Irish food giant IAWS Group said it is satisfied with overall trading performance in the year to date, as it held its Annual General Meeting on January 30.But chairman Denis Lucey said the company, which operates brands including Delice de France, Cuisine de France and Pierre’s, is only five months into its new financial year and it is too early to make predictions about the current year, particularly as over 60% of operating profit comes in the second half of the year. IAWS now distributes bakery and convenience food products to over 50,000 outlets in Ireland, the UK, France, the USA and Canada, he told shareholders. The company had a successful financial year to July 31, 2005, with food sales up by 22.6% to E892 million (£609m). Like-for-like sales were up 12.1% year-on-year. Mr Lucey said total operating profit was at a new high of E124.4m (£85.02m), which was an increase of 13.7% on the previous year. In the UK bakery business, product and concept innovation, together with greater market penetration, continued to be a driver of growth last year, IAWS said. This was a particularly strong performance given the challenging dynamics within the UK convenience retail category, according to IAWS. Foodservice performed very well in the period and recovered substantially from the business interruption experienced in London in November 2004, when its Delice de France depot caught fire, it said. In December 2004, the group made its largest ever acquisition, when it bought France’s Groupe Hubert. This firm contributed E7.4m to operating profits between December and the year-end, added Mr Lucey.IAWS will present its interim results on March 13.
Café chain BB’s Coffee & Muffins is scaling up its training facilities with the launch of a new academy in Ireland.The chain, which has 150 outlets in the UK and 20 in Ireland, has based its new Franchisee & Management Training Academy at its Irish head office, in Limerick.The academy, which accomodates 12 students at a time, has a counter and kitchen set-up, as well as classroom facilities.Participants will be able to make BB’s muffins and become skilled baristas and makers of BB’s range of sandwiches and baguettes during their two-week course. It will also train techniques for ser-ving the New Zealand Natural ice-cream and chilled drinks range.BB’s also plans to run three- day intensive courses on topics ranging from staff recruit- ment and retention to financial management.The custom-built facility will support new and existing franchisees to acquire operational and management skills, as well as brand consistency to operate BB’s cafés, said retail and brands director Michele Young.”We consider training to be of paramount importance and fundamental to the success of each business,” said Young.”Our franchise base of 150 is growing rapidly, especially as we have now introduced our UK franchising model into Ireland. We provide our new franchisees with support to ensure they are successful from the start and achieve and maintain maximum productivity
High wastage levels have been reported at some plant bakeries, due to the new UK wheat harvest.The Home Grown Cereals Authority said last week that hagberg falling numbers (starch integrity) and protein content on the new harvest was poor, and now plant bakers have reported problem loaves, particularly with wholemeal and additive-free breads.Industry sources say that some plant bakers are seeing wastage levels from 5% to over 20%.British Bakeries milling and baking technical director Paul Molyneux said: “There has been increased waste in our bakeries due to this very troublesome crop.” Joe Street, MD of Banbury’s Fine Lady Bakeries added: “This crop is more difficult than any other I have experienced. It is hard to keep loaf shape, and problems show up particularly in bread with incorporations.”Cheshire’s Roberts Bakery technical manager Alison Ordonez said there were widespread problems, particularly among plant bakers that relied on Group 1 English wheat. She said: “We have had to review formulations as we switch to the new flour. It’s not the protein level that is a problem, the dough lacks body and there is little oven spring.”Improver manufacturers say they are visiting customers to find a solution. Paul Morrow, MD of British Bakels commented: “Our technical staff have been working flat out, to overcome the problem of collapsing loaves, causing them an average of 5% wastage. Bakers are experiencing side-walling of bread made with the new flour [sides are concave]. We may yet see this with rolls [dough blisters].”Derek Kemp, head of the bread focus division at supplier BakeMark UK commented: “Our technical staff are all visiting clients to help sort out the problems, which mainly lie with brown and wholemeal bread. We are looking at reformulating our improver.”Sara Autton, technical specialist at ingredients distributor Fermex, said the firm was reviewing its improver formulation. Bakers may also have to change processes.Wheat specification was also likely to be a challenge on products that require strong cake flours, such as for Christmas cakes, croissants and crackers, she said.Gary Sharkey, head of wheat procurement at miller Rank Hovis said quality issues with wheat grown in the UK meant most millers were sourcing from abroad. “Importing wheat is also favourable because it is almost the same price as UK wheat. This year’s wheat seems worse compared to 2006’s near vintage harvest.”Paul Matthews, joint-MD of miller FWP Matthews, said: “The quality of the English wheat in our area, the Cotswolds, is poor. We’ve had to import wheat from Canada to blend with English wheat. For bakers, the transitional period will be troublesome.”
