– Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson has announced the appointment of Paul Myners, chairman of the Guardian Media Group, as the new chair of the Low Pay Commission, which advises government on the National Minumum Wage.- Warburtons has reintroduced its 400g Hot Cross Bun Loaf for Easter, with a recommended retail price of £1.13. The packaging of the Hot Cross Bun Loaf has been updated to make it more visible on the shelves. – A new survey, ‘Consumer Satisfaction Index 2006’, by retail industry analyst Verdict Research, says Waitrose is the UK’s second favourite retail outlet, just behind its parent John Lewis. Waitrose is up from 20th place last year, benefiting from increasing consumer appreciation of healthy eating, says Verdict. It also scores higher than any other retailer on quality and wins top marks for store layout, with shoppers appreciating ease of navigation.- The Federation of Bakers has proposed targets for redu-cing sodium in bread, not salt. Targets are 0.6g sodium per 100g within 12 months. This will be reduced to 0.54g per 100g within two years, and to 0.5g per 100g by 2010.
Winner Eurobuns – SkinnyBaked DonutsMilton Keynes, BuckinghamshireEurobuns produces frozen American fast-food breads, part-baked French breads and scones and doughnuts for foodservice and retail clients across the UK. The bakery has seven high-tech lines and employs more than 400 staff.Its Americana Skinny Baked Donuts are described as having a light, fluffy texture and a generous jam filling, but have less than 5% fat and fewer than 150 calories per serving. They were launched, says Eurobuns operations and technical director Graham Wright, to meet the consumer need for healthier products and were described by the judges as “an innovative product”.The donuts are distributed through 10 major frozen food retailers and are supplied in a display box – the judges noted that this packaging gave the product excellent shelf presence.Finalist Memory Lane Cakes- Tesco Chocolate CakeCardiff, WalesMemory Lane provides around 170 premium own-label cakes to the multiples. Up to 1,200 employees, many of whom are highly skilled, work in the five bakeries.The company worked closely with Tesco to develop its three-tier Finest Christmas Chocolate Sensation Cake, filled and covered with chocolate buttercream and hand-decorated with Belgian chocolate. It is, says Memory Lane innovations director Kevin Binns, the first plant-scale product to use chocolate plastique, which requires skills usually found only in specialist bakeries and patisseries.”The plastique is normally hand-rolled,” says Binns, “and we had to modify an existing sugarpaste sheeting machine to do this. Product development took about eight months – but we solved the final problems in the last four weeks! I think this shows we made the impossible possible.”Finalist Hovis (PremierFoods) – Seed SensationsHigh Wycombe,BuckinghamshirePart of the £2.25 billion Premier Foods group, Hovis has a reputation for innovation, says product development manager Graham Duckworth.The 800g Seed Sensations loaf was developed as a response to research, which showed consumers were looking for more variety in the growing seeded sector. The loaf is enrobed in pumpkin and sunflower seeds and is described as a light-eating product with a big flavour.”It’s the tastiest loaf on the market,” says Duckworth. “The seeds are pre-toasted to order, to give depth to the flavour – the first time this has been done for a plant loaf.”He adds that the loaf has demanded new systems to accommodate the extra cleaning required, as well as improved quality controls across the board – from tasting to pack design.
5 January, 1941: BB nearly burnsThe closing days of 1940 were marked forever by the serious fires that broke out over the city of London as a result of the dropping of vast numbers of incendiary bombs. Early on Sunday evening, December 29, incendiary bombs were rained on the city. Lots of them, thanks to efficient roof-spotting, were extinguished very quickly; many were not, with consequences that will go down into history. A fire which burned fiercely, some 60 or 70 yards from our head offices, spread, despite unrelenting efforts on the part of the firemen, until a big area was involved. Those of us on Fleet Street will not forget the feeling of profound sadness shared by those newspaper men who watched helplessly. Despite the dislocation that resulted, the life of the city was resumed on Monday morning with a cheerful determination that should serve as an inspiration to every Britisher.
BBC2 series Mary Queen of Shops is on the look out for an independent high street bakery to feature in its third series.The popular television series features retail guru Mary Portas helping independent shops to make a success of their business.The third series is to focus on the high street and will feature shops such as grocers, convenience stores and bakeries.The BBC would like to hear from independent bakeries in the UK who believe they would benefit from Portas’ retail and brand knowledge. For example if they are struggling in the recession, feel they have lost touch with current trends, or are unsure about how to increase their takings.All interested bakeries should contact Tom or Nikki on 020 7967 1285 for more information, or email [email protected]
Premier Foods has announced that up to 98 jobs are at risk at Hovis’ Wigan bakery, with proposals for the closure of its roll plant.The firm has undertaken a review of its morning goods business, “following a number of developments in the market”, and is proposing changes, which could affect the manufacturing site at Cale Lane, Aspull in Wigan, said a spokesperson for Premier. “These include consolidating roll manufacture into fewer sites, which would improve our competitive position overall, but which would result in the closure of our roll plant in Wigan.”The firm has now entered into a 30-day consultation period with staff members affected by the proposals, “which will, regrettably, result in redundancies”, said Premier. Hovis Wigan currently employs 530 staff.Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union organising regional secretary Ian Hodson said that with regard to the consultation period, the recent redundancies at the firm’s satellite site should also be taken into account, in addition to issues such as potential contract changes, “meaning the company must enter a 90-day consultation”.”As the firm is resisting, our members are due to take part in a ballot at Wigan opening on 26 February and closing on 5 March,” explained Hodson.Commenting on reports that the firm recently lost 60% of a major crumpet contract, Hodson said: “My understanding is that a significant loss of business has caused a review of the crumpet plant.”Premier declined to comment on any speculation over its contracts.
