The Food Standards Agency (FSA) this week completed a consultation on options for increasing young women’s intake of folate.During the 13-week consultation, four options were considered, including encouraging the food industry to fortify more foods with folic acid on a voluntary basis and recommending the mandatory fortification of bread or flour.The findings of the consultation will be discussed at a board meeting in May, alongside a report from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).
While competing claims and methodologies are being bandied about, one research team has been toiling away to nail down the carbon impact of products specific to bakers by developing a supply chain framework for measuring CO2 emissions from plough to plate. The results suggest that the bakery chain can operate at extremely high levels of efficiency, whether using animal or vegetable products and whether the products are organically-produced or not. But there is scope to improve energy efficiency in all parts of the food supply chain.Wayne Martindale and Michael Jones of Sheffield Hallam University headed a recent project to develop a method for calculating CO2 emissions for the primary production and processing of bakery products, using recipe, processing energy and farm production data. The work used recipes from two catering companies and a national high street baker.TRACING THE SUPPLY CHAINThe project traced the supply chain of a number of high street bakery products, including a sausage roll, a strawberry tart and a ham and tomato sandwich. Researchers from the University’s Food Innovation Project calculated the carbon emissions in each stage of the recipes’ production. They took into account the growth and conversion of wheat grain and livestock to the baking, milling and drying of products, and finally the preparation of each recipe. The results show that the typical high street sandwich or sausage roll has a ’footprint’ of between 14 and 34g of CO2. It also found that:l primary production emissions are always greater than processing and manufacturing emissions, suggesting resource efficiency improvement can be made at primary production levels;l livestock products are more carbon dioxide-intensive. But products containing plant oils can significantly increase CO2 production emissions.The project is now developing methods of accounting for distribution impacts. In many resource-efficient food supply chains, distribution CO2 emissions will be a relatively small part of a product’s total emissions. This naturally increases for imported and non-home-grown produce. Packaging emissions are also likely to be relatively low if the supply chain is resource-efficient.Martindale says the project will investigate the relationship between carbon emissions and the health and wellbeing value of products: “We should all have the correct facts to make the choices we want when buying food. We’re privileged enough to be able to make those decisions in the UK – provided we are given that information.”
The ’panini’ has become hugely popular as a cheaper alternative to the hot meal and there are a wonderful variety of fillings and breads to choose from, writes Adam Gilbert. Here is another fantastic hot sandwich concept that has been filling the stomachs of Mexicans for hundreds of years and is about to fill ours.The burrito is a wonderful type of sandwich and, at the SoHo Sandwich Co, we have been working closely with our Mexican partner, Chilango, to develop a great selection of interesting fillings, using classic Mexican ingredients.These sandwiches are not for the faint of heart: they are extremely well-filled, very spicy and totally different to any other sandwich sold on our shores.My particular favourite is the Slow Roasted Shredded Pork and Black Bean Burrito, which is just bursting with unusual textures and flavours, and really is a fantastic alternative to the panini. For this recipe we use shoulder of pork, which we rub in a wonderful mixture of spices and seal in a hot pan. Once sealed, we place in large chafing dishes and pour over our very special stock, made using smoked chipotle chillies, Mexican oregano and beef stock, among other things.The pork is then slowly cooked for about five hours until soft, tender and bursting with these unusual Mexican flavours. It is then shredded and chilled.Next we combine the black beans with the shredded pork, freshly-made tomato salsa and classic guacamole, which are all placed inside a warm floured tortilla to make this fantastic burrito – a great alternative to your regular panini.
