Month: April 2021

Speculation surrounds Harvestime’s future

first_imgAdministrators said they were on the brink of concluding the Harvestime (2005) sale as British Baker went to press. Joint administrator John Kelly, of Begbies Traynor, said only one buyer remained in negotiations. Talks were continuing at the unnamed bidder’s pace. A completion date of January 6 was expected. The buyer is principally interested in the company’s Walsall bakery which is still trading, and is said to have enjoyed a “seamless Christmas”. British Baker has learned Australian investor Ian Allen dropped out of negotiations and returned to Australia, after studying the Harvestime (2005) business. But, there is a chance he might return.Family-owned frozen desserts specialist Country Style Foods is the likely buyer, according to industry sources. The company has expanded rapidly through acquisition over the past years. It now has factories in Stockton, Leeds and Grimsby. It also owns the former Hibernia Foods site in Peterlee, County Durham, which is unused. Country Style chairman Tony Wood said he had “absolutely no comment” when called by British Baker.Administrators made an asset sale of equipment from one of the two Harvestime bakeries in Leicester before Christmas. Buyer Allied Bakeries said no decision on how the plant and machinery will be used had been made. Harvestime’s Peterborough and second Leicester site remain closed.last_img read more

Immigration officers arrest workers at Allied factory

first_imgFIVE workers at the Allied Bakeries plant in Gateshead have been arrested by immigration officers on charges of working illegally.The officers quizzed 16 staff at the plant and arrested five on suspicion of having fake passports and fake asylum registration cards. The staff had come to the company through a recruitment agency.In a statement, the Immigration Service said: “We can confirm the Immigration Service has visited Allied Bakeries and a number of addresses connected with the bakeries. Five immigration offenders were arrested.”A spokesman for Allied Bakeries said: “As part of a routine Immigration Service investigation, we were made aware that 16 temporary staff at our Gateshead bakery – all of whom were supplied by an employment agency – may not have genuine documentation allowing them to work in the UK. As a matter of routine, Allied, along with its employment agencies, conducts all the required document checks for new workers.”last_img read more

So cool, it’s hot

first_imgOne exhibit stood head and shoulders above the others at BIE – literally.Stopping a few people, whose heads were craned upwards, I asked what it was.”Never seen anything like it,” came the reply.After three such responses, it was time to get closer.It was certainly striking, but its rather odd, chimney-like appearance didn’t give any clues to its function.”Welcome to the Magnatech Cooler,” boomed the friendly voice of Antoon Vanoutryve on the stand.Magnatech is owned by Wyn Jones, former boss of Swansea-based Mono Equipment who is also on the stand demonstrating how the new cooler works. Says Wyn: “Only rarely does a piece of bakery equipment come along that can be described as ground-breaking, but the Magnacooler is one of the best innovations I’ve seen in over 30 years in the business. Like all great inventions it’s brilliant in its simplicity but it brings a bunch of benefits to the baker.””Do any UK bakers have one?” I ask.”David Powell of Rich Bakery Products has seven,” replies Wyn. “What he particularly likes about the Magnacooler is that cooling time doesn’t take any longer than the baking time, while products have better flavour and extended shelf life.”And apparently, George McKay of SM Baynes, near Edinburgh, says its the best piece of bakery equipment he’s ever bought.At this point two Irish ladies and their family joined in the conversation from the aisle. “We’ve got one,” they said. So with no disrespect to Antoon and Wyn, I decided I would like to hear from bakers who actually have a Magnacooler about what it does, then they could explain how it works.Siobhan and Maura Kearney run Kearney’s Home Baking in Ballyhahill, Co Limerick. They formed their scratch bakery in 1992, after achieving diplomas in bakery production and management at the National Bakery School in Dublin.Now they supply many of the leading convenience stores and foodservice providers. They were among the first customers to buy a Magnatech Cooler.Siobhan explains: “We first saw the Magnacooler at IBA in Germany six years ago, then again at the last IBA bakery show. Before we bought one, we used to cool the bakery products down with fans, transferring them from baking trays to cooling racks, like most bakers do. But now the racks go straight from the oven to the Magnacooler, where filtered cool air is brought in from outside the bakery and mixed with the air in the cooler. As the cool air mixes with the warm moist air coming from the products, it prevents any more moisture migrating from the products, giving better and more moist goods with a naturally longer shelf life of approximately 20%.”We don’t use preservatives, mould inhibitors or artificial colours,” says Siobhan. “If our breads, tarts, scones and porter cake lasted 5-8 days before we had the Magnacooler, we now gain an extra day or two.”Another advantage pointed out by the Kearneys is that, as moisture is not released from the product, it can be scaled at a lower weight ­ at least 2% lower. There are also fewer bacteria, and cooling complies with HACCP standards.Other benefits, according to Siobhan’s sister Maura, are a better flavour and texture, while using the Magnacooler also saves on labour, space and cleaning and you can slice and pack the goods faster. So an item that might usually be ready in 16 minutes is actually ready in six when you have a cooler. If the baker is using a deck oven, then the trays should be placed on a cooling rack and wheeled into the Magnacooler.Antoon adds that the Magnacooler works as well in Seville, Spain where the ambient temperature can be +47°C, as it does in Helsinki, Finland, where it might be -42°C.Says Wyn: “The Magnacooler is a mighty piece of equipment and comes in different sizes for different bakeries. It doesn’t come cheap, but it pays its way, it boosts competitiveness and profits and, like all the best equipment, will last a lifetime.”More information: []Email: [email protected]: +32 59 30 30 09Or call: Wyn Jones on 07970 002342—-=== How it all works ===Air is taken from outside (blue arrows), goes through inlet filters and is then compressed. This forced air is blown over the product, taking the heat, humidity and aroma from the product (red arrows). This air is filtered again in the outlet filters (cleaned discharge to HACCP) and goes outside. A part of the heated air is reused (orange arrows) by opening valves and a bypass section. By reusing this air, the incoming air has a perfect mixture of temperature and humidity. This air also brings the aroma back to the product.last_img read more

