Food Design (Harrogate, Yorks) is celebrating European success after securing an order to supply a new product to spice up coffee in Italy.The company secured the order for its range of Hot Spicy Fudge from a leading Italian coffee chain. This comes in several flavours and colours, and is sprinkled on cappuccino foam.
Finsbury Food Group said it is on the “right side of the line” in a competitive market as it announced a rise in sales and profits this week.Sales were up 12% to £32.8 million and pre-tax profit was up 70% to £1.2m over the six months to December 31, including three new Scottish businesses acquired in November 2005. Underlying sales were up 9% and profits up 36% to £0.9m.Finsbury’s business model and positioning in the premium end of the market allows it to capitalise on market trends, chief executive Dave Brooks told British Baker. He said he saw “fantastic” opportunities for growth in the business, which includes Memory Lane Cakes, bakery Nicholas & Harris and new acquisitions United Central Bakeries, California Cakes and Campbells Cakes. Organic, gluten free and low fat are growing areas of demand Finsbury is well placed to serve, he said.At Memory Lane commissioning of a small cake production line will complete by April. This will be able to make £10m worth of miniature versions of premium boxed cakes a year. A sponge production line is also being automated. Organic bakery Nicholas & Harris is seeing “huge growth” and is on track for a record Easter. It now has listings at the four main multiples and an exclusive contract to supply Waitrose hot cross buns. Plans to install an oven at the Campbells’ no-bake bakery, which makes cold lines such as shortbread have been shelved. Instead, product baked at the nearby low fat specialist California bakery will be finished in Campbells. Following the recent acquisitions, buying functions on core commodities including eggs, flour and power have been centralised across the five businesses to reap cost savings. Mr Brooks said after a spending spree last year and a “big couple of years in terms of capital investment”, Finsbury has no plans for acquisitions. It will focus on organic growth.
Barnsley-based Fosters Bakery has struck a deal that will see the company supply its frozen baked bread to Greece, through The Greek Coffee Company. It has also just launched four products on to the shelves of Asda, and two through a sandwich manufacturer into Boots the Chemist. The additional business has meant the bakery has had to take on 16 new full-time staff. Fosters will produce various Asda own-brand rolls, as well as a chocolate hot cross bun and milk-roll fingers, available nationwide. Its sun-dried tomato and basil bread and cornbread are being supplied to a firm that produces sandwiches for Boots. And in Greece, its bread will be used for sandwiches sold in the likes of Costa Coffee, said sales director, Bill Finnerty.“We already supply a few companies in England and Ireland, that produce sandwiches for Costa, and the deal came about from that,” said Finnerty.Around half of which were recruited through an initiative with the Job Centre, driven by the Work and Skills Board for Barnsley, of which Fosters’ managing director John Foster is the volunteer chairman.
Forget yer bells and whistles. When it came to winning the Tesco-sponsored Quality Product Award at the Baking Industry Awards 2008, Jackson’s Bakery opted not to throw the kitchen sink into its hand-raised Traditional Steak Pie – thankfully for the dental health of the residents of Chesterfield. For Jackson’s, less was clearly more – apart, that is, from the meat content, where more is clearly more, with 30% meat, all sourced from a good local butcher.The pie has a slightly different shape to the oval you might associate with a steak pie, and it resembles more closely a round, deep pork pie. Other than that there’s nothing more complicated than seasoning and a little thickener for the gravy. The secret, explains production director David McBurnie, who has been tweaking products at Jackson’s for 13 years, is the pastry base. “The texture of the meat is as good as having steak on a plate. But I always think that a pie is all about the pastry – anybody can cook meat, can’t they? The pastry melts in your mouth.”So what’s so distinctive about the pastry that impressed the palate of the judges? “It’s nice and short,” says McBurnie. “You tend to get quite a tough pastry with a short pastry savoury product. Because of the way we make ours, we can retain a lot of the shortness.”This is achieved using a batter method, whereby the fat and water is beaten together before adding the flour. “The ingredients aren’t that different to some other pies out there – it’s the way we make it that lightens the pie.”Heygates, Bako and BFP are the main suppliers, as are Friars Pride and D F Dickens in Nottingham, for meat production ingredients such as seasoning, potato flake and rusk, as well as a local butcher who supplies fresh daily.Jackson’s was up against a Savoury Scoffin, a bacon and Parmesan savoury muffin from former BIA winner, Monty’s Bakehouse, and a six-grain wholegrain loaf from sourdough bake-off specialist La Brea Bakery. MD Trevor Jackson had received an erroneous tip-off before the awards that the Scoffin had won it, so the win came as a genuine shock.To get there, Jackson’s had submitted a successful written application, leading to an invite to supply a batch of products into the award sponsor Tesco’s head office for judging by Tesco and independent judges. They based their final judgements on the quality of the product alone, rather than a knowledge of the company, or whether it supplied supermarkets (Jackson’s didn’t).So what made the product stand out against other high-quality submissions? “You don’t need to be too elaborate with the product,” Jackson states simply. “We won with a traditional steak pie that many people wouldn’t have thought to have entered.”In order to succeed in a product category, simplicity can be as successful as radical innovation. “I would say that a quality product is a product you are confident in,” says Jackson. For anyone entering this year’s BIA, he offers a useful tip: don’t pull out all the stops simply for the