“If the customer looks at the ingredients declaration and it reads like War and Peace, then it’s a worry,” warns Simon Solway, sales and marketing director at Unifine Food and Bake Ingredients. Speaking at the company’s Ingredients in Action workshop last month, he adds that this has prompted surging demand for clean-label products, from independents to large bakeries to supermarkets.“Wherever possible we try to use pure, natural ingredients and we have full traceability on every product,” Mr Solway told guests at the hands-on event. “Our chocolate decorations are couverture chocolate – there’s nothing else in there. People want to be able to understand what they’re eating.”The company supplies a range of ingredients, including flour-based mixes, mousse-based products, flavoured compounds, bake-stable flavours, fruit fillings, couverture, marzipan and chocolate decorations. Alongside its natural flavours, the firm offers ‘nature-identical’ as well as artificial ingredients.Exotic and traceable“If it’s a product that doesn’t require natural vanilla from Mauritius we have alternatives as well,” adds Mr Solway. But he says that it is natural ingredients that are in the ascendancy. Food manufacturers and retailers are getting wise to the marketing value of trumpeting the exoticism and integrity of their ingredients.“Is a Mercedes-Benz any better than a Skoda? Both have four wheels and a steering wheel,” he says. “A lot of it is about marketing. But there are certain products that are clearly better than others. Whether it’s a small baker, a restaurant or a supermarket you will see Madagascan vanilla or Belgian chocolate.“The story behind things is very important. If you take our blueberry Delifruit (a 70% fruit filling for pies and decorating pastries), for instance, we use the finest blueberries because it gives the best taste. There are certain strawberry grades and vanillas that are much better than others.”He cites Unifine’s Jonagold apples (a blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples with a tangy-sweet flavour), which are peeled mechanically rather than stripped with chemicals. “You get the whole flavour and nothing else,” says Mr Solway. He adds that flavourings can be used to extend artisanal dough bases to create original products, such as orange brioche, white chocolate petit pain, and custard crème-filled croissants.PlusfilThe company also showcased its new Plusfil ingredient at the event, which is suitable for croissants or Danish pastries. The product is a powder that can be added to the filling mix, such as nut, chocolate, custard, fruit or maple and pecan. It expands to fill the gap typically created by the steam during baking. Unifine also says it offers a flavours ‘library’, via its businesses in Hungary and Holland, that customers can call upon for bespoke flavours. It regularly sends out samples for craft bakers to try out on request, says Mr Solway.“It’s only when you’ve worked in Europe and globally that you realise how demanding the UK market is. If customers want a product, we can get it to them quickly, they can trial it with their customers and hopefully launch it on the market,” he says.But the main message of the day is that bakers should be emphasising the provenance of the ingredients. As Lisa Wilks, sales and marketing co-ordinator at Unifine, says: “The cleaner that our customers can get their product, the better.” Unifine’s Tarte CitronIngredients: 100g Tarte Citron Powder 200g Cream 100g WaterLemon peel (optional)Blend ingredients together and leave to stand for one minute. Pour mixture into 10 X 34g 95mm fluted tartlets and bake at 180ºC for 15 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and add lemon peel (optional)
Giles Foods has emphasised that it will continue to expand, after selling its Milton Keynes plant to Food Investment Group (FIG) last week. Managing director David Rixon told British Baker FIG has only purchased its quiche plant at Milton Keynes along with the existing quiche business, not the whole business. Following two fires last year at Geest’s premises in Barton, and Hilliers Plymouth, Giles Foods saw a 150% growth in quiches, 100% growth in breads and a 20% growth in Danish pastries over the last six months of last year, he said. “Given the huge pressure put on the management team following the fast expansion, it was decided to pull out of the quiche sector to concentrate on the fast-expanding speciality bread and sweet pastries sectors,” he explained.Giles Foods has retained a small ongoing shareholding in the new group. The company is now fully focused on expanding the remaining operations further, with a projected turnover of £15 million this year, he said. It will focus on the key areas of specialty and added-value breads, pastries and cakes. Giles Foods directors David Marx, David Boon, Cindy Lester and Andy Willis will continue running the independent company from three sites in Milton Keynes and Warminster. And a new Giles Foods test bakery and innovation centre is under construction, Mr Rixon added. Giles Foods has invested over £5m during the last three years in its bread operation.
Featured regularly in the pages of British Baker are recipes from some of the top bakers and confectioners in their fields working in the UK today. These include articles from leading lights such as Dan Lepard, Paul Hollywood and Richard Bertinet, old recipes from the archives and tips on how to create an impact with seasonal decorations.Our popular recipe supplements also provide inspiration for bakers looking to add something new to their range.And if you’re looking for help in putting the theory into practice, Bake & Take features how-to guides to steer craft bakers in the right direction.Simply click on one of the options from the drop-down menu above for a selection of our scaled-up recipes for creating breads, cakes, confectionery, sandwiches, pies, pastries and international fare.
A forum to be held in Warsaw next week will highlight Poland’s potential to be a manufacturing base for UK food firms.The British-Polish Agrifoods Forum will comprise a series of seminars for UK and Polish food producers, processors and marketers on Thursday 23 November.Issues to be discussed include food processing, the organic market, EU funds, marketing and branding, standards and logistics.”Poland could easily become Europe’s organic bread basket. Low labour costs and produce prices make Poland an excellent location for food processing,” said Martin Oxley, chief executive officer of the British-Polish Chamber of Commerce. “Poland’s potential is huge – it is strategically placed to become a hub of food production and export.”See [http://www.bpcc.org.pl] for more information.
