Porkka UK (Watford, Hertfordshire) has launched a range of refrigerated counter displays for use with a wide selection of foods. The range comprises the Porkka Cold Spot (+4°C to +8°C), the Porkka Chill Display (+2°C to +6°C) and the Porkka Spot Freezer (-8?C to -12°C).Available in standard or self-service options, all of the models feature an anti-condensation system to ensure unhindered visibility of the displayed goods. Other standard features include illuminated shelving, automatic defrost and rear access for easy stocking.
Award winners celebrated in style with the cream of the UK’s baking industryA galaxy of nearly 900 guests from all parts of the baking industry came out to London’s glitzy Grosvenor House hotel this week to join in the celebrations which marked the 20th annual Baking Industry Awards. The presence of hostess Joanna Lumley and a James Bond theme, which ran through the event, guaranteed that the evening was one of the most glamorous ever.On the guest list were well-known faces from all the major craft and plant bakeries, millers, leading supermarkets, bakery trade bodies and suppliers – plus the odd celebrity or odd-celebrity lookalike, to be more precise, including Jaws, Oddjob and Sean Connery from the James Bond films.Following a drinks reception, sponsored by Warburtons, diners took their place at tables, where they found disposable cameras, sponsored by supplier Cuisine de France.Along with the meal, the guests could enjoy the breads at the table, supplied by The Cotswold Food Partnership and were given the chance to win high-tech gadgetry, provided by Kluman & Balter. In a new twist, after the awards ceremony, a Dame Shirley Bassey lookalike sang her heart out and entertained guests.Next it was the turn of the nervous finalists in the 12 main categories of the Baking Industry Awards, plus one very taken-aback British Baker special award winner, to enjoy the limelight.Then guests enjoyed more fun, including a Sonneveld-sponsored Scalextric track to win an Aston Martin Experience, a Cereform-sponsored casino and an indulgent dip in a Callebaut chocolate fountain. For photos, click on [http://www.roblawson.com]
A return to sales growth for its bakery division was one of the highlights for Northern Foods as it reported a 2.6% increase in group revenue for the half-year ended 29 September. Sandwiches and salads also did well, despite slower year-on-year growth due to the unseasonably poor summer weather.Underlying revenue was 2.8% ahead in bakery, which was said to reflect some stabilisation in biscuit volumes and an increase in own-label sales. A new brand identity is creating a platform for future improvement in Fox’s performance, it said.A “robust performance” from the Goodfella’s pizza brand failed to prevent a 2.6% revenue decline in the group’s frozen division. A major initiative is under way to extend the Goodfella’s brand into the chilled sector, with the launch this month of the Signatore range.Chief executive Stefan Barden said the group was well positioned to deal with the challenging trading environment that has seen the price of cereals, dairy, cocoa and fats continue to accelerate.”We have made good progress in recovering these commodity cost increases,” said Barden.
Spiralling flour and fuel costs have helped propel the UK up the global ranking for bread prices, but the country remains one of the cheapest places to buy bread in the world.Figures from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU’s) Worldwide Cost of Living Survey show the average price of a kilo of bread in London rose from £1.09 in September, 2006, to £1.45 a year later. In Manchester, prices rose from 88p to £1.11.The EIU said rises had been compounded by the strength of sterling and the weakness of the US dollar, which has seen the relative cost boosted further compared to countries with weakening currencies or those linked to the dollar.”Bread prices in the UK have risen in local currency terms as rising commodity prices have been passed on to consumers,” said Jon Copestake, food and drink analyst and EIU survey editor. “In Manchester, the prices we surveyed rose 15.2% in the last year, although only 1.2% in the past six months. In London, bread prices rose 20.1% in the past year, 13.6% of which came in the last 6 months.”Despite the price rises, the UK is still one of the cheapest places in the world to buy bread. Of 130 cities surveyed around the world, London ranked number 70, up from 81 in 2006, in terms of price, while Manchester was at 93, up from 103.”Bread in the UK is seen as more of a staple than other countries. Production is highly developed and commoditised,” said Copestake. “Large scale consumption allows companies to exploit economies of scale and the market is highly competitive.”The research was based on bread from three categories of retailer. ’Low’ covers multiples, such as Tesco, ’medium’ equates to top-end supermarkets such as M&S and specialist shops, and ’high’ comprises food halls.
Exhibitors and visitors alike expressed satisfaction over the Baking Industry Exhibition (BIE), which took place at Birmingham NEC on 6-9 April. Many standholders have already signed for the next show, which will take place in two years’ time.As well as many ingredient and machinery stands, the student competitions, supported by California Raisins, attracted a daily audience, who watched competitors from colleges around the country vie with each other on a range of breads and cakes.The Live Bakery also attracted an enthusiastic audience who could watch the baked goods being made – and then eat them! l For more on BIE see pg 14-16.
