Rich Products says it has invested £1m at its bakeries, including the former David Powell bakery in Fareham, as part of a plan to become the UK’s leading supplier of premium baked goods.Rich has relocated the bread bakery and refurbished all the ovens at the Fareham bakery, acquired from David Powell in June 2005. It has also bought new bread chillers and provers and installed automatic cup cake icing equipment. And it has enhanced its end-of-the-line wrapping facilities for all products made at the site.Rich Products has also upgraded its original cookie manufacturing plant in Kidder-minster, Worcestershire, instal-ling new bake-off facilities, to increase capacity. This will enable it to produce a broader range of baked and wrapped premium products and allow it to deliver frozen pucks or thaw-and-serve products in a variety of wrapped and packed formats, it says. The Worcestershire factory will remain the firm’s primary cookie manufacturing facility, but both sites will manufacture both Rich and David Powell branded products.The investment is the first phase of a long-term plan to develop the business in the UK and grow both the Rich and David Powell brands. The second phase will see Rich merge its head office into one central location at Fareham, the former David Powell site, bringing together both the sales and marketing teams for the Rich and David Powell ranges. Managing director George Thomopoulos said: “This is an exciting time for Rich and comes after a period of intensive planning and analysis into how we can really develop the business. Rich has huge ambitions in the UK; the acquisition of David Powell was just the beginning and there’s plenty more to come. “Now that we have completed our first phase of investment and are moving our head office to Fareham to be closer to the majority of our customers, we are perfectly placed to drive our business plan forward and achieve our goal of becoming the UK’s leading supplier of premium bespoke baked goods,” he added.
Four baking professionals previously employed by Rathbones Bakery and Harvestime have begun making ‘premium’ crumpets at a factory in Carlisle, Cumbria. Initial production by Lakeland Bake is being frozen off-site for distribution mainly to expatriates in places such as Cyprus, Spain and Malta, said one of the company’s founders, Nigel McKerr. “It’s largely an untapped market,” he said.The company, which was set up with £250,000 invested by the founders, is now looking for customers in the UK for its Just Crumpets brand, said McKerr. He was formerly group accountant at Rathbones before moving to Harvestime (2005), which bought the Rathbones’ distribution centre in Carlisle.The other founders are: former Rathbones general manager Paul Codona, who also moved to Harvestime; production manger Andrew Turner, who moved to Cumbrian Seafoods; and Turner’s brother Peter, who had been working as an engineer at Northern Foods.“It’s a mature market. It’s not a very exciting market,” said McKerr. “But we think there’s room for a premium product.” Lakeland would develop new crumpet shapes and flavours, he added.Rathbones made 1.5-1.75m crumpets a week, but McKerr said there was demand for 3m a week. Although Warburtons, Allied Bakeries and British Bakeries have increased production to fill the gap in the market left by a fire at Rathbones in February 2005, McKerr said Lakeland was in a different market. “We are not in direct competition,” he said, but conceded other crumpet makers might move upmarket if Lakeland was successful.He said Lakeland’s crumpets were “light and airy”, with a good toasted section, made on a hotplate that Lakeland designed and built itself. Lakeland has fitted out its Kingmoor Park industrial estate factory largely with second-hand equipment and there is plenty of room for expansion on the estate, said McKerr.Carlisle is an ideal location with hundreds of former Rathbones workers nearby for future expansion, he added. Lakeland has just appointed a sales and marketing director, Kevin Wilson, and expects to take on four or five staff in the autumn, said McKerr.