Bakery Services has sold its two operating divisions, Inbake and Don Millers, to current directors Keith Bentley and David Drury for £50,000, after a shareholder meeting on 28 December.
== What service do you sell? ==We provide hygienic industrial screening. Chadbourn’s is a market leader in the design and build of scaffolding and screening to the food and beverage industry, including clean rooms, cold stores and live production lines.== How does this differ to other products on the market? ==The ’Chadbourn System’ is very flexible and can be adapted to virtually any structure. Major construction or refurbishment work can be carried out with little disruption to production. As a temporary structure, no planning permission is required for either a screen or enclosure, whether internal or external.== Can’t bakers get away with not using this? ==Yes they can, if they want a cost to their business for closing down their factory or production line. But if they want to continue with production, at no risk to their products, then no, they need Chadbourn.== OK, explain the techie stuff ==We use a full range of materials that are contamination-free, non-flammable, sound-resistant and weatherproof, and have significantly higher levels of protection than polythene sheeting. They do not rot or support bacterial growth and also have excellent high and low temperature characteristics.== Bottom line, what is this worth to the baker? ==For when a speck of dust could close you down! If you need a solution that will not affect your production line, while work is carried out, we have the answer.[http://www.chadbourn.co.uk]
What does a raspberry taste like? Well, to give a scientific answer, 13 hydrocarbons, 36 alcohols, 17 aldehydes, 22 ketones, 16 acids and 27 esters.Enter the ’flavourist’ a scientist who can mix up a quick raspberry in a test tube, and whose skills are increasingly in demand as the baking industry looks at ways to cut costs and reap various technical benefits.Estimates from Leatherhead Food Research suggest that the global flavourings market in food and drink was worth something between $6.5bn and $7bn in 2008, and growing at a rate of about 2% a year.By application, bakery, snacks and confectionery account for around a third of food and drink flavours consumption worldwide, according to Leatherhead’s Food and Beverages Trends in Western Europe report, published in November 2009.So what exactly do bakery flavourists have to offer and what are the market trends? Well it may not be as weird and wacky as one might expect. Of the growth areas that Leather-head has identified in its research, three chime with sup-pliers to the bakery sector: escalating demand for natural flavours; products that allow reductions in fat and sugar; and flavour alternatives, which allow cost savings.Firstly, though, there is the question of delivery. Flavours are generally used in baking in liquid or powdered form. Encapsulating the flavour is an area of innovation. The flavour releases at a set stage in the baking process, offering technical benefits as well as potential cost savings.Supplier Tastetech says hot cross buns are a seasonal example. Technical manager Gary Gray says bun spice can be quite aggressive to yeast. Encapsulating the flavour keeps the yeast and the spice separate and also means that, as the spice flavour releases later, less of it is needed to give the same impact.Lemon is another example of a flavour that it is useful to encapsulate so as not to clash with baking powder.Fresh approach neededMike Bagshaw director of International Taste Solutions says his firm, launched last year, wants to be an innovator on flavours. Bagshaw believes it is time for a fresh approach to flavour delivery. “Everyone thinks the flavour industry is innovating all the time, but customers often have the same old thing rammed down their throats. We want to help them come up with new solutions,” he says.To that end, he is working on some new top-secret proprietary delivery systems for flavours, set to launch in July.Stepping away from the lab to look at trends, natural and “authentic” flavours are increasingly in demand as clean-label continues to be a priority at retail level.It’s partly due to rising consumer awareness of healthy eating and artificial additives, but also driven by the fact that revised European legislation on labelling, making it mandatory to provide information on food colours and flavourings on the label (EC 1334/2008), comes into effect in January 2011.”Real fruit” and fruit flavours, which consumers see as being more natural and providing essential vitamins and nutrients are big growth areas. Simon Solway, MD of Unifine Food & Bake Ingredients says: “Customers want pure flavours. They have got to be natural it’s a prerequisite now. Retailers want to be innovative, but the most important thing is good, natural