JUNESupermarket Somerfield said it was reviewing its bakery as part of a focus on fresh food at its 800 stores. The supermarket was looking at availability throughout the day, range, training and merchandising in the review. Marks and Spencer cut prices by up to 15% across its bought-in bakery range, as part of a campaign to lower prices in its stores. Bread, morning goods and confectionery were all reduced. Packaging was also marked with “new lower price” logos. Marks and Spencer announced plans to remove hydrogenated vegetable oils from all its foods on health grounds. The first reformulated products were due on shelf in September. Northern Ireland’s plant bakers welcomed a commitment from Asda to boost the amount of lines its sourced locally, following its purchase of 12 former Safeway stores in Northern Ireland from new owner Morrisons.Hertfordshire bakery chain GJ Pearce called in the administrators after rapid expansion of the wholesale side of its business backfired. The 19-shop fourth-generation family business lost a lucrative contract and was forced to scale back production, it said. Nicholas Pearce, the son of the owners, bought four of the shops. Waitrose relaunched its own-brand cake range with 52 new products, including flapjacks and whole cakes. Central buyer Teresa Lindley said the retailer was picking up on trends such as mini-cakes and cupcakes. The new range was sourced form Memory Lane, Kate’s Cakes and Queen of Hearts.RHM’s owner Doughty Hanson finally announced plans to float the company on the stock exchange in July, following months of rumours. RHM chief executive Ian MacMahon told British Baker the new listed RHM would play its part in consolidating the food industry, adding strong UK bakery, milling and cake businesses to its portfolio. Real Good Food revealed it was the mystery buyer in talks to buy ingredients and sugar supplier Napier Brown in a reverse takeover.Warburtons launched a loaf with added prebiotic, in what it claimed was a first for the UK baking industry. The Healthy Inside wholemeal 400g loaf contained natural prebiotic inulin. Three slices was said to provide a third of the daily 5g of prebiotic needed to boost digestive health.Greggs announced a nationwide push on recycling, in a bid to cut landfill costs. A recycling programme was to be introduced at 11 Greggs divisions over the next three years, following trials at its Treforest division in Wales. Measures to be introduced included organic waste recycling machines, which cut the volumes of waste sent to landfill. The trial was set to save the Treforest division £35,000 a year in landfill costs. Rank Hovis bought Finedon’s Mill, renaming it Rank Hovis Wellingborough. The mill became Rank’s third largest, said sales and marketing director Jon Tanner. It gave the miller flexibility on distribution and production. Rank Hovis said it would now review its manufacturing sites.
– Ingredients company Macphie has launched a new website – www.macphie.com – showcasing ingredients for bakers, foodservice operators and food manufacturers. To celebrate the launch, it is running an on-line competition to win one of five iPod nanos. Readers can log-on and register their details before April 30 for a chance to win. – THE BRITISH Society of Baking is seeking a new chairman for its biannual conferences, as current chair Jean Grieves steps down. It says the ideal candidate will have strong organisational skills, a passion for the industry and the ability to communicate with the leading players in the world of bakery. Contact Sharon Byrne at the BSB on 01869 247098 for details, or email [email protected]
According to market data from consulting and research firm Gira, demand for frozen bread, particularly in the sandwich sector is growing and this trend is confirmed by bakery products supplier Délifrance. “The UK’s sandwich market is estimated to be worth £3.5bn,” says Lucy Pickersgill, UK marketing controller for Délifrance. “Our research shows that the use of frozen breads is growing, particularly in terms of sandwiches in foodservice outlets, where demand is high and costs have to be kept low.”The company’s most recent healthy-option bread launch, the DeliVital range, is also frozen. The company says the bread is packed with essential nutrients and the fatty acid Omega 3.Last month, the Délifrance flagship concept café in Man-chester was crowned Coffee Bar Sandwich Retailer of the Year by the British Sandwich Association. “Among other criteria, the judges looked at sandwich sales and the product range on offer. All our sandwiches are made using frozen Délifrance breads, which are baked-off on the premises every day,” says Pickersgill. “Concepts like the Délifrance Provencette, which can be supplied pre-filled and pre-grilled reduce preparation time and are easy to manage.”Délifrance has recently launched nine new bread lines, including mini Kaiser Rolls and a Sultana Batard.
