Gordon Shaw, commercial director of Fleming Howden sadly died on Tuesday morning May 16. He had been suffering from cancer since Christmas. His funeral will take place tomorrow, Saturday May 20, 10am at St Mungo’s chapel, Marr St, Alloa Clackmananshire. All welcome.
The Irish Bread Bakers Association (IBBA) warned that poor harvests in various parts of the world had dramatically increased the cost of wheat.World wheat stockpiles are at their lowest level in 25 years. Prices have surged to 10-year highs after a drought in Australia threatened to cut its harvest in half. Australian Crop Forecasters cut its estimates for 2006/7 to 11.5 million tonnes, from 25 million a year earlier. Harvests have also been hit in Ukraine and North America.Paul Kelly, director of Food and Drink Industry Ireland, speaking on behalf of IBBA, said: “The major increase in the cost of raw materials comes at a time when other business costs are also rising much faster than general inflation. Bakers are experiencing increases of up to 20% in the cost of flour and increases of over 30% in the cost of gas, their main energy source.”He said that cost increases must eventually be reflected by retail prices. “This does not mean that price increases are profit increases,” said Kelly. “While there is little that can be done about rising global prices, the government must reign in spiralling business costs. The cost of energy and waste management are just two areas where decisive action is needed.”Over the past two years, a number of bakeries in Ireland have closed or significantly rationalised their businesses.”Failure to recoup cost increases in the marketplace will lead to further rationalisation and job losses,” said Kelly.
Supplier Tate & Lyle has posted strong results, thanks to its profitable value-added food and industrial ingredients sectors.Interim results for the six months ended 30 September saw sales at the company rise 9%, to £2,039 m (from £1,868 m), due to a strong first half in Food & Industrial Ingredients, Americas and a good performance in Sugars, Europe from sugar trading. Pre-tax profit was 27% higher at £173m (from £136 m). But profitability in Sugars, Europe continued to be affected by lower domestic sales prices in EU sugar refining businesses due to an oversupply of sugar in the market.Tate & Lyle said the oversupply of sugar and changes to the EU sugar regime meant profits in Food & Industrial Ingredients, Europe for the second half of the financial year ending 31 March 2007 were expected to be lower than in the same period of the previous year.
I’ve quizzed [colleagues] on the content, and I’ve been amazed to watch the influence these kinds of books can have on an organisation – James Nolan, CEO of Sara Lee Fresh Bakery, tells USA Today about the book that helped him most in his career, the disturbingly titled Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
Norwich-based organic craft baker Metfield is planning to open a small chain of shops.Owner Stuart Oetzmann told British Baker that he had just bought the company’s first retail outlet in Norwich. The shop has a delicatessan, an on-site kitchen with full production facilities and there are plans to install a café. It will be simply branded Metfield’s. Oetzmann said he would like to see the chain grow to “around five or six shops”.Oetzmann also plans to open a 50-seater restaurant in Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh in Suffolk and an artisan bakery in London’s Chelsea. Metfield specialises in making pies, cakes, savoury tarts and organic bread, supplying nearby customers as well as markets and London shops. It uses produce from its own farm where possible, and believes in using high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients. For more information see www.metfieldbakery.com.
William Reed Business Media, publisher of British Baker, has launched the Food and Drink Logistics (FDL) Show in response to market demand. It will run alongside the firm’s set of market-leading trade shows, including the Baking Industry Exhibition.The FDL Show will provide a platform for firms involved with warehousing, palletised transport, third-party logistics, supply chain solutions and many other areas to showcase their products to top-level decision-makers from the food and drink sectors. This market in the UK is worth some £12bn a year, accounting for 10% of food and drink firms’ total spend.For visitor details, contact Sarah Corbett on sarah.cor[email protected] exhibit, contact Daren Rose-Neale on [email protected]
Since the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) salt reduction campaign began in 2004, the Federation of Bakers (FoB) has worked closely with the FSA to ensure all of its targets have been met across all bread. Since then, salt in bread has been reduced by more than 30%, with 180 tonnes removed in branded bread alone, ensuring the industry is on track to achieve the 2010 targets. The FoB’s members are pleased to help consumers make healthier choices, while ensuring they continue to produce products of the highest quality.Against this positive background, the FSA launched its latest high-profile advertising campaign on salt reduction, which clearly establishes bread as a villain that consumers should be wary of. As such, the FoB believed it necessary to withdraw support from the FSA salt campaign as we felt the sensationalist advertising was unfair and unhelpful. Placing a disproportionate amount of blame on very few food products does not help consumers make an informed choice and does not recognise the efforts made by the bread industry towards reducing salt.Bread will always be a main contributor of salt to the diet, purely because it is a daily staple. That does not mean bread is the food with the highest salt content and consumers must not be left with the over-simplified impression that it’s an unhealthy food and best avoided.We firmly oppose the current consumer awareness campaign. The FSA must work collaboratively with the industry and we need to work out how we can do this so both parties are happy. The end result must be a product that consumers will enjoy and repeatedly buy, which is also as low in salt as it can possibly be a fine balancing act but one which we feel is not impossible to achieve.
