Bakery Services has announced ’disappointing’ preliminary results, for the year ended 31 March 2007, showing pre-tax losses of £124,985.Bakery Services operates Don Millers’ franchise cafés and Inbake, an in-store bakeries business. Underlying sales revenues generated by Don Millers were down by approximately 8% at £2.75 million. The company closed one store in January 2006.The group’s in-store bakery business, Inbake, increased revenues by 3% over the year and, in most host stores, increased total store sales participation. Operating profits before group management charges at Inbake improved to £278,091 against £240,500 for the same previous year period.The company said it plans to seek outside investment opportunities to help enhance shareholder value. It will propose a resolution at its annual general meeting in August.
At the annual National Association of Master Bakers conference in Blackpool members heard that the decline in membership that has taken place over recent years has been halted.While 33 members had been lost due to retirements, closures and sales of businesses, 37 new members had been gained. Although it is a marginal gain, it is the first one in many years. The association’s accounts are also in the best shape for a long time, showing a healthy profit that was declared to members.There has been no increase in membership rates for the second year running and there is even the possibility that, in 2009, there may be a small decrease, according to chief executive Gill Brooks Lonican! During 2008/9 the NA will be putting on more seminars for its members, supported by Cali- fornia Raisins.Christopher Freeman, of Dunns of Crouch End, proposed that non-executive directors be invited to join the board because “as existing members we are so locked into bakery that we need someone from the outside to look in”. He suggested they might bring a fresh approach and should stand for up to three years. They should be paid expenses only like other board directors.Freeman also spoke in favour of the the forthcoming National Bakery Skills Academy, stating he was concerned that if the NA did not support it, the government would simply impose a training levy. Chairman of the board Shirley Ryder pointed out that London and south-eastern represenatative Ian Wilson was on the steering committee and would report back to the NA on any viability and progress. However, she made the point that current NA training is approved by City & Guilds.On a lighter, but still important note, Mike Holling and Gill Brooks Lonican announced that the next Wallace & Gromit film, A Matter of Loaf or Death would be released in time for Christmas and provided a great opportunity for publicity for high street bakers. Wallace & Gromit are great supporters of small shops and the NA will be promoting lots of memorabilia associated with the film, including Wallace & Gromit ties and mugs.Outgoing president of the NA, Mike Holling of Birds of Derby, had earlier welcomed Irish president Patrick Smyth and his wife, Angela, and Scottish president Joe MacDonald to the conference. Holling said he had much enjoyed meeting other bakers during his year of office and he thanked his wife and son, for their support. At the conference banquet, he showed an interesting video presentation of his year in office, including meeting Joanna Lumley at the Baking Industry Awards.The conference AGM concluded with two seminars: one from Ed Garner of TNS UK Worldpanel, who said that provenance, not price, is the key driver for consumers and that premium is still growing; in the other, Professor Jeya Henry of Oxford Brookes said the government would continue to look at food to help prevent health problems.
OK, so let me confess straight up – I am an accountant and the amount I truly know about baking can be written on a grain of baking powder. The only time I have ever baked was on a 72-foot, 50-tonne yacht in the mid-Atlantic, which was racing for Boston on a 40-degree tilt… and I can assure you that is not good for making bread evenly sliceable!But here I am, newly elected chairman of the National Skills Academy Bakery Steering Group – just shows the world loves a willing volunteer (aka fool?). Mind you, I will comfortably be able to identify with those studying the courses we end up devising, as I will know as much as them on day one – so maybe I had better enrol soon!So what is the Steering Group here to do? Well, after much huffing and puffing and declarations of “something must be done” over the ageing skilled workforce in our trade, the industry has decided to see if it can come up with a united voice on what it needs (a formal training programme), how it needs it (delivered by a variety of methods from college attendance to work-based), where it