Work is under way to build a bakery and coffee shop in Aberdeen that will offer adults with learning disabilities the opportunity to train in hospitality and baking.The Bread Maker, which opens in September, will offer three-year training and work placements to 25 people with learning difficulties, who will work alongside staff and volunteers. The placements will be split between the coffee shop and the bakery, which will produce hand-crafted confectionery and artisan breads, such as sourdoughs and ciabatta.Strong interest“One of our main aims is to give people with a learning disability the same opportunities as an able-bodied person,” says general manager Donald Anderson. “We have already had 43 referrals that have registered an interest in becoming an apprentice at the bakery and the coffee shop. Referrals have come from social workers, day centres and voluntary organisations. The ultimate aim of the scheme is to secure meaningful employment for trainees in craft and in-store bakeries.” The Bread Maker is run by the Aberdeen Day Project, a charity set up in 2000 by Dr Denis Durno, who has worked closely with children and adults with learning difficulties. The charity has raised over £900,000 from a variety of trusts and foundations to fund the project, although Anderson says the bakery aims to be self-sufficient within three years.Placing traineesThe Bread Maker is on Rosemount Viaduct in Aberdeen in premises that were bought by a charitable trust and leased back to The Aberdeen Day Project for a peppercorn rent.Anderson worked in supermarkets for 20 years before joining The Bread Maker, holding positions including bakery manager for Sainsbury’s. He hopes to use his links with the industry to place trainees in the future. The Bread Maker is currently being refurbished, with the bakery featuring a spiral mixer, retarder-prover and oven. Anderson adds: “The premises at Rosemount are ideal, as it is an up-and-coming area and certainly very busy. We are looking at seating for around 28 people in the coffee shop. Things are moving forward now, and we have a busy but exciting time ahead of us. Our hopes and dreams of giving our apprentices a chance to access meaningful work and training will soon become a reality.”
Irish food and sugar producer Greencore expects its convenience foods division will drive further growth in 2007, despite recent raw material cost increases and an electrical fire at its largest sandwich facility, Manton Wood.The fire happened in December 2006, when a switchboard failed and blew out all the power, meaning the site was unable to produce for a few days.The division also continued to face strong inflationary pressure on raw material pricing, chairman, Ned Sullivan told the Greencore annual general meeting last week.Sullivan said: “We are aggressively pursuing a broad set of Total Lowest Cost, product innovation, pricing and new channel initiatives to offset these impacts and deliver on our expected growth.”The convenience foods division, which accounted for 92% of the group’s continuing operating profits in 2006, saw sales up by 8.3% and operating profit up by 5.7%, he said. Margins were broadly maintained (7.7% in 2006 versus 7.8% in 2005) despite divisional energy cost increases of more than E5 million year-on-year.But the new EU sugar regime, announced in November 2005, posed an insurmountable challenge to profitable sugar beet-growing in Ireland, Greencore said. The group responded with an early commitment to exit sugar production and a strong defence of its entitlement to restructuring aid under EU law.
Kingsmill-parent Associated British Foods has bought the Patak’s business from the founding Pathak family.The deal, set to complete in August, comprises the Patak’s brand and assets in all countries except India – including its Scottish ethnic breads bakery business.ABF said the Patak’s brand would give its grocery division a strengthened platform in “world foods”, operating alongside its Blue Dragon brand. Kirit Pathak will become chairman of the combined business of Patak’s and ABF’s Blue Dragon and Meena Pathak will also become a director. Other details are yet to be finalised. Patak’s had hired investment bank NM Rothschild to review a potential sale of the business earlier this year.Patak’s manufactures, markets and distributes Indian breads, cooking sauces and other meal accompaniments. Its bakery is based in Cumbernauld, Scotland, and makes a range that includes chapattis, naans and wraps. It can produce 58 million naans a year.George Weston, ABF chief executive, said: “We are privileged to acquire as fine a business as Patak’s.”