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Finsbury Foods (FF) has seen sales increase by 53.9% to £169m during the year to 30 June 2008.FF’s preliminary results for the year show the company has achieved strong growth in each of its subsidiaries, with like- for-like sales up 13%. Adjusted pre-tax profit stood at £7.7m compared to £4.6m last year.Dave Brooks, who stepped down as chief executive on 29 September, said it had been “a year of achievement” for FF, despite inflationary pressures, with highlights including the acquisition of Yorkshire Farm Bakeries and A&P Foods to form Livwell Ltd, and the transfer of the California Cakes operation to the Hamilton site of the Lightbody Group in July 2007. It was also a year that saw United Central Bakeries return to full operation, following a fire in October 2006.”The future looks challenging, with many macro-economic conditions, such as world commodity prices, exchange rate movements (particularly the euro), and the economic downturn, generally affecting business,” said Brooks. “Challenging periods also provide opportunities for businesses, particularly those nimble enough to react to changes in consumer trends.”Brooks said that, from the beginning of July this year, the company was split into three distinct divisions – cake, bread and free-from – each having its own management team.Newly-appointed chief executive Martin Lightbody agreed with Brooks that, “Challenges such as the current economic climate bring opportunities.”Chairman David Marshall added that the first 10 weeks of the current financial year have seen the upward sales trend continuing.—-=== In Short ===== Balchem opens innovation centre ==New York-based ingredients company Balchem Corporation has expanded its applications laboratory with the addition of a bakery innovation centre. The company said it hoped that the centre in New Hampton would significantly increase its ingredient delivery technology opportunities.== PGI reassures on milk contamination ==Members of the Philippine Baking Industry group have assured anxious consumers that its bakery products don’t contain milk ingredients from China. A number of infants have died and tens of thousands have been hospitalised in China, after drinking milk that contained the toxic chemical melamine.== Giant steps in to recall food items ==US-based Giant Food – which is owned by Amsterdam-based Royal Ahold NV – is voluntarily recalling a number of Giant bakery products, as they could contain nut allergens that have not been declared on the label. The items, including Giant Rainbow Cake and Giant Mundel Bread, were manufactured by Grandma Taylor and sold in Giant’s Bakeshop. To date, no consumers have reported any ill-effects from the products.== Bimbo fined over diesel emissions ==US company Bimbo Bakeries has been fined over $300,000 (£168,600) for failing to test its diesel trucks for excess emissions at 58 of its fleet facilities. The bakery, based in Texas, must send employees to a mandatory class on diesel emissions testing. The company, producing more than 100 branded products, has an exclusive licence to distribute Entenmann’s products in the western regions of the USA.
Jonathan Warburton, chairman, Warburtons”I believe the category still has lots of opportunity to encourage consumers to expand their repertoire, particularly at the moment when staying in and eating at home is becoming increasingly common. If we work closely in partnership with our customers, we can achieve this. Innovation is key within any category to ensure that the product offering remains relevant to consumers and bakery is no exception. As a business, we are more determined than ever to help drive growth in the category and succeed in these difficult times.”Mike Benton, marketing controller,McVitie’s Cake Company”As the recession continues into 2010, promotions will continue to play an important part in the market for branded cakes. “Consumers will be looking for brands they trust and value products that provide more for their money and, as consumer confidence in the category slowly returns, there will be a bigger appetite for innovation. This will add excitement to the category, reflecting consumers’ willingness to experiment with new products and flavours. “Health and nutritional improvements and reformulations will play a key part, as comfort eating declines and people look for healthier alternatives. In keeping with this trend, out-of-home consumption is likely to continue to decline, as fewer people choose to have lunchboxes and vending machines are removed from schools in a bid to tackle the growing problem of obesity.”It is also expected that there will be a massive growth in the importance of new consumer communication channels, as people become more interested in alternative forms of consumer engagement, such as digital media campaigns and advertising.”The government health agenda will put added pressure on the market, with companies under continuous pressure to produce healthier products that will aid in combating obesity in the UK. Retailers will also be faced with the challenge of maximising profitability from shop space, as consumers continue to demand value from products.”It would bring a great big smile to my face if we could see the cake market return to volume growth in 2010. Nothing would make me sigh; I’m an eternal optimist.”Ken McMeikan, chief executive officer, Greggs”The biggest hope I have is that there aren’t going to be significant job losses. One thing I’ve noticed in 2009, which impacts on confidence more than anything, is when people are uncertain about their own future and their incomes. People are still very uncertain about that, particularly when they know that whoever is in government will have to face the UK’s debt challenge and make some tough decisions that could involve job losses. If people have money and there’s still confidence to spend or to start spending, then we all have a chance of having a