Northern Foods has signed a multi-union National Learning Agreement.It has teamed up with the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, the Transport & General Workers Union and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers to give employees access to a wide range of courses from numeracy and literacy through to the European Computer Driving Licence.This will build on its growing number of onsite learning centres.The company will also continue to concentrate on learning initiatives such as Skills for Life and will work with organisations such as unionlearn – the TUC’s learning and skills project – college providers and Sector Skills Councils to make sure that the Learning Agreement is successful.
…the percentage rise of food prices between April 2006 and April 2007. Non-food shop prices actually fell by 0.6% over the same period
Bagel specialist Maple Leaf UK has expressed concern over the impact of soaring flour prices and energy costs on its business.Speaking after its Canadian parent company posted results this week, Maple Leaf UK’s deputy director Guy Hall told British Baker: “The main concern at the moment is the uncertainty over prices – the massive hike in the price of flour and energy.”It was too early to tell how hard the British harvest would be hit this year by the torrential rain throughout the summer, he said. But global demand running ahead of supply and extreme weather conditions were creating an uncertain picture for the future.Hall added: “It’s not looking good. The wheat fields around this area are looking flat.”Production at Maple Leaf UK’s Rotherham bakery was affected for three days in June after flooding knocked out the electricity supply. The car park and approach roads were also submerged under three feet of water.Meanwhile, Maple Leaf’s parent company in Canada reported huge financial losses for the second quarter of the year. However, Guy Hall dismissed the results as not relevant to the British business.Maple Leaf in Canada posted a second quarter net loss of $1.7m compared to net earnings of $21.2m in the period before.Hall said the finances in Canada had been skewed by the meat-processing side of its Canadian business, which was in the throes of major restructuring. “It’s separate from the bakery group,” he said.
This straightforward and reliable cake both tastes good and is low in fat. What more could you want to satisfy today’s demanding consumers?The recipe comes from Walter Mansbridge’s handwritten notebook and dates from the early 20th century.Mansbridge was a baker in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, where his descendants continue to run a bakery. Makes 10 x 600g/1 lb 6 oz loavesChopped dates: 1.5kgBoiling water: 1.6 litresButter: 250gWhite flour: 2kgBrown sugar: 1.25kgBicarbonate of soda: 55g/2oz/10 tspSalt: 10g/½ozEggs: 10Method1. Pour the water over the dates and leave to cool.2. Rub the butter into the flour then stir in the sugar and baking soda.3. Separate the eggs. Mix the yolks and dates together then combine with the dry ingredients. Mix well together.4. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold them into the mixture.5. Put the mixture into tins and bake in a moderate oven at 170?C for one hour and 10 minutes. === Did you know? ===The date has been eaten for thousands of years; there is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in eastern Arabia in 4,000 BC and it is possible that they were eaten even before that.The ancient Egyptians considered the date to be a symbol of fertility and the fronds of the palm tree an emblem of longevity.
Country Style Foods was one of the winners of a Good Egg 2008 award, announced at a London ceremony on 29 April. The awards recognise companies that make a difference to the welfare of hens by switching to free-range. The awards were split into four sections – food retail, food service, food manufacture and public sector. Country Style – one of the winners within the manufacturing category for its range of own-label bakery products and frozen desserts – has committed to going 100% free-range by 2012.From April 2008, all fresh whole egg and egg white used in its products will be from free-range birds. Other winners included Waitrose, The Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Subway and McDonalds.
Retailers will have to increase bread prices as the cost of raw ingredients continues to rocket, according to Warburtons chairman Jonathan Warburton.Speaking at a KPMG retail event on the issue of increased bread prices, Warburton said: “The last 12 to 18 months have been challenging for the food industry as a whole and the bakery industry in particular. “The cost of raw materials such as wheat and oil around the world, have risen dramatically.”The challenge continues as the pressure is on the retailers to keep the prices low, however this is unsustainable in the current climate.” “We invest pretty much all we make back into our business, and the worst thing we can do is cut corners in terms of quality. Warburtons has always and will always source only the very best quality raw materials to ensure our products meet the high demands of consumers in terms of quality, freshness and taste.”
