Training was on the agenda as the National Association of Master Bakers (NA) held its 120th Annual Conference in Harrogate last weekend.At its AGM, Shirley Ryder, who has been just been appointed chairman, read out a report which had been written by her predecessor Noel Grout in the week before he died (See British Baker, May 4, pg 13).On the issue of training, Ryder said: “The board unanimously decided to close the NA’s training arm, which was due to a £17,500 loss together with another £19,000 loss in the 2005 accounts.”In July 2006 we also gave £13,000 to Improve. There’s no one in the room that could disagree that we couldn’t keep on the in-house training.”Gill Brooks-Lonican, chief executive of the NA, said within “weeks, if not days” it would be confirmed if the training arm of the NA would pass over to Poultec, a training provider specialising in the delivering of training and development solutions for businesses throughout the UK.After the AGM, Chris Dabner, the NA’s health and hygiene officer, gave a presentation on current legislation and Peter Wilbourn spoke about the NA’s Basic Hygiene Certificate. Wilbourn said that the certificate could be taken online and is now available in Polish.The NA also plans to launch the training in Portuguese. It costs £30.26 per candidate and £28.40 for 10 or more.He said: “The certificate can be taken anywhere in the world. All you need is a computer, broadband and speakers. It’s an exciting concept that’s easy and efficient.”Members ended the annual conference with a fun night, dressing up as Disney characters.Mike Holling from Birds of Derby was elected as the 113th president of the NA, taking over from Shirley Ryder at the conference. The NA now has 764 members, down 20 on last year.
This apple flan, flavoured with lemon zest and cinnamon, makes a spectacular autumnal dessert. Although very simple, if care is taken with the presentation, it has great visual appeal and can command a premium price. Basic ingredientsSweetpasteCinnamon pasteFrangipane mixApple pie fillingApplesApricot glaze 1 Line eight-inch or 10-inch rings with sweetpaste and bake blind for about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.2 Spread a thin layer of cinnamon paste over the base of the flan case.3 Pipe a ring of frangipane/almond cake mix around the edge of the flan (approx 15mm thick) so it comes up to two-thirds of the height of the flan case. The frangipane acts as a ’support’ to the pastry as well as tasting good!4 Fill the flan with apple mix. We use Mackle Bramley apple and mix it with chunks of fresh apples, cinnamon, lemon zest and raisins.5 Peel and core the apples and slice into thin (2mm) rings – we use an electric slicer. Carefully lay out the apple rings on the top of the mix. Ensure that they generously overlap to allow for shrinkage during baking and that they sit under the rim of the pastry case. Brush with a little melted butter.7 Dust with fine icing sugar.8 Bake at 170ºC for about 40 minutes, cool and then glaze with an apricot jam or gel.
Plans are well advanced for Farmhouse Breakfast Week 2008 from 20-26 January when farmers, producers and retailers are encouraged to celebrate the importance of a good breakfast.Rebecca Geraghty, assistant director of crop marketing at the Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA), which is organising the event, said: “Farmhouse Breakfast Week is an excellent opportunity for the food chain to work together to reinforce positive messages about the nutritional benefits of breakfast and the celebration of UK regional food excellence.”Companies and organisations in all links of the food chain are being encouraged to hold events across the country. These could include running a competition to find the best local producer of breakfast products, organising community breakfasts or sporting initiatives at a school breakfast club or local business.For further information on how to get involved, as well as recipes and free promotional materials, visit [http://www.farmhousebreakfast.com] or call 020 75203968.
A North Hampshire baker is planning to seek compensation from Thames Water because the closure of the main road through his village is costing his business £400 a day.Simon Smart, who runs the Bramley Village Bakery with his wife Tracey, said the road closure to install a new underground sewerage system had started in November and was due to last 10 weeks.He told British Baker: “It’s been horrendous. They have shut off half the village, sending people on 15-mile diversions. We are not getting the passing trade and we reckon it’s cut sales by 40%.”The bakery normally sells between up to 500 Christmas cakes over the festive period, but sold only 120 this year. Sales of mince pies fell from 18,000 to 12,000.Smart said he would seek compensation but had noted in the small print of the form that it would be “down to Thames Water’s discretion”.
