Food and drink manufacturers are being urged to help draft a new industry diploma, as well as share their experiences of training older workers.Improve, the food and drink sector skills council, wants input from employers on a new vocational qualification for 14- to 19-year-olds that will be an alternative to traditional GCSEs and A-levels. Chief executive Jack Matthews said: “It will combine practical work with technical theory and, as it’s being designed by employers, will lay an important foundation for a range of initiatives to help close skills gaps and reduce skills shortages.”Employers can log onto www.manufacturingdiploma.co.uk where their feedback will be used to design the new qualification so that it responds to their needs.Improve has also commissioned research to find out what practices the industry has in place to develop older workers’ skills. It will gather case studies to help employers understand how best to comply with new EU age discrimination legislation which takes effect in October.
These tasty orange biscuits come from a collection of 215 recipes compiled by a professional baker, Fredrick Vine, in his book Biscuits for Bakers: Easy to Make and Profitable to Sell, which was published in 1896. He recommended selling these biscuits at 1 shilling a pound. In today’s terms that’s about £8 for a kilo or £3.90 a pound.Makes around 200small biscuits1.8kg/4lb self-raising flour 675g/1½lb butter 1.1kg/2½lb caster sugar450g/1lb candied orange peel (finely chopped)6 eggs360ml/a generous ½ pint milkMethod1. Rub the butter and sugar into the flour.2. Stir in the peel.3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and mix in the egg.4. Add a little milk to form a firm dough.5. Break off pieces about the size of an acorn and place them onto a greased baking tray. The pieces should be slightly rough, like rock cakes, so that the sugar dredged over them later will find somewhere to settle.6. Cover them with sugar before baking for 10- 15 minutes at 180?c/350?F until they are nicely browned.—-=== Did you know? ===l Victorian bakers used a variety of strange substances to lighten cakes and biscuits. The original recipe for these orange biscuits uses “volatile”, otherwise know as ammonium carbonate or “baker’s ammonia”. Its strong smell meant that it was also used as smelling salts. It is not used in modern baking powder.l The first self-raising flour was patented by Henry Jones of Bristol in 1845.
(Cambridge), the inkjet and laser solutions provider, is using this year’s Total Processing & Packaging exhibition for the first public showing of its new M-Series print-and-apply products and for the global preview of its Thermal Transfer Overprinting printers.Domino will also be displaying a whole range of products and services across the coding and marking portfolio, including the recently launched A-Series plus continuous inkjet printers, S-Series plus scribing laser and C-Series plus outer case coders.
British Baker is thrilled to announce that acclaimed comedian Ronnie Corbett is to host this year’s Baking Industry Awards, on 8 September at the Park Lane Hilton, London.Corbett’s first outing on stage was aged 15, playing The Wicked Aunt in a panto at his local church youth club in Edinburgh. He went on to work in the late-night revues at Danny La Rue’s Club at Hanover Square in the late ’50s, before keeping BBC audiences entertained for 16 years alongside Ronnie Barker in The Two Ronnies. He also has an understanding of the baking industry, as his father was a master baker, based in Edinburgh.We are also delighted to announce that equipment supplier Scobie & McIntosh is to sponsor The In-Store Bakery Award. In-store bakery (ISB) is an integral part of a supermarket’s offering and an important category at the Baking Industry Awards. Entries are invited from all ISB managers who can demonstrate a well-tailored range, good availability and ideas for maximising sales and promoting growth.Other categories at the awards include: The Craft Business Award, sponsored by Rank Hovis; The Achievement in Bakery Training Award, sponsored by Rich Products; Bakery Supplier of the Year, sponsored by Sainsbury’s; and Artisanal Bread Product of the Year, sponsored by Morrisons, as well as six other categories.To book a place call Elizabeth Ellis on 01293 846593 or email [email protected] entry deadline has also been extended to 15 May. For entry forms contact Helen Law on 01293 846587 or email [email protected] or check out the awards website at www.bakeryawards.co.uk.
