Around 14,000 people visited Tesco’s Enjoy the Taste of Scotland… Get to Know Your Locals event in Edinburgh in May.Exhibitors included a selection of Scotland’s bakeries and ingredient manufacturers from over 80 regions, including Allied Bakeries, Macphie of Glenbervie, Bell Bakers, Finsbury Food Group, Ashers Bakery, Patak’s and MacLeans Highland Bakery.Biscuit firm MacLeans supplies eight lines to three Tesco stores. Lewis MacLean, MD, said: “The event gave us a chance to trial new products with the public, including shortbread and biscuit bites.”He said the event was very busy “and we were pleased to receive a lot of consumer feedback, as well as to meet other local suppliers”.
A very big thank you to everyone who helped make the Baking Industry Awards such a fabulous, fun night – sponsors, finalists and guests (pg 4 and pgs 15-22). John Waterfield won the accolade Baker of the Year, sponsored by Vandemoortele, and I think it made the whole industry proud that such an innovative, quality craft baker, who is up-to-the-minute on everything from new products to waste management, shop design to staff training, walked off with the top prize.John never says: “We’ve made it, we’ll stand still for a moment,” because you can’t. There’s too much pressure, too much competition. And in order to invest money back in the business, you must keep making it. What a great firm!Joanna Lumley was warm, funny and so professional. She had a smile for everyone, posed for photos and told me what lovely people you all were. Bakery, by its nature, is tactile – even in the plant sector where finished products are still benchmarked against others, squeezed and sampled. So the fact that Joanna just naturally touched and embraced people – with the odd hug thrown in – proved very popular!The community spirit was evident the whole evening in this single-sector industry where times of prosperity and times of adversity help bind everyone together.And while price increases peppered many a chat, soon people were hitting the dance floor or clapping the Shirley Bassey look-alike, who belted out her songs with gusto.Our Special Award winner, John Gillespie (front cover), has done so much more than work for Macphie. He has given his time and talents to many aspects of baking and is still coming up with good ideas about helping to unite the industry and its many associations, so bakery can speak more often with one voice – a more powerful voice!The supermarkets Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco supported the industry, picking finalists who had excelled. While Délifrance, in turn, sought out the stars of the big four supermarket in-store bakeries, with Asda emerging as the ultimate winner this year – and its Boldon store’s bakery were thrilled!So once again, a huge thank you to all our sponsors, associate sponsors, guests and finalists for making it such an evening to remember and an industry of which we can all be very proud.
The food exhibition SIGEP will take place at Rimini Fiera in Italy from 26-30 January 2008.Last year it attracted over 90,000 visitors, from 121 countries. Just over 40% of these were ice-cream makers, a third were confectioners and 10% were bakers.This year SIGEP will showcase a range of competitions, pitting bakers from different countries against each other.Both the Senior and Junior Bread Baking Championships will take place over five days. Eight teams will compete for the Senior cup in front of a live audience, baking a range of innovative bread, a leavened bakery cake, and an artistic item.See [http://www.sigep.it/en]
In recent years the craft bakery sector has come under pressure from many fronts. This has led to companies struggling and a poor perception of the industry among customers, the government and potential employees.We are hoping to pull together an action group that will look at redressing some of these perceptions. As a respected member of our trade, we would value your input.The action group’s primary objectives will be:1. To remind shoppers, the media, the government and opinion-formers that the independent baker has a commercial and social role in the local community that cannot be replaced by the giant multiple corporations – the latter are working to agendas set by a distant head office.2. To inspire independent bakers to maximise their involvement in the local community.Gill Brooks-LonicanChief executiveNational Association of Master Bakers—-=== * Big Brother ===has opened a café that’s cleverer than you are tinyurl.com/4jmkdr * Bread could become the next weight-loss fad tinyurl.com/3my7y7 * We could print British Baker onto toast, if we wanted to tinyurl.com/3pmj8s * “Sprouted bread” is taking off across the Atlantic tinyurl.com/4q8eky * Forget Facebook, Moon Cakes is the big social networking craze in China tinyurl.com/3skucc
We fragile humans all feel the need to be a part of something – a community, a club, a team, a clan – and the more exclusive or special that group is, the more special and safe we feel. It’s why village-dwellers love to have a pewter tankard behind the bar of their local… it’s Friends, it’s Cheers, it’s tribal.So when Baldwin, Siegel and Bowker opened a store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971 (lifting the Starbucks name from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick), and Howard Schultz exploited the Italian model in the 1980s, this imported phenomenon with a community feel rapidly became a goldmine.The people who frequented their coffee shops in the early days found a little local sanctuary to hide in or meet and ’chill’ for a few moments each beleaguered day. In my view, unfortunately, success meant the inevitable happened: Starbucks became a large corporation. The profit monster reared its ugly head; the shops became slightly dog-eared; the ’assembly line’ became more mechanical and the personal connection and empathy disappeared to be replaced by… industry.Competitors like Costa are performing better. The fact that their environments are, in my view, slightly warmer and more inviting may not be entirely divorced from their success. When companies or brands stop making us feel special, we will start looking somewhere else.Some of my colleagues are sceptical about Starbucks’ US experiment to take the Starbucks brand away from three of its stores in Seattle (there are no plans to do the same in the UK yet). The idea is to reconnect with its customers and its pre-globalised roots, with more flexible opening hours, an alcohol licence and live events. I’m less cynical about it – unusually for me – provided the execution is right. 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea, as it will be known, feels like it’s being created to provide havens for people to relax in. But the execution is everything – the environment, the staff, the products, the ambience, every detail needs to be right.It needs to make you feel part of it, just like the local village pub, where you know the names of the bar staff, they know your favourite drinks, everyone knows or recognises nearly everyone. It’s proposing the joy of local community in a developed world where local community has been systematically dismantled.The real danger they face is history repeating itself. When a brand model is right, you need to look after it and ensure everything you do remains true to the brand. You can gently evolve it to keep it fresh, but the second you lose what the brand stands for, you’ve lost the brand. A brand isn’t a function, it’s an emotion; and it’s this fundamental that we’ll explore next month.
