Month: April 2021

  • Whole Foods plans bakery extravaganza

    first_imgOrganic and natural products retailer Whole Foods is to recruit and train more than 60 bakers as it prepares to launch a 120,000sq ft flagship megastore in Kensington, London.The American giant plans to open a large open-plan bakery theatre in the new store. Activity there will include scratch baking as well as bake-off.Whole Foods also intends to post bakers at its seven UK Fresh & Wild branded stores – six in London and one in Bristol – as it ramps up its bakery departments. The firm plans to train unqualified and qualified bakers via an in-house scheme, at its production kitchen in London’s Kings Cross. It launched a recruitment drive for the programme last week, placing an advert for a bakery supervisor in British Baker.Food service co-ordinator Chris O’Neill told British Baker the new supervisor will lead a training programme that teaches a mixture of skills, including scratch baking of products such as pain au chocolat and artisanal breads. He commented: “Whole Foods believes in training and developing careers around food. The quality and the standard of our food is what makes the business.”Whole Foods acquired Fresh & Wild two years ago.last_img read more

  • Turkish Delights

    first_imgAs you drive along the Aegean coast of Turkey at harvest time, you see field upon field covered in white sheeting, with anything from tomatoes to grapes laid out to dry in the blazing sun. But you will not spot any dried fruit from one particular supplier to the UK baking industry from the car.Stuart Matthews, director and joint owner of the UK arm of Unsoy Food Industries, Unsoy (UK), insists his produce is grown and dried well away from any noxious traffic fumes.Mr Matthews, who has become something of a Turkish dried fruit evangelist, set up Unsoy’s UK branch in August 2002. He now shares joint control with Turkish leather goods baron Huseyin Akdede. Mr Akdede owns Unsoy Food Industries business in Turkey.In the UK, Mr Matthews is fighting hard to counter prejudices against Turkish raisins. He says they are seen by many industrial users as something of a poor cousin to Californian raisins. US raisins may be justly famous for their high quality, but Turkey has caught up, Mr Matthews believes.Customers need to open their mind to Turkish raisins, he claims, not least because prices are usually cheaper. Overheads such as export tax, freight and labour are lower in Turkey, Mr Matthews says. He explains that it can take up to 40 days to ship raisins to the UK from America but only seven to nine days from Turkey.He adds that Unsoy has helped pioneer standards of production not seen before in Turkey when it launched there five years ago. The company has an automated production factory for raisins and sultanas on the banks of the Gediz River, near Izmir, operating six days a week. Around 15% of the 22,000 tonnes of dried fruit it produces annually are raisins, which sell at a higher price than sultanas, although this percentage is increasing. The factory boasts technology such as laser scanners and x-ray to ensure product is free from contaminants. Mr Matthews says Unsoy’s mantra is “fewer hands, more control”. “Unsoy introduced a new trend in processing sultanas in Turkey, which others have followed,” he says. “I still don’t think there is a company in Turkey that is able to produce to as high a spec as we are doing.”The factory is British Retail Consortium-accredited and includes 5,000sq m of processing space and 6,000sq m of warehousing. Unsoy recently expanded its production premises, adding an extra 3,000sq ft holding area for sultanas and dried fruit, after operating at capacity last year. Full traceabilityThe firm’s processes include full traceability back to the farm, explains the plant’s quality control consultant, Jack van Leeuwen. All 160 farmers used by Unsoy have signed contracts controlling their use of pesticides in production. Mr van Leeuwen says: “We are the first company in Turkey to have a full working HACCP programme with all the farmers who supply us.”Unsoy also works with its farmers to promote best practice for controlling the naturally-occurring mould, mycotoxin. Farmers are advised on using the right pesticides, watering properly, and not turning the soil before the grapes are picked.With these measures in place to uphold quality, Unsoy still has ambitious plans for expansion. It wants to broaden its range to include fruit, vegetables and nuts, as well as oils.And a new 6,000sq ft factory is being built to manufacture semi-dried products. Semi-dried fruit is seen as a big opportunity, Mr Matthews says. “We are working to develop a high moisture product in Turkey, with a minimum of six months shelf-life; standard shelf-life is a year. We are looking to get moisture levels of 22% through pasteurisation and heat processing. This is compared to normal moisture contents of 13-15%.”Unsoy also plans to start organic production in three years from land it has bought near its factory. It plans to produce organic sultanas, raisins, tomatoes and peppers, both dried and semi-dried. Adding valueUnsoy will look at diversifying into anything that increases the bottom line margin against sultanas, Mr Matthews says.He explains: “Margins are about 2.5% on dried fruit – it works on volume. We want to bring to the market new products which no-one else has, so that we can dictate the margins until people catch us up. We are looking for things where we can add value.”He also believes there are opportunities for adding flavourings to raisins and sultanas – such as strawberry, blueberry, orange and lemon. The company also wants to develop its retail side. Unsoy mainly sells in bulk in the UK, but it also supplies one of the supermarkets with retail packs. Some 10% of turnover is retail at the moment.The company has also recently signed a deal with Netherlands-based YME Kuiper to sell and market a range of seeds and nuts in the UK. And it is looking to expand into new markets, such as Japan, which is a big US raisin user.It appears that this Turkish raisin missionary’s work has only just begun. Fruity FACTSThe UK imports 100,000 tonnes of sultanas and raisins a year, much of which is used in bakery and confectionery products.Grapes destined to become sultanas are dipped in a solution of potassium sorbate, olive oil and sulphur. This opens their pores and gives a light colour to the sultana. The fruit is then dried outdoors in the sun for seven to nine days. Raisins are not dipped; they are cut and dried naturally for 15-20 days.Worldwide, raisins and sultanas are sourced from countries including the US, South Africa, Greece, Uzbekistan, Iran and Greece. The two main producing countries are the US and Turkey, which both produce around 300,000 tonnes a year, followed by Iran which produces approximately 140,000 tonnes.last_img read more