Halloween is a key time for bakers to capitalise on an increasingly popular calendar date, by producing a range of spooktacular products for both young and old.It is essentially something that mainly children get excited about, but adults are just as likely to be tempted by a whimsically decorated cupcake or cookie. Although Halloween-themed products are only sold for a short period of time, it is still a key trading time for bakeries and can drive noticeable profit increases.Chatwins MD Trevor Mooney says that trading at Halloween is “becoming more important each year”, and that his shops certainly notice a boost in trade. He says it’s too early to say what the company has planned this year, but in previous years the craft bakery chain has produced Halloween fondants and treats, such as pumpkin biscuits. Mooney says Halloween products are most popular with children – and adults buying them tend to be buying them for their kids. As Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, he says, the shops will most likely stock Halloween products for around a week to a week-and-a-half in the run-up to the day itself.Laura Davies, Finsbury Food’s own-label commercial manager also believes the fact that Halloween falls at the weekend this year will help drive trade, as people are likely to hold more Halloween events. “Finsbury is seeing a growth in the Halloween trade year-on-year,” says Davies. “This year it falls on a Saturday, so we expect the increased volume of weekend parties to drive sales.”In terms of trends for this year, she says, considering consumers are cutting costs due to the recession, Finsbury is expecting to see growth in the sales of the more affordable ’value’ products.One way of drawing in the customers is by creating interesting window displays, showcasing your Halloween products, as well as livening up the shop. Christopher Freeman, owner of Dunns of Crouch End emphasises the importance of making the effort to create window displays for Halloween. “It’s very important to put your products in the front window, because otherwise you’re not appealing to anyone apart from your existing customers,” he says.Dunns displays Halloween products, such as gingerbread, decorated cupcakes, marzipan figures, chocolates and pumpkin bread, as well as using decorations, although Freeman says it cannot dedicate the entire shop window to Halloween, as the shop is well under way promoting Christmas by then. “Halloween has definitely become more popular and seems to improve year-on-year,” he says. “It’s something a bit different and certainly generates quite a lot of interest, and it’s another opportunity for bakers to put their best foot forward.”And it doesn’t even have to be bakery-related. Graham Cotton of Bitterne Park Triangle Bakery has decided to launch a pumpkin-growing competition. Pumpkin plants can be collected from the bakery to be grown over the summer, and will be entered into the best-decorated pumpkin competition, for the entry fee of £1, to take place on Halloween itself.== Pumpkin power ==Pastry supplier Jus-Rol says that Halloween is the perfect time to bring seasonality to your products by using pumpkin. It comes into season in September and can be baked, boiled, steamed or roasted for use in bakery products such as muffins, tarts or, as Jus-Rol suggests, in a pumpkin pie. It also recommends mixing melted butter, sugar and chopped nuts, which can be added to the top of the pie after 30 minutes’ baking time for a crunchy topping. “Halloween provides an ideal opportunity for bakers to cash in during a relative lull in the calendar year,” comments Macphie strategic marketing manager Paula Cormack. “Make sure window displays are inviting and products are well merchandised. Some bakery retailers change their point-of-sale as often as three times a day to match what’s sitting on counter.” Macphie offers a range of products which can be used to create Halloween treats, including its Mississippi muffin and cake mixes, and 5th Avenue icings, sugar plaques and sweets for decoration.In terms of popular products to spook-up, items such as gingerbread biscuits are always popular with children, especially if they get the chance to decorate their own. BakeMark suggests taking advantage of the popular cupcake trend and decorating them for Halloween. Bakers, it says, could use its Extra Moist Toffee Cake Mix with Caramel Crembel Fudge Icing, together with an iced pumpkin, to make a themed cupcake, while chocolate or vanilla Fudge Crembel could be used to create spiders’ webs or ghosts. Alternatively, apple pieces could be included in the mix for toffee apple muffins, for example. “Halloween provides a great opportunity for bakers to create great eye-catching and attractive products with a real point of difference to help drive sales,” comments marketing manager Lisa Boswell.Whether the growth in Halloween is down to the influence of America, the marketing drive of pumpkin growers or an increased focus on Halloween products from the supermarkets, it is certainly important that bakers make the most of the opportunity to bring in new custom. And, with the recession a constant weight on consumers’ minds, they’re sure to be after a treat when they come knocking on your door.—-=== Supermarket snapshot ===l Morrisons will be running a number of lines including: firework cupcakes, spooky lime trifle, gingerbread skeletons and chocolate spider biscuits.l Waitrose will be selling gingerbread pumpkin biscuits, gingerbread spider biscuits, spider cupcakes and Fiona Cairns bug fairy cakes. It also sells a spider cake all year round through Waitrose Entertaining, which it says is perfect for a Halloween party as it is decorated with a spider, eyeballs and bones made with icing.l Sainsbury’s says there will be a number of changes to its Halloween offering this year, as it aims to appeal to all its customers – both children and adults. “The range will run on a theme, parts of which will be unique to Sainsbury’s,” said a spokesperson for the supermarket, although he couldn’t be persuaded to divulge anything further. “We believe that Halloween will be a big event this year, as it falls on a Saturday, so there will be plenty of opportunities for people to hold parties.”
