Month: April 2021

Four Bars revamped

Four Bars revamped

first_imgThe Village Bakery (Melmerby, Cumbria) is introducing a Four Berries Bar to its range of organic Four Bars, which includes Four Fruits, Four Nuts and Four Seeds. Packaging has also been redesigned. Containing blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and raspberries, the new Four Berries Bars are wheat-free and contain no added fat. Consumer research revealed the need for more contemporary packaging to help convey the nutritional and natural benefits of the products. The Four Bars redesign also aims to create greater differentiation on-shelf, says the firm. Michael Bell, MD, says: “This addition to the Four Bars range will help us achieve our objective of increasing market share through increased listings and sales. We are delighted with the packaging redesign, which retains the traditional feel that the Four Bars enjoy and has proved a key motivator to purchase.”last_img read more

A simple country baker

A simple country baker

first_imgPensions – now that’s a subject to stir the heart and start the blood racing! I am in receipt of mine, so I am reasonably happy. But recently on Radio 4 I heard a trade union representative say: “My members are not prepared to work until they drop.” Well said, sir! Except, why should we in the private sector have to work until we are 65 to pay for your members in the public sector to retire at 60?A few minor facts often seem to be overlooked. These are that pensions in the public sector are far higher, hours are often shorter, conditions usually better, holidays longer and research says that salaries are some 11% higher on a like-for-like basis than those in the private sector.Presumably, it is considered right for people in the private sector to work until they drop. In the 1950s there was a saying: “Up the workers!” And, by goodness, people in the wealth-creating sector are certainly getting it stuck right up them!Should you doubt that public sector salaries are higher, then force yourselves to buy The Guardian newspaper and read the job adverts. True, you will not even recognise half the so-called jobs advertised but, with respect to Sir Winston Churchill, never in the field of human existence has so much been paid for so little!The simple question I ask myself is when there are more people in the public sector than in the wealth-producing sector, who pays for it? Our bakers and all our staff work hard. Not as hard as I would like, because they appear to want holidays and Sundays off, but when they break this nasty habit they will all be near-perfect.We are all over-taxed, with horrendous petrol duty, income tax, and pension tax for an inadequate pension (if we live long enough to collect it). Somehow it does not seem fair that a 75-year-old baker should go to work at 2am and pay taxes for public sector workers, who have never done a useful job in their lives. This then enables them to retire at 60 on an inflated pension, which will probably be higher than the baker has ever earned. Among many stupidities, Hull’s half-witted officials have come up with the idea that the words ‘ladies’ and ‘senior citizens’ should not be used. Rather, ‘women’ and ‘older people’ are appropriate, according to a report in The Daily Mail. And we have to pay not only their inflated salaries but also their inflated early pensions!The reason our local council taxes are so high is because there are so many non-jobs created by councillors. You shouldn’t waste residents’ money by creating a bigger empire for yourself, so that you can, in turn, ask us for an even larger salary.Should all these useless positions – I refuse to call them jobs – be done away with and we were not told, our lives would go on as normal. Only our taxes would fall. This is a good lesson for business – we should look at what we are doing and ask ourselves whether we need to do it and, if not, can we reduce it a little.Remove all the bakers and the country would be in chaos. They need us more than all the young university graduates, who complete useless degrees through no fault of their own because the government is intent on getting quantity rather than quality.last_img read more

Biofuel demand hits rapeseed oil prices

Biofuel demand hits rapeseed oil prices

first_imgBakeries are counting the cost of rising rapeseed oil prices as the oil is increasingly used as a biodiesel fuel. Prices have risen 25% over the last 12 months from, typically, £400 per tonne to £500 per tonne. And the increases are set to continue. Rapeseed oil is used, primarily, in release agents and divider oils, liquid bread fats and dough conditioners and paste concentrates in the baking industry. Steven Birrell, executive secretary of the Association of Baking Ingredient Manufacturers, says it is inevitable his members will have to pass on the increased price to customers.Speaking to British Baker, Bakels MD Paul Morrow said customers using the oil as a key ingredient will already have had a price increase, but another is likely soon. But Bakels, which buys around 4,500 tonnes of rapeseed oil annually, says it has absorbed the cost until now for smaller users.“£500 per tonne is now the base position,” Morrow emphasised. “It is not a peak in the cycle.”The higher price for rapeseed oil seems set to continue – a new power plant based on rape biodiesel is currently under construction in Scotland.last_img read more