flavours.” Unifine’s products include Delifruit, a range of ready-to-use 70% fruit fillings in flavours such as strawberry and apple, for example.Meanwhile, supplier Frutarom has created what it calls a more natural strawberry flavouring, rather than the typical sweet confectionery strawberry flavour. The company cultivated a crop of strawberries, which were analysed at the point of optimum ripeness to take and replicate their profile.Other fruit flavour products coming through include URC concentrated fruit pieces, manufactured by Taura Natural Ingredients, which contain up to seven times their own weight in real fruit and are bake-stable.Dark chocolate, origin-specific flavours and flavours demonstrating provenance also tie in with the ’natural’ trend and, from the retailer’s point of view, give products a premium edge.Putting the flavour backThe second big focus in the flavours sector is on putting taste back into lower-sugar, lower-fat and lower-salt products, as well as gluten-free bakery products. Suppliers must ensure that taste profiles do not suffer.Balancing potential sensory disadvantages for the consumer is key, says Axel Graefe, general manager, taste solutions Europe at Frutarom, which already offers what it calls a “broad range of masking flavours” to cover any undesirable tastes.Meanwhile, supplier Synergy predicts that, as bakers become more aware of the health and wellness trend, products related to fat and saturated fat reduction, as well as sugar reduction, will become increasingly significant to the sector. Looking to the future, adding functional ingredients that allow manufacturers to make positive health claims will gradually become more common, says Donna Rose, marketing manager for Synergy Europe and Asia.The third trend, particularly in an economic downturn, is that manufacturers are looking at ways to cut ingredients’ costs by using flavour substitutes.Unifine’s Solway comments: “You see that cost is a huge issue; we are starting to win business by making sure that the flavours are at the right cost. People don’t just switch flavours from one day to the next it’s the ultimate characteristic of their product. But we can show them that using our products can improve taste.” Honey and butter are examples of ingredients where suppliers can save money by using alternative flavours, he says.Other examples from Frutarom include cocoa enhancer and two natural vanilla replacers, which can be used instead of synthetic vanilla in bakery. These enable manufacturers to make the claim “natural flavour”, while avoiding the higher costs of natural vanilla.But maybe more tried-and-tested routes are also worth reviewing. Malt supplier Muntons suggests it might be time to look again at malt. Marketing manager Andy Janes says using malt reduces the inclusion rate of the main flavour component. “Take savoury biscuits one of our customers wanted to introduce a cheese flavour and discovered that adding malt extract achieved this, without the addition of cheese. When cheese was then added, the flavour was outstanding far better than when cheese was added on its own.”California Raisins says raisins have a key role to play. Tartaric acid, found in raisins and juice concentrate, acts as a flavour enhancer, so any other flavours involved in the product will benefit. Raisins also contain propionic acid, which inhibits mould growth, thus potentially extending shelf-life.It seems that as science paces ahead, nature may already hold some of the best solutions. After all, it certainly thought of raspberries first. Blending in at BIE Dandy LionsDandy Lions, a honey importer and blender, promoted a new side to its business at this year’s Baking Industry Exhibition the manufacture of syrups. The company can offer refined and blended agave and maple syrup, as well as bespoke blends, where customers want extra ingredients blended with invert syrup. “It cuts out the processes for them,” says the firm’s Hamish Deas. “For example, we’re producing a maple-flavoured syrup that contains invert syrup, pure maple syrup and a maple flavour in there to stand up to production, and it also has some salt, because that’s what our customer wants bespoke to them. Basically, anything anybody wants blending, we can blend it.” Elgar FoodsAlso offering bespoke blends was Elgar Foods, which showcased spicy apricot, apple with toffee fudge, minty raspberry, rhubarb with a hint of ginger and a cherry ’Bakewell’ jam with an almond flavour. It uses cold-stable starch, as well as heat-stable starches to mimic the characteristics of a hot processed jam. These are ambient-stable with a 12-week shelf-life. “We’re trying to give customers the opportunity to put different flavours into their products; 99% of our products are bespoke,” said business development manager Adam Day. Another jam it makes uses 2% expanded orange peel to give 30% more fibre.
