The Food Investment Group (FIG) has bought two bakery businesses that specialise in savoury pastry products.The two operations are quiche specialist Thomas Food Partnership in Sheffield, which employs over 100 staff and supplies Morrisons and Waitrose; and Milton Keynes-based family company Giles Foods, which employs 110 staff and supplies Asda, Morrisons and Somerfield. Giles Foods has facilities at sites in Milton Keynes, Telford and Warminster, producing a range of breads, flans, quiches and Danish pastries.The businesses will come under the umbrella of a newly created Pastry Group, which will have a combined annual turnover of about £25 million.FIG was set up in 2004 by Bill Hazeldean, formerly of seafood company Macrae Food Group, and merger and acquisition expert Pat Pocock. Both have been looking at potential acquisitions since their completion of the sale of the Fraserburgh-based Macrae Food Group to Young’s Blue-crest in 2004. These are its first major purchases. Mr Hazeldean said: “Thomas Food and Giles Foods have a strong market position and, with this particular platform, we are confident we can build a successful business, concentrating on the quality end of the bakery market.”FIG has appointed former Macrae chief executive Cameron Brown to head up the Pastry Group. Mr Pocock said: “We have institutional backing to invest in a number of food businesses and we have great confidence in our first step with these two firms. Over the next few months, we expect to complete more transactions.”
The Bread Roll Company has launched its first new product after winning £20,000 of Home Grown Cereals Authority Enterprise (HGCA) funding last year.The grant is helping fund a £52,000 project to develop a new range of speciality ‘healthy” breads. The St Albans-based independent craft baker is set to increase grain usage by 1,000 tonnes over the next two years as it develops these breads, including ciabatta, panini and focaccia. They will include ingredients such as linseed, oats and rye, and will be low in salt and fat and lower GI (Glycaemic Index). Managing director Stephen Ville, who picked up his HGCA trophy this month, said the company has already launched a multigrain roll, flagged as low GI, with a major multiple. It is now targeting its contract catering, supermarket and sandwich chain customers with further innovations, he told British Baker.“We decided to create this totally new range to keep up with market trends,” said Mr Ville. “The healthy bread market is estimated at £119 million in the UK. We are seeing rising demand from customers for lower-salt products and low GI. GI is a move away from Atkins. It’s about eating carbohydrates, but the right sort of carbohydrates, which is good for bakers and cereal growers.”The Bread Roll Company employs 130 staff and bakes over a million products each week for the foodservice and retail sectors. It also offers bakery goods to customers from Bristol to Brighton, from a network of seven depots. Organised twice a year, the HGCA Awards offer support towards developing food and industrial products that create innovative uses for grain. Julian Gibbons, chairman of HGCA’s market development committee said: “This initiative by The Bread Roll Company will help to create a whole new category in the market place, which is good for the industry as a whole as well as UK growers.”Each year’s HGCA Awards are launched in April and September.
Compass Group said the sale of its travel concessions business is due to complete by mid-2006, as it held its annual general meeting last week.The company is selling is Select Service Partner division, including brands such as Millies Cookies and Upper Crust. It wants to shed the 1,400 concessions to focus on its core contract catering businesses, as it would have to invest heavily to maintain its position in the market. Chairman Sir Francis Mackay said: “The sale is progressing well and we are encouraged by the level of interest.”Compass said overall trading is in line with expectations and it is seeing good success in new contract gains. It is continuing to exit or renegotiate contracts that do not meet financial criteria. The group has substantially completed a restructuring programme, announced in 2005, and remains on track to deliver the targeted £50 million in overhead cost savings. Tight cost control will continue to be a central feature of the group, it said.In the UK, the primary business sectors are trading in line with expectations, it added.
MONO’s (Swansea, West Glamorgan) new V3 Bread Plant has a footprint 50% smaller than traditional bread plants, says the firm, and is designed for positioning against a wall or in the corner of a bakery. The plant has also been developed to be operated by one person, so it is suitable for smaller craft bakeries or in a larger operation where space is tight. The compact V3 incorporates a divider, intermediate prover and multi-functional moulder, with dough-piece weight consistency on a range of products, including French bread, oven bottom bread and tin bread.