needs it (all over the UK), and when it needs it (now!). In simple terms, it is the creation of a Bakery Academy within the family of the National Skills Academy. OK, so how will we tackle it?For a start, let us keep things simple – it would be great to develop an international baccalaureate degree, but maybe first we should capture the imagination of those thousands of bakery workers who have learnt nothing more than how to open a bag, add water, and press a button. Hundreds of these people wonder to themselves “Why?” every day and they should be our initial intake. They are just dying to understand the basic functionality of the core ingredients that our industry uses.Crack that, and the international diplomas can follow, as dozens will want to go on to the “next level” with a number going even further. Like creating Wimbledon Champions, it is a numbers game, with hundreds (if not thousands) needed at the base.Pulling togetherThen, the Group needs to pull the industry together. For some reason, the bread boys, the cake suppliers, the patissiers, and the bakery ingredients suppliers seem to think they all have special needs – pish! Look, it is all flour, butter, egg, yeast, water etc at its core level and we want rounded trainees, so let us drive towards a course that can achieve this aim… and yes, let us all be bold enough to swap our trainees around on placements, even if it means we do risk them not coming back!Number three? Unite the acronyms! Wow, we have a huge number of trade bodies – if anyone is in them all, their business card is the size of a London bus. Fortunately, they all have the same driving aim – their care for our industry – and many have joined the Steering Group, for which I am very grateful. If we can devise a scheme which suits them all, we will be well on our way.Then there is the hidden gem of our training colleges, both private and publicly funded… but who genuinely knows what is already out there for our training? It was only reading Chris North’s article from 27 June that I learned of the VRQ – and we employ 3,000 people in Finsbury Food Group!The dwindling number of colleges and lecturers is also a genuine fear. Yet with students banging on their door, I know we can re-energise the training programme. We must spread the word and the message that baking is a true trade and one to be hugely proud to participate in.So, that is the sort of draft plan for Phase One – basic skills training delivered nationally at an affordable cost, with unanimous industry support. Right now, there is huge wave of enthusiasm for this aim, so let us jump on the surfboard and hang tough on the crest, as we take our crusade crashing across the UK shores.Sounds fun – even to an accountant – though I want and need your views, opinions and, ultimately, support. My contact details are detailed below.* Dave Brooks is chief executive of Finsbury Food Group, as well as chairman of the National Skills Academy Bakery Steering Group. Please send him your views at [email protected], or via the National Skills Academy on [email protected] or [email protected] The next meeting of the Group is Monday 11 August.
== Subway on a roll ==Subway is on track to open 600 new stores in the UK and Ireland by 2010, with 22 shops opening their doors so far this year. The sandwich chain now has 1,400 stores, around 100 of which are in Ireland, and has announced it will need 7,000 full- and part-time staff to fill the new posts.== Tchibo sells stores ==German coffee chain and kitchenware business Tchibo will close its 100 coffee shop concessions in Sainsbury’s and Somerfield this year. It has also put the leases of its 51 standalone UK outlets up for sale, as the weak economy and the low value of sterling against the euro has forced the company to pull out of the UK.== Continental cousins ==Ingredients developer Ulrick & Short is developing a network of distribution partners in Europe that it hopes will push export sales up to 18% of total sales by 2013. It aims to link up with more partners who have a network of contacts in bakery.== Ukraine gas price up ==The increasing price of natural gas in the Ukraine could result in bread costing 5% more to produce there, according to the Ukrainian Agricultural Confederacy (UAC). A recent report stated that natural gas makes up around 7-8% of the cost of producing bread, but this looks set to rise to around 10%.== Malta helps bakers ==The Maltese government is helping bakers keep the cost of their loaves down by co-financing the purchase of equipment, publicity and marketing. Bakers’ Cooperative president Ray Briffa told The Malta Independent newspaper that government would provide as much aid as possible, but due to EU regulations, none of the aid can be made up of subsidies.
