiths Baking Bible from the world-famous Leiths School of Food and Wine
Patisserie, Danish, Viennoiserie… they’re all interchangeable titles for the same thing, aren’t they? Well, sometimes, but you’d be best advised not to mix them up if you’re doing a category analysis. According to one market analyst’s definition, sales of one of those categories soared nearly 17% last year, while another dropped nearly a third and the remaining one fared pretty solidly.So which one is which and what do any of them mean? Before defining the categories, let’s ramp up the dramatic tension by revealing the winners and losers. Drum roll please…Viennoiserie was the biggest grower through the in-store bakery (ISB) category last year, up nearly 17% year-on-year, boosting the category’s value from £41m to £48m over the year (all data supplied exclusively by Bakehouse/IRI Total Retailers, 52 w/e 27 December 2008).Danish was the solid seller, outperforming the category by a couple of percentage points; it was up 9.7% to £42m, compared with a total ISB sales (not including doughnut sales) average of 7.9% growth. Meanwhile, patisserie sales fell in the in-store bakery category, with sales down nearly a third on last year.Now for the definitions…Danish: Viennoiserie: Patisserie:Plaits (eg maple pecan) Croissant products TartsCrowns Brioche TartletsCoronets Pain au chocolat Fresh cakesCroquantes Pain aux raisins Cake slicesMinis Minis Fondant fanciesSelection packs Torsades (puff Cornflake clustersSwirls pastry twists)Taking each in turn, the Viennoiserie category shot up although it slowed to 4.4% growth in the last four weeks of 2008. Growth in Danish, on the other hand, increased towards the year end. “The Danish category has been fairly traditional in many ways, so we’ve had to come up with exciting products – ways of doing Danish differently,” says Kate Raison, marketing director for Bakehouse, which commissioned the research. “Viennoiserie and Danish are showing growth above the category as a whole, with Viennoiserie in particular showing among the highest rates of growth (in the ISB).”An increase in promotions has played its part, as evidenced by a drop in Danish sales over the Christmas period, when retailers’ focus turned to mince pies. Alternative data on ISB pastries from Nielsen shows that, in the 12 weeks to 3 January, Viennoiserie declined by 6.8% year-on-year – a trend bucked by Morrisons, which saw a huge rise of 156.5% over that period. So what’s accounting for those extra sales?”We offer a rolling programme of good value promotions,” explains Morrisons’ bakery trading manager Andy Clegg. “Nothing ridiculous, but certainly three-for-twos and price cuts. Plus, we’ve got croissants in the pick-and-mix fixture, which is a high traffic area for us. There’s massive growth for us in this area.”While the core products have been the mainstays, Morrisons has populated the fixture with limited-editions, including rhubarb and custard and strawberries and cream-flavoured products, to add a degree of seasonality. Pastries are also handled by a separate cake department, rather than the ISB, so that they can focus on sweet products and the bakery can stick to the bread, says Clegg, while turning over product quickly for freshness. “We’re always looking for innovation, but we’re mindful that we have a core range that sells very well and is priced as an attractive proposition for the customer.”Meanwhile, Bakehouse’s Raison predicts more “twists on existing favourites”, as coffee shops demand ever more differentiated products from the ISB – ones that look as hand-finished as possible but without the complexity. Even the US is moving towards smaller portions, with US bakery exhibitions last year hinting at a “super(down)sizing” of products. “We will continue to see more growth in American-style products and more fresh fruit,” says Raison. “But there may be a trend towards smaller products, as this addresses some health issues.”While heavy promotion of popular favourites has been behind sweet pastry growth in the ISB, Steven Mackintosh, managing director of bake-off supplier Mantinga thinks there is scope to broaden the category’s appeal with new products. “Maple Pecan Danish is one of the most popular pastries consumed in the UK,” he says. “Our challenge, working with the food outlets, is to encourage the consumer to broaden their tastes and to try other pastries.”This view is shared by Délifrance commercial controller Alan Moutter, who has experienced double-digit growth in the category in the last 12 months on Viennoiserie. “While our basic offerings – croissants and pains au chocolat – have experienced consistent sales, we have noticed an increase in demand for our added-value products, including lines with more fruit fillings and a greater butter content in our pastry,” he says. “Mintel’s 2009 Consumer Trends predict 2009 is the year of going back to basics and using escapism to lift the nation’s mood, so while the credit crunch may have impacted on standard purchases, consumers still want and feel they deserve a treat.”So any growth in the category could partly be attributable to more ’treat yourself’ occasions, a switch towards Continental and US-style products, but most of all, promotions and the expansion of retailer convenience store formats featuring bake-off.