FoB reveals conference line-up

FoB reveals conference line-up

first_imgThe Federation of Bakers’ (FoB) seventh annual conference will be held on 16 May, with a variety of high-profile speakers.These include Dame Deidre Hutton, chair of the Food Standards Agency, and Guy Farrant, director of food at Marks & Spencer.Jeya Henry, professor of human nutrition at Oxford Brookes University, will provide an insight into nutrition and health. And Edward Garner from TNS Worldpanel UK, will bring delegates up to date with the latest research and market trends. A panel debate will follow, chaired by British Baker’s editor Sylvia Macdonald.The event will be held at One Great George Street, Westminster on 16 May, from 9.30am.For more information call 020 7420 7190 or email [email protected]last_img

Upping the ante in Lille

Upping the ante in Lille

first_imgA bit like the Eurovision Song contest, Europe has always taken the Bakery World Cup slightly more seriously than we Brits have done. While our cousins on the mainland Continent take the contest to heart, with national heats and everything, Royaume-Uni has consistently scored ’nul points’.Hardly surprising, given that we’ve never actually entered before – until now, that is. A team from the UK, sponsored by Tameside College, broke the duck by competing in the Western Europe regional heats at the end of 2007.The prize was a place at the seventh Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, to give it its proper title, which will be hosted by Paris’ Europain bakery exhibition in April.The UK team was up against stiff competition from Italy, Israel, Belgium, Spain and The Netherlands at the semi-finals in Lille, France. Rookie Gabrielle Baxter had just five months’ training under her belt, while Michael Wilde was a former student, fresh into employment at Slattery’s Patisserie and Chocolatier. The opposition were all full-time professionals.Despite a valiant first-time effort in the Viennoiserie, baguettes and speciality bread and artistic displays, they eventually lost out to winner Spain, who took home the Louis Lesaffre Cup.”They should be really proud of themselves, because the quality was up there with the rest of the teams,” said Tameside’s team captain, bakery tutor Steven Salt, of his team. “They were up against professional bakers, they held their own and they can only get better. We’ll be back.”Runners-up Italy and The Netherlands completed the 12 teams battling it out for the World Cup. Over 35 countries in total took part across the increasingly competitive heats.”The level of the teams is growing very rapidly – you cannot imagine the difference between three years ago and now,” says Europain organiser Jean-Paul Broutin. Baker and World Cup organiser Christian Vabret adds that the event is a chance for bakers to update their image: “It enables us to communicate the passion of bakers, to bring this profession into the new Millennium and to bring together young people and give them ideas.”The Bakery World Cup finals will be held at Europain in Paris from 29 March to 2 April. For more details, see [http://www.europain.com].last_img read more

Breads fly high

Breads fly high

first_imgBread brands dominate the top 10 grocery brands in the UK, according to new research from AC Nielsen.Warburtons ranked number two, Hovis number four and Kingsmill number nine in the list, which measured sales values in 2007. Coca-Cola continued to top the charts as Britain’s best-selling grocery brand, up 2.3% on last year. But Warburtons narrowed the gap, increasing by 17.9% year-on-year to £609m.However, shoppers still spent £350.4m more on Coca-Cola products than on Warburtons.The report is based on sales data recorded by Nielsen via checkout scanners at all major grocery chains. This represents more than 74,000 stores, including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose, M&S, Somerfield and Co-op supermarkets, plus Spar and Londis convenience stores.Despite coming fourth, sales of Hovis dropped 4.5% to £386.6m, but sales for Kingsmill were up 6.3% to £302.1m.Smoothie range Innocent was the fastest-growing on the list of 100, as sales shot up 45.6%.The research was compiled by grocery website Talking Retail and market research company AC Nielsen. Report editor Fiona Briggs said brands that had embraced ethical issues, such as the environment, performed particularly well last year. “The leading brands are incorporating concerns for the environment in their sourcing, new product development, and packing and distribution plans,” she said.last_img read more

Bakery staff shell out

Bakery staff shell out

first_imgChildren spending the Easter period away from home received an egg-stra special Easter treat thanks to a dough-nation from a family baker.Brace’s Bakery visited four Wales Women’s Aid refuges in South Wales and the children’s wards at Singleton Hospital, Swansea and the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport armed with Easter eggs and Hot Cross Buns.Over 120 Easter eggs were donated by staff at Wales’ largest independent bakery, who wanted to help put a smile on the faces of children who were spending the Easter period in an unfamiliar environment.Michelle Hughes, head of communications for the family baker, said: “Being stuck in hospital over the Easter period isn’t much fun, especially for children, so we decided to give them a little treat and brighten up their stay.last_img