“Peter sets to work and introduces me to the ’Bitch’. The Bitch is the starter, the natural, yeasty leaven that makes the good bread really good bread. The Bitch smells strong and vinegary and she makes popping, breathing sounds that tell us she is alive and well”one food blog, This could be Ludlow or Anywhere, gets an insight into how Price & Sons’ head baker Peter Cook treats his starter”Greggs now sells water with a ’sports cap’. They might as well sell pies with track spikes”comedian and star of The Thick of It Chris Addison is unconvinced by Greggs’ latest offer”Clearly, the message from The Hague today is simple: you can kill and rape and mutilate as much as you like, but if you really want to gain a purchase on early 21st-century western discourse you need to have once had contact with a celebrity in some incredibly minor way. Even now, let’s hope that the Janjaweed militia are making a pitch for posterity by sending baskets of muffins to Lindsay Lohan”handing baked gifts to celebrities could be the best way for an aspiring dictator to gain global notice, says The Guardian’s Marina Hyde, irked by the media hype surrounding Naomi Campbell’s witness appearance at The Hague for having allegedly received a ’blood diamond’ gift from former Liberian despot Charles Taylor
To our desk-bound readers: have you noticed that those blue-sky brainstorming meetings have subdued to a sombre grey of late? Is your new product development drizzling rather than sparkling? Losing clients left, right and centre? It could be something to do with your limp, pappy office sarnies.A new survey shows that 80% of employees think the quality of sandwiches at their business meetings has fallen. The study, by office design company Maris Interiors, found that only 4% of those questioned felt that the quality of sandwiches had improved over the last five years, with 16% noticing no change.Employers have cut their sarnie bill by 50% as the average cost of sandwiches per person at meetings fell to a dreary £3.80, plummeting from a near £6 per person pre-recessionary height in 2006. The popular crayfish and avocado and chicken teriyaki varieties of five years past have fallen by the wayside, to be replaced with cheapo cheese and pickle and tuna and sweetcorn, which featured heavily in the new survey. “It’s a sign of these austere times that companies are spending much less on sandwiches in the boardroom,” said Maris Interiors’ chairman Michael Howard. “You won’t impress a client with jam sandwiches.”If the wave of political activism sweeping the world has taught us anything, it is not to ignore the will of the people. With four in five people unhappy with their lunchtime lot, employers take note, lest you find egg mayonnaise on your faces.
Lincoln-based The Original Cake Company has acquired Nottinghamshire firm Special Little Cakes.As part of its plans to grow the business, it has also recently invested £250,000 in a new factory, which will be up and running within a few weeks.The Original Cake Company produces hand-finished fruit and loaf cakes, supplying the wholesale trade and speciality retailers, while Special Little Cakes claims to be the UK’s largest manufacturer of miniature greetings cakes.Established 25 years ago, Special Little Cakes had been looking to expand, and from this month, the trade and assets of the business, will come under the new ownership of The Original Cake Company, taking the combined staff total to 35.“Both companies complement each other really well and we are looking forward to supplying an increased range of beautifully baked and skillfully decorated hand-iced cakes,” commented Simon Woodiwiss, general manager of The Original Cake Company.He said that the company had outgrown its current site and was struggling for capacity, prompting the decision to invest in a new factory. He added that the new site would enable the business to get to a higher level of accreditation – BRC. “It will open us up to a whole new spectrum of opportunities,” he said.Woodiwiss said the two cake businesses would be run separately for the foreseeable future, but added that the acquisition would help iron out the seasonal spike in production that the Lincoln firm had been experiencing.
The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is looking for small businesses to take part in the ‘Business Buddy’ scheme, recently signed up to by the likes of business secretary Vince Cable.The scheme aims to give first-hand experience of life at a small business to MPs, during Parliament’s summer recess. Other MPs, including shadow Olympic minister Tessa Jowell, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and shadow education secretary Andy Burnham, have also signed up. A number of MPs have already been matched up with placement businesses, but the FPB is looking for other businesses to take part in a couple of locations where none of its members are available. If any small businesses are interested in welcoming a work-experience MP, please email [email protected] Visit www.fpb.org/getbritaintrading for more info.