This week our focus is on the In-Store Bakery Award, sponsored by Macphie of Glenbervie. In-store bakeries are an important part of any superstore, with the smell of the freshly-baked bread wafting through the aisles and tempting customers to buy. But to be a successful manager of an in-store bakery, you have got to keep coming up with fresh ideas or your products and your concept will quickly go stale.Macphie is looking for in-store bakery mana-gers with a strong history of innovation and team leadership, who come up with quality products that make for an impressive turnover. But remember, you do not have to be one of Macphie’s customers to enter.So what are you waiting for? If you think you have got what it takes to win our In-Store Bakery Award, enter today. And if you’ve never entered the Baking Industry Awards before, then we would particularly like to hear from you. We have made the entry process as easy as we possibly can. Simply fill out the form on page 20 and we will take it from there. Four finalists, and their partners, will attend the glittering Awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House hotel in London on September 18. It really is the bakery event of the year, so if you want to be in with a chance of being there, fill in the form today. Good luck!
Cereals-based food lacks innovation, according to research for the Cereals Industry Forum project run by the Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA).The work marks the launch of the Innovation Index – a research programme intended to measure the level of innovation in the sector on a six-monthly basis. It is funded by the HGCA.”When analysis of the Cereals Promoting Business Excellence (PROBE) programme was made available to the HGCA earlier this year, it was clear that innovation could be stronger,” said HGCA assistant director of market development Rebecca Geraghty. “The Innovation Index provides the industry with ongoing feedback.”
Tweedy mixers from BAKER PERKINS (Paston Parkway, Peterborough) have upgraded their control systems, which are all based on industry-standard off-the-shelf components, but are tailored to suit individual requirements. Systems can be upgraded with four key features: a reporting system that records process conditions and ingredients used in every mix; a production data capture system, automatically recording mixing variables, quality checks and causes of downtime; remote monitoring, reducing downtime by rapid fault diagnosis and rectification; and an operator swipe card system to enhance security.
According to a recent report, Attitudes Towards Ethical Foods in the UK, conducted by consumer, media and market research supplier Mintel, three-quarters of British people believe that they have a duty to recycle.Julie Sloan, senior market analyst at Mintel says: “People in Britain today are clearly moving towards more ethical lifestyles and are starting to realise that their actions have consequences.In such a climate, many companies may be hoping to improve their profile by projecting a more ethical stance.”Chevler Packaging’s plastics division, one of the UK’s leading food packaging specialists, supplies sandwich and patisserie boxing to bakeries and supermarkets.Part of its operation includes reducing waste, which in turn helps to cut costs.Twenty-four per cent waste is typical after plastic products have been moulded, so Chevler trims off this excess, collects it and returns it to the supplier for recycling.As a result, some of the sheet PVC supplied to the company contains recycled material, says Norman Chase of Chevler.Dr Liz Goodwin, director of materials for WRAP, the Waste & Resources Action Programme, says: “In recent research conducted by WRAP, 79% of consumers said they would feel ’more positive’ about a brand or a manufacturer that uses recycled plastic.”WRAP is a major government-funded UK programme, established to promote resource efficiency, waste minimisation, reuse and recycling.WRAP’s research found that large amounts of rigid plastic were not being recycled in the baking industry and so it funded a six-month trial for Axion’s mobile plastics recycling unit to travel to different areas in the UK and shred bakery waste.In a matter of seconds, the unit is able to shred bulky bakery waste, such as plastic trays, crates, containers, ingredient tubs and bins, which have traditionally been too expensive to recycle because of transportation costs.The trial ran from August until the end of October. Axion is now trying to find someone else to take over the recycling unit.Alternatives to PVC and non-biodegradeable packaging materials are also of growing importance to the industry, as consumers become more environmentally friendly.Some Scandinavian countries are putting, or have already put, regulations in force that ban PVC packaging for food. Marks & Spencer moved away from using PVC products, which are derived from oil and are non-biodegradable.It uses recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) across its lunchtime ’Food to Go…’ range of fresh sandwiches, salads, juices and smoothies.Another alternative, to non-biodegradeable packaging materials includes packaging made from PLA, an environmentally-friendly thermoplastic polymer, made from corn starch, which is biodegradeable and often cheaper, as it is not derived from oil.Greenhalgh’s Craft Bakery, a chain of 44 shops located across north-west England, launched biodegradable packaging for its sliced bread sandwiches.According to the firm, the clear window is made from PLA, which degrades twice as fast as newspaper and three times as fast as wood, leaving no harmful residues.The coated board for the main body of the packs is Tecta, which is fully recyclable, and the inks for printing contain vegetable oils and natural resins.