Pembrokeshire bakery Tan Y Castell Welshcakes has struck a deal with Arriva Trains to supply its ’Welshcakes Snack Pack’ on board all the company’s trains across Wales.The pack containing two Welshcakes has just been launched by the bakery and had been developed to cater for the snacking-on-the-go market.”Consumers are becoming increasingly busy with work and general lifestyle. We felt there was a gap in the market for such a product, which is easily available and ready to eat,” said Tan Y Castell managing director Paul Mear.”Arriva Trains is the first to take on board our Snack Pack of Welshcakes and we look forward to working together with them.”The Welschcakes are made to an original farmhouse recipe and contain no additives or preser-vatives. The bakery also supplies to wholesalers in ambient and frozen formats.
Staff at Durham-based Peters Bakery have reportedly been asked to take a 10% pay cut. The firm has been in discussions with the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) regarding the proposal, but a source at the BFAWU said it was too early to say what the final outcome would be. When asked to confirm whether the talks were about a possible 10% pay cut, he replied: “What you have heard is true.”British Baker has not been able to contact anyone at the bakery for further comment.Established in Durham in 1966, Peters Bakery has 65 shops. The business has suffered two factory fires in the last decade. The first in December 2003, and the second only six months later in April 2004, with the rebuild project following the second blaze costing £7.5m.
Sylvia MacdonaldUnifine Food & Bake Ingredients has signed a sole UK distribution, sales and marketing agreement with pastry-maker Pruvé.The deal, which takes place with immediate effect, will see Unifine responsible for the whole Pruvé ambient range.Unifine Food & Bake MD Simon Solway told British Baker: “It is very exciting. We are also looking for businesses in the UK that we can purchase outright. The Pruvé distribution agreement is a core fit and helps with our growth aspirations.”Pruvé makes pre-formed puff pastry, pastry shells and a range of sweet and savoury products, such as mini-tartlets, vol-au-vents, choux, crystal shells and cream horns.Solway continued: “Customers want consistent quality, but also convenience, which makes this an excellent synergy. We have the fillings and they have the cases. We have always had joint customers and now they can benefit from a one-stop shop.”This deal also fits in with our strategy of added-value patisserie lines. We go to both retail bakery: via craft, plant and supermarket, and to foodservice. We have some major customers and like to think we are a niche player but our customers also demand innovation and our parent company in the Netherlands, Royal Cosun Group, is good at providing support.”Unifine also has its own UK technical facility, which provides technical specifications and back-up. Solway acknowledged that there were obviously skilled bakers who make such bakery products, but said Pruvé was high quality and gives consistency.Solway claimed: “We were first with cupcakes and now whoopie cakes. We like to be inventive because NPD is what keeps growing the market.”Unifine Food & Bake is part of Dutch Royal Cosun Group, which makes food ingredients for fine pastry, foodservice, ice cream and industry. Key products are pastry mixes and fillings, cream stabilisers and mousses, fruit fillings and glazes, chocolate, fondants and toppings and flavourings.Pruvé is part of Dutch-owned Smilde Bakery, which owns several international brands, including Pruvé, that operate in countries throughout Europe, making patisserie and bakery products.
Scottish company Johnstone’s Bakers claims its turnover has more than trebled since 2007, following a major investment in a state-of-the-art factory.The independently-owned firm said that, following a £7m investment three years ago, which saw the company relocate to a new site in East Kilbride, its turnover had risen from £2.1m in 2007 to £7.4m in 2009. During the same period, it also won international contracts to supply the USA, Australia and Russia, and achieved its highest ever monthly sales in June this year.Johnstone’s said it had seen its export business grow significantly over the past three years, and revealed that it was now gearing up to fulfil a new contract, which would see its products distributed throughout 15 countries across Europe. A spokesperson for the firm said the new contract was for an own-label range for one of Europe’s multiple retail chains.In order to cope with increased demand for its recently launched Connie’s range, the firm has also announced it is to invest a further £400,000 in its production area. The expansion will include the addition of new equipment, including an enrobing machine and a machine that will allow it to make its own chocolate.Johnstone’s Bakers produces cake, cereal and biscuit bars and slices, including caramel shortcake, lemon cheesecake, tiffins, and Black Forest brownies.
Warburtons is using a new electric-powered truck to make greener and quieter deliveries across central London.The ‘Zeroed’ all-electric vehicle has a range of around 80 miles before it needs to be recharged, and will be based at Warburtons’ Enfield bakery in north London.Mark Sutcliffe, group transport manager, said: “As everything is run by battery, the truck produces zero emissions and hardly makes a sound. It has also been designed to make maximum use of the available stored electricity and the motor system is around twice as energy-efficient as an equivalent diesel engine.” The truck, which has a 95 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery pack underneath the body, uses a fully insulated design, which will help keep the temperature stable during delivery runs. It also incorporates a number of features to help reduce noise levels when unloading.