Successfully implementing a global project for Starbucks to standardise its muffin range was, understandably, one of the main achievements Rich Products highlighted to judges in the Sainsbury’s-sponsored Bakery Supplier of the Year category. But it was also its family culture and its focus on collaboration with its customers, which saw it walk away with the gong at the Baking Industry Awards 2009.Headquartered in Fareham, Rich UK is part of “the largest privately-owned bakery food company in the US”, with a group turnover of $2.3bn (£1.57bn) and a presence in more than 73 countries. It has two manufacturing sites in the UK in Fareham and Hartlebury and plans are under way to build a new UK factory dedicated to the production of toppings and icings (see news page 5).”Being a family company is what makes us a bit different,” says national retail account controller Vicki Banks. She says that although the firm is headquartered in the US, the UK team links up with the teams in America and perhaps even more so since the founder’s grandson, Ted Rich, joined as MD of Rich UK in September last year. “He has been able to bring that connection with America to life even more, and he’s doing a lot of great things with the UK company,” adds Banks.Bakery is the primary focus for the firm around the globe, she says. The UK business, which has a turnover of around $46m (£31.4m), is primarily focused on cookies, muffins, swirls and, to a lesser extent, cupcakes. It has around 250 ’associates’ (or employees), selling 255 products. The UK site also supplies into eight countries in Europe an area it is looking to develop further, says Banks. And the firm supplies the retail sector, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Asda, as well as foodservice companies, including Pret A Manger, EAT, Starbucks and Sainsbury’s Café.Firm foundationsRich’s first-ever product launch was its Whip Topping in 1945. Called ’the miracle cream from the soya bean’, it was used for covering and decorating cakes. “It was invented for the troops during the war and was what Robert E Rich founded his business on,” explains Banks. The firm even holds an annual Founder’s Day on 18 March across its global network.Although Rich UK was established in 1989, Banks says its notable growth came in 2005 with the acquisition of David Powell Bakeries (DPB). “We transformed the UK company; we took the cookies that we were already making and DPB’s portfolio of products and really enhanced it in terms of manufacturing and investment particularly in the Fareham site (a former DPB bakery),” says Banks.Leading up to its BIA application, Rich had several other achievements that it highlighted to the judges, including its success as a finalist in The Grocer Own-Label Awards the previous year. This, says marketing manager Gail Lindsay, helped emphasise the fact the firm is “not only good at supplying, but supplies great products as well”. Last year also saw the firm’s first full year of trading with Sainsbury’s and its first product launches in Asda.Lindsay says winning the award was a great way of recognising the work of the associates in improving all aspects of the firm’s practices. “As much as it was great for our company’s reputation, it was equally important to have something external to recognise the work that they had done as well.”She says Rich’s highlighted the fact that its supplier/customer relationship success stemmed from collaboration showing not just how the firm worked internally, but also demonstrating a philosophy of working in partnership with its customers. “It’s not about taking a product to a customer and saying it’s new and they should have it; it’s about listening to what the customer wants and working to deliver it,” she says.One particular point highlighted in its application was a major global project to standardise Starbucks’ muffin range, across the US, UK and eight other European countries. “We did a lot of work with Starbucks, so that wherever you go in the world, their chocolate muffins, for example, would be the same,” says Lindsay. Although these types of projects are not uncommon to the firm, this particular one was on a truly global scale. “We were not only involved in collaboration with Starbucks UK, but with Starbucks in the US and Europe. There was a lot involved in the project and in a short timescale,” says Lindsay.She says Rich’s own ingredients suppliers are “incredibly important” to the success of projects, due to demands such as changes in legislation. “For example, with the Starbucks project, we were also working to reduce salt, which added another dimension, so we had to work really closely with our ingredients suppliers to be able to manufacture something that fitted with the global brief, but also fitted with our own UK legislation.”Lindsay claims the judges were also impressed by the collaboration of its supplier partnership at all levels.Opening doors”[The award win] has been brilliant for us in terms of opening doors with other potential customers,” says Lindsay. “It has been fantastic to say we’re Bakery Supplier of the Year, and it has given us credibility.””It was a team award, and that’s why we wanted to make