Bakery equipment manufacturer, MIWE, has launched an energy recovery system, designed to help bakers reduce energy costs. The MIWE eco:nova, was unveiled at the Suedback exhibition in Stuttgart earlier this month.The machine works by handling oven flue gas and steam separately. The energy contained in the steam, which is higher than that of the flue gas, can be fully exploited and generate maximum savings. The flue gas is fed through a neutralisation unit in the MIWE eco:nova, which extracts the poisonous sulphur dioxide.Typical savings per day are estimated at around 600 kilowatt hours, depending on how much energy is consumed during baking.The system is designed for use with many types of baking ovens and different burner capacities and is recommended for bakers with more than four ovens and a gross burner capacity of at least 320kW, with few upward boundaries.It will be supplied and supported by European Process Plant (EPP), based in Epsom.[http://www.europeanprocessplant.com]
British Baker is now on Twitter – the real-time social networking and micro-blogging website that allows people or companies to update their ‘followers’ on their latest news.Twitter has taken the internet by storm and is now being used by bakers as a method of communication with their customers.Among those posting their latest updates are Greggs, Cooplands of Doncaster and Hummingbird Bakery in London. Companies can sign up and create a profile on the website, including information about the business, and can post short updates on what they’re up to – of 140 characters or less.Albion cafe and bakery in Shoreditch, London has taken things one step further by installing the latest techno gadget – BakerTweet – which allows the bakery to send a Twitter alert to any of the cafe’s ‘followers’ on the website, whenever new products come out of the oven. BakerTweet is a gadget connected to the internet which sends a message out at the push of a button, whenever a product is ready, and different messages can be set up for the various products.It was produced by Poke, a digital creative agency based across the road from the Albion Cafe, which wanted a way for for its employees to, as they said, ‘perhaps selfishly’, get the freshest products first. The company soon realised its potential and is promoting it to bakers across the country.Follow British Baker on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BritishBaker
== Waitrose motors on ==Waitrose is to rival M&S in the motorway service station stakes, after striking a deal with operator Welcome Break to open two 2,500sq ft outlets. The first will open on 1 May at Oxford Services at Junction 8a on the M40, followed by another on 15 May at Junction 23 of the M25. It will sell sandwiches and salads, as well as ’top-up’ items, including bread.== Starbucks’ UK growth ==Starbucks has announced it plans to open new stores in the UK this year and is looking at new types of locations and formats for its outlets. It opened two new formats in 2008 – Drive Thru and Drive To. “Feedback about these has been positive and we’re looking for new locations throughout the UK,” said a spokesperson.== Anson closes plant ==Bakery packaging firm Anson Packaging is to close its plant in Wrexham, North Wales, resulting in the loss of 62 jobs. The Cambridgeshire-based firm, part of the Avro Industries group, manufactures sustainable rPET packaging for foodservice, including bakery items. It has been reported that job losses at its sites in Haddenham and Sutton in Cambridgeshire may also occur as it restructures.== Mey’s carbon labels ==Food brand Mey Selections has become the first Scottish consumer goods company to put carbon labels on its products. Its Luxury Shortbread and two honey products will carry the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label in stores from 1 May, and it aims to have the label on its entire range.== Campbell acquisition ==Campbell Soup Company in the US, has acquired New Jersey-based artisan bread maker Ecce Panis and will operate it as a distinct brand in its Pepperidge Farm bakery portfolio.