  • Baguettes and wraps on the up

    first_imgLatest sandwich sales figures show a hike in sales of baguettes in supermarkets and continued growth in wraps.The figures from IRI show sales of baguette sandwiches in the supermarket sector were up 45% over the 52 weeks to April 1. Wrap sales grew 16%.Overall market growth was 3.9% over the period with the only area of decline low-fat and low-calorie products. Sales of these were down 12.5%.last_img


    first_imgSainsbury’s has seen an 8% rise in bakery sales value over the last year, driven by growth in in-store bakery sales, according to trading director Mike Coupe.Speaking at the Federation of Bakers’ (FoB) conference in London last week, he told British Baker the supermarket has seen surging demand for in-store bread combined with a moderate rise in sales of plant bread. He said: “The cream on the cake, as far as we’re concerned, is our in-store bakery products. Within that we’ve been amazed at the level of growth in the Taste the Difference premium brand and organic. A lot of these products have inherently high premiums, but people are prepared to pay if products are made and marketed well.”Bakery is one of Sainsbury’s top five fastest-growing categories, Coupe told delegates at the conference. It is at number four, behind clothing, which saw 45% growth in sales over the last year, fruit which saw 9.4% growth, and dairy where sales grew 9.2%. Home and toys is in fifth place, with 7.5% sales growth.Coupe told delegates that convenience is one of the big trends that suppliers could get behind. They should look at concepts including smaller packs, no- or easy-preparation products and on-the-go products, he suggested. Sainsbury’s has just launched a single sandwich wedge under its premium Taste the Difference brand in line with convenience trends. The retailer is also focused on health across its range and is taking out artificial ingredients to “clean up” products, he said.Products with health benefits, or ones which are indulgent should also be the focus of new product development activity, he added.last_img read more

  • FPB petitions Chancellor on tax

    first_imgThe Forum of Private Business (FPB) is to petition Chancellor Alistair Darling, to ease the tax burden on small businesses following his announcements in the recent Pre-Budget Report. Changes to capital gains tax, which were designed to target private equity groups, will also hit owners of smaller businesses, it says.Darling also announced that corporation tax would be slashed – but only at the higher rate. Smaller businesses will continue to pay the 22% rate, which was raised from 19% in the previous budget.To sign the petition to the government, visit the FPB’s website at [].l See PBR analysis pg 14.last_img

