Puratos (Buckingham, Bucks) recently ran a series of focus groups, looking at what consumers want and expect from their local baker this Easter, and found significant demand exists for simple goods that deliver a more indulgent eating experience. “According to the consumers we spoke to, there is a strong desire for ‘wickedly indulgent’ cakes, muffins and tarts, where luxury, pleasure and taste are everything,” says Matt Crumpton, Puratos’s marketing director. “And the majority of those we spoke to said that they would happily pay more for those products.”Visitors to the Puratos website (www.puratos.co.uk) can download Easter-themed recipes. The company says these show how, with a few additions to a basic mix, bakers can create luxury products such as chocolate nest muffins.
APV Baker’s (Peterborough) technique of pressure-vacuum mixing is now available as a retrofit packaging for the Tweedy range of mixing systems.This new capability covers all the mixers in the current Tweedy range and also older machines installed before the introduction of the pressure-vacuum process.The benefits of pressure-vacuum mixing include: increased yield, as dough with a higher water content is processed more easily; improved crumb colour, softness, and shelf-life; and a reduction in the use of expensive ascorbic acid, normally used to aid oxidation, claims APV.A retrofit package was piloted on a Tweedy mixer installed in a leading plant bakery. Extensive trials produced the same process benefits as those achieved on new machines, and the bakery quickly added the pressure-vacuum option to the rest of its Tweedy mixers.
YOUR readers should share the wonderful tribute to Jean Grieves, who was invested as a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Bakers on April 4. This is the culmination of an outstanding career in our industry.It is fitting to acknowledge the immense contribution Jean has made towards the baking industry – for example when, as head of department at Tameside College, she brought a level of success and prominence to the college far beyond its provincial roots.After retiring from Tameside, Jean became chairman of the Programme Committee of the British Society of Baking (BSB) for nearly 10 years, retiring after the successful 50th anniversary conference, held in conjunction with the Food & Bake show in Birmingham last month.She received an eloquent tribute from Hugh Weeks at the 50th anniversary dinner, held to celebrate the event. Both this and the honour she received reflect her unique combination of exceptional qualities – a creativity and passion for our craft with a remarkable organisational ability.Those of us who know her personally will have also been charmed by her warmth and unfailing courtesy. The baking industry – and the BSB in particular – has been immensely enriched by her talents.David Roberts, chairman, Frank Roberts & Sons
Warburtons, which was exhibiting at the Convenience Retailing Show from March 1-3, revealed to British Baker that it is targeting the foodservice sector for the first time, working with FusionFSM, a firm that offers a strategic service for suppliers interested in entering the market.FusionFSM’s MD Peter Green told British Baker: “We carried out a survey for Warburtons in relation to foodservice to find out the opportunities. There is good interest in their core range of products, such as sliced bread as well as fruited loaves and hot cross buns.”As a result of the study, we are representing them in the areas of hotels, contract caterers and wholesalers. We will gauge reaction as we progress.”Green said that, initially, he approached the company last May and held a number of meetings. The decision to go ahead with the project was taken last month (February) with the support of Warburtons’ new business director Jason Uttley.l Warburtons is also launching a Bread and Milk Guarantee scheme for convenience stores, with point-of-sale material such as shelf wobblers, posters and window stickers, all telling consumers that the store guarantees to stock milk and Warburtons bread at all times of the day. Should either not be available, the customer is given a voucher enabling them to collect them for free the next day.
Scientists have discovered that regular consumption of bread, and particularly bread crusts, could help prevent bowel cancer.According to a report in The Daily Mail, the chemical reaction that produces the crust during baking also triggers the release of cancer-preventing antioxidants called pronyl-lysine. The findings, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, showed that the chemical’s levels were eight times higher in the crust than in the crumb. Pronyl-lysine is claimed to halt the development of pre-cancerous lesions in the colon. More research was needed before a dosage amount could be quantified, but the research pointed to a recommended daily intake of the chemical. Bowel tumours are the third most prevalent cancer in Britain. For the full story see here.