? During the 18th century, sugar was sold in solid cones. It had to be broken and pounded up before using it. Sugar cones were replaced by granulated sugar in bags during the 19th century? Orange flower water was used in early recipes as a safe source of extra moisture. You can buy it from major supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s, but you can just use water if it is not readily available
Oranges are at their best at this time of year and there are many varieties to choose from. For example, the bitter Seville or marmalade orange, the somewhat gruesomely named, but delicious blood orange or navel orange are just a few and they can all be used creatively in baking.The zest has such a strong flavour that sometimes that is all that is needed to give the taste in, for example, biscuits and shortbreads. Among the flavours to go well with orange are chocolate, dates, almonds, apricots, carrots, and cranberries. These combinations can work in baked cheesecakes, muffins, tarts and cakes.Caramelised oranges, put in overlapping slices on top of an orange-flavoured crème patissière, can look dramatic and taste fantastic. Orange syrup cakes or a St Clements cake using both oranges and lemons are always popular, as are orange cakes made using polenta. A thin-skinned orange, boiled until tender before being pulverised and mixed with ground almonds makes a delicious cake, which has either syrup poured over it or served with it. A sandwich cake flavoured with orange zest can be filled with orange curd.In season: January-end of MarchFiona Burrell, co-author of Leiths Baking Bible, from the world-famous school of Leiths Food and Wine
Nantwich-based Reaseheath College has teamed up with Chester University to launch a bakery course aimed at baking industry professionals.The Professional Certificate in Bakery Technology comprises three, 12-week modules, covering bakery science and technology; bakery products composition and manufacture; and bakery processing and engineering.Each module requires around 200 hours of study and learners are taught through a combination of workshops, online resources and a personal tutor, who visits them at work. Each module costs £317.
Growth plans for Greggs, the UK’s biggest bakery retailer, are still on track, despite taking a hit on profits due to cost increases and a withdrawal from Belgium, CEO Ken McMeikan revealed to British Baker.The firm has budgeted for marginal like-for-like sales growth in 2009, after announcing a 7.2% fall in operating profit in its full-year results. Despite a rise in year-on-year sales of 7.1% to £628m, including a like-for-like increase of 4.4%, “substantial increases” in energy and ingre-dients costs in the 52 weeks to 27 December 2008, as well as the cost of pulling its 10 shops in Belgium, contributed to the loss.”The results are incredibly resilient in the current climate and in line with our expectations,” McMeikan said. “The fact we took decisions last year not to pass extra costs on to our customers was reflected in the continued like-for-like growth last year and into the start of this year.”Chairman Derek Netherton said it had been “a challenging year for Greggs”, but that it was still planning accelerated growth in 2010, as well as streamlining the business. Currently only 30% of Greggs’ products are standard across all its stores but McMeikan aims to increase this to 80% by the end of the year, with the remaining 20% to consist of regional favourites. “We have a dedicated team looking at the products in each of our 10 divisions,” said McMeikan. “We are currently trialling ideas for the 80% national range in 25 of our shops across the UK. By the end of 2009 we will have considered what the range should be, trialled it and then rolled it out.”
Ontario-based Canada Bread’s UK subsidiary, speciality bread and bagel manufacturer Maple Leaf Bakery UK, has seen a drop in earnings for the first quarter to 31 March, 2009.The decline has been put down to “a lower margin product mix” due to the more pronounced effect of the recession in the UK. “Also, increased promotional costs to restore volumes reduced earnings,” according to a statement from Canada Bread.Maple Leaf Bakery is part of Canada Bread’s Frozen Bakery division, alongside its North American operations.Its Frozen Bakery division saw an overall sales increase of 3.1% to C$150.1m (£84.8m) compared to C$145.6m (£82.3m) for the same period last year. The increase was mainly driven by price increases in North America last year. Adjusted operating earnings rose to C$8.5m (£4.8m) compared to C$6.9m (£3.9m) for the comparable period last year.The firm’s Fresh Bakery division’s first quarter sales increased 10.9% to C$263m (£148.6m). Total sales for the first quarter increased 7.9% to C$413.1m (£233.5m) compared to C$382.9m (£216.5m) in the same period last year.Canada Bread Company is 89.8% owned by Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
“Fighting foreclosure, one cake at a time”- the slogan of struggling New Jersey actress-cum-baker Angela Logan’s website, maccakes.com; she successfully fought off repossession of her home after falling into financial trouble, by raising $2,600 selling “mortgage apple cakes” online and attracting a glut of media coverage in the process”It is my personal view that supermarkets should stop marketing food that is small in size and high in calories. For example, flapjacks should not be on sale”- after waging war on salt in bread and sat fats in pastry, outgoing Food Standards Agency chairman Dame Deirdre Hutton picks a fight with a flapjack
Bakers who register now to take part in National Doughnut Week 2010 will get a voucher worth £5 off either a bag of Craigmillar Doughnut Concentrate or a box of Readi-Bake Topped Ring Doughnuts, from sponsors CSM United Kingdom.Taking place this year from May 8-15, National Doughnut Week raises money for charity The Children’s Trust, while also helping craft bakery businesses to raise their profile in the local community and boost business.The discount for craft bakers, which is available from Bako, BFP and other wholesalers, can also be obtained by retur-ning the registration form in this issue of British Baker. Or you can also register online at www.nationaldoughnutweek.org. A free point-of-sale pack is also provided.Last year’s participants inclu-ded Birds of Derby, WM Stephen Bakers in Dunfermline and Argos Bakery in Stromness. The week will be supported by national TV, radio and press coverage, a range of events and support from high-profile celebrities.