competition if you cannot back up your quality claims with daily production.”Use one of your normal products and make it as well as you would on a day-to-day basis,” he advises. “There’s nothing worse than winning a prize for something that you cannot replicate daily. In years gone by, you would get bread competitions where people would put their dough pieces through pastry brakes to get rid of the air bubbles. What’s the point? All the products that we entered came off our normal production.”The BIA trophy sits alongside a glut of skills and training awards in a brand new £1.2m bakery, which opened in November 2008. And although BIA would like to claim credit for the recent expansion, alas, it was already in the offing. “We’ve been searching for a site for 10 years! We couldn’t find the appropriate piece of land. Now that we’re in, we’re pleased.”Nevertheless, Jackson’s has benefited from promoting the win among wholesale customers and in its one retail shop, while they also got local media coverage. “It got a very good following,” he says – not least from one customer who travels from London every six weeks to buy 85 pies. “That’s quite an accolade!”The masterplan now is to build on the industry recognition Jackson’s has received and develop the wholesale business. “I like the type of business we do and we’ll expand upon that. The new premises allow us to be more consistent and efficient. We’ll diversify down the route of high volumes – but only on certain products that I would be happy to do that with. And if the business is there, we’ll take every opportunity that comes.”The company will also continue to tweak its traditional craft products to perfection. “We’re always trying to improve the product,” says McBurnie, and all staff are encouraged to offer suggestions if they think they can improve the product. “You will reach a stage where you think you’re there, then another baker or someone from outside will come along and improve on it.”Which begs the question, how much better can a steak pie get? We await the results of this year’s BIA with interest…l Details of categories and how to enter BIA09 will appear soon in BB and at [http://www.bakeryawards.co.uk]—-=== Building on success ===Jackson’s new bakery, built to make a traditional range of savouries, morning goods and confectionery, is a marked change to the old facility, which was housed in an old chapel. The extra space means there is potential to grow the wholesale business, which accounts for two-thirds of turnover.The build was completed in just six months. “I sourced a company from Shrewsbury called Capital Construction, and I took some advice from other food business architects. They got on with the lot and they were excellent,” says Trevor Jackson.That’s not to say it was all plain sailing. Problems with electricity supply meant that a budgeted £7,000 for energy installation rocketed to £45,000, with the installation of an electricity substation.A £300,000 investment in machinery, project-managed by Norbake, included two Mondial Forni Ciclomondial gas deck ovens and a Rotor Wide gas rack oven, two Lillnord 10-rack tunnel-type retarder-provers, a six-rack dough controller and a two-rack prover.—-=== View from the awards night ===”It was a massive do – there were over 800 people sat there and I’d never been to an event of that sort of magnitude before. It was a very nice, professional do and a great experience. Meeting Kate Thornton was really nice.”- Trevor Jackson, owner—-=== What winning meant to us ===”It was a big fillip for our staff. Every one of our production team can produce that pie, because that’s the way we operate. They all felt like they had a little finger in the pie, if you like.”- Trevor Jackson, owner
Portadown-based Howell House, the cakes and biscuits division of Northern Irish bakery Irwin’s, has secured a £250,000 deal to export its Howell’s Handmade Jammy Joeys cakes to 47 Asda stores in Scotland.The deal is the first time that Howell House has exported its products and is expected to boost total sales for the division to £600,000 per year. Howell House, acquired by Irwin’s three years ago, specialises in Irish-style cakes, making products under the Howell’s Handmade and Rankin Selection Cakes brands.David Quigg, NI and Scotland Asda buyer, said of the deal: “Our local business with Howell House has more than doubled over the last year, so this really is another great accomplishment and the first step in what we hope will be the roll-out of further products from the brand to Scotland and the rest of the UK.”Irwin’s export business is worth around £17m in sales, with Nutty Krust batch bread and Rankin Selection Irish breads on sale in mainland supermarkets.
Biscuit exports upExports of sweet biscuits are up, as the food and drinks sector is on track to achieve its fourth consecutive year of record export growth, according to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Sweet biscuits were up 12.4% to £95.2m in the first six months of 2009. But the FDF said more could be done to help small businesses export, “with issues such as longer credit terms creating real headaches for exporters”.Shelf-life innovationA breakthrough method to increase the shelf-life of bread by up to 14 days has been licensed to food ingredients company Puratos. Food scientists at University College Cork (UCC) developed the method, which has now been patented, using lactic acid bacteria. Puratos will upscale the scientists’ work to industrial level, before bringing it to market.Friendlier firmsA new study into the UK business sector has revealed small family-owned firms are regarded as more employee-friendly, motivational, passionate and creative than non-family private enterprises. According to the study, commissioned by insurer More th>n Business, this could spur a surge in interest from job-seekers, who have suffered at the hands of the recession.Costa expansionCosta has opened 119 new stores this year taking its estate to nearly 1,000 stores in the UK and over 400 stores overseas. Like-for-like sales for the first half of this year grew by 2.5%, with total revenues up 20% to £155.4m and operating profit up 72.6% to £12m. Just over 42% of Costa’s customers buy food when they visit a store.