A few years ago, while digging up the M1, workmen dozily pierced the pipeline taking water to Coca-Cola’s biggest factory in Wakefield, Yorkshire. The fact it’s so big it has its own pipeline is the least noteworthy part of this tale (it even has its own reservoir). But what is really quite jawdropping is this: when workers noticed the drop in pressure, they got on the blower to Yorkshire Water who – petrified at the penalty clauses for failing to supply water to the plant – diverted supplies intended for Wakefield town towards the factory, leaving residents briefly scratching their heads at the dribble coming from their taps.What’s this got to with chiller cabinets, you scream? Good point. Well, this little nugget illustrates how vast Coca-Cola’s UK operations are. But it could be even bigger, and you don’t become the daddy of soft drinks by sitting on your backside. A lot of bakery, sandwich shop and coffee operators buy their drinks on the ’grey market’, where the drinks are often imported. Coca-Cola UK wants your pound directly, and it’s willing to offer sweeteners in the form of free chiller cabinets.The firm opened the doors of the biggest drinks bottling plant in the world to members of international association of confectioners, The Richemont Club of Great Britain, for a tour of the plant, which measures an awe-inspiring 17 football pitches. But this was not just a jolly old outing. Sally Jackson, regional account executive for Coke, had a task to convince people why buying a UK-supplied case, at typically £3 more than one imported from, say, Germany, offers good value.”In the past, customers have looked at making more money from soft drinks by driving down the cost price to make better margins, but you can actually make more money by paying more money per case,” she says.New models of cabinet feature less conspicuous branding. Coca-Cola Enterprises is offering these alongside bespoke meal deals, point-of-sale, marketing leg-ups, such as sports event sponsorships, range advice and tips to increase turnover by tailoring the drinks category to your customers.At Sparks Bakery in Bradford, which took up the offer, this equated to an extra 611% sales, or a £65,000 boost in turnover for one outlet, claims Jackson. “I think the 600% uplift is a bit ambitious,” comments Chris Jones, buyer for 20-shop bakery chain Chatwins, based in Nantwich. “We’ll be on Coca-Cola’s back if our figures don’t match up, and get them to come down and sort it! But we’ll certainly look at this to expand the range.”So what’s the catch? One condition is that you stock 65-80% (depending on chiller size) of Coca-Cola Enterprises product – or 100% if it’s your second unit – whether that’s alongside other drinks, sandwiches or salads. Around 7% of Chatwins’ sales come from soft drinks and crisps, and Jones says the free chiller space would probably go to a smaller local supplier, Britannia Natural Spring Water, which makes niche flavoured waters such as Ginseng & Plum and Hemp with Grapefruit – a successful addition to Chatwins’ range in recent years. He adds: “With the point-of-sale, cabinets and everything Coca-Cola throws in, we’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, potentially.”Incidentally, residents of Wakefield need have no fear. The factory now gets its water from the river head, so no need to fill the bath.Europa 100 open-fronted coolerHeight: 2,100mmWidth: 1,010mmDepth: 930mmCapacity: 412 x 500ml bottlesRetro single-door coolerHeight: 1,890mmWidth: 495mmDepth: 664mmCapacity: 120 X 500ml bottles or 240 X 330ml cansEasyReach Express small open-fronted coolerHeight: 1,429mmWidth: 654mmDepth: 710mmCapacity: 120 X 500ml bottles or 240 X 330ml cans* all are powered b?y 13-amp sockets== Key questions to ask your chiller supplier ==l What energy efficiency savings can the cabinet offer against standard models on the market? If it cannot cut your bills, cut them loose.l Latest models are pushing energy savings further still – but at a price. These will often pay back in the medium- to long-term. But how quickly?l What is the chilling range and how quickly can the product be brought down to optimum temperature – is it suitable or will it pack up in a hot bakery?l Is there the option of external compressors, which will reduce heat and noise going into the shop? How easy is it to clean, service and maintain?== Claiming energy efficiency tax breaks ==If you invest in a standalone item that meets the ECA energy criteria, you can claim the full cost of the product and related installation costs. However, if you purchase a piece of equipment that doesn’t qualify, but has components that do, you can only claim for the costs relating to these. The remainder of the equipment will be eligible for a Capital Allowance.There are two different groups of energy-saving technology that qualify for an ECA:l Listed products that meet the criteria presented in the Energy Technology Criteria List (ETCL) and are listed on the Energy Technology Product List (ETPL).l Non-listed products that also meet the ETCL but are not listed on the ETPL.ECA claims should be submitted as part of your normal corporate or income tax return. It’s important to retain all documents relating to your ECA claim, including invoices, dated screen prints from the ECA website and anything from the company that installs the equipment.Product lists: [http://www.eca.gov.uk]Tax info: [http://www.hmrc.gov.uk]== Chilling out at BIE/Food & Drink World ==Susan Berry, director Prestige”Bakers are going more for the Continental look. The units are designed so that they have small compressors, minimum heat output, four shelves that are individually chilled – so you could have two refrigerated levels and two at ambient room temperature for tarts and cakes. They are designed to cope with high ambient shop temperatures – up to 90?F. For anything above that, the shop should really have air-conditioning. The latest product coming through is all designed for low energy consumption – it has to be.”Cameron Scott, retail development executive GlaxoSmithKline”We do a number of refrigerated solutions. This is our 1.5m dairy deck, which is offered on a free three-year on-loan contract, and it’s a pretty good unit in comparison to people like Coca-Cola. If that was the only chiller in the store, we’d ask for 35% space; the other 65% could go to whomever. We just want a fair share, and we’re not trying to be aggressive. We are playing catch-up to Coke, which has obliterated the market with its 2m dairy deck, but the open dairy deck is the way we see things going, rather than the closed door sort, and we can be flexible on branding.”Alister McLean, managing director Capital Cooling”There has been massive interest here from the bakery sector. The 2.5m-length version of this Mars cabinet will run on a 13-amp plug – it’s the lowest-cost running cabinet available in the UK today. Nothing has been spared on cost and it is an expensive cabinet to buy. A similar-sized cabinet will cost circa £2,300; the Mars is £3,500. However, it cuts the energy costs right down and pays itself off in no time.”