  • Morrisons takes up regional approach

    first_imgMorrisons has become the first major multiple to introduce a range of regional breads baked in-store from locally grown wheat.Following a trial that started in July, four types of bread are now being offered in selected stores in Yorkshire, Wessex and East Anglia. Introduction of the range, comprising two 800g and two 400g loaves, started in September.The 800g varieties are a Checkerboard loaf and a Cracked Wheat tin loaf, both retailing at £1.05. The smaller loaves are a Seeded Wheel and a Coburg Cob, which sell for 69p. Martin Claydon, Morrisons’ bakery specialist, said the product offering was tailored to reflect the tastes and preferences of the local area. “We are bringing our customers freshly baked bread with provenance,” he said, “and have taken the first steps in providing the nation with local bread.”A Morrisons spokeswoman told British Baker it had introduced the rustic breads because of increasing popularity and escalating demand for locally sourced products.The loaves are now available in 33 stores, 11 in Yorkshire, 12 in Wessex and 10 in East Anglia. Roll-out into further areas depends on the success of the current range and the availa- bility of their specialist wheats in those areas.Morrisons has 2,000 trained in-store bakers. They did not need special training to produce the rustic range, but received detailed recipes and mixing and baking instructions for each, together with illustrations of the finished products.last_img read more

  • On greenhouse gases

    first_imgThe godfather of Allinson’s bread was a mine of wisdom – and it wasn’t all bread-related. A century on, his moral insights help us cast light on the problems of our own age.On greenhouse gases: “To prevent flatulence, avoid peas, beans, lentils, cabbage, onions, and radishes, or else put up with the consequences.”last_img

  • The last-ever bakery film?

    first_imgLast week, Stop the Week brought you news of the first-ever outing of a hitman-turned-baker (that we know of, at least), in the new film The Baker. Despite our high hopes, it’s proven to be off-target with the critics. The Guardian called it “a slow, dim affair [that] lacks dramatic yeast”, and The Independent gave it one star and said: “[Director] Gareth Lewis’ gift for comic dialogue is doubtful and his idea of farce – a supposedly raunchy sex scene involving food – is embarrassing”. Could this mark the early death of bakery-themed cinema?last_img

  • Slazenger’s latest smash

    first_imgAimia Foods has launched a new range of Slazenger S1 ’hypotonic’ sports drinks in Orange and Mixed Berry flavours.’Hypotonic’ refers to a solution with a lower salt concentration than in normal cells of the body and the blood – such drinks rehydrate you quickly to replace water from sweating, but without the boost of carbs.With no artificial colours or flavours, the new drinks help the body replace lost salts and fluids faster than isotonic sports varieties. The drinks are available for the vending, wholesale, cash-and-carry and retail channels, in 500ml bottles.RRP: 89p[]last_img

  • Register for National Doughnut Week on new website

    first_imgA new website has been launched for this year’s National Doughnut Week, which offers bakers the chance to increase profits and raise money for charity from the sale of doughnuts. Running from 9-16 May, the week, sponsored by BakeMark, raises money for the charity The Children’s Trust, which provides specific care and therapy for children with multiple disabilities.For every doughnut sold, money is donated to The Trust, and to celebrate the charity’s 25th year, the target is to raise more than £50,000.Bakers can now register on the website, where they can find tips on getting started and ideas to raise money. All those who register will receive posters, balloons, collection boxes and PR support.Those who register by 3 April will also receive a complimentary bag of either Craigmillar Doughnut Concentrate or a box of Readi-Bake Topped Ring Doughnuts.“The monies raised help a really worthwhile cause – and with The Children’s Trust celebrating its silver anniversary this year, there will be quite a bit of media interest in the event, all of which should help drive sales for bakers throughout the UK,” commented Lisa Boswell, marketing manager at BakeMark.last_img read more