Rich’s (Fareham, Hampshire) Premier range of bake-off cookies is aimed at the top end of the market. It also offers a new range of individually wrapped thaw-and-serve cookies in triple choc chunk, white choc chunk and milk choc chunk. The range has been created from recipes developed by Rich’s US parent company. It uses Belgian chocolate and real butter.
The Village Bakery (Melmerby, Cumbria) has introduced Organic Brownies, made with Green and Black’s organic dark chocolate and crunchy walnuts.The brownie contains no unrefined organic sugar and uses organic free-range eggs and butter. The Village Bakery also says it has new packaging to display all dietary requirements and nutritional content, printed on recycled boards making it 100% recyclable.
Irish bakery group McCambridge saw turnover rise by more than 50% to £15.9 million last year, despite tough trading conditions.Profits at the Dublin-based firm rose slightly to £1.38m, up from £1.2m the previous year, as a result of rising flour and energy costs.The company has a number of operations in Britain and has invested almost £3.5m in West of England Bakeries, based in Plymouth. It has also invested £1.3m into Derbyshire-based Aldreds the Bakers and £1.2m in Berkshire-based WR & SV Hussey, which it bought in 2001.
Naan bread, it’s the future! As part of the government’s recently announced obesity drive (presumably to reduce it, not promote it), it will be reintroducing cookery in schools, including teaching kids how to make a “simple curry”. Bad timing, then, that curry is now being blamed for a rise in food allergies by intolerance experts YorkTest. The number of UK curry houses swelled from 500 in 1960 to 10,000 now, and recorded intolerances to chilli pepper soared by 350% between 2002-2007. As confirmed curry addicts, British Baker staff met this news with a unified scream of “Lies, all lies!”
The global packaging industry will display the latest processing and packaging trends for a range of sectors including confectionery and baked goods when trade fair Interpack runs in Dusseldorf, Germany, from 24 to 30 April.Interpack 2008 is expected to be the largest ever with exhibitors and visitors spread across 19 halls at the Dusseldorf Trade Centre with participants likely to outnumber the record attendance in 2005. “The Interpack 2008 concept responds to the needs of a market, which is at present developing very positively. This is evident not only in the increased size of traditional exhibitors’ stands but also in the large number of companies that will be making their first appearance at interpack,” said Wilhelm Niedergoker, MD of Messe Dusseldorf.Organisers of the event emphasised the importance of the baking industry for exhibitors. The company said: “Product cycles in the confectionery and bakery industry are becoming shorter and shorter. This means it is important to be able to react to consumer demands quickly. Interpack will be showing flexible machinery solutions from raw material handling to processing and packaging up to shipping to retailers.”Ingredients and packaging suppliers, as well as design companies, will also exhibit at the show.
Premier Foods has admitted that the timing of bread price rises last year and consumer concerns about its Hovis white bread played a significant part in losses of £73.5m for 2007, announced this week.Rocketing wheat prices were identified by the company as the main reason for a 48.4% fall in trading profits at its Bread Bakeries Division, which comprises RHM, taken over last year. But Hovis also lost market share because it was the first big bread brand to introduce price rises.The company raised prices in early September and late October, but said that competitors did not follow suit until the end of December, resulting in a price differential of up to 15p a loaf.Premier reported an increase of £150m in wheat costs in its preliminary results for 2007.The company also admitted quality issues with Hovis white bread. “In white bread, Premier lost market share because of customer feedback highlighting quality concerns,” said associate director Angharad Couch.Premier has now changed the recipe for Hovis white with a new blend of flours and longer baking times. Couch added that promotional activities across all Premier’s divisions will be limiited in the first half of 2008, as a new management information system is introduced.Premier’s chief executive Robert Schofield said it had made progress on integrating RHM and was on track to deliver annual synergies of £113m. “The downside to 2007 was the exceptional cost inflation. While we moved quickly to raise prices, the time lag between cost increases and raising prices reduced second-half profitability,” he said.Premier has already recovered £190m of the estimated £225m cost inflation in 2007 and plans to recover the remaining costs in the first quarter of 2008. Investec analyst Martin Deboo said: “Premier was flayed by rising wheat prices last year and had a difficult second half in its bread business. Going forward will be challenging, as the supermarkets are expected to be extremely aggressive on price negotiations this year.”
