Research conducted after this year’s NEC shows resulted in a clear majority of exhibitors saying they wanted British Baker and publisher William Reed to run a bakery show for the industry.William Reed Exhibitions said it is therefore proud to launch a major new event, The Baking Industry Exhibition (BIE), at the NEC from 6-9 April 2008.This exciting new event will run alongside Food & Drink Expo, the Convenience Retailing Show and Foodex Meatex, which in 2006 attracted well over 70,000 visitors to see the largest gathering of exhibitors in the UK.Charles Reed, group MD of William Reed, said: “The UK bakery sector is diverse covering craft, plant bakers as well as supermarkets. It is therefore vital for our industry to have a truly focused event with British Baker and The Grocer leading the way. I feel confident that we will be able to convert the industry enthusiasm for a quality marketing platform.”Big investment is planned for BIE with many new visitor benefits such as a demonstration theatre, artisan master classes and competitions, a fully functional bakery, and industry trend update analysis.
Two months ago we reported on the ascendancy of the sliced-bread brands that were stealing market share left, right and centre from retailer own-label bread manufacturers (December 1, 2006, pg 26).David Howlett, sales director of Fine Lady Bakeries, says that in just 10 years, a national split of 70/30 own-label/branded, in favour of own-label, has been turned on its head. In central England – where Fine Lady Bakeries distributes within a 150-mile radius of its Banbury, Oxfordshire, base – own-label manufacturers and other bakeries, outside of big brands such as Warburtons, Hovis and Kingsmill, lost nearly 3% market share between July 2005 and July 2006 (Warburtons Bakery Review 2006).But Fine Lady is flying the flag for own-label. It has supplied retailers’ brands for over 40 years and has successfully divided its business into retail and sandwich breads, building up one of the biggest bakeries in Europe and an impressive list of major customers in the process.Fine Lady supplies Tesco’s Finest breads and Howlett says: “Our lifeblood is own-label and we see ourselves, and the customers we work with, as the custodians of own-label.” Retailer own-label has gone from strength to strength, he adds, because it offers excellent value compared to branded bread.Development of super-premium breads for Tesco and Waitrose is driving the category. “The likes of Tesco and Waitrose are showing some of the best performances on own-label. We like to think it’s partly to do with our involvement with them, as well as the types of businesses that they are.”While the company does have a brand, Good Fresh Bread, which covers a limited number of key products such as white, brown, wholemeal and malted, and goes into wholesalers, schools, colleges and small shops, but the main focus is on supplying retailers and sandwich manufacturers. “If the brands had their way it would be a completely branded market,” says Howlett. “But I believe if you have a marketplace full of brands, what’s the difference – from the retailer’s perspective?”Away from retail, Fine Lady is the biggest supplier of sandwich bread to the industry. It supplies the UK’s largest sandwich manufacturer, Greencore Sandwiches, while Marks & Spencer was recently added to its list of big hitters. “M&S is seen as a forerunner in the sandwich market so it’s extremely pleasing. It says a lot about the quality and service of our business,” says Howlett.Sandwich bread volume is higher at the start of the week whereas bread destined for retail is higher at the back end and this allows Fine Lady to balance its business. Sandwich and retail bread are two very different markets, says Howlett.On one hand, NPD is focused on achieving the softest possible loaf for retail and, on the other, bread with enough resilience for sandwich manufacturing. So batch loaves for retail will be made with a single dough piece, baked open-topped for an open structure, while sandwich bread will be mainly four-pieced and lidded.Bread is increasingly regarded as more than just a carrier. The emerging trend in sandwich making is for freshness and many think Pret A Manger has set the benchmark, making sandwiches on-site daily in ambient conditions. But sandwich bread doesn’t fare so well in a chilled chain – chilling quickens the staling process and the filling doesn’t help. So how does the plant baker adapt his loaf to meet this consumer shift?”Anything is achievable,” says Howlett. “We’re challenging areas other bakers probably don’t even look at because we’re working with a different supply chain. Our aim is to put the best possible bread into the market.”DEMANDING MARKETAlthough standard bread types dominate the market, Fine Lady has developed premium lines, such as white bread with onion and a Christmas loaf with cranberries.Significant cost increases will present further challenges this year. Rising energy costs, which have slowed recently, have merely sharpened the focus on adding value. “The baking industry is a very demanding market – it’s all about balancing volume with a commercially viable proposition and driving value into the market, which has helped us over the last two years,” says Howlett. “The challenge this year will be making a sufficient return to keep investing in the business in tough commercial conditions.”Key to controlling costs is to constantly reassess equipment and processes, while retaining quality. This includes fully automating the new Omega industry tray, which Howlett