“I have a recurring dream where I’m running up some stairs and I don’t know what’s at the top of them; it’s just a black hole. When I get to the top there’s a piece of bread on a pedestal. Either I need to start eating less or more bread, or the bread needs something” 20-year-old socialite Peaches Geldof, daughter of Sir Bob, has bread on her mind. Any answers?”The city of Toronto has a goal of making sure all coffee cups are recyclable” Toronto city councillor and chairman of the Public Works Committee Glenn De Baeremaeker picks a fight with the coffee chains, with the city on the verge of banning polyethylene cups, favoured by the likes of Tim Hortons”Egg cake, fruit cake, chocolate cake. I felt like a bakery dustbin” You can have too much of a good thing as Cheng Yu of Beijing found; he claims he is on the verge of divorcing his wife Tian Mae after she served up a cake for every meal
Almonds: Despite the September shipment figures from California being 2% lower than September 2008, pricing throughout October and certainly into November 2009 looks set to remain very firm.Hazels: Unfortunately the new crop in Turkey appears to be approximately 50% of the size of the 2008/09 crop, and nothing will improve the situation other than a release of the large quantity of old crop stocks held by the Turkish government.Walnuts: While China continues to buy strongly and with European industry starting to focus on its own additional 2010 requirements, we can only expect prices to remain firm and with the only respite short-term coming from the sometime weaker dollar.Pecans: This side of January, we can only see prices creeping ever northwards as stocks in origin and at destination deplete and buying for the Christmas period continues unabated. Pistachios: Previous reports now confirm that the US crop is down year-on-year, and the Iranian crop has reportedly been adversely affected during the harvest by rain. The impact of this into the UK, however, will be muted by virtue of the fact that Iranian exports to the UK have seen so much decline over the past two to three seasons.l Based on information provided by ingredients supplier RM Curtis
BakeMark UK is to change its name to CSM (United Kingdom) from 1 January.Gerald Hoetmer, worldwide CEO of CSM, said: “The name change reflects our local and global corporate identity. It capita-lises on our position as worldwide leader in the industry, showing our ambition to use our combined strength as a group. CSM has the size to drive essential global strengths, such as innovation, without losing focus on local operations and local needs.”John Lindsay, UK country manager and business unit director, told British Baker: “CSM is the largest supplier of bakery products worldwide. The name change is a very positive move as it further indicates our firm intention to work closely as a leading member of the group.”Lindsay added: “Increasingly, British bakers are inventive and open-minded; CSM (United King-dom) is now ideally placed to develop pan-European and American trends through working with our CSM counterparts worldwide and sharing information on initiatives and innovations exclusively with our customers.”The name change will not affect UK and Irish operations or the firm’s current product brands, such as Arkady bread ingredients, Craigmillar confectionery ingredients or Readi-Bake frozen and ambient bakery products.
By Max Jenvey of Oxxygen Marketing Partnership, a strategic management agency that delivers business acceleration processes and brand development within the foodservice, bakery and convenience retail sectors.One of the greatest challenges facing the fresh bakery world is production versus waste. So how do you strike the right balance between quality, speed of service and a minimal credible display; not forgetting busy customers who mostly want to grab and go? This is also your greatest opportunity as over 50% of these food-to-go customers are visiting in-store bakeries within convenience stores or high street bakers at least twice a week (him!).Our colleagues at him! also found out that 60% of these customers are female and19% of them are at-home mums who are looking for eat-in zones in cafés, bakeries and convenience stores. This is your golden ticket to increase their dwell time and average spend so what’s next?First things first the seating area: the most important consideration is table size and layout, as customers might have buggies with them, but at the same time you need to make best use of the space. You need to measure the size of the area dedicated to seating and arrange an efficient number of seats (him! CTP shopper insights).At-home mums or retired greys might only intend to sit down with a cup of coffee, but don’t have any budget in mind. You need to take full advantage of their mind-state and drive impulse to increase spend. Arrange your sweet pastries next to the coffee machine, as 30% of coffee customers are attracted by meal deals such as muffins, cakes and pastries (him! CTP shopper insights). Furthermore this is reflected across all sectors; from high street bakers to forecourt and café to convenience.Ensure your point of sale is visually stimulating and appealing. Great product shots of sausage rolls, Cornish pasties and mouth-watering Danish strategically located around the seating area will influence future purchase decisions.One cautionary note: make sure you send a member of staff out to tidy the seating area at least every 15 minutes as cleanliness ranks number two in terms of customer satisfaction