(Wigston, Leics) is launching a new range of pre-filled microwavable Provencette paninis.Microwaved from frozen in just three minutes, the Délifrance Provencette range comes already filled and grilled to reduce preparation time. The microwavable products include chicken, sweet-cure bacon and mozzarella, traditional ham and mozzarella, cheddar and red onion, tasty tuna melt and Lincolnshire sausage, egg and bacon.Lucy Pickersgill, Délifrance UK’s marketing controller, said: “There is a growing market for high-volume, ready-made, quality food, which can be prepared in the smallest kitchen space. We have perfected a panini that can be cooked in a microwave while retaining a rich taste and crunchy texture.”
The baking industry has been urged to support a centre of excellence to plug gaps in UK bakery skills provision.Jack Matthews, chief executive of Improve, the food and drink sector skills council, told British Baker at the launch of the National Qualifications Framework that the absence of a centre of bakery excellence needs to be addressed.He said: “Bakery is one of the top three industries in food and drink, along with meat and seafood, but it’s the only one of the three without its own centre of excellence.”The topic is set to head the agenda at an Improve-led bakery-specific training conference to be held on 30 October at Bakers’ Hall, London.
“It was good to get recognition for the hard work I’ve put in to improving my skills over the years and passing those on to others. We run bakery classes for every-one from five-year-old school children through to adult courses in breadmaking, patisserie and Italian baking. We sent out a press release about winning the award and received lots of coverage in the local papers. The award gave us instant credibility with new customers and we have seen a steady increase in sales. Business in the past few months has been incredible and much of that is due to our awards success. It has added momentum to the business and has definitely opened a few doors. I’ve been asked to give a presentation at an upcoming British Society of Baking conference and that has come about because of winning the award.
Bakery firms specialising in private-label are in a strong position to build export sales, according to Simon Waring, MD of the UK branch of export consultancy The Green Seed Group.He said retail chains in the US and mainland Europe are looking to develop more sophisticated own-brand ranges. “Most markets are well behind the UK in terms of private-label, so the capabilities of bakeries that are highly skilled in this area are in demand internationally,” he told British Baker.”Private-label is growing rapidly in the US, and in Germany we are seeing greater segmentation with more premium own-brand products. International retailers want to replicate the sophistication of the UK and are seeking private-label specialists.”The Green Seed Group, which has nine offices in Europe, one in the US and one in Australia, has been founded from the now-defunct Food From Britain.
By offering coeliacs something they’d struggled to buy before fresh gluten-free bread it’s not hard to see why Genius triumphed in The Innovation Award category, sponsored by Asda, at the Baking Industry Awards last year. The addition of this loaf to the supermarket shelves meant those requiring gluten-free bread, could actually purchase a loaf, and eat it as it came fresh.The story of how Genius came to be and it is a story began in chef Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne’s kitchen at her home in Edinburgh. With two of her three sons suffering from food allergies one wheat, one dairy she was desperate to come up with a fresh loaf of bread that they could and would eat. As the co-author of Leith’s Techniques Bible and recipe book How to Cook for Food Allergies, she used her knowledge to test out different recipes using a domestic oven. She worked tirelessly for over a year, writing-off two ovens in the process, before she hit upon a recipe comprising water, potato stock and cornflour, among other ingredients that she thought might work. She approached Sainsbury’s, who stocked her book, to see if they could do something with it. Understandably, the supermarket had questions about how she could produce the loaves, and suggested getting in touch with United Central Bakeries’ (UCB) commercial director Paddy Cronin. UCB is the biggest own-label free-from supplier to Sainsbury’s and, incidentally, launched Genius there last month.”Lucinda came to see me in mid-January 2008, when I was halfway through my annual, month-long free-from diet,” explains Cronin. Every January for the past four years, he has given up wheat, gluten and dairy, “to really understand our consumers’ needs and the issues they’ve got”. Cronin says he now understands just how difficult it is to get good quality free-from products, and food to eat on-the-go. “All of a sudden Lucinda put a loaf on the table that she’d made at home. I thought it was the best I’d ever tasted,” he says. “It’s actually quite different to the loaf that was launched the taste, texture and smell were all there, but it was a small funny-shaped loaf, that you could never sell.” Cronin says he knew that if they could “get it right”, it could be great. He gave her a few pointers, one of the first being that it needed to be a normal-size sandwich bread. He also gave her the services of his new product development (NPD) manager, the use of the NPD kitchen at UCB, and the ingredients that would be used