Irish researchers at University College Cork have produced low-salt breads with a comparable shelf-life to standard breads, but they are still working on improving the flavour. One potential solution is to add sourdough as a flavour-enhancing agent.The impetus in Ireland to reduce salt comes from health bodies, such as the World Health Organization and EU counterparts, which highlight the detrimental effect of excess salt/sodium on health. The EU has set a goal to reduce the sodium content of foods (including bread) by a minimum of 16% over four years from baseline levels in 2008. In Ireland, this translates to a target of 400mg Na/100g for white and wholemeal bread before 2012.Since 2004, in a voluntary programme overseen by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), bakeries have been adjusting processing, ingredients and equipment to reduce salt. Irish Pride Bakeries launched three reduced-salt products, and Brennans twice launched a low-salt product. All were quickly delisted because the consumer did not like the taste.”Research indicates that the gradual reduction of salt in all products educates the consumer’s palate,” says Karl McDonald, technical executive, FSAI, which has adopted that policy. The major plant bakers, represented by the Irish Bread Bakers Association (IBBA), register targets every year with the FSAI, which spot-checks and tests products to verify compliance. The 2008-2009 target was a maximum sodium content of 450mg per 100g (1.14g salt/100g), which translates to over a 10% reduction in sodium in five years. For 2009-2010, it is 430mg per 100g.”We are well on the way to reducing salt in bread and are often held up as an exemplar [to other food categories] of how well it can be worked,” says Shane Dempsey, of the Irish Bread Bakers Association (IBBA). “But the bread bakeries are coming to a threshold where it becomes difficult to make bread with both reduced salt and of sufficient quality in a factory or a manufacturing environment.” He explains that not all research can be successfully transferred from the laboratory to industrial conditions.The FSAI recognises that bakeries may reach a “technological barrier”, but says ongoing research may help create opportunities for more sodium reduction beyond that barrier.The IBBA plant bakeries account for the lion’s share of the bread market (66% volume and 68% value), and are therefore the main focus of the salt reduction programme, as is their volume product the sliced pan. The FSAI has also had some contact with artisan, craft and other bakeries, but, says McDonald: “They make up such a small percentage of the national consumption of bread, that they are not as important in helping the overall (salt) reduction in the population.”Individual bakery companies that registered targets with the FSAI include: Allied Bakeries Ireland, Cuisine de France, Neville’s, Jinny’s, McCambridge and Stapleton’s. The latter three bake traditional Irish soda bread, which is very difficult to produce with less sodium. Stapleton’s has had NPD trials into reduced-sodium recipes and its target for 2009-2010 is to reduce sodium to 702mg per 100g.At O’Donohue’s craft bakery in Tullamore, the levels of salt in soda bread have been reduced, but the current focus is to reduce salt in the 800g sliced pan to IBBA-agreed levels. “With soda bread there is quite a high sodium level, because of sodium bicarbonate, but not necessarily added salt,” says a technical spokesperson at O’Donohue’s. “Sodium bicarbonate is critical to the process; it has the same function as yeast.”Research into sodium replacement has been explored in Ireland and, in some cases, used. The primary replacer is potassium chloride, but there are difficulties as it can leave a taste. The FSAI advice is to take salt out slowly, rather than use replacements and, to date, this remains the approach adopted by IBBA members.