Baking pink birthday cakes modelled on My Little Pony is not what usually springs to mind when thinking of pastimes of adult, male prisoners. Yet this does not seem to faze prisoners at Lindholme’s category C, medium security prison, which also holds prisoners serving life sentences.Nearly three years ago, the £1.5 million fully functional bakery was built in response to a skills shortage in the Yorkshire and Humberside area, which was jointly funded by the Prison Service and Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency. Since its launch, Fosters Bakery, Greggs, Jackson’s and Warburtons have taken an interest in supporting learners and some have employed ex-prisoners. Located approximately 10 miles north of Doncaster, the prison is now able to train 30 prisoners in the bakery at a time. The total number of qualifications gained by prisoners at the bakery so far is approximately 800 NVQ Units.high standards”I’m very impressed with what the men can do after such a short period of training,” says Tony Watts, bakery manager. “One of the men got married the other day, so we sought permission for his cell mate to make his wedding cake. You really would be shocked at the standard achieved in such a short period of time. It was stunning.”The men start to dabble in bakery and realise they actually enjoy it. When they find they are good at something, sometimes for the first time in their lives, it motivates them to do well. Many of the men have had a very bad start in life and have left school with no qualifications, so the kick I get from the job is actually seeing the men start to learn and enjoy the learning process. I’ve seen grown men cry when they’ve been handed their qualification. Imagine that, suddenly, for the first time in your life, you have a qualification that says you’re good at something. It can be quite emotional.”vocational trainingThe bakery teaching staff are employed by City College Manchester, which holds the education contract at the prison. The prison offers a variety of vocational training, matched to identified skill shortages and developed through engaging with employers and offering qualifications which meet their needs. The prison aims to develop personal responsibility, encourage the prisoners’ interests and skills and improve their chances of finding a job on release, to help prevent re-offending.According to Home Office research, 90% of prisoners face unemployment on release and 60% of those re-convicted are unemployed. Research also suggests that employment reduces the risk of re-offending by between a third and a half.”Working in the bakery here makes me want to get out of bed in the morning,” says prisoner Chris, who has an NVQ qualification at Levels 1 and 2 in Bakery, and Levels 1 and 2 in Food and Drink Manufacturing Operations. Chris worked in a bakery for six months after leaving school when he was 15. He says: “The bakery is great; it is an escape from prison routine.”Another prisoner at Lindholme, Andrew, who has the same qualifications as Chris, has also completed a course in sugarpaste work at Level 1 in cake decorating and has an OCR – Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts – for preparation in life and work, which includes subjects such as health and safety. Andrew has also achieved a diploma in Information Communication Technology while at the prison. “This time last year, I had no qualifications. Now I have 25 certificates,” says Andrew. “When I am released, I definitely want to use my baking skills. I love it in our bakery. Of course, I have good days and bad days, but I gave it a go and have not looked back since. Maybe I will try a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science when I get out. I’ve had enough of wasting my life. I’m doing something about it.”The bakery products made by prisoners go to the kitchen as part of the daily diet. The only bakery products bought in are snacks and biscuits. There are currently 930 prisoners. The bakery makes 4,000 bread buns a day, 240 demi-baguettes, 200 large white loaves, 100 brown loaves and about 1,200 items of confectionery and pastries including Danish and croissants. The bakery makes cookies and muffins for training purposes and the ingredients are supplied by Bako and the flour by Rank Hovis. “We train men as realistically as possible, so they know what to expect on the outside,” says Watts. “To name some of our equipment, we have Tagliavini ovens, Star planetary mixers and Effedue spiral mixers. We teach things such as Continental breads, sourdoughs, baguettes, pitta breads, croissants and ethnic breads, such as naans. One of the lessons they most enjoy is making croissants. At the moment I have two Portuguese prisoners who have had bakery experience at home and one actually leads a group in the production of croissants.”In March 2005, the partnership behind the bakery received the Leeds ’Big Difference Award’ aimed at public sector organisations for making a ’big difference’ to people’s lives. “We didn’t even realise that we had been nominated,” adds Watts. “To give you an idea of the project, Leeds United was taking young kids off the street to give them football training. We were given the award for our training with prisoners and were very proud to win it so soon after opening the bakery .”Watts was also awarded the Butler Trust Certificate, which recognised the exceptionally dedicated and creative work with prisoners.”I want the baking world to know that we exist, because we hope to have more support in finding employment for these men. Yes, they have committed crimes. But when they leave, they have served their sentence and want to re-enter society. I wish there were more employers out there prepared to give them an opportunity and a chance to prove themselves. Our doors are open for anyone in the industry to visit and see the work produced. I would love bakers to visit, so I can show them what our men can do.” n