believes will become standard throughout systems, alongside the existing basket.A significant capital spend has been made on installing a high-tech ice machine on the sandwich bread line to control dough temperatures, after last year’s hot summer. The firm has also introduced a longer tin that extends the loaf by two or three slices, specifically for the sandwich market, reducing the waste on end crusts. “With the volume that goes through the bakery. you need to be efficient,” he says. “There’s additional capital cost but it’s essential for the long-term.”Fine Lady Bakeries, established in 1962, is part of the independently owned Heygate Group, which helps it to invest in equipment, he says. The group also owns six mills on three sites. For bakery, flexibility, speed to market, consistency, quality of product and service, he believes, benefit from single-site production.”We are limited in our geographical area, but we make up for that by being quicker to react and having everything under one roof. Not being a public company, we can look at things in the mid- to long-term. We are autonomous, swift on our feet and able to make decisions quickly. That gives us an advantage over some our larger competitors.”So how does Fine Lady go about developing ranges with its customers? “We tailor-make specific solutions,” says Howlett. “We constantly monitor the product’s appeal, whether it is still hitting the key messages behind its launch, and any responses to trends.” The firm’s dedicated NPD team usually takes products to shelf within three to six months, working with the customer.Breads, rolls and fruited products are a mainstay of the baker’s repertoire but morning goods remains relatively underdeveloped, he believes. “There has been a lot of focus in the industry on premium breads, but the roll side has been a poor relation. That’s certainly an area of our business that we’re looking to expand.”Close relationships are forged in developing the retailer’s unique briefs – whether that’s inventing a new roll or reducing salt levels in existing products, he says. Own-label manufacturers are ahead of the brands on the healthy-eating agenda, he believes, and hydrogenated vegetable oils have been removed in most Fine Lady products. “Sodium levels on own-label are generally lower than the brands, and we’ve worked extremely hard on our sandwich bread to bring them down.”All ingredients will henceforth be questioned, he believes. “We must ask: ’How can we get the cleanest label possible?’”Bread is such a staple part of the diet, we have to ask how can we help with the health debate. Anything on the label needs to be challenged to justify why it is there.” n—-=== Fine Lady at a glance ===Established: 1962Ownership: Part of family-owned Heygate GroupLocation: Single bakery in Banbury, OxfordshireAnnual turnover: £50 million-plusProduct turnover: Two million loaves per week and in excess of a million units of morning goodsEmployees: 400-plusSpecialism: Supplying retailer own-label breads and sandwich manufacturersKey customers: Tesco, Waitrose, Greencore Sandwiches, Samworth BrothersProducts: Premium and standard breads, batch breads, organic breads, sandwich loaves, sub rolls, torpedo rolls, oval rolls, round rolls, cobs and burger buns, fruited teacakes and bunsDistribution: Via own dedicated fleet and some third-party distributionBrand label: Good Fresh Bread
Passions are clearly running high over the future of training in the baking industry, as bakery tutor Chris North so eloquently discourses in this week’s Friday Essay (pg 13).The relationship between the sector skills council Improve, employers and colleges has not been one without tensions over how to take the issue forward, while the path ahead has so far been beset by good intentions, but little action.An October conference on bakery training is being lined up by the Student Alliance (formerly the NFBSS/IBA Alliance) to address this, with the aim of getting the key industry decision-makers – from employers to student bodies – in one room to hammer out the future of bakery training. With plans still at an early stage, we will report details as and when they become available.In the meantime, big changes are afoot, with NVQ and SVQ qualifications set for an overhaul. Improve will unveil a series of new qualifications “designed by employers to deliver to employers’ needs, and to provide a pathway to enable individuals to get the skills they require”, says Paula Widdowson, communications director for Improve.common modulesFor the first time there will be specific pathways for learning for every type of baker at NVQ Level 2, with common modules applicable to all pathways. “At the moment, there are four or five qualifications in bakery,” she says. “Some might cover process, some might cover craft. Now, for the first time ever, there will be, for instance, a qualification specifically for a craft baker, an in-store baker or a highly automated plant baker. There will be common areas covered, such as cleaning, security, storage, distribution and retail.”A further five pathways will be available at Level 3, along functional lines such as management, improvement, technical skills and supply chain management.Qualifications will be obtainable either through on-the-job training, through colleges or through private training provision. “Because there are so many modules involved, they can be done in a variety of ways – some can be done online or through distance learning,” says Widdowson.”This hasn’t been done by Improve, sat on its own in an ivory tower. This has all been