The Real Good Food Company announced this week that after disappointing results in 2006, its bakery division had made a satisfactory start to this year.Its preliminary results for the year ending 31 December 2006 revealed that profitability of chilled patisserie and dessert bakery Haydens deteriorated in spite of sales being up 6% on the previous year. The company said that this was due to costs of product launches over running, a poor trading performance in the summer and increased overheads.In its first full year under Real Good Food’s ownership, the performance of Renshaw, which makes marzipans and ready-to-roll icings, was “in line with expectations”. Customer service improvements and customer development have been a major focus during the year at Renshaw, said RGFC.Total group revenues were up £250.8m on 2005’s £117.7m and profit before tax was up £9.5m compared with £7.1m in 2005. The Real Good Food Company’s divisions include bakery, bakery ingredients, fish and sugar.”The successful integration of Napier Brown Foods has resulted in an excellent full year contribution from the business against a volatile sugar market,” said Pieter Totté, non-executive chairman. “The Real Good Food Company is well on its way to becoming a significant player in the UK food sector.”
Double D Food Engineering is to provide training to its customers, helping them to get the best from its range of ovens, provers and retarder provers.The one- or two-day courses will target different personnel levels including operators, product development specialists and engineers.”We will also be able to tailor training to suit particular food lines or recipes,” said Bob Petrie, who became Double D’s MD earlier this year when the company was acquired by specialist engineering group Bonspiel.”We find customers aren’t aware of a product’s full capabilities, so they’re not getting maximum benefit,” he added.Programmes are on offer either at Double D’s test centre near Edinburgh or on site at customers’ premises.Double D makes a range of ovens, including the Revorack, Revoreel and Revoband Travelling Oven. The company also supplies Humidair provers.
== John Foster is MD of Fosters Bakery, ==based in Barnsley, south Yorkshire, which supplies fresh and frozen products to major retailers, airlines and caterersThe time bomb is ticking! UK plc has been blessed over the past few years with an influx of workers from Eastern Europe. My experience is of hard-working people, willing, flexible, better skilled, polite and respectful. But the problem with migrant labour is that it is, well, migrant. As quickly as people have migrated to the UK, they can migrate out.We are already seeing the first fizz in the fuse, with an exodus of people back to Eastern Europe. These people travel thousands of miles to seek a better way of life, earn more money and often send a good percentage back home to the family. Since last September, the value of the pounds being sent home has devalued against the Euro and other European currencies. At the same time, the economies of the new EU countries are improving and this will continue, courtesy of the European political machine, until all our economies roughly align. Squeeze this with the increased costs of living here and the UK gets less and less attractive for EU migrant workers.But this slow burn of migration home will explode in less than three years’ time – in 2011, the pool of migrant workers may have dried up and many good staff gone. Currently, most EU countries including France and Germany are not open to the newest Eastern Europeans – just as the UK is not currently open to people from Romania and Bulgaria. We would have seen far fewer Eastern Europeans anyway, had they been free to work anywhere in the EU, and, from 2011, they will indeed be free to work in any EU country. I predict that many will go home or closer to home. You will have to recruit again from the indigenous workforce, from which you have been disengaged for years.The quivering UK economy is raising unemployment and so there will be people wanting work. The questions are around work ethic and baking skills.The proportion of Eastern Europeans in our business at Fosters is small, but we have a strategy. Firstly, we welcome and respect all people regardless of their ethnicity; we are trying to create a bakery where people want to stay long-term. We sell the food industry as a career at every opportunity, from working with ex-offenders to IB claimants and people with learning disabilities. We engage with young people and have partnerships with schools, colleges and universities. We signed the skills pledge, making NVQ Level 2 the minimum qualification for our people, and we want higher. We invest big in training and it will get even better. Our pay rates are on ability/qualifications regardless of age (or youth) and we are investing in flexible automation to remove the most unskilled and repetitive tasks. I don’t know if we are bomb-proof yet, but we at least have a tin hat! Mrs Foster says I worry too much!