Marks and Spencer (M&S) has launched a “Half and Half Supersoft Loaf” which contains both sliced white and wholemeal bread.Claiming to be the first UK retailer to launch such a loaf, M&S said it contains equal numbers of white and wholemeal bread slices, and aims to cater for families’ different taste preferences. The resealable packaging is also designed to open at both ends.“The Half & Half loaf is also perfect for those who want wholemeal bread for their sandwiches during the week but white slices for the weekend bacon sarnie,” said M&S. “This is backed up by M&S data which shows that sales of white loaves increase significantly as the weekend approaches.”The loaf which went on sale last week, will be available in all stores nationwide at an introductory price of 99p, and will cost £1.50 after 5 October.
Discovery Foods claims to have launched the first preservative-free tortillas, in a bid to drive further growth within the Mexican eating category.The plain tortilla is made with British flour and is targeted at increasing sales of tortillas in-store and stimulating category growth, meeting the needs of those in search of locally produced food that is also preservative-free, said the firm.Bev Taylor, regional marketing manager, Discovery Foods, said: “Last year more than one million new shoppers bought into the Mexican category. Our objective is to continue to grow this number by attracting new customers to the fixture through innovative NPD.”The new variant will join the firm’s existing range of Plain, Wholemeal, Garlic & Coriander and Chilli & Jalapeno tortillas.
UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports have grown for six years in succession, passing the £10bn mark for the first time in 2010. Cereals and bakery exports pushed through the £2bn mark, up 8.1% on 2009 to £2,079.2m.The new report, published by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), named the cereals and bakery category as a high-performing food sector, behind dairy, fish and seafood, meat and prepared foods, including soups, sauces and ice creams.Exports of sweet biscuits were up 5.9% to £234m; cakes were up 4.4% to £176.7m; waffles and wafers increased by 3% to £58.9m; sugar confectionery saw 3% growth to £145.5m; while crispbreads saw a 22.3% increase to £15.4m.However, both bread and savoury biscuit exports fell by 6.2% (to £83.6m), and 35.3% (£35.9m) respectively.Ireland remained the principal importer of UK products, followed by France, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain. Greece saw the biggest fall of 19.3% due to the economic problems suffered since the announcement of the EU bail-out for the country.The FDF said there was also highly encouraging growth of new markets outside the current top 20 export destinations.
Skoda ad firm for saleThe Cake Bake Co, which made the life-sized cake for the Skoda TV advert, has been put up for sale by administrators. The Kent-based firm supplies own-brand cakes and had a reported turnover of £918,000 in the year to 31 March 2011.Salt down in BarnsleyBarnsley City Council has been promoting the salt reduction its local bakers have made in the bread they sell. A sampling programme, which began two years ago, showed high levels of salt in locally produced bread. When salt levels were retested in March this year 88% of the bread met the current Food Standards Agency salt targets.Wrights’ warehouseWrights Pies has opened its new £1m central distribution warehouse at its bakery in Crewe. The investment is designed to improve logistics operations and support the firm’s expansion plans across its three main divisions bakery, retail and quality foods.Italian courseClub Arte e Mestieri in Bologna, Italy, is hosting a special course in English on Italian breads and pastries, with a guided tour of bakeries and shops from 4-8 October. It is being run in conjunction with the Worshipful Company of Bakers and the Bakers’ Company Education and Research Foundation. Call 020 7623 2223 or email [email protected] for details.
Zeelandia, the bakery ingredients supplier, has made two key appointments to its management team.Mark Birch, who brings a wealth of experience from across the FMCG and retail sectors, has joined as its key account manager for the retail sector. And, at the same time, the company has appointed Noel Hawkes as its key account manager for the wholesale sector.Commenting on the appointment of Birch, Richard Schrama, managing director, said: “2012 is an exciting time for Zeelandia and with Mark joining our business at this crucial time, it will enable us to further strengthen our commercial team and to achieve our ambitious growth strategy.”National sales manager Richard Hazeldine, commenting on Hawkes, added: “We are very pleased to have Noel on board. We have an ambitious growth strategy and Noel, who brings a wealth of experience to our business, will be a key player in our plans to develop our business with national and independent wholesalers.”