Latest figures for bread, cakes, cookies and morning goods sold through high street bakeries paint a mixed picture of people visiting bakery shops more frequently and buying more products, but spending less.The research showed that, in the 12 weeks leading up to the pre-Christmas December spike, people visited bakeries 16% more than in 2007, but that spend had declined nearly 9%. This contrasted with spend across the total bakery market, including supermarkets, which rose 10%. However, bakeries outperformed the market on number of packs purchased per visit and frequency of visits.The data confirmed that when people did shop at a baker, 96% made a purchase. It also indicated that bakers can influence further purchases, as one in three consumers made their decision to purchase while in the shop.Ivor Mckane, business unit director for artisan at BakeMark UK, who commissioned the research, said this highlighted the need for stronger point-of-sale promotions, seasonal items and till point impulse buys.He said: “Economising is not the same as down-trading – consumers are still looking for quality. With one in three shoppers making their purchase decision in-store, being competitive on key lines will attract them to spend on other items.”
Most craft bakers’ bread and cakes prices have risen in the last 12 months, although some branded products are even cheaper than a year ago, according to British Baker’s Shopping Basket.In the year since our food and drink comparison began recording prices around the country, a large white loaf is up 18p to £1.40 on average, a large granary loaf is up 10p to £1.48, and a jam doughnut now costs 53.8p, up nearly 4p.However, Walkers Crisps in craft shops are selling for 41.2p, down from 45p this time last year. Interestingly, customers at the main coffee shop chains have seen fewer changes on their bill. Hot drinks prices remain virtually unchanged, the only difference being that the cheapest coffee shop chain – Caffè Nero – has increased prices to bring them more in line with its competitors. So its regular tea is 5p more than it was 12 months ago (the same as Starbucks) and Coffee Republic has also increased the price of its tea from £1.30 to £1.59.Similarly, Caffè Nero’s regular latte and cappuccino are another 10p each, while the other chain’s coffee prices haven’t moved, although Starbucks seemed to have a small promotion on its latte last summer, down from £2.40 to £2.05.Coffee shop comparisonThere have been no real surprises with coffee shop food either: Caffè Nero charges 15p more for a cheese panini (up to £3.40), while there is no change in the price of chocolate chip cookies, and blueberry muffins cost the same, except that diners at Coffee Republic are paying 5p less (down to £1.65).A slice of chocolate cake will set you back the same amount as it did last April in Caffè Nero (£2.25) and Costa Coffee (£2.35) although at the end of last year, this had dipped to £1.80 at Starbucks and gone up to £2.50 in Coffee Republic.Supermarket parityWith rising wheat costs, it’s no surprise that plant bread prices have risen at the supermarkets over the last year, but it’s interesting to see that prices are now similar across the major retailers; an 800g Warburtons Toastie sold from anywhere between 70p (Asda) to £1.16 (Morrisons) last April, but it was £1.29 across the board in February this year.There is also more parity across retailers with other products – for example, Soreen Fruity Malt Loaf started out at between 56p and 88p, but a few months later was 62p in all stores.Meanwhile, supermarket crisps fans are paying anything up to 13p more than they were this time last year for a packet of Walkers; Sainsbury’s is charging 43p (up from 30p) while at Asda it’s 40p rather than 32p. However, a 500ml bottle of Coke to wash them down with now costs less; it’s up to 5p cheaper now (down from 97p at Waitrose) and typically 1p or 2p less.—-=== Supermarket price comparisons ===Walkers Crisps (packet – 40g) Warburtons Toastie (800g)*Feb ’09 April ’08 Feb ’09 April ’08Sainsbury’s 43p 30p £1.29 £1.11Tesco 40p 32p £1.29 £1.11Waitrose/Ocado 40p 36p n/a £1.11Morrisons 40p 35p £1.29 £1.16Asda 40p 32p £1.29 70p* bread prices may be affected by seasonal promotions—-=== Craft bakery price comparison* ===Feb ’09 April ’08Large White Loaf £1.40 £1.22Large Granary Loaf £1.48 £1.38Jam Doughnut 53.8p 50pWalkers Crisps 41.2p 45p* mean prices based on BB’s price check over the last 12 month—-=== Coffee shop comparison ===Eat-in prices Regular tea – Nov ’08 Regular tea – May ’08Costa Coffee £1.60 £1.60Coffee Republic £1.59 £1.30Starbucks £1.55 £1.55Caffè Nero £1.55 £1.50