done with the help of hundreds of employers, responding to our consultation platforms and one-to-one meetings,” she says. So what have employers requested? “They’ve been asking to make the qualifications more relevant to their needs, to beef up the management side, to make the underpinning knowledge about how dough works at a relevant depth for the particular role, rather than blanket-cover everybody to the same level of knowledge. Employers want to pick and choose the relevant knowledge that is required.”Seven types of qualification will come into effect in September. Improve will be giving full details of them at an event on 6 July in Leeds, aimed at employers and employees, where there will also be an opportunity to sign up to modular courses.Meanwhile, the National Bakery School at London South Bank University has sought to improve the level of bakery training available by introducing a two-year Foundation Degree in Baking Technology Management. Upon completion, students can top up their qualification with either a BSc (Hons) Food Design and Technology or a BA (Hons) in Business Management. Head of the school Dr John Marchant says the course updates and replaces existing qualifications, which were either too theoretical in nature or too basic in content.This foundation degree will cater particularly for the needs of young people entering the industry and also for those already working in the baking industry, who may benefit from further professional development. Although there has been no formal publicity, the course has already received 10 applications.practical course”Improve suggested we set up a foundation degree and we began this process in consultation with industry. It has taken us two years to achieve this goal but we can now recruit for a September 2007 start,” says Marchant. “It gives students both a management and science outlook, but overall, it’s a very practical course.”He urged other colleges to follow suit: “We’re very lucky that we’re part of London South Bank University, which made it much easier to set up, but I would suggest that other colleges could affiliate with universities and do the same. All students would then have access to a foundation degree across the country, which would provide the baking industry with a firm footing for the future and bring us into line with other industries.” nl The Improve event, Pick Your Mix, will be held at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds on 6 July. For more information, email: [email protected]—-=== Future employment trends ===l skills required in the sector are increasing as time progressesl management positions will increase greatlyl the number of elementary jobs will continue to falll food scientists, NPD, traceability and legislation demands are critical areas for the industryl flexibility has to be increased to attract more females, ethnic minorities and older workersIndustry needsWhat food and drink sector skills council, Improve says the industry wants:l relevant and accessible productivity trainingl improved in-house and on-the-job trainingl improved clarity of communication on training and funding across the UKl regional group training for small to medium enterprisesl a conversion programme for food scientists—-=== New training course ===Starting in September, the Foundation Degree at the National Bakery School hopes to give:l A grounding in business knowledge to support the start-up and operation of a small business or the enterprise initiative to work with an international food companyl A practical and conceptual awareness of the wider environmental constraints acting on the baking industryl A range of practical strategies for creating, developing and sustaining the baking business or enterprise initiativesl A vocationally-based capability to enhance and/or develop novel ideas into a successful baking business or bakery-related enterpriseAny bakers who are willing to offer work placements are asked to contact Dr John Marchant at [email protected] Placements will start in June 2008 and run for 15 weeks
n Square Pie, the chain of pie shops based in London, is launching a ’Cold Classics’ summer menu next month, in a bid to solve the problem of seasonality. The menu will include a pork pie lunch, Cheddar Ploughman’s and Scotch egg and salad, as an alternative to the standard hot pie range. The company is also set to launch a new breakfast menu. It currently operates six sites, and hopes to acquire two more this year.n Christian Salvesen’s Temperature Controlled Business Unit has become the first frozen logistics organisation in the UK to achieve the ISO 9001:2000 quality certification. This accreditation has now been rolled out across all 14 operating sites.n Starbucks will switch to serving drinks with low-fat milk in all its North American outlets by the end of the year, to help reduce obesity. But customers can ask for full-fat milk, organic or soya milk if preferred. The new milk will be introduced in New York sites next month and in all US and Canadian stores by the end of 2007.n Carrs has won a contract to supply wholemeal flour to Warburton’s Bellshill bakery, near Glasgow. Carrs has supplied white flour to Bellshill since it opened in 1997 and gained the new contract after opening a £500,000 brown flour plant last year.n Bakery chain Waterfields has been granted planning permission for an outdoor eating area at its Moor Street site in Ormskirk, Lancs.n Dried fruit supplier Unsoy will start supplying Tesco nationwide with 500g Value packs of sultanas from August, as it continues to expand in the UK.
