Finsbury Food Group is investing £1m in its three new Scottish businesses, acquired in November 2005.The group plans to upgrade all three businesses, California Cake Company, Campbell’s Cake Company and United Central Bakeries (UCB), CEO Dave Brooks told British Baker. It wants to improve their infrastructure, grow capacity and improve flexibility, he said.A segregated gluten-free production area is being created at UCB, at a cost of around £200,000. That project is set to finish in February. At California Cake Company, which makes low-fat slices, slicing processes will be automated, at a cost of £500,000. And Finsbury plans to spend £250,000 at Campbells, which currently makes only no-bake products, particularly caramel slices. It hopes to install a bakery, requiring an extension to the premises and is also negotiating with the local council to buy the freehold for the property.Mr Brooks revealed that Finsbury plans to expand the ranges of its new companies, creating innovative new products. “At the moment California makes low-fat slices, and this low-fat expertise can be transferred to other products,” he said. “We are likely to see range proliferation, growing our businesses to the mutual benefit of us and our retail customers.”Following its buying spree Finsbury is analysing its purchasing operations and hopes to renegotiate prices due to volume increases, he added. Finsbury’s Nicholas & Harris (N&H) bakery division has gained listings at Sainsbury’s, Asda, Tesco and Morrisons, he revealed, although Waitrose will remain the key customer. And N&H is launching a new Country Miller organic brand in Tesco and Sainsbury’s. An initial range of four morning goods, inclu-ding dinner rolls, will be rolled out over the first quarter. “This is a more mainstream organic brand, compared to Nicholas & Harris’s other organic brand, Village Bakery, which does niche products such as rye breads,” Mr Brooks said. The Country Miller brand was piloted with Tesco before Christmas.
Food Design (Harrogate, North Yorks) has recently launched brightly-coloured sprinkles to introduce colour, texture and flavour to cappuccino.“Consumers who drink on the hoof are no less discerning than the café customer and they all now demand more than the standard topping,” says the company. “This product, which introduces the tastes of cappuccino, cinnamon and vanilla is naturally flavoured and can also be natrually coloured.”Food Design managing director Colin Hunter said: “This broadens our product base and gives us an entry into foodservice.”
The National Skills Academy for Food and Drink manufacturing has announced that it has achieved higher than its learner number targets, during its first 12 months of operation. More than 3,500 food and drink employees have received training under the Academy, which has exceeded the first year target of 3,355.“This year we have laid firm foundations upon which to build,” said Justine Fosh, director of the NSA. “Our key objectives are to drive up skills in the industry by boosting the number of food and drink employees undergoing relevant, high-quality training. These figures show that we are already making an impact. Over the next 12 months we aim to double learner numbers to 7,000, by opening up more opportunities for training.”The NSA currently has 24 accredited providers across 11 specialist networks, including bakery, and by summer 2009, its aim is to have 40. “It’s an ambitious, but achievable, target that will cement the NSA’s position as a leader in the drive to boost skills and productivity,” added Fosh.Liverpool Community College, Leeds Thomas Danby, Brooklands College in Surrey and University College Birmingham, have all recently joined the bakery and confectionery network as accredited training providers.
The makers of the latest Wallace & Gromit outing, A Matter of Loaf And Death, have revealed more plot details of the film, which will see the pair running a bakery called Top Bun.The storyline will revolve around the murderous Cereal Killer, who targets local bakers. While Top Bun’s business does well as the competition is killed off, Gromit worries that the pair may become victims themselves. Meanwhile, Wallace is oblivious to the threat, as he has fallen in love with former star of the Bake-O-Lite advertisements, Piella Bakewell. However, he soon makes a discovery that points to the identity of the Cereal Killer, but will the truth ever be revealed?The 30-minute programme will premiere on BBC One this Christmas and was produced by Aardman Animations.
The Pack201 horizontal wrapper is suitable for tray-packaged bakery items, such as biscuit stacks, crackers, chocolate candies, as well as frozen confectionery. The mid-range speed machine from Tevopharm, part of Bosch Packaging, is easy to maintain and designed for delicate product handling.The infeed, finwheels, and cutting head on the machine are cantilevered and a stainless steel execution is suitable for frozen and chilled food. Its speed ranges from 10 to 250 packages per minute.’’www.boschpackaging.com’’
SoHo expands offerThe SoHo Sandwich Company is branching out with a range of new products, which include a spinach and goats cheese tart with caramelised onions, brownies and a chocolate tart. The business supplies gourmet sandwiches, salads and sushi to private and corporate functions, as well as the wholesale and retail markets. It will also offer sausage rolls and pastries soon.Giant cupcakeManchester-based Martin’s Bakery produced a giant cupcake for display at Salfords’ Food and Drink Festival Fayre on Saturday 3 October. The magenta creation, made to match the official colour of Visit Salford, followed on from Martin’s world record-breaking Eccles cake at last year’s event.Cargill milestoneCargill is celebrating after processing one million tonnes of wheat at its Manchester plant, according to farminguk.com. The achievement followed a £75m investment last year to convert the plant from processing imported maize to domestic wheat.Tax break proposalProposals for a National Insurance tax holiday for new start-ups have been announced by Shadow Chancellor George Osborne at this week’s Conservative Party conference in Manchester. He said the tax break on employers’ NI contributions would apply to the first 10 people recruited by a firm.Company finedOxford bakery employee Paula Lleshi had two fingertips cut off as she cleaned a dangerous icing machine in January this year, reported the Oxford Mail. Spread Newco Four, of Blackburn, Lancashire, which ran the bakery at the time, was ordered to pay more than £8,000 in fines and costs.
