David Powell Bakeries, acquired by Rich Products (Kidderminster, Worcs) earlier this year, bakes up to 55 different products every day in its Fareham bakery.The bakery takes a bespoke approach to new products and currently has over 100 muffin varieties, it says. Customers include coffee chains and retailers. Seasonality is a feature of the range. For example, the company has developed cranberry and orange; stollen; and fruit, choc and nut muffins for Christmas.Inspiration for product development is taken from Mr Powell’s many trips around the globe where he sources speciality ingredients, unusual fillings or new toppings.
Salt levels in bread were put in the spotlight, with Sainsbury’s singled out for praise, at a Salt Awareness event in the House of Commons last week.The event, timed to co-incide with Salt Awareness Week 2006, was organised by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) with speakers including health minister Caroline Flint and Food Standards Agency (FSA) chair Dame Deidre Hutton. Dame Deirdre Hutton spoke of “tectonic plate cracking” as salt is reduced in food, praising Sainsbury’s for having achieved reduction targets on own-label sliced bread four years ahead of schedule. The supermarket’s own-label bread now has 0.8g salt per 100g, ahead of the FSA’s 2010 target of 0.9g.Dame Deirdre Hutton commented: “We have been consulting on targets for salt levels in 2010 and recently I have heard that, in its sliced bread, Sainsbury’s has already reached that target.”The Foods Standards Agency (FSA) is evaluating results of its latest advertising campaign, which flags up the message that daily intake of salt should not exceed 6g, she added. However, initial feedback was impressive. She said: “Awareness of the message has risen from a low base of 3% to 30% of the population. Marketing people in companies dream of that sort of hit. It is a very good start.”Minister for Public Health Caroline Flint also encouraged the food industry to keep up its work in reducing salt, sugges-ting there is scope for further reductions. “There are some very good examples of what can be achieved,” she said. “We are in the ballpark now where the issue isn’t 100 reasons why you can’t do something, we have the evidence you can actually do something. In some of the most difficult areas, in terms of breads and so forth, some real changes have happened that I think we should acclaim and publicise.”But anti-salt campaigner Professor Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at St George’s hospital, London, was less complimentary towards food manufacturers. He said: “The responsibility for reducing salt lies with the food industry; they put it in, they are killing many people in this country, they need to take it out. Many of them are trying to back-pedal on salt reduction, stating technical and taste issues. They are just trying to slow things down, and many people will die unnecessarily.” The FSA will release its latest set of salt reduction targets for food manufacturers at the end of February or beginning of March, following a consultation period which started in August, Dame Deirdre Hutton told British Baker. It has yet to decide whether to run a third salt reduction advertising campaign.
BakeMark UK will be staging National Doughnut Week from 10 to 17 May, giving craft bakers the chance to increase sales and publicity while raising money for charity.For every doughnut sold by participating bakers, funds are donated to the Children’s Trust, a national charity that provides care, education and therapy for children with multiple disabilities and complex health needs. In 2007, more than 600 bakery outlets took part, raising nearly £40,000. BakeMark’s target this year is £50,000. All bakers who register by 28 March will receive a complimentary bag of Craigmillar Doughnut Concentrate or a box of Readi-Bake Topped Ring Doughnuts to get started.For more details on the event and to register, email: christopher @dunns-bakery.co.uk.
The former Sayers Bakery in Norris Green, Liverpool was severely damaged by fire on Sunday 28 September in a suspected arson attack. Firefighters arrived at the bakery just after 8pm and it took thirteen fire crews to control the flames. Police were forced to seal off the road and neighbouring residents were asked to keep their doors and windows shut. A spokesperson from Merseyside Police said the fire had started in multiple locations. Forensic officers will now conduct an investigation.The bakery has been closed since June, when Sayers’ parent company, Lyndale Group, was put into administration.
Warburtons’ “rare” growth has seen it extend its reach over Hovis as the second most valuable UK grocery brands, with a brand value of £583m. “It is rare for a brand to continue to grow from a large base at such a pace as Warburtons,” commented independent brand valuation consultancy, Intangible Business, which has just published its annual league table of the 100 most valuable UK grocery brands.Warburtons’ sales have increased 13% since last year and its brand value by 11%. Its distribution also continues to grow, taking the brand to an increasing number of customers. Intangible Business defines brand value as “the amount the brand owner would be willing to pay for its brand if it did not already own it”. It is calculated using a variety of factor including forecast sales and brand strength. Coca Cola is top of table with a brand value of £1,151m and Lucozade are third with a value of £457m. In terms of the snacks sector, Kettle Chips has taken the biggest lead up the ladder, moving up 20 places in the table to 74th position with an increased brand value of 28%. Its success is thought to be due, in part, to its move towards offering more single pack sizes. Innocent has also moved up the ranks, up 16 places to number 32.Of the top 100 brands 54 of these as UK brands, 30 are US and six are French. The most valuable sector is soft drinks with 16 brands in the top 100 and a total brand value of £3,868.5m, confectionery is second and bakery third with three brands in the top 100 and a total brand value of £1,149.8m. Hot beverages was 6th in the table and biscuits and snacks 8th.“The economic downturn has had a profound effect on the grocery market in 2008 and played straight into the hands of discount retailers,” commented Stuart Whitwell, joint managing director of Intangible Business. “If, as expected, major supermarkets bring in more lines of own label products to compete with discount retailers, 2009 will see a fierce battle of brand owners. We have seen examples of this in 2008 with Coke increasing market share over Pepsi and Warburtons firmly establishing itself as the number one provider of baked goods. This will only get worse.”The report predicts that brands able to segment their product offerings to attract value conscious shoppers while maintaining brand equity are likely to be best able to withstand the coming storm.