No one has done more to capitalise on that ghastly sounding word ’premiumisation’ over the last few years than Marks & Spencer. In fact, the retailer has gone to such lengths to drive this home to consumers that you could coin another P-word – pornographisation – to describe it, such has been the success of its occasionally lambasted but hugely successful ’This is not just food…’ marketing, whose overtones rival only Nigella Lawson for titillating innuendo.The in-store bakery (ISB) is the next thing on the agenda to be sexed up. Having undergone a review, the planned changes – teasingly under wraps – will begin filtering through over the next six months, from January. “We can see the ISB becoming a real hero category where people think, ’Wow, M&S bakery!’” says new bakery category manager Gail Richards, who, for the last five months, has covered core pre-packed bakery as well as in-store bakery.This will involve a renewed focus on smaller artisan producers and sourcing regional favourites. “We could do so much there,” she says. “There are so many fantastic things we’ve seen that couldn’t be done in a large factory because the product’s either hand-finished or hand-topped. They are the types of areas where we’re looking to work with smaller businesses. We source from throughout the UK – you’d be surprised how many bakers we have in every single part of the British Isles. We already sell an Irish range, but we need to have a wider Scottish and Welsh range.”established supply baseWhat separates M&S from other retailers is that its products are entirely own-label. This means it has an established supply base, with relationships stretching back four decades. But five new suppliers will be joining over the next two months, two of which approached M&S.You won’t get your foot in the door by approaching M&S with something it already stocks, says Richards. “I would say to potential suppliers, go out and look at the market, see what’s out there. The first question we will ask is ’What’s so special about your product?’ One, it must taste really good; two, it must follow the brand values; and three, why is it different? Will it add incremental sales and will customers know what to do with it?”While a buyer may leapfrog around departments, Richards says there is long-established technical expertise in M&S’ bakery department, including Barry Stocker, senior bakery technologist, with 34 years’ experience in the baking industry. Richards also works alongside a technical manager and a product development manager and, together, they are responsible for setting the strategy for bakery.”While we have people specific to bakery, there are other people we would rotate – it really depends on your skill base for the category. I’ve worked across a spectrum and that keeps you fresh, because you’re always learning new things,” says Richards. “I love the diversity in bakery: one minute I’ll be talking about wheat prices; the next minute I’ll be standing in front of eight croissants judging the best flakiness, and the next I’ll be talking to the technical team about a new process for breadmaking.”What distinguishes bakery from a category like groceries, which Richards has also managed, is the smaller number of suppliers, but there is scope for innovation across all product segments. “Bakery has 99% penetration. Generally, 60% of our customers will only pick up one bakery item in the shop. They could be putting so much more in the basket and that is our greatest opportunity and our big challenge over the next year.”This will be achieved through tailoring ranges to M&S’ plethora of retail formats – 13 in all. Across the estate of over 570 stores, it has the rapidly-expanding Simply Food, large high street stores and railway and motorway outlets, all of which attract different customer types. A large percentage of those are one-to-two person households. “If you’ve got a beautiful Mediterranean bread, but it feeds four-to-six, then people are not going to pick it up. What we’re now doing is having smaller sizes of those types of products. That way, they’re more inclined to put it in the basket. Smaller 400g loaves are now out-performing 800g because of our customer type. For most other retailers, 800g is their core.”In recent months, M&S introduced individually-wrapped croissants, pains au chocolat and Danish, sold en route to the checkout, which have taken off. “I love a croissant, but my husband doesn’t, so I don’t want a four-pack of croissants. This way people can mix-and-match,” she says.mini-bites successM&S has had a few firsts in the baking industry, she adds, including the hugely successful tubs of mini-bites, which were launched five years ago. The range is refreshed with new flavours such as Rocky Road, introduced last year, which has already become the category’s fourth-biggest seller. Two months ago, Amaretto was added to the line-up and is shaping up to be another strong performer.”The mini-bites absolutely fly out of those smaller stores,” she says. “And cakes do well because people will often be going to visit someone. The whole brief behind mini-bites revolves around people feeling a bit guilty about having a big slice of cake. They want nice little nibbles. You can eat as few or as many as you wish.”Recently M&S introduced six-pack mini lemon muffins for the same reasons. “Sometimes you don’t want a whole muffin, but you want to treat yourself. That’s something you’ll be seeing more of.”Similarly, boxes of bite-size Turkish patisserie Baklava have rapidly built up a loyal following. “They’re a big seller. Our customers used to phone up to say ’You’ve run out today’. So now we make sure we don’t run out!”Being entirely own-label gives M&S an important advantage over the competition, she believes. “We can control the whole process, from raw materials to how the products are actually made, which gives us consistency of quality. We can make claims like ’all our breads are free from preservatives’, because we know everything that’s in our products.”That’s important for new suppliers who approach us, because they need to work with our brand values; they need to know we don’t do GM, hydrogenated fats or preservatives in the bread. Hopefully, by January 2008, 99% of our bakery range will be free from artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives. We want people who will support us in that ambition.” n—-=== At a glance ===Job history: Worked for Sainsbury’s for eight years across a number of categories before joining M&S five years ago; there, she has category-managed fish, chicken, frozen foods, dairy, juice, groceries, biscuits and savoury. Five months ago, she joined the bakery team.Top tip to new suppliers: no phone calls please; just send a one-page summary of who you are and what’s your point of difference via email. Do you fit with M&S’ ’Plan A’ corporate sustainability policy?Favourite product: “I love scones! I’ve benchmarked them so many times, I keep saying,’Let’s do scones again!’”Outside interests: “Since I’ve joined bakery I seem to be putting on weight. So I’ve taken up tennis and pilates to balance the over-eating.”