Spooner extends its service

first_imgForced convection technology company Spooner Industries is extending its presence in the baking industry with a range of air conditioning and ventilation systems to meet bakers’ needs.Spooner also has a new technical services division in place to offer full service and support for new and existing customers. This will include equipment inspection and reports, advice on maintenance schedules, recommendations and supply of spare parts, plant refurbishment and relocation.Other services include a bread cooling plant, designed to efficiently control product cooling and weight loss; steam, gas or electric heated bread-proving equipment; and air blast systems, which have been developed to control dough piece quality for use with either steam, gas or electric.[]last_img read more

Maple Leaf price-fixing inquiry continues

first_imgCanada Bread Company, the parent company of the UK’s biggest bagel supplier Maple Leaf, is continuing its investigation into allegations that an employee at its UK bakery operations, Maple Leaf Bakery, may have sought to influence the pricing of a competitor, Mr Bagel.These allegations have led to the suspension of the employee, while an investigation is carried out with the support of external legal counsel.Lynda Kuhn, senior vice president, communications and consumer affairs at Canada Bread told British Baker: “The investigation is continuing and there is nothing further to update at this time. We certainly see these as serious allegations and we’re treating them as such. We’re proceeding very quickly to understand the facts and would like to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”last_img read more

Patisserie UK folds after losing Costa contract

first_imgLees Foods’ Patisserie UK subsidiary has been placed into administration after attempts to sell it as a going concern proved unsuccessful. Patisserie UK, a bespoke manufacturer of coffee shop round cakes, loaf and tray cakes, desserts and biscuits, suffered due to the loss of a major customer – Costa Coffee – last year. When Lees Foods acquired the business in 2007, Costa represented 75% of Patisserie UK’s sales, but according to the company, within three weeks of the acquisition Costa announced it was to source a quarter of this business elsewhere. “In late December 2008, Costa Coffee notified Patisserie UK that it would be transferring all of its then remaining requirements from Patisserie UK to other suppliers. It has not been possible to replace this level of sales in an appropriate time frame and consequently the company is in a loss-making situation,” read a statement from Lees.Established in 1994, Patisserie UK currently employs 41 people at its Livingston base in West Lothian. “At a time when the other parts of the Group have been performing satisfactorily, it is with regret that the Board had to arrive at this disappointing decision,” commented Raymond Miquel, chairman and managing director of the Lees Group.Following a trading update from the company in February, its directors carried out a review of the business after a “disappointing” performance in 2008, with losses for the 12 months to 31 December 2008 totalling over £20,000.last_img read more