Belgian pastry specialist Pidy has launched a new dessert kit – Tarto Presto. Tartlettes and crème patissière form the basis for the kit, which contains all you need to prepare and decorate shortcrust pastry tartlets. The starter box contains 24 x 8.5cm shortcrust tartlets and a 1kg pack of crème patissière. A range of desserts can be produced by adding a layer of crème patissière to each tart and topping with any combination with fruit or other topping. The crème patissière is low in fat – 3% – and preservative-free. It can be stored at ambient temperature and has a shelf-life of 12 months unopened. Once opened, it will remain in good condition for eight days when refrigerated at between 4?C and 6?C.The Tarto Presto pack will be available nationally through fine foodservice wholesalers from August 2009.www.pidygourmet.com
Tuesday night’s Baking Industry Awards saw WC Rowe’s MD Alan Pearce walk away with the prestigious title of Baker of the Year, in the Vandermoortele-sponsored category.The 1930s-themed event at the Park Lane Hilton, London was a great success. Darren and Lilia from the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing dazzled the guests when they took to the dance floor to perform three different sets throughout the evening.Celebrity host for the night Ronnie Corbett kept the audience of 800 entertained with his comedy routine, explaining that, as the son of a baker, he had been brought up in a bakery family, and even dabbles with a bit of home baking himself.Pearce said winning Baker of the Year was “amazing”, as there were least 30-40 people in the room that night that he aspired to emulate, and said he wanted to dedicate his award to his late business partner Bill Rowe. Pearce has helped steer Cornish craft bakery WC Rowe to the successful award-winning business it is today, starting as an apprentice, before becoming a director and eventual MD. “It’s a fantastic trade and it gives us a reason to get up in the morning,” said Pearce. “What everyone wants is a secure future, and if the staff believe in me, they can believe their future is in safe hands. I am just the spokesperson for some fantastic people, as without the staff we are nothing.”Among the other winners were Rich Products, which scooped the prize for Bakery Supplier of the Year, sponsored by Sainsbury’s. “It’s a great achievement for the whole business and for the factory floor staff,” said marketing manager, Gail Lindsay. “And I got to kiss Ronnie Corbett!”The Innovation Award, sponsored by Asda, was awarded to United Central Bakeries for its Genius Gluten-Free Loaf. Com-mercial director, Paddy Cronin said: “I’m elated. It’s been a real team effort to get us to where we are today and, in particular, to win a bakery award for a product with no wheat in it.”Burns the Bread was awarded The Customer Focus Award, sponsored by BakeMark. Partner Terri Petherbridge, explained: “It was a fabulous surprise as we knew the competition was stiff. It means everything to us and it’s a reflection of the success of the whole business.”The Bread Factory walked away with the gong for Craft Business of the Year, sponsored by Rank Hovis. Co-managing director Tom Molnar said: “We’ve done a lot of hard work in taking people who can bake, taking people who can run businesses, and professionalising the craft by building a great team.”John Ruddock, Coopland & Son (Scarborough), winner of the Trainee Baker of the Year, sponsored by Improve and the National Skills Academy, said: “The award recognises all the hard work and training Cooplands does they’ve invested a lot of time and money in me so I’m proud of myself.”Morrisons Hilmore Lane store in Grimsby was named the winner of the In-Store Bakery Award, sponsored by Scobie & McIntosh; and David McClymont, Lightbody Celebration Cakes triumphed as Celebration Cake Maker of the Year, in the renshawnapier sponsored category.l To order photos from the night visit http://roblawson.thirdlight.com/a.tlx?k=1dxzetbl See pages 15-29 for profiles of all the winners and finalists. Full report, see 25 September issue.