Consensus on Salt and Health (CASH) has hit out at supermarket free-from products, which it claims contain a much higher salt content than their standard alternatives. Research carried out by CASH analysed the contents of 71 supermarket own-label products in ‘free-from’ ranges (gluten, wheat or dairy-free), and compared them to the retailer’s standard version.However, only just over half (56.3%) of the free-from products contained more salt, and 26.7% contained less.Topping CASH’s saltiest free-from list was Sainsbury’s Free From Jaffa Cakes which contained six times a much salt in the free-from range – 0.67g of salt per 100g, compared to 0.1g of salt per 100g in standard Sainsbury’s Jaffa Cakes.Other products on the list were Morrisons free from Chocolate Chip Cookies, which contained 1.5g of salt per 100g, compared to 0.5g per 100g in the standard version, and Asda Free From Double Chocolate Muffins which contain 1g of salt per 100g, compared to 0.3g per 100g in the standard version.“In general, it has been the supermarket own-label products that have led the way in salt reduction, but it seems that own-label products for people with existing health problems have not been a top priority for the retailers,” commented Graham MacGregor, chairman of CASH and professor of cardiovascular medicine.A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s was quoted in The Daily Telegraph as saying the supermarket was actively working on reducing the salt levels in its free-from range.
When Conservative leader David Cameron visited Cotswold miller FWP Matthews to see the company’s new facilities and learn about a partnership with French miller Moul-bie, he was a little surprised to be asked questions by British Baker (see panel opposite page). Yet in a short, but wide-ranging conversation, he answered willingly.First, however, he told FWP Matthews managing director Paul Matthews that he was delighted to return to the mill after a gap of three years and see big changes, including the addition of a test bakery. He added: “I really love my daily bread, particularly crusty Cotswold Crunch which does not go on my expenses!”The day began with a gathering of around 30 local farmers and customers. Paul Matthews welcomed David Cameron as his local MP and outlined the changes that had taken place in the past three years, including new offices, a test bakery, warehouse, blending plant and bag palletiser. The group’s morning agenda started with a presentation by Alex Waugh of the National Association of British and Irish Millers (Nabim), followed by a tour of the working mill and a bread-making session with a Moul-bie baker under the watchful eye of Moul-bie’s European director Michel Nguyen, not to mention the curious farmers and bakers.Cameron good-humouredly rushed to keep up with his agenda and attend the talk given by Alex Waugh of Nabim, who told delegates that flour is present in 15-20% of all goods in the food chain, produced by around 30 businesses employing 2,500 people and 300 trained millers. He said: “It is extraordinary how efficient and intense production is, to be able to supply that percentage of the food chain.”Waugh also spoke about recent harvests and prices and how farmers must have the possibility of a return on what they sow. He said this year’s wheat harvest is good, approximately 15m tonnes, and protein content is higher than last year, but he added, “The cost of fertiliser for farmers has been way up on previous years, so production costs have also been high.”He then spoke about a schools education programme that the Flour Advisory Bureau (part of Nabim and also representing bakers) has devised. Visit www.grainchain.co.uk.As Cameron departed, Paul Matthews’ thoughts returned to daily business. He told British Baker: “In spite of the recession there will always be opportunities; you must go and look for them. Tell people what you do and don’t hide your lamp under a bushel in this climate.”Moul-bie’s Nguyen expounded on the commercial partnership with Matthews: “It started 10 years ago. We supplied Matthews and set up the Ronde des Pains craft bakers training scheme which is still going to this day. Matthews distributes our range of flours and mixes to the craft bakery sector. We provide technical assistance with French bakers, demonstrating how to make excellent French breads. We exclusively supply and support the craft trade with merchandising equipment to produce artisan bread and supply our flours and mixes also into Bako.”He continued: “Now, however, our partnership has moved on. As Matthews’ business has grown, we have entered into a licensing agreement to transfer our technology and our Maquette (specifically sourced pure wheat varieties which are not blended) and then we commission the blend.”Matthews added: “Matthews purchases the wheat from Moul-bie for traditional baguette flours. They go under the Moul-bie name but it states on the bag ’milled under licence by FWP Matthews’. This provides our customers with authentic French flour, unique to Moul-bie and Matthews in the marketplace.”Nowadays, customers are much more discerning than 20 years ago. They want authenticity and traceability. And by buying from us, they don’t just get flour but a great service.”Matthews in turn seems to get a good service from its local MP, though many attendees said they also expected a turnaround next year from MP to PM.
