(Godalming, Surrey) has developed a method to evaluate spring in a loaf. Used in conjunction with the TA.XTPlus texture analyser, the Bread V Squeeze rig enables manufacturers to test the softness and springiness of both packaged and unpackaged loaves, ensuring their products meet consumer demands. This joins the firm’s range of texture analysis instruments, which can analyse bread toughness, dough stickiness and extensibility, and springiness of muffins, doughnuts and cakes.
Northern supermarket chain Booths is seeing significant growth in its bakery division, it has told British Baker.It is seeing 30% growth a week year-on-year in bakery turnover in its 26 supermarkets, with bakery retail sales at £1.8m per quarter, said Leigh Anne Carr, bakery buyer.The supermarket, which celebrates its 160th anniversary this year, has 26 stores across Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria and Yorkshire. It has over 71 types of speciality breads in its range.The introduction of a range of freshly baked unwrapped bread had been hugely successful, said Carr.”Our naked – unwrapped – bread, which is delivered fresh every day is seeing 30% growth. Suppliers include Waterfields, Village Bakery and Staff Of Life – an artisan baker in Cumbria. We have been increasing this offering in stores because it is flying off the shelves,” said Carr.She added that the retailer’s plant bread was only seeing a 2-3% increase in sales. “After introducing artisan ranges into our resturant in Kendal, Cumbria, we realised that these were going to sell very well.”Recently, Booths has been refurbishing some of its stores to give prominence to its “naked” bread ranges. One recent refurbishment was at Knutsford, Cheshire.”Customers today are looking for more speciality breads and their interests are steering away from the dull white and brown bread to appreciating different flavours,” added Carr.l For more information see Meet the Buyer, pg 14-15.
Gingerbread houses are very common throughout Europe, particularly at Christmas time. They are relatively simple to make, and will look fabulous in your shop during the festive season. Children adore them. IngredientsGingerbread, royal icing, baker’s chocolate, décor.Method1 First, prepare your gingerbread dough – we use a Swiss Lebkuchen mix, made with honey and slightly chewy. Roll it so that the gingerbread will be 10-12mm thick when baked. It is now ready to cut into pieces.2 We use card templates as a cutting guide.3 Bake your gingerbread and leave to cool. Glaze the tops with apricot jam and brush the backs with chocolate. This design uses one rectangular piece for the base, two triangles and two rectangles for the house, and two small triangles for trees.4 Spread a thick layer of icing onto the base. Place the two triangles on the base and hold in place with icing. Let the icing firm up.5 Pipe a line of icing along the triangle edges. Place on the two rectangular sides of the roof.6 Decorate the trees and put in position.7 Last, Pipe on icicles with royal icing – this covers the joins.Décor Hints: roll out doors and windows in sugarpaste and stick to the house. Keep the individual components simple.Pipe icing decorations on your trees. Small pieces of gingerbread can be used to make a fire.
Northern Foods has reported a strong performance in bakery sales for the year to 29 March.The Goodfellas pizza and Fox’s biscuits manufacturer saw total pre-tax profits rise 25% year-on-year to £50.1m. In its bakery division, revenue rose to £205m in 2008, from £197.3m in 2007, with profits up to £14.9m in 2008, against £12.7m the previous year. Chief executive Stefan Barden said the firm’s bakery performance was “particularly pleasing”.Sandwich sales grew at 4.2% over the year, while chilled pizza sales grew by 2%.
Bakery products supplier CSM’s profits have been hit due to pressure to reduce selling prices, according to its first quarter trading update. Netherlands-based CSM, which owns BakeMark UK, saw volumes in bakery supplies down 3.8% compared to Q1 of 2008, with “the more luxury pastry items particularly affected”. Sales in its Bakery Supplies Europe division stood at €249.2m compared to €264.6m for the comparable 2008 period. EBITA before exceptionals was €6.3m compared to €12.8m in 2008.The statement released from the company noted that the pressure to reduce selling prices in bakery supplies led to a decrease in return on sales.The company saw overall sales growth of 2.9% for its bakery supplies and lactic acid businesses. Profit before deductions stood at €20.1m, impacted by a decline in volumes of 4.2%.Gerard Hoetmer, chief executive officer at CSM, said the firm is focused on generating cash, which has resulted in a number of cost-cutting initiatives including the temporary suspension of a number of production lines.