reasonably good year.”As for the baking industry, I would hope that we continue to work well with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on issues such as salt and fat reduction. These are important targets we face as an industry and we are making good progress and doing a lot of work towards them. But we have to have a very healthy and constructive partnership with the FSA, because we don’t want to have customers impacted adversely by the consequences of what we’re doing, due to changes in the taste and quality of the products we’re delivering. “We make great-tasting products that our customers love and we are working towards FSA guidelines and targets. But I think we need a commonsense approach. Our hope is to have a constructive working relationship with the FSA, so that we continue the dialogue and they work closely with us to understand the efforts we’re making to reduce salt, as well as the consequences of what we’re doing. “I also hope that we don’t lose any more small independent bakeries. That’s not good for the baking industry and, over the past three to four months, we’ve started to see some of the smaller chains of bakeries and independent bakers going into administration. The one that surprised me was Ainsleys, given its size. “We tend to see more reports of retail sales through the supermarkets, so you don’t get the full picture of the high street and the effect the recession is having. It’s good to have competition and the baking industry needs independent bakers; they create a lot of innovative and specialist products, challenging all of us to match or do better than them. And the human side of smaller chains or independent bakers going into administration is that people have lost their jobs.”For Greggs, my hope is that it remains a strong and growing business, because that allows us to continue to create jobs. We employ over 19,000 people, so securing their employment is important and good for the economy as a whole.”Simon Cannell, head of La Boulangerie, Brakes”With regards to salt, my concern boils down to the fact that, as a nation, we’ve been consistently eating less bread over the years and what is this being replaced with? Everyone recognises that bread and other starchy foods should represent a significant portion of a healthy diet. If we turn customers off bread, will this be replaced by less healthy alternatives. Bread has always played a vital role in diets across the globe, but more and more people I speak to in the UK say that they don’t eat bread any more due to diets etc.”For 2010, I’d like to see a healthier view towards bread in the UK. Sometimes, all of the good work that is done in salt reduction can lead to the only thing consumers hearing is that bread is full of salt and bad for you. We need a balanced view and we need to promote the benefits of bread in a healthy diet much more effectively.”Nicky Cracknell, national account controller, Bakehouse”2009 has been a tough year for the economy and the foodservice industry has felt the impact. In 2010, consumers are looking for a good deal, but not at the expense of quality. With this in mind, there is a lot of NPD activity around products that offer the best combination of innovation and value. We believe that any issue of cost will come full circle, as people want to indulge in little daily luxuries, such as a fresh morning pastry on the way into work. We are seeing a real rise in interest in new savoury options within the bakery sector. There is a demand for innovation at the savoury end of the scale. Consumers want something different to eat on-the-go or as an alternative lunchtime option or accompaniment.”For coffee shops, price is a real driver at present, with an increased focus on savoury items and this is also true for quick-service shops and service stations, which are looking to extend their savoury offer and provide a choice of comfort foods. Operators will be looking at getting their core ranges correct, before considering extensions to the offering. It is a careful balancing act between not offering too much choice, so as not to confuse customers, but having enough to inspire them and secure repeat purchases. The important thing is to demonstrate that you are trying new things.”Jefta Kon Lakovic, chief executive, Arnaouti Pitta Bakery, Hoddesdon, Herts”In 2010 I believe we are going to see the growth of more flour-based baked snacks, such as crisps, hoops and other extruded goods, because they will be perceived as healthier. Obesity is becoming a major problem, so lower fat levels will be good and cost content will be lower.”A new niche drinks market will emerge, with more drinks from the Orient using natural juices and spring water. They will be all-natural with little or no added sugars. “This Easter, I think the economy will give a false sign of uplift, around election time, but then it will dip again. Hopefully we will see a resurgence beginning in the autumn, motoring on through Christmas and gaining momentum in 2011. The British export market in food will contribute to this and the whole economy will start to resume growth of between 2-6%. This may happen earlier (as in France, Germany and others), but the UK. economy is no longer manufacturing-dominant. In my view, this is a serious disadvantage.”Paul Ettinger, a founder of Caffè Nero”Predicting the big food trends is not easy, but I see artisan bakeries growing, and smaller food portions arriving. Challenges will include a flat economy, volatile ingredient prices, currency issues, inflation and more competition.”Duncan Macfarlane, sales director, Scobie & McIntosh bakery equipment”Alistair Darling needs to move on or get the sack! The pound needs to recover more. The banks need a push to start filtering more money through to businesses and there needs to be more grants available. They should treat the whole of the UK as equal not just take specific areas where some can get grants of 47% towards new equipment and