Cranberry supplier Ocean Spray (Spalding, Lincs) has launched sweetened dried cranberries (SDCs) with less sugar and more fibre to enhance the fruit’s health properties. With 50% less sugar and twice the fibre of the original SDC, the launch enables manufacturers to produce diet or ‘light’ foods by declaring a reduced-sugar, high-fibre fruit content, says the company.The new SDCs do not contain artificial sweeteners. Instead, their combination of complex carbohydrates lends sweetness and delivers a balanced glycaemic response. The processing performance and appearance of the SDCs remain unaffected. SDCs retain their shape and colour during processing and are suited to baked goods, cereals, salad toppings and fruit and nut mixes.
Month: April 2021 Craft and creativity in Crouch End
When people eulogise about the need to diversify a craft retail bakery business, few can claim to have taken it as much to heart as Dunns of Crouch End. French farmers’ markets, gay wedding cakes and, perhaps more ill-advisedly, letting a film crew run amok, destroying the shop, are just a few of the ways it has met the challenges facing bakers on the high street.Over the years, Dunns – a one-shop craft bakery in North London, with a history dating back to 1850 – has fielded a number of TV commercial shoots on its premises. “They’re jolly hard work but my goodness, you’ve never seen money like it!” says proprietor and fifth-generation baker Chris Freeman.One advertisement featured Bob Hoskins in a British Telecom promotion, while a Wrigleys gum commercial became famous locally as ‘the Dunns advert’. “It was the one with a guy smashing up cream gateaux on the counter. It really was done while the shop was open – quite incredible!” he recalls.Another sort of film crew is, however, less welcome; the shop has a good high street position and, despite the needling presence of a CCTV traffic camera stinging would-be shoppers parking outside, it draws in around 6,000 customers a week, spending an average of just over £3 per head.The shop sells a range of sandwiches, savouries, fresh cream cakes and confectionery and bread. “We sell quite a lot of bread compared to some other high street bakers,” he notes. This amounts to 19% of the shop’s turnover.The range includes speciality breads, such as Scofa – a yeast-free Scottish soda bread; Spekkle – a loaf enriched with sunflower seeds and soya bean flakes; Shamrock – a rustic yeast-free shamrock-shaped Irish wheaten bread, with buttermilk and wheaten oats; sunflower cob bread made with honey and sunflower seeds; Oatie – a bread with oat flakes, wheat and malt flour.Health watchThese ‘healthier’ bread types reflect commonly cited health considerations, which are filtering right down to the small craft baker. Dunns is adapting by reducing salt and hydrogenated fats, he says. “Lower salt is an issue for us; we’re in a very ‘right on’ area, where people are into all the latest things, think they know everything about everything, but probably know less than they think they do!“The Glycaemic Index (GI) diet has brought some great benefits to us,” he continues. Dunns’ lower GI breads have been successfully extended into a range of sandwiches, with a range of fillings, selling at a premium. It also makes dairy-free, egg-free – in fact anything-free – celebration cakes.“In Haringey we have the highest child asthma rate in the country,” explains Freeman. “Kids around our way have all sorts of allergies and cannot get an ordinary birthday cake, so we try to address that.”But the exercise is effectively a ‘loss leader’, he admits. “I don’t think we make any money from it – in fact, I’m pretty sure we lose money – but it does provide a service, and I think that’s what being in a community is about.”Celebration cakes are an important part of its business, at around 9% of turnover. “Photo cakes are a godsend to us,” he says. “It’s much better than trying to produce a figure or mould.” Dunns has now started making celebration cakes for civil ceremonies between same-sex couples. “One has to remember that there won’t be any Christening cakes to follow, but in Haringey we celebrate diversity!” says Freeman.Valued staffThe bakery houses a separate confectionery and bread bakery, finishing room, cake decorating room and sandwich room. It now bakes-off some products in the store itself.Staff are a valuable commodity at Dunns, with around 50 on the books, and five are presently undergoing training schemes.