Macadamia nuts are one of the less widely used nuts among bakers and manufacturers, which is probably why the The South African Macadamia Growers’ Association enlisted three UK artisan bakers to come up with some ideas and chivvy things along.Ian Martin, bakery consultant and production manager at Martin’s Bakery near Manchester, Paul Merry of Panary in Dorset and Peter Cook of Prices of Ludlow happily obliged, coming up with three bread recipes. The project aims to increase awareness of the nut’s taste profile, health benefits and USPs. To test the recipes in a commercial retail environment, the breads were trialled at Prices of Ludlow on every weekend throughout the month of June. They were positioned and priced in line with the bakery’s artisan bread selection.”On a weekend, the top seller from our speciality loaf selection is usually our olive and pumpkin bread,” said Peter Cook from Prices of Ludlow, which was one of Rick Stein’s Local Food Heroes and winner of the 2008 Waitrose Made in Britain Food Producer of the Year Award.”The Macadamia loaves were similarly priced and were received extremely well by consumers, who are continuing to be adventurous in their bread selections, with each variety selling between 10-18 loaves per weekend.” Consumers commented on the luxurious look, taste and texture of the bread, he added. Method1. Mix the flour, yeast, salt, raw sugar, polenta and milk to form a dough2. At the last stage, add the macadamias and sultanas and mix in well, so they are evenly distributed throughout the dough3. Bulk prove for two hours and, when doubled in size, scale into 450g portions4. Leave for a short intermediate proof of approximately 15 minutes5. Take each portion, flatten the dough and then fold over length-ways before rounding into a smooth ball6. Place the dough in a prover or leave in a warm, draught-free place for about 45 minutes7. Dust with flour and slash three cuts in each direction at 90 degrees8. Bake in a bread oven at 220-225°C for 25-35 minutes Note: To make small rolls, use approximately 50g portions and mould in the same way. Fruited Cornbread with MacadamiasBy Ian MartinTo make nine loaves or approximately 80-90 small rollsIngredientsFlour (strong wheat) 2kgYeast 20gSalt 40gRaw sugar 160gPolenta 800g(use in these proportions: 1g polenta to 7.5g of water, bring water to the boil and whisk in the polenta, then leave to cool before use)Macadamia nuts 500gMilk 740gJumbo Raisins 800g
Costa Coffee increased its revenue by a fifth in the six months to 27 August 2009, as parent company Whitbread revealed a strong set of figures.Sales were up 20.6% to £155.4m (2008/09: £128.9m) for the chain, with pre-exceptional operating profit up 72.6% to £12.6m (2008/09: £7.3 million).Like-for-like sales increased 2.5%, down 1.2% on its half year figures for 2008/2009.According to a statement released by the firm, the UK coffee chain has also been able to capitalise on the weakness of the high street property market, and has negotiated “better, more flexible rental terms” as well as reducing build costs on new stores by 10% in some cases. Costa opened 93 new stores in the UK in the first of the year, 72 of which were franchises.
Pre-tax profit may be down, but Northern Foods has said it is investing for growth, with the planned relaunch of its Goodfella’s pizza brand this year.The firm announced a marginal increase in revenue of £1.8m to £977m for the 53 weeks to 3 April 2010. However, pre-tax profit was down to £34m from £47.5m for the comparable period last year.Northern Foods highlighted a strong performance in bakery, and growth of sandwiches and salads in its chilled division. The firm won new business with Costa Coffee in the 2009/2010 financial year, and started a 10-year contract to supply British Airways.The firm said it would incur increased costs during the first half of the 2010/2011 fiscal year, due to initiatives that include the relaunch of the Goodfella’s brand. But chief executive Stefan Barden said that although he expected the challenging market conditions to continue, the firm remained well-positioned for the future.
Finsbury Food Group has entered into a new contractual joint venture deal with Genius Foods, an existing partner and owner of the Genius gluten-free brand, through its United Central Bakeries (UCB) and Livwell subsidiaries.Finsbury and Genius plan to introduce additional gluten-free products under the Genius brand. However, there is also an option, granted by Finsbury, for Genius to buy the business and assets of UCB and Livwell, which produce Finsbury’s gluten-free products, as well as yum-yums and potato scones, for a consideration of £21m, at any point within 12 months from 23 December 2010.If Genius chooses to exercise this option, it will transfer the potato scone and yum-yum business back to Finsbury.>>Finsbury sees better results for cake>>Genius invests £3m in ad campaign
Pret A Manger aims to shake up its image and promote its store expansion plans with a PR push.The sandwich and coffee chain has hired Lewis PR to look after consumer, corporate and social media PR globally, which will cover the opening of new outlets in the UK and its launch in France, as well as its 25th birthday celebrations this year.Paul Charles, chief operating officer at Lewis PR, said: “We’ll make sure its Twitter and Facebook feeds are innovative and informative.”He added: “There are misconceptions that Pret is owned by McDonald’s and that its food isn’t made fresh, which we will address. We will also make sure that people know it is a responsible retailer who donates its unsold food to homeless charities.”McDonald’s bought a third of the business in 2001, but sold its stake in 2008. The sandwich chain is now part-owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint, with a turnover of £279m and 221 shops. Pret A Manger is ninth in the BB75 2011 league table.
Rank Hovis has launched a new range of flours, Rank Hovis Originals. For the past two years, the miller has been working with customers to develop products that best fit the needs of the craft baker. The firm said its bakers have used these grades and baked hundreds of loaves with them. The flours were benchmarked and the data was reviewed to ensure the different grades were performing to expectations.Rank Hovis has also invested in a new look for the range and new point-of-sale material is available. The flours consist of: Bakers Pride; Special Stronghold; As You Like It; Jade; Leviathan; Canada Best; Top Cobber; Gold Crest; Top Flight; White Label; and Perfection SR.The flours come in 16kg, and some are available in 25kg.
Bakers’ Fair Autumn, taking place on Sunday 2 October at the Bolton Arena, promises to be even bigger and better than last year.Open from 9.30am-4pm, the free-to-attend event will feature talks and demonstrations on The Stage, as well as the judging of The Richemont Club of Great Britain’s eighth national competitition, with the winners to be announced by ’Allo ’Allo! star Vicky Michelle. For the first time, the competition classes will be open to all, not just Richemont Club members. There will also be a live cake-decorating competition (by invitation only).For further details, please visit www.bakersfair.co.uk.