Food Design (Harrogate, Yorkshire) has recently received its first major order for low-trans-fat confectionery inclusions, which can be used in muffin recipes.The order came from a toffee dessert manufacturer, which supplies one of the UK’s leading retailers. It comes over a year after Food Design decided to provide an alternative version of its confectionery inclusions. The range, which includes Truffle Fudge, Fudge Cubes, Bake Stable Toffee, Toffee Brittle, Fudjies and Toffee Crumb, also works well with muffins, cakes, biscuits and cookies.Food Design anticipates demand will continue to grow as pressure from consumer and health organisations pushes retailers to offer products with minimal trans-fat content. MD Colin Hunter says: “We’ve had growing interest in the range and a number of orders to date. But this is the first major order we’ve received. We foresee increased demand in the future, following trends in parts of Europe and the US, where health concerns are driving change.”
Ethnic bread producer Honeytop Speciality Foods produces over two million naan breads each day at its factory in Dunstable.With such a heavy work-load you might expect machines to be shouldering the burden, but the company still uses skilled hand-stretchers to maintain the light, fluffy texture of its products. The hand-stretchers gently tease the soft dough pieces into the traditional teardrop shape.Honeytop, which produces more than 100,000 artisanal breads an hour at its 120,000sq ft plant, says it is one of only a few UK producers to individually shape each naan bread by hand.After hand-shaping, the naan bread is then baked in Honeytop’s flame-fired, tandoori-style clay ovens, to create irregular bubbling and a delicate tandoor flavour.Harmeet Kaur, affectionately known in the firm as ’Sweety’, has been hand-stretching Honeytop naan bread for over three years, having learned the technique from her mother while baking at home in India. Sweety estimates that she shapes over 50,000 naan breads per week, and admits that it’s a very difficult skill to master.She says: “Hand-stretching requires graceful dexterity, as well as focus and concentration. The dough pieces are incredibly light and soft, and have to be handled carefully to maintain a delicate and fluffy texture. Hand-stretching is a refined art and there are few people in the industry who have developed this expertise, but undoubtedly, it is what makes Honeytop naan bread stand out.”In recognition of her expertise, Sweety, aged 26 and from Armristar in India, has recently been promoted to work with Honeytop’s new product development team, bringing her experience and knowledge of the product and factory.Dr Charles Eid, joint-MD of Honeytop, who set up the company in 1984 with his brother William, is dedicated to improving the standards of ethnic baking.He explains: “In recent years we have seen a dramatic rise in the popularity and quality of ethnic foods, particularly Indian cuisine.”At Honeytop, we believe that we help set those high quality standards and our flexible approach allows us to continue to do so, leading the way in the fast-growing market for ethnic foods.” n
Inspection and certification provider SAI Global/EFSIS is now able to carry out assessments against the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard. The standard looks at every aspect of how a company’s operations affect the environment, from waste management to its carbon footprint. Inspections can be carried out in conjunction with recognised food, national and proprietary standards.Master bakers have suspended all bread baking in Nigeria for a week, with effect from today, in protest at the frequent hikes in the cost of flour. Bakers were also told to increase the cost of a standard bread loaf by 20 naira (8p) when they resume work after the strike.Two-thirds of 512 UK senior managers quizzed in a nationwide survey believe that lack of management skills was the chief factor responsible for workplace bullying. The research, released by the Ban Bullying At Work campaign, was compiled in conjunction with the Chartered Management Institute.Bagel sales have jumped by 24.5% in the past year and are worth £43.8m a year, according to figures released by leading UK bagel manufacturer Mr Bagels. The Food Doctor bagel brand has also recorded value sales up 12.4% year-on-year.The results of a Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) study into improving efficiency and profits in the cereal industry will be published this autumn. The study was conducted by HGCA over three years in conjunction with the Food Chain Centre and other organisations.
Food and agriculture group Greencore said its convenience foods division had a difficult second half of the year.Unseasonable weather in the UK and unrecovered raw material price inflation contributed to an expected decline in operating profits of 8% year on year.In a trading statement ahead of financial year end on 28 September 2007, Greencore said it was confident the combination of strong operational performance, pricing improvements, tight cost management and new commercial initiatives would enable it to deliver good growth in 2008.