“We’ve trained lots of people over the years and lots of master bakers in and around this part of the world owe their training in no small part to my father,” he says. Production wages are high, with many skilled and long-serving staff on the payroll. “Long service and loyalty comes with a price attached to it,” he says.He adds that customer service is the one tradition that cannot be compromised: “In this day of cutting back on staff levels, customer service is dreadfully important. Customers expect to be in, served, and out quickly. That’s something that we pride ourselves on. At £6 an hour, it doesn’t take many sales to earn their keep over the busy times.”Website adds profileIt’s this line between maintaining traditions and keeping a business responsive to changing times that is so crucial to bakers, he says. One addition – a slickly designed website – has helped generate enquires and gives the business a profile.Traditional bakery values, particularly family businesses, can sometimes stand in the way of taking a business forward, he believes. “When we say, ‘We’ve always sold things this way, we’ve never done that’, it can sometimes be an incredible handicap.” Bakers who never used to buy-in products or premixes – instead relying on tried and tested scratch recipes – are beginning to reconsider their approach, he says. “We buy in some savoury products that we can’t easily make ourselves, as well as marzipan figures and chocolates,” he says. Rethinking entrenched opinions extends to overturning Dunns’ age-old opposition to Sunday trading; but since relenting last autumn, the move has turned out to be a success. “I’d always campaigned strenuously against opening on a Sunday,” says Freeman. “We’re a family firm and I work pretty long hours. Crouch End is a busy place on a Sunday. But we’ve managed to run it with a shop supervisor and two staff, with no bakery staff. It does mean, sadly, that we’re selling products that were baked on the Saturday – something we wouldn’t normally do.”Local competitionAround 200 nearby council jobs were axed in recent times, dealing a blow to its local trade. Yet M&S Simply Food and Tesco Express stores, which opened in the area, have turned up the heat. And introducing a coffee machine was one step taken to hold back the Starbucks onslaught. “We get people coming into the shop, with a Starbucks coffee in their hand, to buy a Danish pastry or a muffin. We’re trying to get people to buy both from us.”It also successfully introduced smoothies to its drinks offering. “We’re always looking for different things and smoothies was a recent innovation, which we find sell well; there’s a good mark-up on them.“The high street’s a difficult place to be – it’s challenging,” he adds, “but I’m optimistic about the future.” That future may come in the form of his 13-year-old son, who is “desperately keen to become a baker, despite seeing the hours I work”, says Freeman. His son will potentially be the sixth generation of bakers to take on these evolving challenges. “I feel extremely lucky in that respect. With a family business, you’re the custodian for the time that you are running it. We’ve had some difficult times, but I’m sure the future will be good for us.” But Freeman, who is registered blind, jokes: “In terms of looking forward, I’m probably the biggest handicap to the business!” Chris Freeman was speaking at the British Society of Baking spring conference.Doughnut week fameChristopher Freeman is perhaps best-known for spearheading National Doughnut Week, which, since its inception in the early 1990s, has raised over £0.5m for children’s charities. National Doughnut Week took place on May 6 to 13. Visit www.dunns-bakery.co.uk for details.DUNNS STAFFOffice – 1Support worker – 1Weekday shop – 10Saturday staff – 18Sandwich trolley – 1Shop supervisors – 4SEASONAL FAREDunns experimented by setting up stall at the Boulogne Christmas Market, which proved to be “a big mistake”, admits proprietor Chris Freeman. “We were told by lots of people that the French would love our products. In fairness, we chose the wrong market at the wrong time. We should have gone for a food market – we certainly experienced a bit of French hostility!”At Christmas time the firm produces 20,000 eight-page leaflets, to be distributed locally, at a cost of around £2,000. “I think it’s money well spent,” he says. “We put a huge amount of effort into Christmas. It’s absolutely exhausting, but I think it’s the one time when the baker really puts himself in front of the customer and shows what he can do.”Christmas puddings are still produced the old fashioned way, in china. “We’re trying to get a bit more into the gift market,” he says. “They demand a fairly hefty premium and we sold just under 100 of those last Christmas.”