Here at Stop the Week, we’ve developed pretty strong constitutions and consider ourselves connoisseurs of all that is weird, left-field and extreme in baking. However, our stomachs are about to be tested next month at the bakery world’s first-ever 18-certificate event.Eat Your Heart Out a Halloween-themed pop-up bakery shop is being planned by the organisers of Cake Britain, the recent exhibition with art comprised entirely of cake. All of the Halloween clichés pumpkins, cats, spiders, cobwebs have been banned from the shop. Instead, it will be selling 666 evil cakes, such as the Russian Roulette lucky dip cookie selection, with lemon meringue the treat and cat food flavour the trick. “You won’t know which one it is until you try it. Everybody is freaking out about it, but it won’t hurt you!” says blogger Ms Cakehead, aka Emma Thomas, who is the twisted brains behind it.Other highlights include plain cupcakes handed out with syringes for you to inject your own flavour and bleeding heart cakes. “They’ll all look horrible, but they’ll taste amazing,” she says. “Nothing that doesn’t taste beautiful will be sold in the shop. People say ’I’ve always wanted to make one of those, but…’ This is an event where there won’t be a ’but’.”So what will be the most grotesque thing on show? “Candy floss brown puke is making us feel quite ill, as are the private parts with teeth. The anatomically correct limbs with maggots are looking great, as are the mouldy-looking cakes. That’s going to be a toughie they look like mould and your head is going ’no no no’, but they taste beautiful. I personally think you can do anything in cake form and people don’t get that offended.” Judge for yourself on 28-31 October 2010, Maiden, 188 Shoreditch High Street, London. evilcakes.wordpress.com
Electrolux Professional’s HSG Panini Grill has won a gold award at the first Lunch! 2010 Innovation Challenge, which identifies cutting-edge innovations in the food-to-go sector.The grill is up to six times faster than a standard sandwich grill, enabling caterers to sell a sandwich that stays “warm-to-the-last-bite” in less than a minute, with a non-stick top plate, creating traditional grill marks.Innovative features include: three heating modes, contact heating plates, infrared radiation to deliver crispness, automatic holding and opening once the cooking phase is complete, programmable electronic control and an energy-saving mode.
Scarborough-based Woodhead Bakery has gone into administration after being hit by inflation and rising wheat prices.The 74-year-old family bakery, which has 30 shops in the north east and also supplies Morrisons supermarkets, has been forced to make 30 of its 310 staff redundant, while administrator, the P&A Partnership, is keeping the stores open in the hope of saving the business.Spokesperson for the company Christopher White, from the P&A Partnership, told British Baker: “We believe that by continuing to trade, we have the best chance of finding a buyer and we have retained as many employees as possible. Unfortunately, Woodhead Bakery has been hit by inflation and the impact of rising global wheat prices, in addition to harsh economic conditions on the high street.”In the financial year to the end of March 2010, Woodhead made a loss of £73,348 with net liabilities of £755,046 less than the £242,992 loss in 2009. In its last financial report, it said the retail business was very stagnant, due to the recession and competition although it said the foodservice business continued to grow with major new customers taken on.It reported that it had good prospects of future expansion of the business in the near future.Greggs could be one of the bakery chains poised to buy up any Woodhead sites. A Greggs spokesperson admitted that it had been looking at the North Yorkshire area, including Scarborough, for potential new locations, but would not give details of specific sites.Cooplands of Scarborough could also be interested, according to Chris Peck, chairman of Cooplands (Doncaster), who said if Woodhead Bakery didn’t have a buyer by the end of the week, all the shops were likely to close. “I can’t see anyone breaking their necks to buy all of them I think the shops will be cherry-picked by companies like Greggs and Cooplands of Scarborough.