As demand for organic goods continues to rise across everything from cosmetics to beer, the category has moved firmly from the trendy into the mainstream arena. While bread has not been one of the strongest organic categories, new research shows that bakers can follow the lead of fresh produce and dairy products. The signals are that a general move to ’premium’ within the bread sector has opened the way for greater expansion of this category.A new report from Leatherhead Food International values the organic bread market in the UK at £26m in 2006 to 2007, although it remains niche within the overall bread category, accounting for 1% of total sales. However, organic bread sales grew by a quarter in the past year. The research says: “Growth is very strong totalling 25.3% in the past year. The general move upmarket within the bread sector has opened the way for greater expansion of this category.”The report explains that ’premiumisation’ – trading up to premium varieties – is increasingly common among UK consumers and that it is having an impact on all areas of food and drink: “Bread has been no exception and the ethnic/speciality and organic breads sectors have benefited from this.”It says there are two opportunities for organic bread. “First of all it is a growing market, at some 25% per annum. Secondly, bread lags behind other food products in terms of its share of consumer spend. If we were to achieve the same share for organic bread as the retail market as a whole does for all organic products, sales would virtually double.”The first organic naan bread, for example, was launched in the UK in 2007 by Honeytop Speciality Foods, which indicates that the organic market could be set for increased segmentation, confirms the report. “As the category matures, more activity in speciality products is anticipated,” it states.Paul Morrow, MD of British Bakels, which commissioned the report, said. “It is clear from this report that consumers do want to trade up and that organic offers a way forward.”Other activity in the bakery market has been relatively limited, says the report, with only smaller suppliers, such as The Village Bakery and Doves Farm Foods, having shown much interest in developing organic lines. Meanwhile, Duchy Originals is one of the few organic brands to focus on organic pastry, having opened a new Cornish bakery and a range of pasties and tarts in 2006.—-=== Organic trends ===l Within organic baking, there is support for bakers and millers to enter into long-term supply contracts with grain suppliersl Organic bread products have sustained year-on-year growth in both value and volume although they face competition from other premium bread lines such as seeded or wholegrainl Organic bread may benefit by differentiating from other naturally healthy bread products.Source: Mintel Organics, Jan 2008
Allied Bakeries, the company behind Kingsmill, Burgen, Allinson and Sunblest, which is part of Associated British Foods (ABF), has shown “substantial improvement” over the past year in provisional figures announced ahead of the interim results to 1 March 2008.In a statement, ABF said: “The UK bakery business benefited from improvement in operational performance, higher volumes and achievement of price increases that recovered higher wheat costs.”In ingredients, the Brazilian yeast business benefited from lower operating and molasses costs. The expansion of the Argentinean plant had created one of the lowest cost plants in the world, said ABF. Increased demand led to further investment in yeast and yeast extract capacity in north-east China.ABF sold its UK-based emulsifier business in February.