Shoppers, bakers, millers and farmers are being urged to join the crusade for wholesome loaves by becoming members of the Real Bread Campaign. Its new national membership scheme costs £20 for individuals and £50 for businesses and offers discounts and benefits.Project officer Chris Young said: “This is the chance for everyone who cares about the state of bread in Britain to add their voices to the unified cry for Real Bread that is better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet.”Members get four issues of quarterly magazine True Loaf, a membership card offering discounts, access to the members’ area of the Real Bread Campaign website and Real Baker-e, an online community where members can find and share supportive advice, ideas and information, along with invitations to Real Bread events.Discounts include a free eco bag giving 10% off bread from GAIL’s London bakeries, baker’s dozen loyalty cards for free loaves at The Old Farmhouse Bakery and Tigh Fuine, and discounts from bakeries such as Cinnamon Square and Cotton’s Craft Bakery.Further benefits, tailored especially to bakeries and other businesses, such as training courses and support materials, will be added next year.Supported by the Big Lottery Fund (which is contributing £240,000 over four years), the Real Bread Campaign encourages the increased production and consumption of Real Bread and opposes ‘questionable industrial substitutes’.The scheme is being launched with a competition to find Silly Loaf Song titles such as ‘Loaf and Let Die,’ and ‘Another Little Pitta my Heart’. The winning entry received @RealBread on Twitter between 14-30 September will receive a year’s free individual membership.
Lancashire bakery chain Halls has unveiled plans to expand via a network of stand-alone regional hubs, as a reponse to the issues of food miles and sustainability.The first location will be Preston, where it has lined up two potential sites for a central bakery, both with an attached shop. It would then open four extra sites, served by that bakery.Owner Joe Hall commented: “This will be a local business with local suppliers, employing people from the local area. I believe that the issue of food miles is only going to get bigger and this is the solution.”Halls, which currently has four shops in Chorley, would go on to create a further business in Wigan in the next 18 months, following a similar model. A business would be launched in the Flyde in the next five years. Each of the businesses would be run by a bakery manager.“Many bakers have problems in succession planning and selling on their business and are just closing up,” said Hall. “It may be that we purchase a local business in that situation, keeping it at the heart of the community.”
Despite rocketing input costs in the second half of last year, the retail price of a loaf of bread in the UK actually fell in 2010 compared to 2009, according to new data from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).The research on world bread prices, which is part of the EIU’s annual international Liveability Survey and was conducted in late August and early September, found that the average price of a kilo of supermarket bread in London fell from £1.60 in 2009 to £1.49 in 2010, while in Manchester it fell in price from 94p to 93p.The drop in price was recorded just before bakers were hit by the worst of rising flour, utility and petrol prices towards the end of 2010. But John Ferguson, deputy economist at the EIU, told BB he expected supermarkets to resist big price increases for bread in 2011. “There is an acceptance that bread can be sold as a loss leader to encourage people to visit stores. There isn’t always a direct relationship between commodity price rises and retail prices when it comes to bread,” he said.The EIU survey uses mystery shoppers to check the price of loaves of bread in 140 cities around the world. Moscow was the most expensive place to buy supermarket bread last year with a kilo retailing for $12.31, while Paris was second at $10.90. London came 97th on the list.The EIU calculates the price of a kilo of bread (in dollars), which favours the UK where 800g loaves are common.>>UK bread prices stay low in world ranking
German chocolate producer Herza Schokolade has introduced micro-size chocolate pieces to its product portfolio.The firm said that, in Germany and across Europe, the per capita consumption of chocolate is 8-9kg a year. The firm is now offering its specialities in micro-sizes, which sales director Carsten Braumann said can help keep costs down, as well as meeting current demand from manufacturers.”Industrial manufacturers are showing tremendous interest in micro-size pieces, because they are always on the look-out for ideas for new products that will entice consumers to buy. A further factor is the cost: chocolate is very expensive at the moment. The micro-size pieces enable manufacturers to offer products containing chocolate without unduly increasing the production costs,” he explained.Herza said that as the tiny pieces are widely dispersed, it gives the end-product a chocolatey appearance although less raw material has been used. The firm has invested in special cutting equipment to produce the little square micro-slivers and micro-drops, which come in white, milk or dark chocolate varieties. There is a coated version, which enables the slivers to be used as taste carriers by adding special flavouring components, such as coffee or fruit, to the coating.The chocolate pieces are bake-stable, abrasion-resistant and capable of deep-freezing.