In 1898, John F Renshaw decided to mix marzipan in his bathtub! Humble beginnings for a company that is now a leading manufacturer of marzipans, ready-to-roll icings and chocolate and jam, supplying major cake manufacturers, high street bakers and retailers.Recently, Renshaw invited about 40 members and guests of the prestigious Richemont Club (Great Britain) to the company’s factory in Liverpool. The Richemont Club is an international society, formed in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1948, to encourage the exchange of ideas between bakers and confectioners.Sarah Summers, commercial director of Renshaw, welcomed the party as it arrived. “Hosting this visit offers us the opportunity to share some of the vast amount of knowledge and skills we have acquired over the years.”Members were taken on a guided tour of the factory, where the smell of caramel is potent. Renshaw’s range includes a rich, thick Luxury Caramel, with a firm setting, and an injectable caramel, with a soft, spoonable consistency, which can be placed into piping bags or injected into bakery goods such as muffins.”We can’t stress enough that we make more than just sugarpaste,” says Janet Abraham, marketing manager. “In Liverpool, we also make caramel, marzipan and nut pastes. Our factory in Scotland produces jam, mallows and chocolate.”Tom Cardwell, marketing and innovations controller for Renshaw explains that over half of the company’s sugarpastes are now coloured with natural ingredients. “We’re working to ensure that, in time, all of them will be,” he adds. “If you buy a Cars Disney cake in Marks & Spencer, the bright red icing has been made in Renshaw, using paprika.”In the factory, there are huge metal drums, which have been coloured bright red, luminous pink, bottle green and so on, because of the sugarpaste. “Other natural products used by Renshaw for colour include tomato, seaweed, grass and radishes. Kids would probably be horrified to learn that the green and orange icing on their birthday cake was coloured by spinach and carrots, for example! Together with our suppliers, we’ve even managed to produce what we consider to be the ’holy grail’ – a naturally coloured blue sugarpaste, created using ingredients derived from maritime plant extract,” he adds.Recently, Renshaw decided to make all of its Regalice branded sugarpaste products with non-hydrogenated fats and claims this is the only non-hydrogenated sugarpaste on the market. Tom Shaw, product development manager says: “We have worked hard to develop a sugarpaste that maintains the functionality and stability qualities which have made it the professional choice.”Model approachAfter the tour of the factory, Richemont Club members were treated to sugarpaste modelling demonstrations. The first was a joint effort given by Renshaw’s Claire Bailey and Nic Hemming, the second by Karen Bowden from Slattery Patissier and Chocolatier, winner of Celebration Cake Maker of the Year at British Baker’s Baking Industry Awards 2006, which was sponsored by Renshaw.President of the Richemont Club (Great Britain), Trevor Mooney said: “Visiting an industry leader, such as Renshaw, was an enlightening experience for all our members. The modelling demonstration provided some great ideas and techniques, which I’m sure many will put to good use.” n
“Other kids get their cake. I get a hard time. It’s not fair to my children. How can a name be offensive?”- Heath Campbell from New Jersey grumbles – somewhat misguidedly, we feel – when his local bakery refuses to decorate a birthday cake with the name of his three-year-old son, Adolf Hitler Campbell”Public reaction surprised us. Nowadays a store in south Taiwan can sell 700 cups of Salt Coffee per day, which is 20-30% more than the daily sale of our American coffee”- Cathy Chung, spokeswoman for Taiwan’s biggest coffee chain, 85 Degree Bakery Cafe, on its latest innovation: salty coffee. Next on the launch list is Cheese Coffee and Fruity Coffee, featuring added cheese and mashed fruit”Although the idea might sound bizarre, it really works”- Martyn Wright of Staffordshire is included on a shortlist of six with his Cajun Squirrel flavour, following a competition to devise new varieties of Walkers crisps. On sale this month, a public vote will decide which one makes it to full-time production”Pointless and meaningless waffle”- The Plain English Campaign is less than impressed by the marketing of ’all butter mince pies’
www.pain-delice.com Polarbröd, which translates as Polar Bread, is a Swedish company that produces bread from within an area of the same name in the Arctic Circle. Distributed by Pain Delice, the bread is promoted on healthy credentials, but the company said it does not compromise on taste.The round flat bread has a soft texture, is naturally sweet tasting and features a high rye and fibre content, said the firm. The range is made using recipes handed down from traditional people from a place called Nordkalotten – the last wilderness area in the northern part of Scandinavia – and contains no bleached flour, additives or preservatives.Polarbröd can be used to make wraps, sandwiches or pizza bases for example, and stays fresh for seven days from defrosting.