The number of Costa coffee shops globally will double over the next five years, parent company Whitbread has revealed.Chief executive Alan Parker said the leisure giant was aiming for “disciplined growth” across the group, including the worldwide expansion of Costa stores from 1,000 to 2,000.In the UK, it will focus on opening branches in major towns and cities, retail parks and roadside stores. Costa’s in-store concessions – such as its partnership with Tesco – will also grow.Costa opened 182 new stores in the UK last year, bringing the size of its UK estate to 695. It has 1,000 stores internationally, and last month opened in Moscow – its first Russian store.Globally, Costa’s like-for-like sales were up 23% to £216 million, with profits up by 17% to £20.8 million during the financial year to 28 February. Overall, Whitbread’s revenue was up 11.3% to £1,187.8 million, and profits before tax were up £26.3 million to £210.3 million.Founded as a roastery in Lambeth, London in 1971 by brothers Bruno and Sergio Costa, the company’s first espresso bar opened seven years later in Vauxhall, London.Whitbread bought the company in 1995 for £12.3 million.
Ribena is supporting its recently launched Ribena 100% Pure Juices, with a £3m TV and radio advertising campaign to heighten awareness of its new 100% Pure Juice’s two flavours – Blackcurrant Blend and Raspberry & Blackberry Blend. Airing now, the ’Juicer’ campaign focuses on the range’s “nothing but pure fruit juices” selling point, and features people trying, and failing, to juice their own fruit, with humorous consequences.”This will open up a new drinking occasion for Ribena – breakfast,” said senior brand manager Ruth Irving.The juices are available on-shelf nationwide.RRP: £1.19 (250ml bottle), £1.59 (1-litre Tetra carton)[http://www.ribena.co.uk]
The future of McCambridge’s Bradford bakery is in doubt as bosses consider a proposal to close the cake manufacturing site at Thornton Road.The McCambridge Group has met with the Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) and has entered a period of formal consultation, expected to last a minimum of 30 days.Staff have been warned that 80 jobs may be lost. In a statement issued to staff on Wednesday, 18 March, the firm said the current plan was to consider the transfer of approximately 40 of its 120 employees, with the move of the confectionery line to its nearby City Road site.Group HR director, Nick St John-Moore, told British Baker that the Thornton Road bakery had been acquired by McCambridge as part of the Inter Link Foods group, which went into administration in mid-2007. “It was one of Inter Link’s loss-making bakeries,” he explained. “We reduced the loss and actually got it back to a state where it was ’washing its face’ – neither losing nor making money – but we’re now faced with the onset of a recession, which has made a lot of difference.”St John-Moore admitted that if the firm was unable to transfer any jobs to City Road, it would be looking at a worst-case scenario of 120 job losses.”We’re working closely with the union representatives, and we’re by no means committed to closing the site yet,” he said. “We’re still looking at other ways in which we can salvage the whole situation, but it is difficult. However, if we have no choice other than to close it, we would certainly hope to salvage at least 40 jobs by transferring them to City Road.”Staff have been told that selections for the transfer positions would be done by use of a skills matrix, which has yet to be agreed with the union, but is expected to include an assessment of skills, flexibility and attendance.
== Barbara Gallani ==BCCC sector manager – Food and Drink FederationThe 56th Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Technology Conference took place at the end of March and was attended by 70 delegates from industry, ingredient suppliers, government, academia and research institutes, as well as students from Leeds and Reading UK universities.Following the merger of the Biscuit Cake Chocolate and Confectionery Association into the Food and Drink Federation in 2008, it was decided that the group would continue to run the annual technology conference, as it provides the sector with the opportunity to hear and discuss technical and regulatory issues of importance. Speeches of particular interest to the bakery sector included a talk by Professor Malcolm Povey, of the University of Leeds, on the assessment of crispness and crunchiness by acoustics; and one by Dr Colin Hamlet, of Premier Foods, about successful acrylamide minimisation strategies for biscuits, cakes and crispbreads.Several speakers addressed the opportunities and challenges of saturated fat reformulation and the presentations on trans fatty acids (TFAs) were also very topical, considering the recent discussions in the European Parliament and the numerous amendments proposed to the Food Information Proposal requesting back-of-pack labelling for TFAs.It was clear from the presentations and discussions that the main drivers for success in the UK biscuit, cake, chocolate and confectionery manufacturing industry stem from great challenges: the need to continue to innovate, even in the current economy; and the need to stay ahead of rivals and deliver healthier and indulgent products for consumers.