BakeMark UK (Wirral, Merseyside) says sales of ring donuts are up 49% this year. The company supplies a number of products to help bakers capitalise on the trend. It most recently launched two licensed donut varieties – Nestlé Rolo and Toffee Crisp – which are supplied with free branded ‘tent cards’ in every case for added visual appeal.The selection of licensed goods also includes the chewy Rolo soft-bake cookie, with chocolate and caramel pieces, and Milkybar mini cookies served in snack-sized bags of eight. BakeMark UK also offers a simple-to-use muffin mix and a fudge brownie mix, with chocolate. Alternatively, there are pre-mixes such as Carrot Cake, which needs freshly grated carrot to achieve a home-baked taste. BakeMark’s thaw-and-serve licensed donuts were launched at Food & Drink Expo and are designed to add value to a traditional category, says the company.It adds that the American donut, originally called the ‘olykoek’ (fried cake), has its origins in the Netherlands and was first introduced into America in the 1850s by Dutch pilgrims. According to popular folklore, the name ‘donut’ is thought to have derived from a New England recipe, where sweet dough balls were made with nutmeg, filled in the centre with hazelnuts or walnuts and fried in hot oil. Others believe ‘dough-knots’ were tied to use up scraps of bread dough.
We don’t have many bakery courses in Scotland which is why a training advisor from the Scottish Association of Master Bakers visits my bakery – Macleans Highland Bakery in Forres – once a month.I work full-time and fit in essay-writing and practical exercises around the job. My advisor, Graham Shewan, keeps a folder containing the different course units and has watched me finishing products to make sure I have the necessary skills. My bakery manager has been great during the course too, and makes sure that I’m working on the right things when Graham comes to visit. So far I’ve studied confectionery, finishing and piping cakes, as well as dough production, baking and proving.I feel that I’ve got as much from the experience as students who go to college as I’m always learning something while I’m working. I think it’s easier than just finishing a college course and then trying to prove to an employer you can do the job, when you don’t know what it’s like to work full-time.So far during the apprenticeship, I have worked on confectionery at the bakery and also learnt dough production on the night shift and was promoted to savoury supervisor recently.I’m doing NVQ Level 3 now which is a more functional management course and hope to finish the apprenticeship by the end of the year, which will mean I can take on a supervisory role. I’ve enjoyed most of it, such as placing orders and stock-taking, apart from the modules on health.I started at the bakery in a dispatch role when I was 17 and worked the night shift on Friday when they offered me an apprenticeship on leaving school. I didn’t mind missing nights out with my friends.== early starts ==Some part-time workers grumble when you ask them to do things, which I never did. I know that baking is a challenging job for a lot of people as you have to start early, but it’s so important that we get young people involved.I like the variety here as you’re doing something different every day. I love moulding and shaping loaves like wheatsheafs and wouldn’t want to go back to slicing bread. I also love confectionery as it’s so creative. People always appreciate it when you’ve made a sweet treat. You are more hands-on in a small bakery and it’s nice doing things from scratch. Our bakery is particularly up-and-coming with 60 staff and three shops.I’d like to have my own bakery one day, in a local high street, which is part of the community, but I don’t usually think that far ahead as I’m happy here. I’ll take it a small step at a time.It’s a battle for small bakers who are developing tasty products while the supermarkets bring out cheap rolls. But if you can make a more expensive loaf that tastes 10 times better then I think people will be willing to pay for it. It’s very important to offer choice. We’ve got a big Tesco superstore near us, which we compete against but we also supply them with rolls.Getting a ’highly commended’ in the Student Baker of the Year competition was great as it’s put our bakery on the map and my boss was really chuffed. I was pleased to get commended but I really wanted to win. It makes me want to try even harder. n
While the public are already aware of the benefits of smoothies as a healthy and nutritious food, King Parrot Foods (Liverpool) has come up with a twist on the concept – a smoothie that they say is even healthier and contains more vitamins than other types of smoothies.King Parrot Smoothies are sold frozen, with frozen fruit, juice and fat-free yoghurt. They are less than 1% fat and provide a minimum of two of the five portions of fruit a day.The ingredients are frozen in prime condition, says the company, and kept in that state, so there is no deterioration. They have a 12-month shelf life.Ocean Spray (Croydon, Surrey) is offering its consumers the chance to ’Win a spa break every day’, in the run-up to Christmas, with an on-pack promotion through its core cranberry juice drinks range.Jonathan Duffin, business development manager UK drinks at Ocean Spray said: “We are looking to encourage trials among lapsed and infrequent users, with an offer that complements our brand’s unique cranberry health benefits.”A spa break offer is a natural fit for the brand. Research suggests 40% of users arrive at the product because of its health properties, and our range of ambient products offers a cranberry flavour for everyone.”