The history of establishing new republics is littered with grief, surrendered casualties, blood-letting and fraught backward steps. Just ask the French. Or, closer to home, Coffee Republic.At the beginning of 2009, the ambitious coffee chain was riding high on the back of the fastest store growth of anyone in British Baker’s Top 50 list, which tracks the big chains’ performance on store numbers. Having leapfrogged into the Top 10, with 104 new outlets in just one year, and more than doubling its previous total, it has cut 10 shops, having opted to go into administration. Industry insiders question its track record of over-bidding for prime rental sites against its competitors, and failing to distinguish itself clearly enough from major competitors, such as Starbucks.The future is hopeful for the ailing chain, however, after quickly finding a buyer through administrator KPMG last month. Despite tough trading conditions, Khalid Affara of Arab Investments was keen put the strut back into Coffee Republic’s faltered momentum, stating he would be “growing the business with immediate effect”.Taking the same opportunity – if administration can ever be described thus – to restructure the business and renegotiate on rents with obstinate landlords, bring in new investment and get things shipshape, has been sandwich chain O’Briens. Ranked just outside the Top 10 at 12th, chairman Brody Sweeney cited the refusal of landlords to negotiate on rent reductions as the key reason behind its collapse. Investors have been circling – nine at the last count – and a decision on the chain’s future is expected soon.Subway draws nearerSubway, which was predicted to overtake Greggs in mid-2009, continues to creep up on the high street bakery giant. If you count total stores across UK and Ireland (1,450), which the Top 50 list doesn’t, Subway is already ahead. But in an interesting development last month, Greggs unveiled plans to branch out into forecourts, with a 500sq ft unit opened in a BP petrol station in Bury – with more planned if successful.So is the future forecourts? Travel outlets could be ’the new high street’. BB’s Coffee & Muffins, which is just outside the Top 10, below Sayers, revealed in British Baker that forecourts were a “key focus area” for business development, following successful trials. Ten more could open by the end of 2010, it said.While the Sayers & Hampson estate stands at 150 outlets, a spokesman for the firm said : “Investment in exciting new shops is expected to increase the brands’ high street presence over the next 12 months.”Meanwhile, Starbucks opened two new formats in 2008 – a drive-thru in Cardiff and drive-tos near Wisley and in Hooley. A spokesperson confirmed that Starbucks is on the look-out for new sites.Bath-based Pasty Presto, previously missed out on our list, has popped its head up. Its 25-shop estate is predicted to swell to 30 by the close of 2010, after targeting the travel-retail sector such as motorway service stations. It is currently placed 38th.Looking ahead, East Lothian sandwich chain Baguette Express, with 55 outlets, plans to rival Subway and Greggs on UK high streets, building a 300-store franchise network over the next five years. And Galloways Bakers, with 21 shops around Wigan, said it was omitted from the last Top 50 list. Happy to put that right.
For most bakers the thought of shelling out for a new oven is not a prospect that fills them with joy. But with the progression of oven technology in recent years, the long-term cost benefits could well make up for the initial outlay.Martin Dyson, sales director, Tom Chandley, says upgrading to a new deck oven can provide bakeries with a number of advantages, as the newer models have features such as colour touchscreen controls, which make the ovens easier to operate, steam, deck timers and 24-hour time clock and auto switch-off, which can reduce your energy consumption even further. “In our experience, bakers can often be hesitant to replace old ovens if they are still operational and provide a good-quality bake, because of the costs involved,” says Dyson. “However, the technology of the deck ovens on the market today is fantastic and the benefits, in terms of bake quality and cost and energy savings, can be phenomenal.”The Food Machinery Com-pany (FMC) has been supplying machinery in the UK and Ireland for the past 30 years, offering both electric and propane gas deck ovens which it imports from China. For bakers looking to invest in a new oven, but still keen to keep costs down, the firm believes that looking to what Asia can offer is the answer.MD Mike Wilkinson, says there has previously been uncertainty about importing equipment from countries like China, but claims there is nothing wrong with the equipment if it comes from the right supplier. He explains that a common problem in the past has been that a trading company, with no engineering knowledge, will simply look at the bottom line and bring a machine across to the UK without having any real knowledge about it. Commonly, machines with the wrong voltage would be imported, he says.FMC, an established engineering company, visits the factory where the equipment is made, discusses any particular requirements for the UK market, with voltage being a particularly important one, he explains. Its engineers will then ensure any necessary changes are made so the ovens are suitable for the UK market.Technologically speaking, Wilkinson says, they are no better or worse than the deck ovens supplied by major European manufacturers, but says in terms of cost you could purchase a new deck oven from China for less than some second-hand ovens from Europe.At the top of FCM’s deck oven range are its NFD Models, which its says are ideal for larger bakeries; it also supplies NFR models, which are the equivalent gas-heated models. The