such a fuss of it,” adds Banks, explaining that all the associates took turns having their photo taken with the award, and the company had a party to celebrate. “We wanted to make sure everybody felt that they were rewarded by it.”Banks says that, in the last 12 months, the firm’s retail business has been growing slightly ahead of foodservice, but it is performing really well in both sectors. Due to the nature of the business “premium sweet treats” Rich’s has managed to capture some of the consumer spend from people who have traded-down from restaurants to a more affordable treat in a coffee shop, café or supermarket in-store bakery, she adds.Family values within the business and a passion for what it does are two key strengths of the business, says Banks, who explains that Rich’s doesn’t just sell the product, it sells the solution. It also uses the strengths of the US company and its global network, but still develops products that are individual to the UK market.As for staff dedication, the company’s associates even have ’The Rich Promise’ and its family values attached to the ID they carry on them. These include: cherishing its culture, being the trusted first choice, innovation, bettering its communities and doing what’s right, no matter what. Banks says the staff still made it into work when it snowed earlier in the year, even if it meant walking all the way. Now those are the kind of staff you want working for you. How did you feel when you won the Award? “I was over the moon, and so surprised. I really didn’t think we were going to win, so when they announced it, I was absolutely shocked, but really delighted” Gail Lindsay, marketing manager, Rich ProductsWhat does the win mean to the business?”It has been brilliant for us in terms of opening doors with other potential customers” Gail Lindsay What the judges said “Rich Products’ entry really stood out because of its description of the close collaborative working relationship with Starbucks, which helped deliver a fantastic range of products right across Europe. The products were not only great quality but also innovative and met the needs of Starbucks customers” Matt Pizzey, Sainsbury’s bakery development manager
Costa is turning its coffee shops green to reduce carbon emissions and conserve water.The chain’s new dishwashers recycle steam to preheat fresh water, resulting in a 30% energy reduction and saving 15,000 litres of water a year, while reduced heat output display fridges, as well as using less energy than standard models, also mean less air conditioning is needed.The stores now use Futura coffee machines, which are claimed to be 30% more energy-efficient, and Marco tea urns or water boilers in its larger stores, which are said to be 40% more efficient.The move is part of owner Whitbread’s £7m ‘Good Together’ sustainability strategy, which aims to help the business cut energy consumption by 26% and water use by 20%, by 2020.Chris George, Whitbread’s head of energy & environment, said: “By leading the way in our sector, we can show what can be achieved when you are committed to taking action on the environment…we have a real opportunity to make a difference and there is considerable scope for us to be innovative and bold.”
Sales of organic bakery products fell dramatically again last year, with the sector predicted to struggle in 2011 as rising wheat costs and low consumer confidence continue to take their toll.According to a arecent report from the Soil Association, the market for organic bakery fell by nearly 17% last year, following a 40% decline in 2009. Last year’s slump far outstripped the overall decline of the organic market, which fell 5.9%. Indeed, organic bakery products were the second-biggest loser in the sector, with only organic chilled convenience products experiencing a larger decline.The Soil Association report said that the fall in sales was partly because supermarkets had cut back their ranges of organic products – a view echoed by organic cake company Honeyrose, which supplies Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.”When the recession hit, the supermarkets’ reaction was to take away organic lines in favour of value ranges. If products are not on shelf, consumers cannot buy them, so it became a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Honeyrose marketing director Adrian Apodaca.Despite this, Honeyrose saw “low double-digit” sales growth last year. “We were able to find targeted opportunities with supermarkets and foodservice suppliers by highlighting provenance and quality. We’re a family business and our products are hand-baked, and ’by the way’ we’re organic,” he added.Paul Matthews, joint MD of miller FWP Matthews, which supplies organic flour, said the sluggish economy and high wheat costs would impact the sector this year.”Organic flour used to represent 60-70% of our business, with conventional flour accounting for the other 30-40%, but that figure has now reversed. Our sales stabilised in 2010, but the high wheat costs at the end of last year and into 2011 mean it’s going to be another tough year. Supermarkets just aren’t accepting price rises and the people in the middle are being squeezed.”