Januaryl The UK delivered price of wheat hits £229 per tonne.l The overall number of new outlets opened by companies in British Baker’s BB75 list of the top bakery retailers increases by 6.9% on 2010, with Greggs remaining the largest player in the market.l Bakers welcome a decision by the government to ditch the prescribed sizes of unwrapped loaves.l Bakers are urged to buy British after the dioxin egg scare, which forces bakery products off the shelves.l The UK team at the Louis Lesaffre Cup in France is named a ’contender’ team for the 2012 Bakery World Cup.l Sainsbury’s launches its Fresh Kitchen concept on the high street.l A newly published survey shows the price of bread actually fell in the UK in 2010, despite rising input costs.Februaryl Tesco launches its first bakery apprenticeship scheme.l Millers Rank Hovis and ADM increase the price of their flour as the price of wheat creeps ever higher.l The UK team wins the Production Award in the Sigep Bread Cup, which takes place in Rimini, Italy.l Ginsters launches its multi-million-pound ’man plea’ promotional campaign.l Cornish Pasties gain Protected Geographical Indication under EU law.l Short sugar stocks force suppliers to up the price.l United Biscuits announces plans to cut around 85 jobs at its McVitie’s factory in Glasgow.l Clydesdale Bakery in Port Glasgow closes its doors after 56 years in business.l Sandwich bar Simply Eat announces plans to open 100 outlets across the UK.Marchl Premier Foods announces it will close its Hovis distribution centre in Chandler’s Ford, Hants, after a reduction in volumes of supermarket own-brand bread.l New Britain Oils unveils plans for a fully segregated palm oil plant in the UK.l Pork Farms rebrands to reflect its heritage.l Scotbake announces growth plans, following a multi-million-pound cash injection.l AMT Coffee plans to expand its coffee sites following a £1m deal to raise finance with Close Leasing.l Lancashire-based Taylors the Bakers is saved from administration for the second time in less than a year.l Warburtons names Amy Cooke as its Young Baker of the Year.l Ginsters opens its first retail outlet in Manchester.Aprill Scarborough-based Woodhead Bakery goes into administration after being hit by inflation and rising wheat prices. Nearly all the shops and the bakery are promptly saved in two separate deals with Cooplands & Sons (Scarborough) and Bakery Products.l It is revealed that Fiona Cairns and McVitie’s Cake Company will make the cakes for the much-anticipated Royal Wedding.l Dawn Foods announces its intentions to acquire Unifine Food & Bake Ingredients.l The Real Bread Campaign reopens the debate as to what consitutes ’freshly’ baked bread with the launch of its latest drive, which puts bake-off breads under the spotlight.l The EC tables measures to ease sugar supplies.l Pidy announces it is to start selling its pastry products via Amazon.Mayl The organic bakery sector sees a further fall in sales, as rising commodities prices and low consumer confidence take their toll.l Bristol piemaker Pieminister reveals plans to move its factory to South Wales.l BB’s Coffee and Muffins unveils its first rebranded store in Watford’s Harlequin Shopping Centre, with plans to roll out the new look to its 70-plus outlets.l More independent bakers than ever take part in National Doughnut Week, which raises money for charity The Children’s Trust.l Risk Capital acquires “a large stake” in north London artisan bakery Breads Ltd, with plans to grow its wholesale and retail business.l Gluten-free bread brand Genius announces it is to launch its products in the US with a new distribution deal.Junel The warm weather puts further pressure on wheat prices, despite Russia lifting its export ban.l Bakers air their views on how to revamp the high-street cheaper parking, lower rents and greater council powers as the government announces TV retail-guru Mary Portas is to lead a comprehensive review of the high street.l Leicestershire bakers are praised by their local council’s Trading Standards team for reducing the amount of salt in their bread.l Burton’s Foods confirms more than 200 jobs will go at its Moreton plant following the announcement the biscuit site will be shut.l German Pretzel company Ditsch announces plans to extend its number of UK outlets to 50 in the next five yearsl Coombs Hampshires goes into liquidation, resulting in around 120 job losses.Julyl Sayers the Bakers is put up for sale, but says it believes there is huge potential for its Poundbakery outlets to be rolled out nationwide.l Premier Foods reveals its strategy for growth, with its Hovis and Mr Kipling brands to receive multi-million-pound investment over the next few years, but also reveals it will close its Hovis HQ in a streamlining move.l Lantmännen Unibake opens a new 8,000sq m site in Bedford, dedicated to Danish pastry production.l Border Biscuits announces a £2.5m investment in new production facilities and a packaging redesign, with hopes to boost sales by 50%.l Bakery colleges report an increasing number of students signing up to bakery courses.l Motorway service station group Roadchef says it will trial Pasty Presto outlets with two sites piloting the concept.Augustl Rioting in English cities causes damage to bakeries, including Greggs, Coughlans and Patisserie Valerie.l Lidl reveals plans to roll out