Eating two portions of whole grains a day could almost halve the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, says new research.A study of more than 2,000 men and women, 532 of whom had pancreatic cancer, revealed those who ate at least two helpings of whole grains a day – the equivalent of two slices of wholemeal bread – were 40% less likely to develop the disease than those who ate less than one portion.The study, carried out by the University of California, San Francisco, also noted that those who ate more than 0.9oz (26.5g) of fibre a day were 35% less likely to deve-lop pancreatic cancer than those who ate less than 0.6oz (15.6g).However, eating more refined and sweetened grains, such as two or more servings of doughnuts a week, was found to raise the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Ishida Europe is launching a new software programme that can link up to 100 checkweighers to provide valuable production data.The Ishida Data Capture System (IDCS), offers a range of reporting options, allowing production managers to employ state-of-the-art monitoring for legislative compliance. The user-friendly software will also enable users to identify cost-saving opportunities. The data can be analysed by batch, shift, operator, product or machine.Also new from the firm are an entry-level tray sealer, the OX-300, and the latest Atlas bagmaker. All will be on display at the Processing & Packaging Machinery Association show on 30 September to 2 October.[http://www.ishidaeurope.com]
Britvic has seen its revenue increase 29.3% to £926.5m for the 52 weeks to 28 September 2008, compared with the same 2007/08 period. The figures incorporate a full 52-week contribution from Britvic Ireland of £200.7m.The sales in its Great Britain & International division represent a 4.8% increase over the 52 weeks, which has been put down to the growth in stills and carbonates in the GB market.A downturn in consumer spending, continued challenges in the licensed on-premise market and the poor summer weather have been noted as barriers to sales growth in the last year.Despite an overall decline in volume in the GB stills market of 2.7%, Britvic saw strong volume growth of 8.1%. Within the GB carbonates market, it increased its sales volume by 4.3%.Paul Moody, chief executive commented that the business had delivered a strong performance despite the challenges of current market conditions and rising raw material and energy costs. “The business has achieved good revenue growth, increased market volume and value share with tight cost control helping to deliver our target of increasing GB & International operating profit margin by at least 10-15 basis points,” said Moody. “Consequently, we expect to deliver earnings for the year in line with expectations.”[http://www.britvic.com]
Equipment and products supplier Country Choice was promoting its serve-over format at Café+ as part of its Bake&Bite Café concept.Part of the Brakes group, Country Choice’s food-to-go concept enables retailers to prepare products, such as sandwiches and baguettes, in full view of the customer, capitalising on the trend for customer-facing serve-overs. The format can be put together off-site in around four days. Country Choice supplies everything except the freezer.The company was also highlighting its newest creation – its Boston’s coffee and American-style donut offering. The bean-to-cup coffee machines are complemented by five filled and decorated ball donuts, three decorated ring donuts and one glazed ring donut.
“When I told her the posh chocolate biscuits had been listed in the press, she retorted ’well, you don’t expect me to eat Family Circle under this kind of pressure do you?’ No, I don’t, because she has been bang on in her judgment and the way she has handled our office accounts”- expenses scandal-hit Mid Beds MP Nadine Dorries attributes a taxpayer cost of £34.38 for two packs of luxury biscuits to her office administrator Pippa, “who does have one flaw – biscuits”, after MPs expenses claims were made public”If I didn’t laugh I’d cry! It was an emotional journey for me. I did really need that money to pump into my business and I was kind of relying on it. But I’ve since bitten the bullet and taken out a bank loan to fund the renovations. It was a bit of a shock but I got over it after a couple of days – it’s just one of those things”- 33-year-old cake maker Rachel Edwards from Ecclesall puts on a brave face after banking on the prize money from appearing on Channel 4’s Deal or No Deal, but walking away as the show’s lowest ever prize winner, with just 17p of prize money
Make sure you enter British Baker’s window dressing competition, as part of National Cupcake Week, for the chance to win the fantastic prize of two tickets to the Baking Industry Awards 2010.This prize will be given to the bakery retailer that creates the best cupcake-themed window display to promote the week, which runs from 14-19 September.For the chance of winning, all we ask is that you incorporate the National Cupcake Week logo or posters into part of your display. These are available to download free from www.bakeryinfo.co.uk (click on the National Cupcake Week link on the homepage). If you are unable to print off posters, don’t worry, one poster will be sent out free to bakery and café subscribers of British Baker on 28 August. As the winner will be judged by the photography sent to us, make sure you try and achieve the best-quality pics you can, and try to avoid any nasty window reflections. Make sure you use a high-resolution setting when taking pictures with a digital camera.The deadline to enter is 30 September and winning entries will appear in a future issue of British Baker, so get planning now! Send images to [email protected] or Elizabeth Ellis, British Baker, Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 9RT.