YX models it offers are lighter-duty, designed with smaller bakeries in mind.Wilkinson says as the current regulations for the use of gas ovens are so stringent, for smaller bakeries especially, it may be more cost-effective, in the short-term at least, to go for an electric deck oven. “If somebody wants to put a gas oven in, they will need extraction, additional sensors, fans and so on. All those costs can often be a lot more than the oven itself,” he says. With an electric oven it isn’t necessary, so the initial cost will be a lot less.What else is on the market?Benier UK, part of the Kaak Group, offers several different deck ovens to suit businesses of all sizes. The Classic deck oven, from Sveba-Dahlen, offers bakers flexibility, says the firm. It has been designed in a modular system with six different oven sizes and a range of accessories, including an under-built prover and castors, which enable the oven to be built to meet the specific needs of the baker. David Marsh, MD of Benier UK, says this particular oven is ideal for bakers who want to bake in a traditional way, but with the latest in modern technology.Benier’s sister company Daub offers a three-strong range of deck ovens using thermal oil, which the firm claims can save bakers up to 30% on their energy costs. The Thermo-Roll is a multi-deck oven that takes racks, and is suited to the production of par-baked, Mediterranean rye or tin bread. The Backmeister is a multi-deck oven that can be fixed or draw plate, suitable for craft bakeries, while the Hanseat range is a multi-deck tunnel oven system that can be used for either batch or continuous baking.Suitable for smaller operations, Baker’s Pride Cyclone electric convection ovens are now available from Jestic. The GDCO-E1 single model and GDCO-E2 double model are designed to handle everything from gentle baking to high volume roasting. The full-size, forced-air single or double deck oven has an energy efficient 10.5 kW forced air heat system per deck and a two-speed fan with cool-down mode.Both models feature dual stainless steel doors made with double-pane thermal glass. Five heavy-duty racks are supplied as standard with each oven.Available through Brook Food Proces-sing Equipment (BFPM) are Polin’s electric deck ovens. These ovens offer advantages for bakeries that have premises with access issues, as they are modular in design, explains BFPM. They can also be added to over time if the bakery requires additional capacity and, importantly, bakers may be entitled to an interest-free loan from the Carbon Trust if the new oven is being used to replace an existing less energy-efficient one.”The Modular Polin Deck Oven is available in three- to 18-tray models, features versatile digital controls, gives a gentle bake from increased closely-spaced elements, ensuring even heat distribution and keeps its set temperature with thermal inertia controls, allowing no wasted energy from erratic thermostat activity,” according to the firm. Case study Hartley’s Confectioners Hartley’s Confectioners, a 47-year-old Huddersfield-based family business, recently replaced its old Durelect deck ovens for two new energy-efficient Compacta 5-3-8 deck ovens from Tom Chandley. The business made the decision to replace the ovens, which, despite producing a consistent product at 50 years old, took a long time to heat up, thereby consuming a lot of elecricity and wasting energy.Following the installation of the new oven, owner of the business and baker Jason Hartley says he noticed a huge decrease in energy usage and, in turn, the size of his utility bills. He explains that buying a new oven is something he had been putting off because of the cost. “Even though I expected to see a reduction in running costs, due to improved efficiencies such as better insulation and faster warm-up times, I have been astonished to find we are running the new ovens at 40% of the cost of running the old ones a huge 60% energy saving,” he says. “These savings alone will have paid for the new ovens after only three years.”The new oven has also enabled the bakery to extend its product lines, thanks to the addition of steam.
Increased demand for sugar and bakery ingredients has helped boost sales at The Real Good Food Company by 21% to £110m in the six months to 24 June 2011.The Group, which owns the largest independent non-refining distributor of sugar in Europe (Napier Brown), and manufactures bakery ingredients (Renshaw), and also manufactures sweet bakery products (Haydens) for a range of major retail customers, said in a trading update that group EBITDA rose to £2.67m, up from £600,000 during the same period last year.At Napier Brown, a new marketing team is set to launch a range of new Whitworths products targeting the growing home baking market, which will be on supermarket shelves this autumn, with further initiatives planned in 2012.New Renshaw-branded products are also being launched, with Snip and Swirl Icings first to market, and now available in selected retailers, sugar-craft outlets and wholesalers. The full range will be launched at the end of this month, with a progressive roll-out to all major outlets before the year end. Advertising campaigns in both the trade and consumer food press will be launched shortly. Products include a kids’ range of flavoured sugardough and a trade range of fruit-flavoured fondants.The Group admitted Haydens was having to deal with higher-than-expected commodity costs and this was delaying a factory modernisation programme. However, it said its new distribution facility was now fully operational and already helping drive an improved performance year-on-year. “Based on the progress we have made over the past six months, I am confident that the Group is on course to meet market expectations for the year,” said Pieter Totte, executive chairman.