—-=== Consumer watch: are sweet pastries recession-proof? ===They are, if you go by qualitative research conducted by consumer market research firm, Cambridge Direction (November 2008), which looked at whether the recession would affect consumer spending on sweet pastries. It showed that only a few respondents from four geographically spread focus groups felt they might buy slightly less often in future.Even so, those same people said they were not looking for a cheaper price point, and that sweet pastries were “affordable treats” – a core reason for buying them. Based on four two-hour qualitative group discussions conducted with 32 consumers who bought and ate from a selected list of sweet bakery products (purchased from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose or Marks & Spencer and high street coffee shops), the research showed that while people might tighten the purse strings on spending for family consumption, there was a marked determination not to trade down for self-consumption.Consumers also picked up on the fact that ISB pastries were fresher than those sold in high street coffee shops, because there was no evidence of baking on-site in the cafés. However, while the wider product range of ISBs was recognised, coffee shop varieties were considered to be “more exotic”, such as big American-style products, and commanded a higher price. Even so, premium bakery retail concepts like Paul were perceived to be the freshest outlets.—-=== New products ===== Lemon & cream cheese pastry ==Delice de France is launching a lemon and cream cheese French pastry in February. A rich butter pastry is shaped into a pocket, which holds a lemon curd and cream cheese flavoured filling, and can be decorated or dusted with icing sugar. The product has been added to Delice’s French Pastries range and follows on from its cherry cream pastry.[http://www.delicedefrance.co.uk]== Chocolate swirly Danish ==Bakehouse has tweaked the traditional Danish swirl to bring a new shape to the category – a hand-twisted swirl of flaky Danish pastry, with dark chocolate pieces and a natural vanilla-flavoured filling. The chocolate is 49.9% cocoa solids and the pastry is supplied ready glazed, eliminating the need for hand-glazing.[http://www.bakehouse.co.uk]== Multigrain croissant ==Mantinga has introduced the mini multigrain croissant made from germ-bud flour, containing 11 germinated grains, including spelt, lupin, and red clover, as well as whole linseed, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. The use of germ-bud flour means the product stays fresh longer and improves flavour, says the firm.[http://www.mantinga.co.uk]
Nottinghamshire-based pie maker Lime Tree Pantry has increased its online sales by 600%, in one week, after it received grant from the Food and Drink iNet to redevelop its website.Sales rocketed from an average of £333 per week to more than £2,331 in the first seven days following the launch of the new site, designed by Voice Brand Design.Lime Tree Pantry, which produces more 10,000 fruit and savoury pies a week, received a £5,967 Innovation Support Grant, which the firm match-funded. The website was then given a major facelift with the aim of encouraging more traffic to the site and in turn more orders.Managing director Damien Toms said the firm is “absolutely delighted” with the new website. “Voice Brand Design have opened our eyes to what using a professional marketing agency can do for sales. It has delivered on all our objectives and I am confident that the site will continue to smash targets and help us to reach new customers.”Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda), the Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by the Food & Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham.
Although the holiday season is nearly over, every year we get the same problems. “A member of my staff has announced her husband has booked a week’s holiday”, but they haven’t gone through the right channel and it isn’t convenient.1. If you have Company Rules on how to book a holiday and they bypass these, then it is a disciplinary situation.2. If you have told them they cannot have the holiday and their reply is “Well it’s booked so I’m taking it anyway”, you must immediately put the following in writing:”Further to your request for holiday, I am sorry, but I am unable to grant this due to staff shortages/illness/heavy workload etc.”Should you go ahead and take this holiday, it will result in disciplinary action. Any ’sickness’ reported at this time will be scrutinised very carefully and will also lead to disciplinary action should this be found to be a false claim.I expect you to attend your normal duties on ./at.am/pm.”Do not go through the disciplinary procedure if you haven’t issued this letter BEFORE they take unauthorised leave.Remember the stable door and all that!Gill
Greggs has revealed it has commenced a limited trial with Iceland Frozen Foods, which will see 10 stores sell frozen Greggs-branded sausage rolls.The trial will test the waters to see what the potential is for Greggs’ savoury products to be sold into the frozen take-home market, ready for customers to bake at home. It will also aim to identify any impact this could have on its existing shop business.“Greggs will closely monitor the trial before determining the long term viability of its participation in the frozen ready to bake market,” said the firm. The ten Iceland shops are based in the Liverpool area and will sell four-pack sausage rolls.
While the extreme weather conditions seen last year contributed to soaring wheat prices, and imperilled food security in many parts of the world, it could be only a grim foretaste of what is to come, according to research compiled by Oxfam for the start of the Durban climate talks this week.According to Asda, Brits waste £31m a year on Christmas cooking disasters, including cracked mince pies and over-cooked Brussels sprouts. Meanwhile perhaps in a bid to cut down on costly cooking errors another study has revealed one in 10 of the British population pass pre-bought desserts off as their own. The study of over 2,000 adults from Sainsbury’s and YouGov showed that half of individuals surveyed cheat when baking and a quarter cut corners because of time constraints or a lack of patience. Around 46% of people also take shortcuts, such as buying pre-made icing and ready-made cake mix when it comes to preparing cakes and desserts.Many of those making their own Christmas puddings may well be using the Delia’s Classic Cake ingredients boxes, sold by Waitrose. The retailer has seen sales of the boxes up 97% on last year. Priced at £10, it includes all the dry ingredients needed to make her Classic Christmas Cake.