== so why are things going so well for you when others are struggling? ==Because there is money out there to help build your business. A guy walked in off the street from Invest Sefton, located in a borough to the north of the City of Liverpool, which is there to help regenerate businesses, to keep them going and keep them employing people. From that I got a grant through Sefton Council of £30,000. I also got a low-interest loan of £20,000 from the MSIF – a Merseyside Special Investment Fund for small firms – and every year you get an interest rebate. In total, £80,000 of the £330,000 I’ve invested in the building and machinery was funded through grants and low-interest loans, which is a massive help to any business. I went to the bank for the rest of the funding, and have a three-year arrangement with Lombard to pay off the rest of the machinery.== Why have you decided to invest in your business? ==First and foremost because I absolutely love it and I’m born and bred to do it. I think the future is for small independent bakers. We’ve had a bit of a kicking in the last 15-20 years, but a lot of people are coming back towards the independent retailer. They like shopping locally and they like it fresh, and I’ve never sold so much bread as now. Our bakery has always been behind the shop and people like that image.== Was your kit old and in need of a spruce-up? ==Some of it was. We’ve put in a two-rack gas oven to complement our deck oven, because if we upped our proving and manufacturing capacity, we had to improve the baking facilities. With the retarder-provers, we’ve only got one person now coming in at midnight, and not for much longer, and you’re just miles ahead of the game with production. Good staff who are willing to work ridiculous hours are harder to find, so the more you invest in retarder-provers, more efficient ovens and roll plants, the better. While it does de-skill the job to some extent, you retain your independence.== what are the big challenges? ==When Tesco Express opened next door, people said: “That’ll be the end of you.” I thought, if anything, it would improve things for us and we are now £250-a-week better off, because it has a car park and brings a lot of people to the area. We had a fantastic Christmas in the shop – my best so far. The shop is the most profitable side of the business and I’m thinking of opening a second – it’s better than wholesale because you’ve got £4,500 in your pocket at the end of the week.== What do you get out of being an NAMB member? ==I get kept informed, week-to-week, month-to-month, so I know what, when and where things are happening. You cannot really class the membership as a fee, because you get free advice on the phone. I’ve got an issue with the resin floor I put in, and that’s gone to court. My first point of call was the National Association, and they gave me advice and put me in touch with a solicitor.—-=== Diary Dates ===== Friday 8 May – Monday 11 May 2009 ==122nd annual NAMB ConferenceThe Highcliff MarriottBournemouthThis year’s NAMB Conference will be in Bournemouth, starting on Friday 8 May. Reservations at the hotel itself will be strictly on a first-come, first-served basis.The event this year is a fantastic opportunity to network with other baking industry executives from around the country and is gaining tremendous support from many allied traders. It will feature three excellent speakers, to be revealed, and will include a banquet night on Saturday 9 May, which is free to members or £40 per person to non-members, and a Fun Night on Sunday 10 May, costing £35 per person for members or £40 per person for non-members.Other events on the Saturday include a 40-minute boat trip for NAMB members, courtesy of the Western Region, which will leave from the pier below the hotel at about 11am. The boat will cruise around the coast, taking in famous sights and a light lunch back at the pier is included. The trip is only open to members attending the conference.Also on Saturday will be the NAMB’s Annual Golf Tournament. The Neil Houliston Cup will be played at the Meyrick Park Golf Club in Bournemouth, a short walk from the hotel. The course is set in 120 acres of scenic parkland and will provide players with numerous challenges. Tea or coffee and bacon sandwiches are supplied on arrival and there will be a lunch of soup and sandwiches.For details of hotel bookings or any of these events, contact Karen Dear on 01920 860117
In The Times on Wednesday, a correspondent commended grey squirrels, a pest of which it is desirable to rid the country, as providing an agreeable food. The meat, it was stated, is as tender as rabbit, can be cooked similarly, and resembles it in taste. “If it were widely used to supplement the meat ration,” added the writer, “the double purpose might be served of addition to our food supply and the extermination of a destructive animal.”It may not be generally known that the hedgehog is also said to taste like rabbit. It is eaten by gypsies, who bake it in clay. To the inquiry: “Do you like rabbit?” put to a woman, came the reply: “I have never tasted it and don’t intend to, but I’ve eaten hedgehog, which is supposed to taste the same”.The day may come when these dishes will find a place on the restaurant menu…. Stop The Week thinks probably not.