Two of Aromatic’s UK employees will join parent company British Bakels as part of an integration plan due to be completed by the end of March 2012.General manager Stephen Smith and technical sales manager David Perkins will join the bakery ingredients manufacturer, following its acquisition of Aromatic AB, the Swedish supplier of bakery ingredients, in December last year.British Bakels said the only changes Aromatic’s customers would notice was with the placing of orders, distribution – where British Bakels’ existing delivery service will be used – and the payment of invoices.Paul Morrow, management board member of Bakels Worldwide and interim managing director of Bakels UK, said: “I am delighted that Stephen and David are joining the new operation. They have real expertise in the confectionery market and I know they will be a great benefit to British Bakels.”Both companies will continue to ship products from Sweden into the UK, as Bakels already has a manufacturing plant in the country. The new business will combine the shipment into a single carrier, giving benefits in order lead time and stock turnover.Bakels’ acquisition of the privately-owned family business was its second last year, after the global company purchased Swiss firm Nutribake AG in the first quarter.
An EU trade association will be holding its fifth symposium to discuss challenges behind agricultural ingredients in the bakery chain.The FEDIMA Symposium, which will be held at the Hotel Radisson Blu in Brussels on 18 April, is open to those concerned with agricultural ingredients in the bakery sector and will highlight three main areas: quality, availability and price volatility.Talks surrounding the topic will be given by high-level speakers, including senior representatives of the EU Commission, the financial services and trade associations of several agricultural commodities such as flour, sugar, vegetable oils, cocoa, dairy.FEDIMA, the association of manufacturers and suppliers of bakery ingredients in the EU, holds its symposium every two years and has previously discussed topics such as allergens, enzymes, claims or incident management.To see the full programme and register for the event, visit www.fedima.org.
High street bakery chain Greggs has topped British Baker’s BB75 list for 2012.Ken McMeikan, chief executive of Greggs, accepted the award at the first BB75 lunch yesterday (29 February) held at The Boundary Hotel in Shoreditch, London.It was presented to him by Lindsey Garland, business development manager of Britvic – headline sponsors of the BB75 – and Martyn Leek, editor of British Baker, at the exclusive event, which attracted some of the industry’s top UK bakery retailers.McMeikan said: “It has been a tough year, I think it is fair to say, but we believed we would have marginally positive like-for-like growth and we achieved that. But we also said that our new shop-opening programme would mean we would open record numbers of shops and our top-line sales growth would be very good over the course of 2011 – and that is indeed what we achieved.”Over the last three or four years, we have always tried to base our decisions completely on our customers’ insights, with them telling us what they want us to do – whether that was the refits of our shops or opening up new shops, because we were being asked to open Greggs in different parts of the country. For us, we are going to try and open up a record number of new shops – we think that will be in the region of net 90 in the coming year – and we will continue to invest in our refits.”McMeikan presented his formula for success and highlighted the current challenges bakers are faced with when attracting customers back to the high street. This included free parking at out-of-town shopping outlets and supermarket in-store bakeries. Dr Oliver Blank of German shopfitting and design specialist company Aichinger also offered his insight into the future concepts of shop design.Commenting on the BB75 event, McMeikan added: “It is hugely important because it brings the baking industry together and provides us with an opportunity to step back from the day-to-day challenges that all of us face and share some experiences, thoughts and views about the wider baking industry. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on what more we could do as an industry to try and grow and I think that is the most important thing.”BB75 is the annual authoritative tracker of companies that sell baked products as the primary element of their food offering in a retail, food-to-go or eat-in format. It is benchmarked by the number of outlets operated by each firm.To find out more on this year’s BB75 list, read the dedicated supplement in British Baker’s 9 March issue.