The results of a study recently published in the Nutrition Journal revealed that eating rye breakfasts can suppress the appetite during the period before lunch. The aim of the study, conducted by Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, was to investigate subjective appetite for the eight hours after a rye bread breakfast, varying in rye dietary fibre composition and content.Two studies were carried out – one on the satiating effect of iso-caloric bread breakfasts including different milling fractions of rye. The second was on the dose-response effect of rye bran and intermediate rye fraction. Both studies used a wheat bread breakfast as reference and appetite (hunger, satiety and desire to eat) was rated regularly from 8am to 4pm.The findings revealed that, with the milling fractions study, each of the rye breakfasts resulted in a suppressed appetite during the time period before lunch (08:3012:00) compared with the wheat reference bread breakfast. The one with rye bran induced the strongest effect on satiety. The effect of decreased hunger could still also be noticed in the afternoon from all three rye bread breakfasts compared to the wheat reference bread breakfast.In the dose-response study both levels of rye bran and the lower level of intermediate rye fraction resulted in an increased satiety before lunch compared with the wheat reference bread breakfast.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reaffirmed its recommendation that bread or flour should be fortified with folic acid after considering updated information on folic acid and cancer from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).The recommendation to the chief medical officer (CMO) Sir Liam Donaldson means mandatory fortification is increasingly likely, but raises unanswered questions about how the proposal would be implemented, who would foot the costs and what effect it would have on sales.Alex Waugh, director of the National Association of Irish and British Millers, told British Baker that, if the recommendation is adopted, the practicalities would have to be addressed by government. “It could be done if folic acid was added at the same time as other fortificants, but there would be a cost involved and that is an issue we would raise,” he said. “There is also a worry that the length of time discussions have taken has polarised views. The column inches dedicated to folic acid have not been helpful in developing consumer understanding. Some consumers could be turned off bread.”Gordon Polson, director of the Federation of Bakers (FoB), said: “Whatever decision is reached, the FoB will fully support [it],” and added it continued to strongly advise that fortification of flour at the milling stage was the most viable solution.Chris Young, project officer at the Real Bread Campaign, said that if the recommendations go ahead, it would be “more undeclared mass medication”, that would only benefit a very small percentage of the population. He added that traditional wind and water millers would also struggle to foot the costs. “An estimate from the secretary of the Traditional Cornmillers Guild, said it would involve spending around £20k on new equipment,” said Young. The Soil Association would request an exemption for organic products if the recommendation is accepted.The FSA first recommended mandatory fortification of bread or flour with folic acid in June 2007, following advice from the SACN. However, the CMO asked the SACN to consider two new studies on folic acid and colo-rectal cancer risk before advice was given to health ministers. After analysing the new evidence, the SACN concluded that its previous recommendation that flour should be fortified with folic acid was still valid.Folic acid fortification would prevent dozens of babies develo-ping spina bifida each year, as it plays a key role in foetal growth.
Years ago, it was newspaper printers and dockers who had a job for life. But from October 2011, it will be everyone.The government will abolish forced retirement at 65 and employees will have the right to continue working for as long as they are able. A test case said it was legal to give six months’ notice to employees to retire on, or after, their 65th birthday.This will still apply up until next October, so until then, give the employee six months’ notice in writing of their retirement date and, in the letter, give them the right to request to continue working for you any time within three months of receiving your letter. If you receive such a request, then you must have a meeting with them.My advice would be that, if you have got to the stage where you are giving them notice, don’t change your mind, because there will be no turning back in October. Then, the only reason to lose these employees will be redundancy (watch out for age discrimination) on the grounds of capability and it’s very hard to tell a sweet old lady who has worked diligently for you for 30 years that they are too slow or a disciplinary procedure.Gill