in-store bakeries across its stores in the UK and Ireland.l Jennifer Buls at Absolute Treats is named National Cupcake Champion for her dairy-free lime and coconut creation.l Greggs trials bake-at-home packs of sausage rolls in Iceland stores, and hints at plans to expand overseas.l Early harvest reports suggest quality is looking promising.l Mr Kipling joins the ambientdesserts market with the launch of Mr Kipling Puddings.l Quiznos reveals it still seeking a master franchisee.l Bagel Nash receives the backing of YFM Equity Partners for a managemnt buy-in.Septemberl Robert Ditty is named Baker of the Year, among many other winners at the 24th Baking Industry Awards.l The industry hits back at latest Consensus Action on Salt and Health report, which claims many breads contain high levels of salt.l Marks & Spencer reveals it will open new-look in-store bakeries in 16 stores.l The Bakehouse revamps to become Flour & Bean.l The Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union launches a campaign calling for maximum temperature limits in bakeries.l Warburtons confirms that 170 jobs could be lost as it consults on plans to close its Pennine Bakery near Oldham.l National Cupcake Week proves the biggest and best yet.Octoberl National Craft Bakers’ Week sees huge participation once again with Dame Kelly Holmes lending her support to the event.l International bakery firm Aryzta aims to build its presence in UK supermarkets following the acquisition of speciality breads manufacturer Honeytop.l Greggs opens a value coffee-shop concept called Greggs Moment.l Krispy Kreme reveals plans to grow in the north east and Scotland following a £25m management buy-out.l Warburtons reveals it has started selling its bread in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, in Tesco stores.l Allied Bakeries reveals it plans to close its Gateshead bakery, putting over 100 jobs at risk.Novemberl Premier announces Iwan Williams as the boss of its new bakery division.l Morrisons launches a revamped bread range, with a new ’Baked by us’ brand.l The UK’s largest bagel chain, Bagel Factory, is put on the market.l Craft chain Wenzel’s spends £1m on a revamp of its 20 stores.l Greggs reveals additional plans for new-format stores this time its take on the local craft baker.l Cake-making start-up businesses experience huge growth, up 54% compared to last year.l Marks & Spencer launches its first standalone ’Food on the Move’ outlet.l New York Bakery Co secures £11.5m from its parent company to grow its bagel business.Decemberl Bakery companies look set to benefit from a £1.7m government funding scheme to improve food sector skills.l New chilled pastry company Bakeaway opens its doors in Corby, Northamptonshire.l West Midlands chain Cooks the Bakery falls into administration.l Unifine Food & Bake Ingredients (UK) reveals plans to target the retail sector.l Premier Foods announces it has sold its Brookes Avana business to 2 Sisters for £30m.l Bakels announces it has acquired Swedish bakery ingredients supplier Aromatic.l Mary Portas’ new report on the high street suggests market stalls are the way forward.l Brook Foods launches a new bakery school to teach amateurs and professionals how to set up a bakery business.
Tesco is facing its “most difficult period in history”, following Richard Brasher’s decision to leave his role in July, according to one analyst.The unexpected news last week (15 March) that the chief executive of Tesco UK and Ireland was to step down meant the business is under further strain. Brasher spearheaded the supermarket chain’s Big Price Drop concept and brought over 25 years’ experience to the business.Phillip Clarke, Tesco Group’s chief executive, has now absorbed the responsibilities of Brasher’s position and will be much more heavily involved in the supermarket chain’s core UK arm. This could mean passing on his responsibilities of global regions, such as the company’s US Fresh & Easy convenience store business.Cliona Lynch, senior analyst at Verdict, said: “A difficult Christmas showed that the investment in the ‘Big Price Drop’ was not reaping sufficient rewards. As the UK’s number one grocer, Tesco, with 28.3% share in 2011, has the most to lose to competitors.“Verdict estimates Tesco’s space in the UK is to reach 37.7m sq ft in 2012, with coverage in every postcode in the UK. This strong coverage is not being supported by growing sales, with the result that sales densities have been falling since 2009, and we expect them to fall by a further 2.9% in 2012.”Tesco’s struggles were apparent when its share price fell by -1.28% at 8am last Thursday after the announcement, which at that time stood at 320.52p per share (9.30am) – a significant drop from its 420.05p high point over the past 52 weeks. The firm’s trading update for the six weeks to 7 January 2012, announced earlier this year, highlighted just a slight increase of 1.7% in UK total sales, including VAT and excluding petrol.Clarke said: “I have decided to assume responsibility as the CEO of our UK business at this very important time. This greater focus will allow me to oversee the improvements that are so important for customers. Richard will leave behind a UK business which has very strong plans for improvement and, over the last two months, these plans are beginning to show progress, in line with our expectations.”