Kingsmill is back on TV this week, featuring Kingsmill Great Everyday White and its new Little Big Loaf, kicking off its largest multi-media initiative since the brand’s 2007 relaunch.The company will sink millions into plugging the brand, spending more than £11m during the next year, following a £4m marketing drive on wholegrain earlier this year.Martin Deboo, an analyst at Investec, said with milling and wheat prices falling, there was more money on the table for the big brands to invest in promotions. He added: “With so much capacity in the industry, they are all chasing growing volumes.”Kingsmill has also shrunk a number of its loaves in a bid to appeal to smaller households. Its new Little Big Loaf claims to be the only custom-made loaf on the market with full-size slices and takes advantage of relaxed legislation on bread weights.The 525g versions of Great Everyday White and Tasty Whole-meal have 10 slices plus two crusts, while the Love To Toast variant has eight slices and two crusts all with an RSP of 95p. This compares to 20 slices in Kingsmill’s 800g loaf, which typically retails for £1.22. Unlike standard 400g loaves, Little Big Loaves are designed to be merchandised vertically to increase shelf stand-out.Michael Harris, Kingsmill marketing controller, said: “We know there’s a demand among smaller households for a loaf with fewer slices, but which still has a full-size slice profile.He continued: “We’re confident this launch will drive penetration of smaller loaves and cater to a clear gap in the market. The new format means smaller households benefit from reduced wastage.”In the year to 21 February, Kingsmill’s sales soared 24% to £339m and increased by 4.8% in volume [source: IRI].
Organic pasty and pie specialist Jones Organic has announced plans to expand its production facilities, with the addition of a new site, to cope with increased demand from specialist retailers in London and south-east England.The firm, based in Bridgend, began distributing its pies through Stratford Fine Foods in September, and now has orders coming in from London-based speciality retailers, including Planet Organic and As Nature Intended.It signed the lease for a neighbouring 750sq ft factory unit, in October. “We’ve been really tight for space in the bakery to meet orders recently,” explained founder and MD Mike Sweetman.“Both our Organic Bake-Off range and our Baked Chilled range are selling very well – we’ve had no choice but to extend our bakery to cope.”The office and storage has been moved from its existing 1,500sq ft site, releasing space in the existing unit for: the doubling of its goods-out freezer capacity to house bake-off lines; the doubling of its baking capacity with a new rack oven for baked-chilled lines; and a new packing area, explained Sweetman.The work is due to be completed by the end of November this year. Jones Organic’s pies are available throughout the UK, frozen-unbaked from Stratford Fine Foods, Bako Western or Bako Wales, or baked-chilled directly from the bakery.
Country Range Group has added a number of new products to its own-brand portfolio of frozen foods. Following an increase in the sale of frozen products across the group, Country Range has introduced four-inch sausage rolls, a steak and kidney pie, a cheese and onion pasty, cheese and onion lattice fingers, quiche lorraine, cheese and onion quiches and a tomato and basil quiche to its range. Managing director Colin Birchall said: “Research shows the misconception that frozen isn’t as good a quality or as healthy is dying fast, and it’s now widely recognised that it actually locks in nutrients and vitamins, with the added benefits of convenience, choice and availability.”www.countryrange.co.uk
Students studying the Diploma in Manufacturing and Product Design (MPD) can now gain access to Ginsters’ Callington Bakery without leaving their classroom, thanks to online video conferencing technology.Using free Skype communication software, pupils are able to talk directly to staff at Ginsters and look around the bakery as part of course projects and assignments. The new Diploma in MPD targets students aged between 14 and 19 and mixes practical and theoretical work on food manufacturing and product development, including at least 10 days’ work experience.“At Ginsters, we have worked with schools and colleges in Plymouth and Cornwall for many years. But we noticed that visits were decreasing year-on-year. It seems that new challenges associated with taking a class of young people on a visit were responsible for this reduction. These included transport, health and safety, financial and time-tabling issues,” said Chris Schaffer, bakery training and education co-ordinator at Ginsters. “We didn’t want this to affect our ability to help schools, especially with the new work-relevant requirements of the Diploma in MPD, so we decided to use Skype. Now, thanks to this technology, we can give students access to our facilities and the expertise of our staff.”Schaffer, who has signed up to become an employer champion for the Diploma in MPD, has also developed an educational website to support Ginsters’ activity.
Irwin’s has expanded its Softee bread range in Northern Irish Asda stores in a deal worth £200k. The Co Armagh firm, which already supplies Asda stores with its classic white Softee, is to add two new additions to the order Softee 100% and Softee Extra Thick. The three variants will now be stocked in all 13 Asda NI stores.The Softee loaf, launched in June last year, has achieved one million sales in Northern Ireland to date, with overall sales of its pan loaves up 26% in the last quarter. Irwin’s commercial controller Michael Murphy said new pro-duct development and continuing diversification were paramount to meeting customers’ needs.