A way with words

first_imgAs craft bakers, along with other independent retailers, you may be feeling the pinch. Cost-cutting is important and, at times like these, it seems an easy option to stop spending time or money on marketing and publicity. But this would be a mistake. Your customers, the consumers, are also feeling vulnerable and uncertain of what lies ahead, so now is the time to communicate with them through all means available. You must reassure them that they still get the best value for money and quality from their local craft baker.That is why National Craft Bakers’ Week (NCBW) comes at a perfect time. This new initiative provides an ideal opportunity to increase your publicity. The twin aims of NCBW are to keep your existing customers coming back for more and to get new customers through your door. You should use the point-of-sale material available and exploit the publicity being generated to launch your own initiatives. The campaign will generate much-needed publicity for craft bakers nationwide, by stressing their importance to the local community, which, let’s face it, is your target market.There is absolutely no doubt that effective communication with your market will help grow your business. You need to be telling people what you are doing because you cannot assume that they will take the trouble to find out for themselves – they won’t! Start trying some of the following techniques and see what works for you.One major advantage of being able to talk to your customers is that you can ask them if they saw the piece in the local paper, for example. Other methods are measurable because the respondent needs to bring in the voucher or flyer enabling you to determine a response rate. Once you have decided on your method of communi-cation (see panel), you then need to decide what to say and how to say it. There are two golden rules:== 1. Keep it simple ==All copywriting should be kept simple. The aim is for the customer to read and understand your proposition instantly. If they can’t, then the chances are they will move on. If they can, they will make an informed decision whether to take advantage of it or not. Whatever you are selling, simple language will always get the message over more effectively – however tempting it is to make it more flowery.== 2. Write for your market ==You have to put yourselves in your customers’ shoes when you write to them. In the case of craft bakers, your market is the general public, so you have to write in a way they will all understand. Think of how they view your products and why they buy them and write accordingly. Their view is very different from yours as a craft baker.Finally, make sure someone proofreads what you write. You should do your utmost never to print anything with mistakes or ambiguities in and it is very difficult to proofread your own work.With the ease of use of modern computers and printers, you could produce these sorts of ideas in-house. If you or someone in your organisation is good with words, then give it a go. Alternatively, involve a copywriter or marketing agency to get you started. Whatever you do, make sure you get involved in National Craft Bakers’ Week. The UK baking industry does not often get much positive publicity, so make the most of this opportunity.—-=== Copywrites and copywrongs ===Do1. Use short sentences and paragraphs. They are easier to read. People are less likely to trip over short sentences and lose their place. This is important because if they get confused by what is written, they probably won’t bother to work it out.2. Always sell benefits. What is the benefit to the reader? People buy when they understand how the item benefits them. It could be as simple as “our triple sandwich will keep you going until teatime”. Or there could be more technical, health-orientated or financial benefits.3. Use attention-grabbing words. There are plenty of words that encourage people to read on. Look at the high street around you or at adverts in magazines and newspapers. Free, now, sale, offer, trust, safe, today, you, new, discover, special, exclusive…..the list goes on!4. Include a call to action. This means that the reader should be clear what you want them to do, such as visit the shop! Look at the window sticker for the National Craft Bakers’ Week. The call to action is clear: “come on in and buy”.5. Use testimonials where relevant. These are genuine quotes from satisfied customers recommending your goods or service. Always attribute them. If you make them anonymous, people won’t believe them.Don’t1. Don’t assume knowledge on the part of your market that they may not have. If they don’t understand what you have written, then they will stop reading.2. Don’t use jargon. This is where you really have to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. They may well not understand about Chorleywood or proving or even morning goods. Keep it simple.3. Refrain from utilising polysyllabic syntax when a diminutive alternative will suffice. Or to put it another way, don’t use long words when short ones will do!4. Don’t use clichés. Generally people want to read things they have not read before. So avoid “at the end of the day, you’d have to go a long way for this once in a lifetime chance”.5. Don’t ask a question if the answer is either indifference or not what you want. So you would be safe with “Do you want to eat the tastiest doughnuts in town?” but possibly not with “Are you looking for vegetarian sausage rolls?” Most people won’t be.? David Grieve is a freelance copywriter, running Northern Prospect Copywriting, and has worked with the baking industry for more than 20 [email protected]—-=== Methods of communicating ===In the craft retail environment, you have an instant opportunity to communicate with your customers through your friendly and knowledgeable shop staff. This should never be undervalued. But what else can you do? For a start, learn from those around you. Have a good look at your local supermarket, because there are a lot of ideas in there you could adapt.l Point of sale: everything in your display must have a name and a price. Any special offers should be highlighted on posters or display cards on the counter. Even if the customer doesn’t take advantage of the offer, at least they know that you run promotions. Use the National Craft Bakers’ Week point-of-sale material. It is bright and colourful and the public will recognise it as the publicity kicks in.l Flyers/vouchers: offer your customers something to encourage repeat purchases. This could simply be an offer leaflet handed over to each customer making a purchase to use on their next visit. It could also promote a new line or range.l Direct mail: you could target households in your geographic area with a special offer sheet. You might not like receiving direct mail, but the fact you still get it proves that it works!l Local media: if you have a newsworthy event, then let everyone know about it, either by a paid advertisement or by submitting a press release to gain free publicity.l Newsletters: produce a regular newsletter giving customers information about what you are doing and new services and products you are offering. You could also add value by giving information such as basic tricks of the trade or recipe ideas.last_img read more