The owners of a major sandwich business based in Wiltshire have indicated that it may have to close as it is no longer economically viable.Ultimate Foods, which runs the Gibsons factory in Devizes, has entered into a 30-day consultation period with staff over the future of the plant.A total of 95 staff work at the plant, which is one of the largest sandwich making businesses in the country.The company said in a statement that following a thorough analysis of the business, it had concluded that the site was “not viable as a production unit in its current form in the long term”. The statement went on: “While Ultimate Foods will explore every possible option during the 30-day consultation over the future of the Devizes operation, it is very possible that the outcome will be the closure of the site. “The prospect of making hard-working and dedicated employees redundant is probably one of the hardest decisions any business has to make.” Previous owners Uniq announced in 2004 that it would close the factory but Gibsons stepped in and reopened it at the beginning of 2005. However, Gibsons themselves got into trouble when they lost a contract with Weight Watchers and an anticipated contract to supply sandwiches to WH Smith did not materialise. The plant was then taken over by Ultimate Foods.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has kicked off a massive campaign to educate consumers about the ‘hidden salt’ in foods such as bread, sandwiches and pizza.The campaign, which goes live this week, features television advertising focused on pizza and sandwiches, and radio and print advertising on bread. It urges consumers to pay closer attention to the salt levels of foods they buy and to choose foods that are lower in salt.The thrust of the campaign is based on survey results that reveal 77% of consumers are unaware that bread and breakfast cereals are among the top salt-contributing foods in people’s diet, according the FSA. “We’re not suggesting people stop eating or even cut down on bread or breakfast cereals, as they are an important part of a healthy diet. But we are saying take a look at the labels to find one that is lower in salt,” commented Rosemary Hignett, head of nutrition at the FSA.The FSA also commented that “supermarket own-label versions of some foods, including bread, are often lower in salt than the branded versions”.The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has voiced its support for food manufacturers who have reformulated recipes to lower salt. “Our members are totally committed to helping consumers eat more healthily – and reformulation is just one of the ways in which we will continue to make a real difference,” said director of communications Julian Hunt.To read the full story and the industry’s reaction to this campaign, read the next issue of British Baker, out 9 October.
Traditional French bakery products are becoming increasingly popular with British consumers, according to a new report out by Mintel. However, toast still comes out on top at breakfast time.Goods such as brioches and pains au chocolat are being eaten more and more for breakfast, and are growing at a faster pace than traditional British baked goods, said Mintel, which suggests bread brands have introduced a wider range of sweet bakery goods for consumers. Sales of brioches rose 25% in 2011 to £38m, from £31m in 2010. Pain au chocolat sales were also up, from £22m in 2010, to £25m in 2011 – an increase of 14%.Alex Beckett, senior food analyst at Mintel, said: “French baked goods, such as brioches, have recorded impressive value growth, suggesting Brits are developing a stronger taste for sweet bakery goods. “The fact that these goods can be eaten at breakfast could suggest this growth is to the detriment of sliced bread. Bread brands can capitalise on this cosmopolitan trend by introducing a wider variety of sweet baked goods to their portfolios.”According to the research group, French pastries are now consumed by around a quarter of Brits (23%), while 24% eat more traditional British baked goods and bread.Toast still tops the charts as the number one breakfast food, though, with up to 81% of British consumers eating it for breakfast. Sales of scones were also growing well, up 19% to £33m in 2011, while hot cross buns saw 7% growth, from £30m in 2010 to £33m in 2011.Other traditional baked items, however, have seen a decline in sales, with English muffins down 3% to £24m.Looking to the bread market, the report also highlighted the impressive growth of bagels – up 48% in just two years to £49m in 2011.Overall, sales of speciality bread (including wraps, naans, bagels, pittas, baguettes, chapattis and paninis) have increased by 8% between 2010 and 2011.
A Union Jack-themed Battenberg cake is set to join the Mr Kipling range after a group of high school students from West Yorkshire won a Premier Foods competition. The cake will be on sale nationally later this year.The company challenged 12 schools to set up their own mini manufacturing business and create a cake to celebrate either the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee or the London 2012 Olympics.Carleton Community High School in Pontefract won the trophy with its ‘Jubilee Delight’. Judges praised the students’ well-designed packaging, which included a Jubilee-themed game on the back.Runners-up were the team from Stocksbridge High School in Sheffield, who impressed judges with the development of their ‘White Diamond’ luxury strawberry and cream cakes.The event is part of a series of themed challenges, supported by The Manufacturing Institute through its ‘Make It’ campaign, which aims to attract the brightest and best new talent into manufacturing.>>Premier launches sweet shop cakes