Rank Hovis, the miller, has announced a price rise, effective immediately. Flour has risen £34.38p a tonne, equivalent to 55p per 16kg bag.The last increase took place in early October last year and, prior to that, in August. Jon Tanner, Rank Hovis’ sales and marketing director, told British Baker: “The price of domestic and world wheats continues to rise. There are many reasons for the increase, including a poor UK harvest last year, which makes us all the more dependent on a good summer this year.”The root cause is global supply issues. These are exacerbated by wheat export taxes in several countries. Additionally the flow of money in and out of commodities does not help; it is estimated that speculators have added around 15-20% to the price.”He continued: “2008/9 world total wheat production is forecast at 645m tonnes. We need a record harvest; the world will be in trouble if we encounter weather events similar to last year, because, worldwide, we have the lowest stocks on record.”Tanner is due to leave Rank Hovis and the milling industry for another international job at the end of the month. Until a replacement is found, his role will be overseen by Gary Sharkey, head of wheat procurement.Sharkey told British Baker: “The wheat market is a continuously evolving picture due to the spread of harvests around the world and their cropping seasons, which take place every month of the year and change the dynamics. Global warming seems to be making a difference, because it appears to be causing extremes. There have been six years of drought in Australia, but also the worst flooding over here in July 2007 that we have seen for years. Using crops for biofuels is also an issue and must be addressed globally.”=== Wheat facts and figures ===* World wheat prices rose 120% last year* Excessive rain damaged UK and US crops* Drought curbed yields in Canada and Australia* In a good year, the UK can supply 80% of its own breadmaking wheat
Food manufacturer Bakkavor is to close its pasta production site at Scunthorpe. The plant will close on May 30.The decision comes after a 90-day consultation period, and affects 107 staff. A spokesman for the company said “the business is fully committed to doing everything possible to minimise its impact. “Bakkavor is working closely with the affected employees, focusing on finding them alternative roles at its other sites or with other employers in the region”.Bakkavor is an international food manufacturing company, which makes food for both hot and cold consumption, including pizza and speciality breads. Last month, it bought Italian pizza company Italpizza.
Slow Bread, a new concept based on the criteria of Slow Food, will be taken to the food event Terre Madre (Mother Earth) in Italy in October. The project is the first to arise out of a UK food producer community of bakers, millers, cereal growers and cookery teachers who will represent the UK Slow Bread community.The criteria for Slow Bread are that it tastes good and is cleanly and fairly produced. According to baker Peter Cook of Price & Sons in Shropshire, the concept is only around six months old. The group is also working closely with “alliance for better food and farming” Sustain, which has launched a Real Bread Campaign. “The idea is to try to educate people on what real bread is about,” he said. “One the things they’re pushing for is to try to get clearer labelling on bread, so that when you buy a loaf you know what you’re getting. It’s also about getting more publicity for ‘proper bread’ and the small artisan bakers that are making it,” he added.Currently the group consists of a group of around 20 interested people, both bakers and millers, and Slow Bread wants to recruit more members. To find out more, contact Suzanne Wynn at [email protected] Madre will be held from 23 to 27 October in Turin, bringing together food communities, cooks, academics and youth delegates for to discuss small-scale, traditional, and sustainable food production.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) Wales, is to hold a second co-hosted seminar for Welsh bakery businesses, looking at the issue of saturated fat reduction. The seminar will be held on 4 March at FSA Wales’ Cardiff office in Wood Street, in association with the Food Industry Centre at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC).The event, which follows on from the recent launch of the FSA’s saturated fat campaign, aims to provide an update on the work that has been done by the baking industry to reduce saturated fat content and an overview of the progress by the UK industry to voluntarily reduce levels.It will also look at how the UWIC’s Food Industry Centre can assist Welsh bakery businesses with reformulation and healthier NPD.Welsh businesses interested in attending should email [email protected] Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.
King Canute is best known for turning back the waves. Warburtons, by contrast, just had to raise the ground. And it had the benefit of modern technology.Its new bakery at Bristol, which officially opened on 30 June, is the latest in a chain designed to give the company national distribution of fresh Warburtons bread.Historically speaking, it is also the last – the final piece of the jigsaw. National distribution was actually accomplished in September 2007, but this is the company’s 14th bakery, the most modern to date, and it takes some of the pressure off Enfield and Newport.Built on a greenfield site, the ground had to be raised by 4ft, because it is within the flood plain of the Severn Estuary.== Room to grow ==The bakery does have room for expansion, but right now Warburtons is busy creating bigger demand for mainstream 800g white, ensuring that its white Toastie, medium, and extra thick-sliced are coming off at top quality – because ’quality’ is what company chairman Jonathan Warburton guarantees with his signature on every pack.He tells British Baker: “Of all our £300m investment in the past 15 years, this Bristol bakery is the most impressive. It’s great to start with a greenfield site. The management team code-named the project 112, because its aim was to start trials on the first of the 12th month 2008 – and they actually achieved it one day early on 30 November.”This bakery is a massive credit to them and takes us even closer in our ambition to ’Paint Britain Red’,” says Jonathan Warburton. (That’s Warburtons red of course!) “For Brett [Warburton] and I, this bakery is a milestone, a symbol of what we set out to achieve many years ago, along with Malcom Keat, operations support director, and Robert Higginson, MD.He continues: “We are currently producing over 80,000 loaves a day. We