ADM Milling is delighted to sponsor Bakery Food Manufacturer of the Year for the seventh time. This year, we are looking for businesses that represent all corners of the food baking industry. Whether they are businesses that have grown from traditional craft bakery roots to become excellent specialist bakeries or large bakery manufacturers with a strong market presence – all are encouraged to enter.The award is open to all bakery and bakery food manufacturing businesses. You do not have to be a customer of ADM to enter. Whether it is breads, pies, pizzas, pastries, snack foods, biscuits or cakes, all entrants will have one thing in common – they must strive to produce exceptional baked goods.Judges will be assessing entries in terms of product quality, operational standards, innovation, investment, marketing initiatives and measurable success in their market place. Melanie Somerville, ADM marketing manager, says: “We recognise the challenge the current climate presents to the industry. We are looking for entrants who have displayed exceptional achievements throughout the past year on issues such as response to changing market conditions, trends and product innovation.”ADM is the UK’s largest independent flour miller with mills strategically located around the country. From these mills, national sales coverage supplies white, brown, wholemeal and speciality flours and an extensive range of bakery mixes and ingredients to the bakery food manufacturing sectors.Somerville adds: “The Bakery Food Manufacturer of the Year award is about recognising excellence and innovation. At ADM, continual innovation is essential, whether it’s product development at our state-of-the art technical centre with some of the most advanced analytical bakery plant equipment in the industry, round-the-clock customer service or adding value through free marketing support including the milling industry’s only online ordering facility www.4flour.co.uk. We work with our customers to help them meet today’s demands and envisage tomorrow’s needs.”She adds: “This award not only recognises excellence and achievements but rewards businesses that distinguish themselves from others in the industry.”Is this your company? If so, ADM urges you to enter and looks forward to receiving your application.—-=== Nick Ringer, MD of Crantock Bakery in Cornwall, won last year’s award. ===”The whole team was very proud to get national recognition for all our hard work. It was a very positive evening, both in terms of morale for the management team, but also for entertaining and networking with key customers. The award gives us something to hang our hat on, which reflects our drive for quality products and services. We have highlighted the win extensively in our marketing materials – on our letterheads, website, point-of-sale material, brochures and on the side of our vans. We are even rebranding our reception to highlight the award. It has definitely given us a higher profile and impresses potential customers. In today’s economic climate, it’s a big help.”
Around 200 jobs are potentially at risk after Elisabeth the Chef announced it is to create a new facility in Leamington Spa, which will result in the merging of staff from two existing sites.The bakery and dessert manufacturer, owned by French firm Senoble, plans to create a new facility next to its head office, which would become its sole dessert production site. The transfer of dessert operations from its site in Southam and in St Mary’s Road, Leamington, to the new facility is expected to be completed in 12 months, said a spokesperson.Around 100 full-time staff are now employed at its Southam premises and around 250 full-time at its site in St Mary’s, with additional temporary staff employed in peak demand periods. The firm said the new site will only require around 150 staff, meaning a potential 200 job losses.Consultations with employees are due to begin this month and are expected to last up to 90 days, with no redundancies expected before spring 2010.The company’s Broadheath bakery site in Worcester is said to be largely unaffected by the plans, with a £3m investment planned for the coming 15 months.