== Sweeteners debated ==In April, the EU is to consider allowing the use of artificial sweeteners in confectionery, biscuits and cake. Confectioners have been lobbying in Europe to get laws changed in light of the pressure on the food industry to reformulate products to reduce sugar. Chocolate, biscuit and confectionery trade bodies say that aspartame, saccharin and its salts, sucralose and aspartame- acesulfame salt are safe to use – even for children.== Fox’s decision delay ==Workers at two Fox’s biscuit plants are to face continued job uncertainty after parent company Northern Foods decided to delay the decision over the location of its super-site until next year. Northern Foods plans to merge its Fox’s biscuits plants in Batley and Uttoxeter in Staffordshire, and build a new £40m super-factory at one of those sites.== FoB conference ==The Federation of Bakers’ annual conference takes place on Wednesday 20 May, 2009, at the Dorchester Hotel, London. Speakers include Scott Clarke, bakery category director at Tesco. Tim Smith, chief executive of the Food Standards Agency will be the guest speaker. For details visit bakersfederation.org.uk, contact Julie Pierce on 020 7420 7190 or email: [email protected]== Organic guide ==A new free 24-page guide has been launched to help food manufacturers looking to achieve organic status for new or existing product lines. The Guide to Organic Certification: Food Processing, produced by Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G), is available as a free download from the OF&G website: organicfarmers.org.uk/guide, or call 0845 3305122 or email [email protected]
These are interesting times for those involved in the baking industry today. British Baker is reporting on some challenging issues and is clearly working for a response from officials, which industry can work with.There are many products using high quantities of fat. People should be encouraged to moderate consumption. Reducing fat levels/quality of fat is a wholly inadequate solution. These products are supposed to be a “treat” not just “ordinary”.Regarding salt: it is difficult for bakers to come to agreement on this issue. Ian Barrett’s letter (BB, 23 October) makes some interesting points. However, his argument is fundamentally flawed. We are talking about salt levels in the finished product. Using Baker’s Percentages, many a recipe is formulated using salt at 2% on flour. Personally, I have been adding salt at 1.8% for over 10 years. I am sympathetic to trying to get this down to 1.5%, but I believe in long fermentation; I like the toughening effect of the sodium ions on the gluten in the dough; it helps to achieve full hydration; control of fermentation is implicit; and finally, yes, flavour is better. But most bread of today needs high salt to overcome lack of flavour. If you consult the work of Professor Raymond Calvel, it is obvious that salt levels in bread dough have increased significantly since the emergence of “no-time” dough.Salt levels and ’bad’ fat are part of a big picture; so too are all the hidden substances that never get as far as the label. My challenge to industry is: declare these! If the Food Standards Agency starts to get tough on this as well, today’s bread industry will really have to change.Andy Smith, bakery lecturer, Newcastle College and bakery consultant
Manchester-based GH Sheldon plans to boost sales with the supermarkets and expand into other channels after investing nearly £4m in a second bakery.The family-run firm, which supplies oven-bottom muffins, hot cross buns, balm cakes and batons to the major multiples, has doubled capacity by buying and refurbishing a building opposite its original site in Openshaw. The move doubles the number of staff at the firm to over 200 and has involved the installation of three new lines. These include two bespoke travelling ovens, as well as plant for making speciality breads.Established in 1949 by Harold Sheldon, the firm is now run by his son, MD Graham Sheldon, and his wife Barbara. Their children, Lee and Sarah, are company directors. “The new bakery gives us the flexibility to increase sales with our existing customers and look to grow other channels,” said Sarah Sheldon.Graham Sheldon added: “We have worked hard to build our reputation over the last 50 years, and this expansion will ensure that we remain at the forefront of baking in this country for decades to come.”The Co-operative Bank helped finance the expansion.
Scottish Bakers, the newly rebranded Scottish Association of Master Bakers, has appointed Irishman Alan Clarke as its new chief executive.The former chief executive of the Wholesale & Retail Training Council of Northern Ireland, worked most recently as national director NI for Lifelong Learning UK, and replaces Kirk Hunter, who is now at Dairy UK.Clarke aims to go out and about immediately, meeting members to ensure their views are heard. He said: “We want to put together a range of services that add value in the next couple of months.” President Alan Stuart said Clarke’s strengths in the area of training and fund procurement – working with the major bakeries in Northern Ireland – should serve them well. He added: “He responded very well to being a champion for our craft. Scottish Bakers believes it has found a voice.”>>SAMB reveals new corporate identity
BIA gets under wayThis year’s carnival-themed Baking Industry Awards have been officially launched. Taking place on 7 September, they will once again be a celebration of all that is great in the industry. Turn to pages 14-21 to see which categories you can enter, or see www.bakeryawards.co.uk for more information.High-rise bread pricesBread and cereals prices rose by 2.9% in February, according to the Consumer Price Index. The data, compiled by the Office for National Statistics, showed that the hike was the second-highest month-on-month rise since records began in 1986.Salty pie findingsWetherspoons was found to have the highest level of salt in pub pie meals, according to a new study by CASH, with 7.5g per Chicken & Mushroom Pie meal. The pub chain has since pledged to reduce its salt levels. The saltiest supermarket pie was Waitrose’s Steak, Mushroom & White Wine pie at 2.69g per 270g portion. Nine out of 10 retail pies met 2010 salt targets.Impulse resultsSoft drinks sales in the impulse channel have risen ahead of the grocery multiples for the first time, according to the latest Britvic Soft Drinks Report. Impulse sales rose 7%, while sales in the foodservice channel were also up 9.4% in value to £284m.