Barnsley-based Fosters Bakery has struck a deal that will see the company supply its frozen baked bread to Greece, through The Greek Coffee Company. It has also just launched four products in Asda, and two via a sandwich- maker into Boots the Chemist.Fosters will produce various Asda own-brand rolls, as well as a chocolate hot cross bun and milk-roll fingers, available nationwide. The additional business has meant the bakery has had to take on 16 new full-time staff.”This new business is a result of keeping our focus during tough times and continuing to innovate in our products, people and pro-cesses,” said MD John Foster.
== Promise for naan ==Arnaouti Pitta Bread Bakery, Herts, has won an award for its Eastern Promises design and print for its speciality naan breads and snack naans. Jefta Kon Lakovich, chief executive of Arnaouti, said the top web design was printed on a 45-micron high-barrier film and ran trouble-free, despite tight tolerances on widths required.== Scots’ training award ==Scottish food and drink companies are being encouraged to enter a new category that recognises investment in training and staff development at the Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards. The deadline for entries is 6 March and the event is to be held at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum on 7 May.== Warburtons’ aid gift ==Warburtons has donated a 12-tonne truck from its Burnley bakery to the International Aid Trust, so volunteers can collect and distribute humanitarian aid. The truck is in Romania and has transported tonnes of food, clothing, shoes and bedding.== Hygiene fine for baker ==A bakery in Kidderminster has been fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 costs for failing to comply with food hygiene regulations. The owner admitted the offence at Hereford Crown Court. Environmental health officers found grease and debris, carbonised baking trays and dirty bread rolling machines. In mitigation, the defence said the baker had done a food hygiene course and alterations costing £25,000.== Distribution link-up ==Pastries specialist Brioche Pasquier and puddings producer Farmhouse Fare are to use logistics services provider NFT’s shared user network to deliver their products to Marks & Spencer’s regional distribution centres.
Gloucester bakery, Janes Pantry has installed a two-terminal Recipe Formulation System from Dataprocess Stevens in Blackburn. The system has been designed to provide recipe traceability, as well as product consistency and the elimination of scrap batches caused by formulation errors.”By installing this system into our bakery, we’ve saved around 5% of our annual raw ingredients cost and have virtually eliminated bad batches caused by operator error,” explained Janes Pantry MD Neville Morse. “I had no idea that enforcing weighing tolerances would produce such an improvement to our bottom-line profitability.”The Vantage system provides recipe control by enabling the production manager to schedule the daily requirements for the recipe batches on the PC in advance. The batch requirements are then displayed on the Vantage Touch Screen, enabling operators to select from the list of requirements without using a paper production schedule.The operator is prompted through the recipe formulation process, one ingredient at a time, ensuring the weighing tolerances are met and no over- or under-weighing occurrences can spoil a batch. Lot numbers for each ingredient are recorded to provide a comprehensive audit trail.’’www.stevensgroupltd.com’’
Britvic has continued to grow its soft drink sales for the 12 weeks to 20 December 2009, with revenue up 11% on 2008 to £242.7 million.Its GB carbonates division saw revenue growth of 20.1%, GB Stills revenue increased 9.6% and Britvic’s International arm saw growth of 5.1%.However the contribution from Britvic Ireland of £48.4m for the three months to 31 December 2009 was down by 3.0% on the same period in 2008, although underlying euro revenues were down by 10.1%. The firm also increased its volume share of the take-home market in Great Britain by a further 0.4% over the period.The firm reported that the stills market growth had been driven by categories such as plain water and sports drinks, while carbonates growth came mainly from the cola and glucose/stimulant drinks categories.“Shoppers in Ireland have again focused on value in the latest quarter,” according to the firm, which added that although volumes in the grocery market in the Republic of Ireland were flat, heavy discounting and promotions have pushed down its value by 12.8%.
Family-owned baker Greenhalgh’s will be opening its 60th store in its home town of Bolton this month.The award-winning bakery, which has been trading for more than half a century, produces pies, pasties and cakes. It will be opening its doors on 31 October on Chorley Old Road in Heaton and will create five new jobs. Denise Heaton is returning to the company as the new store’s manager.David Smart, production director and second generation baker at Greenhalgh’s, said: “Bolton has been our home for over half a century and, in the current economic climate, we are very happy to be able to offer some new employment opportunities in the town.“This will be our sixth store in the area, which is a testament to the following we have developed over the years. It appears that even fans who leave the region miss our quality products and northern charm – as we often receive emails, letters and phone calls asking for a delivery of a red cross parcel packed with our pies, pasties and pastries.”Greenhalgh’s produces a vast range of baked goods in Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseysidefor consumers, in addition to retail, supermarket, catering and wholesale markets. The bakery has gained celebrity fans including The Wanted’s Tom Parker and rugby league player Shaun Briscoe.