Tate & Lyle adds texture

first_imgTate & Lyle has launched a new starch, Resistamyl 140, which can be used in a number of applications such as bakery cream, custard or pastry cream.The starch has been designed to create texture in hot processed bakery creams, while delivering benefits such as forming a rich and cuttable gel and providing a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. A range of textures can be achieved by combining Resistamyl 140 with native maize starch.Bakery creams prepared with the starch have good baking stability and demonstrate tolerance to the freeze-thaw cycle, said the firm.last_img read more

Real Bread Campaign launches initiatives for schoolchildren

first_imgThe Real Bread Campaign (RBC) is going into schools in a bid to spread knowledge about its definition of ‘real bread’ to the next generation.Launching on 24 January, RBC has devised a scheme – Bake Your Lawn – to encourage children around Britain to plant wheat in February and March, and to follow its journey from seed to sandwich in their own back garden.A free to download information pack will be available from The guide has been designed for teachers and parents to help children of all ages to plant, grow and mill their own wheat, before baking and eating it.Bake Your Lawn companions, including Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food programme Bakery Bits, The National Trust, Organic Seed Producers, and many RBC members, will work together to make seed wheat available, organise community harvesting, milling and baking days, and encourage members to get involved.RBC is also launching a national scheme to help pass on breadmaking skills to the next generation, called Lessons in Loaf, where professional bakers will pair up with local primary schools.Also free to download is a Lessons in Loaf handbook, which contains lesson plans, recipes, information and ideas designed to help teachers get children at Key Stage 2 level thinking and asking questions about the food they eat.Campaign ambassador Tom Herbert, director of Cotswolds-based Hobbs House Bakery, commented: “I just ran a Lesson in Loaf at my local primary school and it was fantastic to see their faces light up, and their messy hands, to really get what real bread is all about.”Lynn Harrison, head teacher of Culgaith School in Cumbria, which took part in the pilot phase of the scheme added: “The children had a great time and lots of fun. We now have plans in the spring term to run a community-wide breadmaking day using the children as co-experts.”last_img read more

Bread prices set to rise

first_imgBread prices are set to rise again, with the on-shelf price for an 800g loaf predicted to increase by 10-15p in the next few weeks.Gary Sharkey, head of wheat procurement for Hovis, told British Baker: “Bakers cannot possibly absorb the latest round of increases.Flour costs have risen yet again, due to world shortages, and there have been big increases in energy costs, a major factor in baking, plus significant rises in oil prices affecting daily distribution costs.”He said that, last September, wheat prices had risen 60% year-on-year due to adverse weather conditions and high demand. Since September, prices have continued to rise and are now £50 a tonne higher.Niall Irwin, of Irwins plant bakery in Northern Ireland and president of the Irish Association of Master Bakers, said; “We are not immune. We cannot absorb recent steep increases and will have to pass costs on shortly. We supply Irish and mainland supermarkets throughout the UK. It’s not just fuel and flour costs that have risen, but edible oils and fats used in baked goods. Dried fruit, too, is continually rising.“Everyone is hopeful the next harvest will be good quality and plentiful, but if not, it will be a continuous spiral of price rises.”Warburtons’ CR director Sarah Miskell said: “We are aware of continued input costs such as wheat and energy. For now we are monitoring the market really closely. In these volatile market conditions, it is always  difficult to predict the full extent of the long-term price peaks. Price rises may be needed, but Warburtons feels it is too early to do this at the moment and will continue to watch the markets.Mike Holling of 52-shop Birds of Derby, who is also chairman of the National Association of Master Bakers, representing high street independents, said: “We are experiencing increases every week in ingredients, while fuel and energy have risen considerably. We had to raise bread prices last week.“A few days ago, I met with several members of the National Association. Some have already raised prices and others are intending to very shortly, just to keep their businesses viable.”Jefta kon Lakovic, chief executive of Arnouti Pitta Bakery, which supplies supermarkets, said: “As well as all the increases, commodity price speculators have changed their speculation to the most important commodities of the world – food.”>>Short stocks force sugar suppliers to raise priceslast_img read more