Turbo tots

Turbo tots

first_imgHere’s how to bake a “delicious and low-fat alternative to a regular cake” that would be “a great cake for a kids’ birthday party”, according to one US website. That is, assuming you don’t mind the prospect and possible legal fallout of peddling this psychedelic cake to a roomful of tripping tots. The cake’s dominant ingredients are nutritionally inventive: Sprite and food colouring (the Sprite replaces the eggs, oil and water). But is this a potentially coma-inducing cocktail or a tweeny-turbo charge in cake form? If anyone is brave enough to volunteer their child for an experiment, we would be delighted to hear how the sparks fly.tinyurl.com/nno63olast_img

Caramoo tops up flavours

Caramoo tops up flavours

first_imgPremium milkshake firm Shaken Udder has added a new flavour to its line-up Caramoo. The new velvety caramel variety joins Top Banana, Strawberry Stash, Chocolush & Shake The Cake.Founders Jodie and Howie started creating milkshakes for music festivals, shows and events back in 2004, but due to customer feedback, they decided to take its milkshakes to a wider audience.This is the first time the Caramoo flavour will be available in a bottled form. The range contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.The milkshakes are currently available in Waitrose, the Co-op, Harvey Nichols, Whole Foods Market and regional wholesalers, delis and farm shops.Price: £1.69 – 300mlwww.shakenudder.comlast_img

Belts for Brace’s

Belts for Brace’s

first_imgGeorge Brace, an engine driver from the Cambrian Colliery in the Rhondda Village of Clydach Vale, decided to open a small bakery and started a business that is now a highly respected plant bakery, still run and managed by his family.Brace kept his day job, while the rest of his family helped to develop the bakery at Pontllanfraith, until a mining disaster in 1905 claimed the lives of 31 of his colleagues. He never went back and focused instead on developing Brace’s bakery.Now a large plant bakery, it is run by the fourth generation of the family from two sites in South Wales and turns over in excess of £35m, employing more than 350 people. The business passed from George to his eldest son Ernest and then on to his eldest, Colin Brace, who at 88 is still chairman. But it is Colin’s two sons MD Mark and operations director Jonathan who have taken the business from the local baker with van sales and their own shops to being a regional plant baker the number one brand in South Wales and the West Country, and the UK’s fourth biggest bread brand, according to ACNielsen.Technology in handBrace’s prides itself on investing in new plant and equipment and has grasped new technology with both hands, saying it now has some of the best bread bakeries with the most efficient plants in the UK.When Jonathan Brace first saw the Benier Mi600 HDS moulder in a European bakery, he says that he instantly knew it was right, and ordered two for Brace’s new high-output bakery at Pen Y Fan, commissioned in 2004. Brace’s was so pleased that, in 2009, it ordered a further two machines for its latest plant at Croespenmaen and, in 2010, another machine for an existing line. Adrian McGrath, engineering manager at Brace’s, who managed the installation programme, says: “We chose to buy the Benier Mi600 HDS again, because of repeatability. It knocks out the same product every time, whether it is 400g or 800g and has the most consistent four-piecing.”The Mi600 HDS is a heavy-duty industrial moulder, suitable for tin or free-standing bread. There are two versions one with retracting belts that drop the bread into the tins, while the tumbling belts let the bread roll into them. Benier uses a ’pressure-based sheeting system’, where the dough sheet is guided on polished stainless steel drums. The dough pieces are stuck to the drum to ensure they stay central and are kept under tension, so they don’t shrink back. The dough can actually be stretched as it is pulled off the drum.The peeling roller ’peels’ the leading edge of the dough piece off the sheeting drum and puts a lip on the front edge, ready to commence curling at a speed marginally faster than the surface drum. This ensures tight curling, free of trapped air due to poor folding, and some degree of dough sheet stretch between sheeting and curling.McGrath adds: “The fact that the dough is tightly curled gives it extra strength and the lack of entrapped air leads to a much better end-product. Changing products can also be done quickly and easily, ensuring we can produce a wide range of goods using the one piece of kit.”Benier provides a full back-up service, with engineers from the Netherlands joining forces with the firm’s UK team to support installation. All software was written by Benier to accommodate the Mitsubishi Standard Platforms preferred by Brace’s and the moulders were tailor-made to suit the company’s requirements.Brace’s has also invested in bakeware from Kaak (a division of Benier UK’s parent company) where the deep-drawn design of the tin means it can be formed in one piece around a tool and mould. This ensures consistency in manufacturing tolerances, aiding bakeware life and sustaining baking characteristics. The quality of the baking surface is also a key factor and Kaak offers a number of exclusive coatings to guarantee optimal depanning for every product and type of pan.Benier’s UK operation provides back-up support. McGrath says: “We did trawl the market before our latest installation, but none of the moulders we saw had the superior engineering we wanted.”last_img read more