if it were to be produced on an industrial scale.”We worked with her on developing the product and she did further trials at home,” explains Cronin. “We worked until August/September 2008, until we were happy with the product, and then we made plans to talk to the retailers.”Purely by chance or fate as Cronin suggests Bill Gammell a former European entrepreneur of the year and owner of a big oil company in Scotland is a coeliac. His children also went to the same school as Lucinda’s and managed to get hold of a loaf of her bread. He loved it and decided he wanted to invest in the project, says Cronin.”We were at the stage where we were trying to decide what should be the next step to take it forward as private-label or as a brand when Gamble put forward the investment behind the brand hence the name Genius.”Launch padThe loaf was launched exclusively in Tesco at the end of April 2009 and, due to customer demand, it is now also available in Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Whole Foods Market and Selfridges.Asda even launched the loaf in its standard bread section, rather than with other free-from products. There are plans to increase the brand’s distribution further, as well as move into new markets.”One of the focuses this year is foodservice,” says Cronin. “It’s a huge opportunity, and we’re currently working with a number of foodservice companies on what can be done.” The bread is in the process of being launched with foodservice wholesaler Brakes, and Starbucks is to launch its tuna-mayonnaise sandwich using Genius in mid-February (see BB 29 January, page 5). Additional launches under the Genius brand are also planned, including a 600g sliced variant, which has just been launched, and rolls, to come this month. The loaf was previously only available unsliced. UCB has also made a multi-million pound investment in a new production line for the loaf, which was commissioned in early January, due to the need to increase capacity to meet demand.Cronin initially didn’t mention to Bruce-Gardyne that he had entered Genius into Asda’s Innovation category in the Baking Industry Awards purely because he wasn’t sure he would get anywhere with it, he says. “We had entered it for other food awards, and I knew we’d got a great product here, but entering it in a bakery category was the hardest one, because this is a product that doesn’t contain any wheat. I wasn’t sure if the baking industry was ready to recognise a product like that.”The fact that it was the first fresh gluten-free bread to market was one of the main points highlighted to the judges. “It’s not all about having the knowledge and a passion for the product it still really needs to deliver,” says Cronin. He and Bruce-Gardyne took samples of a standard loaf, an example of a gluten-free loaf currently available on the market and Genius, along to their presentation to the judges, to illustrate just how far they had come with the development of this loaf.Since the Baking Industry Awards, the loaf has also won a Gold Q award the Oscars of the food industry, says Cronin. “It was great to win the Gold Q award, but being on the bakery side, I found winning a Baking Industry Award was actually better, as it is judged by bakers,” he says. “Winning an award at BIA adds a bit of kudos. I didn’t think we’d win it and we hadn’t built up our expectations, so we were over the moon.” For Bruce-Gardyne, meanwhile, the human side of the success is more important than the financial. “She has seen a piece of dough, that she started to keep her son happy, transformed into an amazing product, that is actually changing people’s lives,” he says.The bread has now been on the market for 10 months, and has already sold over one million loaves, making it one of the biggest brands in the free-from sector. Cronin says the gluten-free bread market has grown from around £8m at its launch to around £13m now. “I’d expect that, by this time next year, it could be worth £19-£20m,” he predicts.As well as huge sales figures, the company has received a wealth of positive feedback on the product; as Cronin says, consumers buying free-from products are not afraid to tell you exactly what they think. One email from a mother said her son could now sit and eat a sandwich from his packed lunch at school alongside all his friends and feel normal.Cronin says the team is also looking at export as a big opportunity for the brand in the future. However, as the bread is fresh, the logistics of getting it to the Continent still need to be worked out.Bruce-Gardyne is still heavily involved with the current development work, but one question Cronin couldn’t answer was whether she still bakes her gluten-free bread at home or whether she now buys Genius from the supermarket. How did it feel to win? “To have a product that hasn’t got any wheat in it, and to win, I think that’s transformational,” says Cronin. “I never thought that would happen.”
Paterson Arran has launched a new snack product, Paterson’s Cookie Buttons. The 24g cookies are designed for inclusion in lunchboxes or eating on the go.Cookie Buttons will be available in three varieties: choc chip shortbread (2.7% saturated fat), double choc fruit (3.3%) and fruit and oat (1.6%).”The palm-oil issue remains high on our agenda and we can now add Cookie Buttons to the growing list of our palm oil-free products,” said Debbie Ballach, marketing manager for the firm.The Cookie Buttons come in strips of three packs and each case contains 18 strips. RRP per strip is 49p-55p.