Month: April 2021 UK millers’ concern over wheat supplies
Millers in the UK are waiting nervously for the Australian wheat harvest to come in later this autumn, with high global wheat prices and volatility expected to continue.The Australian crop is still in the ground and harvesting is not due to complete until the end of November or beginning of December.The US Department of Agriculture had estimated the crop at 21 million tonnes on September 12, but private analysts are now suggesting it may well be closer to 18m or as low as 13m due to drought conditions, according to Lewis Wright, head of wheat trading for ADM Milling. “This will not be clear until the start of 2008 so a prolonged period of volatility and price uncertainty is likely to continue, with high grain prices likely to remain,” he said.”The harvest in Australia is not looking great,” said Gary Sharkey, head of wheat procurement at miller Rank Hovis. “The drought in Australia means we are expecting to see the harvest down on what we previously predicted. After three weeks, for every week that Australia does not get rainfall, it will lose one million tonnes.”Bread wheat price offers (delivered to Liverpool) are now in excess of £210 per tonne, a steep rise from July, when the price was £160. Last year the price was below £100 per tonne, Wright told British Baker. Daily prices are changing by £5-£10 per tonne compared to £1-£2 per tonne a year or two ago.In the UK, the harvest period was extended due to poor weather through August, which has given rise to quality concerns.
Month: April 2021 Britvic maintains growth
Britvic’s full-year results reveal continued growth in the soft drinks market, with overall group revenue up 29.3% to £926.5m (£716.3m – 2006/07), despite the UK soft drinks market falling by 0.8% in volume over the period.Its revenue in Britain and from international sales also rose 4.8% to £725.8m for the 52 weeks to 28 September 2008, with operating profit up 7.6% to £82m. The results include the first full-year contribution from Britvic Ireland of £200.7m. Chief executive Paul Moody said: “This is a strong performance, achieved despite very challenging trading and cost environments. Conditions in the soft drinks market continue to be tough at the beginning of our new financial year and, given the adverse macro environment, market visibility beyond the short term remains limited.”The company says it is continuing to achieve volume and value share gains by core brands, in particular Pepsi, Robinsons and Fruit Shoot.”We have broadened our relationship with PepsiCo, with the addition of V Water and Gatorade to our portfolio, and Lipton Iced Tea drinks will be added soon,” said Moody.[http://www.britvic.com]
Month: April 2021 My Career
What is your job and what are your main responsibilities?I’m the commercial controller at Irwin’s Bakery in Northern Ireland, heading up marketing and new product development.Our core business is dedicated to a range of brands, such as the Rankin Selection of speciality breads, which are on sale across Ireland and GB, and plant bread brands in Ireland, such as Irwin’s and Nutty Krust batch baked bread. We also have a hand-crafted cakes business called Howell House.It’s my job to oversee brand development across the business, as well as NPD and product improvements.What other experience do you have in the baking industry?I’ve been at Irwin’s for nine years now. Before that, I worked for companies including Kerry Foods and Mr Kipling, primarily in sales and marketing roles.How does working at Irwin’s differ to previous roles?Irwin’s is a relatively small company and we are up against big brands such as Hovis and Kingsmill in Northern Ireland.Our advantage is that, because we’re a local company, we can develop products that are specifically suited to the market. We can regionalise products, while other brands have a bigger market to look at.For example, there are high cases of osteoporosis and calcium deficiency in Northern Ireland, so our bread is fortified with calcium and folic acid. We also developed low-salt bread long before any of the current targets were introduced.What are the most important aspects of your role?I have to bring the technical and marketing sides of the business together. It’s about working out how to communicate the great ideas and products we have to consumers.As part of the senior management team, an important part of my job is stepping back from the day-to-day work to look at long-term direction and wider trends.Where do you get your inspiration?Innovation is often about making life easier for people, whether that’s resealable packs or using less salt. A good way of doing this is by looking at other sectors of the retail industry for ideas. I always like to walk around a supermarket as a consumer, looking at anything from washing powder to cheese. It’s not just about what your competitors are doing.