By Max Jenvey of Oxxygen Marketing Partnership, a strategic business accelerator specialising in the bakery, foodservice and convenience retail sectorsIf you want to sell more bakery products to consumers, one of the best places to start is by looking at who your customers are and, most importantly, whether you have taken the time to understand what they want.Market insights agency him!, which focuses on bakery product customers, told us that 10% of our customers are made up of financially crunched students; this group responds very well to multi-purchase discount offers for example two for the price of one.Our next group of customers are the ’young, free and singles’, 18-34 years old, employed, and living in shared housing or with parents; they make up 7% of our market. They are also price-sensitive, but less so than students, so the idea is to get them hooked on a combination deal such as sandwiches and sweet or savoury pastries for a slight discount no more than 15% off the total price.Three groups that are very important are the ’child-free couples’, at 24%, who have disposable income and do not perceive bakery items and coffee as expensive. This group hits you hard in the morning and sometimes visits later in the day for a quick snack. ’At-home mums’ represent 17% of your market and are looking for a break with their little ones most likely a mid-morning/afternoon meeting with other mums. Ease of access and seating is top of mind for this group, so widen those aisles and focus on comfortable seating. Next come the ’busy providers’, at 22%; they are living with kids or with partners with kids and are working full time, so think multi-bag with this group something to eat now and something to take to the office or back home.Last, but by no means least, are ’retired greys’, at 20%. This market is looking for that meet-and-greet occasion with their friends. As well as happily munching away on cakes and pastries, this group is also partial to the odd sausage roll.So take a long hard look at your customers to understand who they are and what they are they buying, then review your range accordingly.
New research claims the value of sales from online grocery retailing will double by 2016 to £11.2bn, up from the estimated £5.9bn for this year.A study by IGD, the grocery analysts, found that the online grocery market will account for 3.8% of total grocery spend in the UK and is projected to increase to 6% by 2016.It also claimed that more than four in 10 adults (44%) intend to shop online for their groceries in the next five to 10 years, compared to just 17% who are currently doing so and that almost two-thirds (64%) use two or more online supermarkets to shop for their food and groceries, with almost half (47%) saying they would like to try another online supermarket.IGD said that smartphone applications came top of the list by manufacturers when asked what would have the greatest impact on the online channel in the future.Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, said: “A digital explosion is taking place and technology is advancing in leaps and bounds. Just in the last 12 months we’ve seen an array of innovations in the online arena and we expect this to continue.“Although online grocery retailing only accounts for 3.8% of the total grocery market, it is the fastest-growing grocery channel and one which will be used more widely in the future as shoppers become increasingly multi-channel. Our research shows us that even those shoppers who don’t currently buy their groceries online (33%) intend to do so in the future. “As the market is constantly changing, it’s still difficult to predict exactly what online grocery retailing will look like in the next few years. What is exciting, however, is how the digital revolution will evolve and shape our industry in the years to come.”IGD also claimed:• A third (33%) of food and grocery manufacturers would consider developing their own e-stores and selling their products directly to shoppers, up from a quarter (27%) in November last year.• 61% of manufacturers say the pace of growth in online grocery retailing in the next five years will accelerate year-on-year