Services Designed in conjunction with Pietroberto, Norbake Services (Batley, West Yorkshire) has introduced new features to the Pietroberto Bread Plant. The equipment is designed by bakers for bakers, says Norbake. It features a small footprint and comes in a choice of painted or stainless steel finish. The divider has a Teflon-coated hopper and a new-style hander-up system, which eliminates the use of a conical rounder.
Equipment company Aga last week agreed a £260m sale of its foodservice and bakery equipment division to Italian manufacturer Ali SpA.The division, which includes Mono Equipment, Miller’s Vanguard, Williams Refrigeration, Falcon Foodservice and AFE Serviceline in the UK, is set to run as before with no changes to management structure.Aga’s commercial foodservice operation employs about 3,000 staff. It is understood that all of those workers will transfer to the Italian owner. The deal is subject to shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting – likely to be held before Christmas.In the financial year ended 31 December, 2006, the division made an operating profit of £21.2m on sales of £250.3m. William McGrath, chief executive of Aga, commented: “It is pleasing to agree this sale at a good price to a group that is already driving change in the foodservice equipment sector. We will now focus on developing our consumer operations and on delivering value to shareholders.”Aga plans to focus on growing the profitability of its consumer business in premium kitchen appliances, such as the Aga, Rangemaster and Marvel brands, concentrating on organic growth.A significant proportion of the sale proceeds will be passed to shareholders, while Aga will set aside £32.5m for its pension scheme.Privately-owned company Ali generates annual revenues of around E850m (£592.8m) and has 32 manufacturing sites in 12 countries. Operations in the UK include Barnsley-based Dawson Foodservice Equipment, which supplies dishwashers, cooking equipment, steamers and refrigeration equipment to the UK commercial catering market.
Warburtons and the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) have reached a pay agreement following the threat of strike action.The union, which called off planned strike action before Christmas over what it saw as a low pay offer, confirmed on 11 January that an agreement had been reached.No pay figure was available but Warburtons described it as “an extremely competitive offer in the context of the food industry” and pronounced themselves pleased with the resolution of the dispute.
The Real Good Food Company’s (RGFC’s) two principal businesses Renshaw and Napier Brown Foods are to amalgamate. The London office of RGFC has already closed and consolidated in Liverpool alongside the renamed renshawnapier.Renshaw is a leading manufacturer of marzipans, fondants, ready-to-roll icings, baking chocolate and jams, while Napier supplies sugar, including Fairtrade and organic.Stephen Heslop, CEO of RGFC, told British Baker: “There will be a small number of redundancies but having a flatter, more manageable structure means that we will be more efficient, with added flexibility to meet both current and new customers’ needs.”Over the next 12 to 24 months we will invest and innovate to broaden our customer offering.”We are really excited,” he added. “renshawnapier will be stronger and more focused. We will have just the right mix of skills, blending our tradi- tional skill set and quality service with a dynamic and inno- vative team.”
Ginsters is relaunching its individual 180g boxed pie range and launching new Steak & Onion and Peppered Steak varieties.The refreshed packaging will now feature the British flag to highlight Ginsters’ use of only British meat and locally sourced vegetables.A new range of Chicken and Steak & Onion Lattices has also been launched.www.ginsters.co.uk
Greggs held on to its position as the country’s largest bakery retailer by the narrowest margin in British Baker’s expanded BB75 league table for 2010.The chain currently has 1,419 UK shops, just 10 more than sandwich chain Subway. The latter opened 125 sites last year, closing the 119 store gap a year ago to just 10. Last January, Subway predicted it would overtake Greggs by summer 2009. Greggs’ chief executive Ken McMeikan said he was delighted to maintain Greggs’ position as the nation’s largest bakery retailer, particularly in view of Subway’s ambitious targets. Greggs plans to open a net 50-60 shops this year as it steps up expansion, with a target of 600-plus extra shops in the UK. “It is important to focus on the quality of the shops, this is not a race for space,” said McMeikan. “When we sign a contract, it is usually for 10 years, with a break at five years. We want to find really good-quality units as we are in it for the long term.” Subway development agent Neil Black said he was pleased with the pace of store development, “achieved despite the recession and a tightening of available finance”. Subway had also taken advantage of the competitive property market to relocate and redevelop a number of stores, he added.The expanded BB75 league table formerly the BB Top 50 covers the 75 biggest bakery retailers in the UK. The table shows Costa Coffee (at number three) was the fastest-growing coffee chain in the UK, adding 185 sites over 2009.Among the big losers in 2009 were BB’s Coffee & Muffins and Coffee Republic. Both went into administration and significantly reduced their number of franchises. The new list also sees many traditional bakers holding steady and even expanding amid difficult economic conditions. l Greggs’ sales in the Christmas week were up 6.5% and like-for-like growth was 4.4%. It also saw a 3.1% rise in total sales for the four weeks to 26 December 2009. The chain sold more than one million mince pies a week, up 6% on last year. Demand for savouries was strong, with like-for-like sales up 10% and sales of its Christmas festive bakes up 23% on 2008 figures.