Month: April 2021 Livwell adds a pain au chocolat
Subsidiary of Finsbury Food group Livwell has added a gluten- and wheat-free pain au chocolat to its range. Livwell produces gluten-, wheat- and milk-free products including cakes, muffins, biscuits, bagels, pancakes, pies and puddings. The pain au chocolat will be available from selected Waitrose stores and direct from the bakery.Livwell’s commercial director, Paddy Cronin said: “We are delighted to be able to extend the Livwell brand with the launch of pain au chocolat. It fits perfectly with our strategy to offer consumers an extensive range of everyday and luxury free-from products that don’t compromise on taste.”www.livwell.eu
Month: April 2021 Honeytop Speciality Foods, Dunstable, Bedfordshire
Machinery: two lines, each utilising four FlexPicker IRB 360 robots for the picking and stacking of pancakesWhy installed: to improve productivity and hygienic conditions for the production of pancakesHow it came about: recognising the need to improve productivity, the food specialist approached ABB’s channel partner RG Luma – suppliers of industrial automation, special purpose machines and robotic integration – to lend its expertiseWhat it does: speeds up the production line, increasing productivity and reducing labour costsTech spec: the four FlexPicker robots are capable of handling 110 picks per minute to ensure all pancakes are picked and stacked quickly and precisely. The robots are also connected, via conveyor belts, to a standalone, automated hot plate production line that produces large quantities of batter-based productsProblems solved: Turnaround time has been dramatically reduced between products and as a result it can meet its customer’s tight deadlines without delay. The robots have already enabled the firm to absorb a number of overheadsSupplied by: RG LumaTelephone: 01905 753700Website: www.rglumagroup.co.uk
Month: April 2021 A different way to digest bread
One of those bizarre factoids that often gets trotted out by analysts is that bread actually has a higher penetration marketing double-speak for how much a particular product is purchased in a particular market than toilet roll. It’s in the high 90s percentage-wise. So how can we mop up those last few bread-dodging households? Stop the Week suggests a marketing campaign around these uncommon uses for bread, from the ever-relevant Reader’s Digest…l Remove scorched taste from rice that’s been cooked for too long and burned by placing a slice of white bread on top of the rice while it’s still hot and replacing the lid. Wait a few minutes and voilà! Burned taste gone.l Soften up stale marshmallows by putting a couple of slices of fresh bread in the bag and sealing it shut and leave for a couple of days.l Absorb whiffy vegetable odours while cooking by placing a piece of white bread on top of the pot, which absorbs the pong.l Prevent a grease flare-up when broiling meat with a couple of slices of white bread in your drip pan to absorb any grease and also reduce the amount of smoke.l Clean dirty or greasy fingerprints from walls and wallpaper by rubbing with a slice of white bread. l Pick up glass fragments after a crockery mishap by pressing a slice of bread over the area.
Month: April 2021 Production to restart at Warburtons’ fire damaged bakery
Bread production at Warburtons Hereford Street bakery is due to restart in September, following a fire at the site on 29 July.However, a spokesperson for the firm said that snack production at its ChippidyDooDaa plant was currently on hold, after 15-20% of the plant was damaged in the fire.“The snack plant has been taken out and the team is assessing what will happen going forward,” she added.Dispatch at Hereford Street is fully operational, with Warburtons’ 13 other bakeries ensuring that its bread deliveries have remained uninterrupted.One hundred people had to be evacuated as 60 firefighters fought the blaze, which is thought to have started in an industrial oven in the snack plant.>>Fire halts production at Warburtons bakery
Month: April 2021 Warburtons director switches to Genius as gluten-free sector hots up
Warburtons’ former commercial director Roz Cuschieri is set to front market-leading gluten-free bread brand Genius, in a move that will pit her against her former employer.Earlier in October, Warburtons confirmed that it was planning to enter the free-from arena with a range of gluten-free products.Cuschieri’s departure was announced in June after spending 12 years at Warburtons. She was replaced by two new appointments to the management board – Jason Uttley as commercial development director and Richard Hayes as marketing director.Genius Foods has meanwhile announced Cuschieri’s appointment as a director, with responsibility for developing the Genius brand in the UK.Since its launch in May 2009, Genius has quickly established itself as the free-from brand leader, based on sales in supermarket retail and a breakthrough into high-street foodservice outlets via Starbucks. It recently launched a £3m television advertising campaign.”I am looking forward to being involved with a truly authentic brand, focused on delivering fresh, gluten-free bakery products to the UK marketplace and making a real difference to consumers’ enjoyment of gluten-free foods,” said Cuschieri.