With record numbers in attendance this year, the annual Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees (ABST) conference was a huge success, with the quality and quantity of competition entries prompting high praise from the judges.Taking place from 10-12 June at the Alton Towers resort, the weekend saw a total of 301 delegates up from 233 last year with 11 colleges in attendance. These included 30 delegates from the Republic of Ireland, 15 trainees from the Limerick Youth Service a community-based initiative that offers youngsters the opportunity to learn baking skills and 15 students from the National Bakery School of Ireland. “And we would like to see 400 people in this room next year,” said ABST general secretary David Mizon, during the AGM.The proceedings had kicked off earlier on the Friday, with a series of demonstrations from some of the sponsors. Renshaw showed how to use its new ’snip and swirl’ icing, and encouraged delegates to ice and decorate their own cupcakes. Puratos demonstrated how to create various patisserie items, while Rich Products showcased its whip topping, and Barry Callebaut its bakery-focused ingredients and recipes.A career in bakeryColin Lomax then gave an inspirational talk about his career in bakery, including the fact he found his job at Rank Hovis through an advert in British Baker. He implored students to never be afraid to ask for advice; to never stop learning; and be proud to be a baker.Lomax was also presented with a special achievement award, from the ABST, for his services to students and trainees over the years by Sophie Kilbey, from Blackpool & The Fylde College. After the AGM, Christopher Freeman announced, to much applause, that Lomax had been bestowed the “very rare honour” of Freedom of the Company, of the Worshipful Company of Bakers. The evening then saw everyone don their best Hawaiian beach wear despite the very untropical weather for a barbecue, before the evening’s music and dancing kicked off.Day two was competition day, with entries laid out in The State Room ready for judging to start at 9am. There were a total of 1,076 entries, which equated to 1,427 items so a busy day for the judges. First-time bread judge Sara Autton, Fermex International, said the number of entries had really pleased her. “It has been very difficult to actually judge between them, especially in classes such as The Masters Cup. There has been some really smashing bread here.”Head bread judge Charles Geary said: “There have been lots of wonderful entries, absolutely unbelievable. Quality has surpassed previous years, and there have been some excellent products which would be a credit to any shop window. Some of the decisions were very difficult because of the closeness of the quality of the entries, and it came down to very fine details to decide on quite an exceptional number of the winners.” He said the award for Best Loaf in Show was very hotly contested, but after much consideration, the judges arrived at a unanimous decision, naming Jean Atkins of Liverpool Community College as the winner for her 400g Hovis loaf, which topped the class in the Hovis competition. Atkins was visibly shocked to have won, but declared herself “really chuffed” to receive the award.Hovis successLomax said there were just under 500 entries in the Hovis and Granary competitions, which he was very pleased with. “For the winner of the best Hovis loaf to also get Best Loaf in Show was an extra bonus,” he added. Alongside Hovis winner Atkins, Gabriel Maftei, Blackpool & The Fylde College, was named winner of the Granary competition.Other winners included: Daniel Roche from Tameside College, who won the President’s Cup, while Lisa Hepworth of Blackpool & The Fylde College was awarded first place in the Novices Cup.The British Confectioners Award for the Best Overall Confectionery Item in show, was also awarded to Hepworth for the apricot Swiss roll she entered in the Novices Cup class. Kate Ferris from Brooklands came top in the Renshaw Decorative class (RegalIce birthday cake), while the Bakery Trainee Trophy was won by Sarah Bowden, Tameside College, employed at Robinsons Bakery.The Horton Trophy was awarded to Julie Lister, Blackpool & The Fylde College, while team competition the Founders Cup went to Lisa Hepworth, Hannah McKenzie, Sophie Kilbey and Gabriel Maftei from Blackpool & The Fylde College.Confectionery judge Dawn Gemmell, said the confectionery classes had attracted more entries than last year, and classes such as the Devon Rose Bowl had seen a big improvement in quality. However, she and fellow judge Cyril C Scorse stressed that the students and trainees must pay close attention to the competition schedule, with regards to the weight/diameter of products, for example, as these were the main faults found.Lobbing the cobIn addition to the awards presentation, Saturday afternoon also witnessed the spectacle that was the Lob the Cob competition. The challenge was to ’lob’ a 400g fully baked cob from a baker’s peel over the furthest distance. The individual college heats had already taken place, with the finalists competing at the conference. Laura Richards, of Neath Port Talbot College, won for the girls and Dez Byrne, Limerick Youth Service, for the boys. They each received £100 in cash.Following an evening drinks reception and three-course meal, the presidential chains were transferred from John Renshaw, to David Powell. Among Powell’s aims as this year’s president, he said, he hoped to grow on the success of the last couple of years, in terms of the numbers of colleges and numbers of people attending. “I’m also keen to try and give the companies that support us better value for money. A lot of these companies say they cannot find talented young people to work in their business, and yet, at the student conference, I’m bombarded with students who want to find a job. So I’m working on the idea of an employer/employee forum next year, where students could talk to different people from the industry for example someone from an in-store bakery, someone from a retail business and someone from an ingredients manufacturer in a bid to provide this missing link between potential employees and trainees and the industry.” Another aim, echoed by the whole of the ABST committee, is to try to get more trainees to attend.Mizon said he was extremely pleased with how the weekend went and couldn’t be happier with the progress the ABST has made, and continues to make, as an organisation. “Employers have had the opportunity to network with 230 bakery students from across England, Wales & Ireland, to view their work in the competitions, to gain references from their tutors, and to view them in a social environment, which we believe is a far better process than the standard interview, with its costs and often false impressions. I hope we see much more industry support in the year ahead,” he said.