others, such as Aberdeen, getting virtually nothing. Where is the fairness in that?” John Smith, MD of craft baker New Pitsligo, nr Aberdeen”We have two shops and a wholesale business, comprising around 60% to local shops and convenience stores. I want to see cheaper distribution costs and diesel come down. “[Scotland’s First Minister] Alex Salmond promised to reduce business rates and he’s done that. We now pay virtually none, saving us around £450 a month. It’s good to see a politician supporting small businesses and keeping his promises! It has made craft bakeries compete much better throughout Scotland.”Keith Stalker, MD, EPP machinery”Not being able to get funds from banks is holding good businesses back. We see customers who want to expand SMEs and, while the very big ones are OK, as are the major retailers, the SMEs are not getting access to the money they need.”So the banks need to lend more and the pound needs to get stronger. We need to see the UK start to climb out of the recession and hear people talking more positively about things and for that to happen, more lending needs to take place.” Neville Moon, head of food and beverage, Caffè Nero”I would say ’excess’ will be a watchpoint as we exit the recession. For example, large portion sizes, or products laden with fat or sugar, will make people feel they are not being good to themselves. ’Healthy’ will take on a greater role, particularly in snacking, as well as healthier alternatives to pastry and muffins. I also predict a greater interest in artisan products particularly for better bread.”Kirk Hunter, CEO, Scottish Association of Master Bakers”I’d like to see us move strongly out of recession. To do that, we need to restore consumer confidence, so government must come clean on the right strategy. We need to get through the election because, at the moment, we are in a phoney war situation, which is not good for business.”We can anticipate public expenditure cutbacks, which are bound to have an effect on bakers, but overall I’m optimistic that 2010 will see the beginning of a recovery and a return to prosperity.””I hope this is a year we see the economy start to recover and customers being more confident.” Scott Clarke, bakery category director, TescoSimon Solway, MD, Unifine Food & Drink Ingredients”Last year was about looking at the bottom line and reducing costs; 2010 will be about building on that platform. Once the country thaws which is the big issue of the moment we’re really seeing more positivity in the market. “Consequently, we’re looking forward to the Baking Industry Exhibition [at the NEC from 21 to 24 March] this year, where there will be a lot of new launches; this gives us confidence. If we look at our customers, we’re recording more launches compared to this time last year. If we looked at 2009, the first six months were very tough and things got a lot better in the last six months, and that has carried on already into January. “In November, British Baker wrote that Danish pastry sales were up 10% year-on-year second behind muffins. This is fantastic news yes, people are being careful about what they buy, but they want something that tastes good and satisfies all their senses. We would encourage customers to look to the Continent, where there are some great new products being launched. We would also like to see the UK export more cake there’s still so much imported cake into the UK. The exchange rate is something producers can really benefit from.”Andy Pollard, sales and marketing director, Cereform”I want to see the Euro exchange rate improve and raw material prices become more consistent, so we are able to give longer-term commitment on cost to manufacturers and they, in turn, can do the same for their customers.”I’d also like to see a continuing resurgence of brands, which puts value back into the baked goods sector. Also, I’d like consumers to understand and appreciate the baking industry as a provider of healthy staple products, as well as indulgent ones.”I have no agenda regarding the GM issue. However if, in the future, consumers and the retailers want the food industry to continue to provide products at ever-reducing prices while maintaining quality, it must be a consideration.”
A weird form of treasure hunt, organised at a Lancashire resort, has bothererd the staff of a local café. It was found that cups of tea or coffee were ordered and, having received the usual receipt, the customers paid the money, but attempted to retain the check [receipt]. In some cases the tea or coffee was not touched. The mystery was solved when it was discovered that a local had organised a treasure hunt, one condition of which was the production of a check from the particular café. A more pointless and peculiar scheme it is difficult to imagine. On the face of it, it would seem that the café would benefit by increased turnover and a little advertisement. But any advantage of this kind would be easily outweighed by the inconvenience to the staff occasioned by the inteference with the ordinary clerical routine, as a result of which it would be impossible to analyse the takings properly. Such schemes should obviously be discouraged.
Pukka Pies is to launch its range of microwaveable pies into the foodservice and wholesale sectors. The pies can be microwaved from frozen in three-and-a-half minutes the result of extensive development and test-marketing by the firm, which includes a new shortcrust pastry recipe designed specifically for the microwave.Initially available in steak and chicken varieties, the pies are flow-wrapped, six pies to a case.”Creating a microwaveable pie such as this has been something of a holy grail for the industry,” said MD Tim Storer. “Extensive consumer research has reported fantastic results and they have scored consistently high marks in texture, taste and quality tests.”The new pies are promoted in a TV campaign, launching this month, and are available from Pukka Pies distributors and wholesalers.