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference dessert line for Christmas features 14 new or improved-recipe products, including a Belgian Chocolate Brownie Torte and a Toffee Pecan Roulade. It is also launching several Taste the Difference chocolate desserts, including: Gift Cake a square sponge base topped with a rich mousse, laced with brandy, glazed with a ganache-style topping and adorned with a handmade white chocolate ribbon; a Triple Layer Cake three layers of Belgian chocolate cake; and an all-butter vanilla cake sandwich, together with a chocolate buttercream filling and topped with chocolate icing and flakes. All its Christmas cakes, including a Taste The Difference Holly Leaf version, are new, says a spokesperson.Morrisons will be making festive bakery products fresh in-store every day, according to a spokesperson. These include several new items: a White Chocolate Snowball Dessert; a Chocolate and Mandarin Bar Gateau; panettone in addition to an Indulgent Belgian Chocolate Cake; stollen; and mince pies.Its savoury range includes game pies and a Chicken and Stuffing Star Roll, while its ’The Best…’ range features a Chocolate and Ginger Pudding, Winter Spiced Pudding, Cherry Almond Topped Pudding, and a Chocolate and Irish Cream Cluster Cake.The two big cake launches for Asda this year are an Alpine scene cake and a ski-slope scene cake, says a spokesperson. The Extra Special 3 Month Matured Courvoisier VS Cognac Laced Alpine Scene Cake is an all-butter fruit cake, laced with Courvoisier VS Cognac and layered with marzipan and icing, and hand-finished with an Alpine snow scenein edible decorations and glitter. The ski-slope scene sponge cake, filled with plum and raspberry jam and vanilla frosting, is covered with soft fondant icing and hand-finished with royal icing snow, with Rudolph and Percy Penguin characters. The retailer will also offer mini brownies and biscuit bites for a mixed dessert option, a sherry trifle cake and a profiterole cake.Waitrose’s Christmas bakery range features a Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding, from the new Heston at Waitrose range, with a whole candied orange hidden inside. Also new for 2010 is a Toffee and Pecan Pudding; Mincemeat Crumble Slices; and Royal Iced Christmas Cake Slices. A spokesperson says the recipes for its decorated fruit Christmas cakes including Waitrose Christmas Tree Iced Christmas Cake, Waitrose Richly Fruited Snowflake Cake by Fiona Cairns and Duchy Originals Organic Dundee Cake have all been redeveloped for this Christmas and feature new decorations. Some of its undecorated cakes have also seen recipe changes, including its Waitrose Rich Fruit Christmas Cake.The Co-operative’s in-store bakery will be offering mini chocolate logs, ’decorate your own’ gingerbread men, gingerbread novelty shapes and mince pies. One of its key Christmas items is a Limited Edition Truly Irresistible Irish Cream Melting Middle dessert made with rich dark chocolate free-range egg sponge filled with Belgian milk chocolate and Irish cream-flavoured sauce. For ethically-minded food fans, Fairtrade products include Christmas pudding and mince pies.New products in Tesco’s bakery range include, in its Finest Range: an Ultimate Christmas Cake and Iced Rich Fruit Christmas Cake; a Tesco Angel Fruitcake; and a Luxury Chocolate Panettone. As part of its party food selection Tesco will be offering Finest Mini Steak & Ale Pies, Mini Cornish Pasties, Mini Eclairs and Mini Doughnuts. Other festive bakery products include a Tesco Fresh Cream Chocolate Log; Iced Rich Fruit Christmas Cake Bar; Ultimate Matured Christmas Pudding with Courvoisier VS Cognac; and a Matured Christmas Pudding with Cherries and Brandy or Apricots and Cognac.
Catering to Brits breakfasting on the run has helped push Greggs’ profits up by nearly 8% in the last year.The chain has sold more than 10 million breakfast rolls since it launched the breakfast meal deal last February, and has also seen strong growth in its hot drinks – helped by new coffee machines serving freshly ground Fairtrade coffee. Costing 40% less than branded coffee chains, the drink had proved increasingly popular with customers, reported Greggs, and machines would be rolled out to all 1,487 shops this year. Preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 1 January 2011 show pre-tax profit up 7.9% to £52.5m on sales up 2.1% to £662m, compared with the same period in 2009. However, with a record 93 new shops opening last year, like-for-like sales rose only 0.2%.Chief executive Ken McMeikan said it was planning for marginally positive like-for-like sales growth: “Performance in the year to date is in line with our expectations, with total sales increasing by 3.8% including like-for-like sales of 0.4%.”McMeikan added: “While 2011 will see further pressures on consumer spending and rising global commodity prices, our strong value positioning, excellent products, outstanding staff and clear strategy for growth mean we are well-positioned to deal with this challenging environment.” He said Greggs had continued to improve supply chain efficiency, which allowed it to increase the number of shops that could be supplied from its existing bakeries. A five-year plan in 2009 aimed to reduce the cost of supply to shops by £10m, but through consolidation of manufacturing into centres of excellence and investment in more efficient processes, it had delivered savings of £1.4m in 2010, ahead of the original plan. Alongisde the 80 planned new openings, Greggs aims to extend new design refits outside the London area, to include 60 across the UK.>>Greggs adds to meal deals>>Greggs accelerates shop expansion rates
Bako North Western is holding its third annual Family Fun Day at the company’s Preston premises, to give suppliers and customers a chance to meet and share ideas.More than 45 suppliers will be exhibiting, including The National Association of Master Bakers, while the event will also host a number of interactive demonstrations. These will feature suppliers such as Renshawnapier, which will demonstrate cupcakes toppers, described as “cute little characters” from the new Renshaw coloured Regalice range.Other attractions at the event on 12 June will include a bouncy castle, face painting and giant games for the children, plus a free refreshment area.Find further details at www.bakonw.co.uk.