The Fabulous Bakin’ Boys has ambitious plans to double sales in the next three to five years by ramping up sales with the major multiples.Dave Brooks, previously chief executive of number-two cake player Finsbury Food Group, told BB that he had been brought on board as a non-executive director to help the flapjack, muffin and cupcake company increase annual sales from around £23m to between £40-£50m to account for around 5% of the cake market. “The last five years have seen the company move from being predominantly foodservice to predominantly retail, with Morrisons and Tesco as its main customers,” Brooks said. “To reach the kind of sales figures we’re talking about, we will need to increase volumes by targeting the big four.”Brooks added that the company is looking to improve the productivity of its two production lines at its bakery in Oxford, and could potentially install a third line to make products outside its current core ranges.Gary Frank, who set up Fabulous Bakin’ Boys in 1997, said: “We’re delighted to have Dave on board at this exciting time. His expertise will play an important part in helping us to achieve our long-term growth plans.”Last year, Fabulous Bakin’ Boys bought its supplier Fabulous Bakin’ Boys Manufacturing (FBBM) out of administration, after the firm said it struggled to cope with growing demand. Despite the similar name and being located next door to the Fabulous Bakin’ Boys, FBBM was actually a separate company. Brooks, who is also chief executive of Sussex County Cricket Club, plus a non-executive director at Feel Good Drinks, was chief executive of Finsbury Food Group from 2002 to 2008, having previously joined Memory Lane Cakes in 1997.
Despite the volume and value growth of branded bread in the UK last year, alternatives such as wraps, croissants, bagels and chapattis are becoming increasingly popular as sandwich carriers, according to Tesco.Commenting on recent data from Kantar Worldpanel (December 2009), Tesco bakery spokeperson Andy Simpson, said that, with so many different bread varieties from around the world now available to consumers, “these are drawing sales from traditional loaves, rolls and baps, which have reigned supreme in bakeries for hundreds of years”.The data showed volume sales of croissants had increased by 33% in 2009, chapattis and tortillas saw growth of 18%, naan bread rose by 13% and sales of bagels increased by 11% in volume.
Capital FM radio presenters Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Snowdon are fronting a new £3m marketing campaign to promote Kraft’s new Belvita Breakfast brand – a range of biscuits targeting the breakfast market. Claimed to be the only breakfast biscuits in the UK, Belvita biscuits are made with whole grains and when eaten with a portion of fruit and serving of dairy – such as a latte and apple – release carbohydrates steadily over four hours.The marketing campaign for Belvita Breakfast, which launched this month, features TV ads aimed at the brand’s core market of 25-35 year women, as well as print ads, retail promotions and sampling.Biscuits have long been a popular breakfast item in Europe, but have yet to gain a foothold in the UK, where cereals and toast still dominate. Belvita Breakfast retail across Europe with one in five people in France eating biscuits for breakfast.“Belvita Breakfast’s success in Europe shows that there is a real appetite for breakfast biscuits, and the UK market is ready for something new,” said Nicola Wilkinson, Kraft Foods.According to research commissioned by Kraft, 34% of the UK regularly miss breakfast, compared to 17% in France, 18% in Italy and 13% in Spain. Eight per cent of Brits never eat breakfast, with men (38%) and people in their 20s (55%) most likely to skip.