always start slowly and build up. It’s a quality argument. Our family values and company values are the same: commitment, trust and passion for what we do.”From plans on paper on 1 February to bakery trials on 1 December, with breads coming off the conveyor, was quite a target. It was about getting market share on a national scale, while continuing to innovate with both products and equipment, says Jonathan.And to illustrate the point, commercial director Roz Cuschieri reveals: “We are putting in another crumpet line at Burnley, which should be operating by December. It will be similar to the one at Enfield. Warburtons is a well-invested family business. Over the past 15 years, we have invested around £300m in new bakeries, including Enfield, Wakefield and Bristol. Our total business investment in the last five years stands at around £500m. This includes investment in new depots, improved production capability and the significant infrastructure associated with our national expansion and continued brand and business growth.”But now the focus is firmly on Bristol. Operations support director Keat tells British Baker: “This bakery has a satellite depot at Newton Abbot. We focus very much on customer service, timing, full quantity and freshness and I believe we are recognised for it. It’s a precursor to why we build bakeries like this. Via Newton Abott, we can deliver as far as Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Bristol.David Williams is general manager of the Bristol bakery. He says: “I cannot tell you what this site means to us – it gives us an enormous sense of pride. Seventeen months ago, it was field. We started digging in February 2008 and raised the ground. The mainframe was up by June. It was weathered in August and producing in December. We asked Guinness if it was a world record.” He and manufacturing manager Clive Strawbridge run the factory.Executive director Brett Warburton has overseen the whole project. “For the first time, we have enclosed the mixing, dividing and moulding area to improve dough handling,” he says. “We shall be making dough in a ’constant temperature’ environment. If it works well, we shall retro-fit it to other bakeries.” It is unique to the group, he says, and has evolved out of Tuscany Park, Wakefield, the company’s previous new-build bakery. “We looked back and asked ’What can we do better? What can help us make even more consistent products?’.”Another new addition is the Double Dough Detector, which sends down a beam of light to measure the height of dough in each tin and rejects any double deposits. This prevents the lids coming off later and causing messy spillage.The salt issue is a perennial challenge, but one Brett is confident Warburtons is meeting.” We are working with lower levels of salt than ever before. The dough has got to be right by the time it goes into the tin. I’m confident we will meet the 2012 targets, but we do have concerns, particularly in warm weather. This industry has come a long way. They need to look more at other areas of the food chain.”Eye to the futureNext month, the company will decide whether to manufacture extra products at Bristol. Most likely are a wholemeal and a 400g Danish. Brett says: “It’s like moving into a new house. You have to snag it [iron out initial problems] first. So far, we are delighted.”The choice of project team leader for Bristol was someone outside the industry. Brett says he was at an Institute of Directors function and met Humphrey Walters, who studied leadership and teamwork. This included spending 11 months in a force 10 gale in a yacht race, sailing the wrong way around the world, having never sailed before. Brett chose Walters to put together the 112 team, who delivered right on time.Inevitably, Warburtons is stronger in its north-west homeland, while Kingsmill leads in the south east and Hovis in the south west. So while much has been achieved, much remains to be done. The company continues to stick to its policy of not discounting loaves. “Price is important, value is more important,” stresses Brett.Like quality, it will not be compromised. But the quality focus is what has built the Warburtons empire.—-=== Bristol bakery fact file ===Bakery: 120,000ft2, with room to grow to 220,000ft2 on 12-acre site near the M4 and M5 motorwaysCurrent output: 7,650 loaves per hourStaff: 140 including distribution. 80 in the bakeryEquipment so far:Spooner ovenFerguson Engineering cooler, final prover and wrapping machineryBaker Perkins Tweedy mixers first prover and dividersSpiromatic silos (Benier UK)Kaak lid handling, depanning, basket storage (Benier UK)Gudel tin storageNewsmith conveyorsDyson bagging machines100% Omega basketsFlour: Whitworths—-=== Warburtons fact file ===Company founded: 1876Turnover: over £498m (2008)Plants: 14 bakeriesStaff: 4,800 employeesMarket: a 32.9% share of total consumer spend on wrapped bread. Target for 2010 is 40%. Warburtons is the UK’s second-largest grocery brand
Bakery suppliers to JD Wetherspoon are looking forward to a surge in orders after the pub chain announced it will open 250 pubs over the next five years, taking its total number of outlets in the UK to nearly 1,000.Wetherspoon plans to invest £250m and create 10,000 jobs in the expansion, which will lead to increased orders for muffins, brownies, ciabattas, paninis and baguettes. “Food is a massive part of the Wetherspoon offer, worth £260m a year. Increasing the estate by a third will increase food sales by the same amount,” said a spokesman. “The bakery side of things is a big market for us.”Wetherspoon sells around 18,000 muffins a week, 26,000 paninis and 25,000 ciabattas or baguettes. Total annual sales of these three bakery categories is estimated to be at least £9.5m.Bakehouse, which supplies Wetherspoon with stone-baked ciabattas and multigrain baguettes for its sandwiches, has seen sales with the chain increase by 30% this year, according to Nicky Cracknell, national account controller for foodservice. “Both breads have performed really well and have been extended into seasonal and limited-edition products, such as a meatball marinara ciabatta and traditional ploughman’s,” said Cracknell. “The news that Wetherspoon is expanding means things certainly look healthy for the future. We are currently working on another bread line for them, as well as developing their offer in airport locations.”Wetherspoon is holding a strategic meeting with all its suppliers this week to discuss its purchasing strategy and future growth plans.The group’s new pubs will be located across the UK, inclu-ding sites in Sheffield, Livingston, Leominster, Otley, New Malden, Liverpool, Haverfordwest and Newcastle.