Bakery ingredients company Atlanta Dethmers has been sold to Royal Cosun and will become part of its Unifine Food & Bake Ingredients business group.Atlanta’s range of bakery mixes and cream powders will complement the existing product range of Unifine, Cosun said.The takeover is effective as of 5 March 2007. Raffinerie Tirlemontoise SA sold Atlanta Dethmers as it was not a core activity. The Dethmers’ bake-off business is not part of the takeover.Royal Cosun said its ambition was to become a major player in the European market for food ingredients for bakery, confectionery and ice-cream.
More than any other cate-gory within food manufacturing markets, bakery has experienced a high level of new product development (NPD) over the past two years. This has largely been influenced by the healthy eating agenda, which has driven the demand for a range of low-fat, gluten-free or low-carb options.However, the premiumisation of the market, such as the increasing levels of high-end artisan breads offered at retailers such as M&S and Waitrose, and the rising demand for food provenance, as a growing number of products are sourced from outside the UK, have also had a role to play.As the demand for new and innovative products has grown, the need for companies to employ talented NPD personnel has increased concurrently. At Ellis Fairbank, for example, we have helped to deliver over 85 NPD assignments since 2005, which is a marked increase on previous years and approximately a 60% year-on-year increase in the number of vacancies.Historically, bakery has been deemed less interesting to candidates than categories that are perceived as more fashionable, such as ready meals. But there has been a reversal in candidate opinion over the past 18 months. Because of the very high-profile development agenda, that has been running through the bakery category, it has become a market which is attracting an increasing number of NPD specialists.As levels of classically trained bakery personnel are now reaching an all-time low, just when the demand for this specific level of expertise is at an all-time high, the UK baking industry needs to look to other sectors to fill its NPD roles. Now, more than ever, bakery manufacturers will only maintain a competitive edge over other food suppliers by looking outside their category for suitable talent.By using competency-based recruitment techniques, companies can identify the key skills needed for a particular role, thus enabling a scientific and intelligent methodology to be adopted, upon which sound recruitment decisions and career choices can be made. There must be a real understanding about what a company is looking to deliver and achieve from a business perspective. By getting a sound grip on these objectives, and by being able to communicate and demonstrate the long-term bene-fits of working within the bakery field, companies will be able to make positive recruitment choices that offer real business benefits.Bakery employers also need to ensure the retention of talent already present within the industry. By understanding not only the financial ambitions of an individual or group of employees, but also their desires in terms of career progression and development, a company will be far better placed to engage with its staff and offer them an environment in which they are able to grow and contribute towards the success of the business. l Rob Devlin is a recruitment consultant, specialising in bakery, at Ellis Fairbank
Costa Coffee has won the Best Quality Cake 2008 accolade at the Quality Food Awards for its Raspberry and Almond Bake.The Bake, which was shortlisted against Asda’s Extra Special Chocolate Cake and Asda’s Extra Special Victoria Sponge, was described by judges as an “excellent, moist cake with a great raspberry hit”. It is also the first time that coffee shops have been able to enter the awards. The product, developed by Cakehead, based in Stamford, was launched in April 2007 and is one of the coffee chain’s best-selling lines. Costa category brand manager Kate Cosgrove said the award highlighted the company’s commitment to ensure it offers its customers a high-quality food range.On the same day as the awards (27 November), Costa has also come out on top in a consumer survey, which named it as the brand they felt had done the most to tackle social and environmental issues. The survey of 1,000 ‘concerned consumers’ was featured in The Times.Giles Gibbons, founder and CEO, Good Business, said: “With over 75% of concerned consumers saying they have a higher opinion of companies that continue to spend money on social and environmental activities, even when economic conditions are difficult, this position is likely to help Costa survive the mounting pressures on the sector.”
Premier Foods has announced that its Nimble brand will come under the umbrella of Hovis from January 2009. The lower-fat and calorie bread is to be rebranded as Hovis Nimble, with a supporting £1m advertising campaign to start in the New Year.Premier believes the change will benefit both brands, especially as healthy eating is an increasingly important issue for consumers. Recent data from an MB tracking study (2008) showed 57% of the population actively look for foods deemed as ‘healthy’.It is expected that Hovis’ brand credentials will enable Nimble to expand its market share in the dieting sector. “Nimble is a strong brand with loyal consumers and will positively impact Hovis’ market share by generating additional sales in a new sector,” said Jon Goldstone, marketing director at Hovis. “There is a natural synergy between Hovis and Nimble, with both brands already enjoying strong health perceptions among consumers.” Nimble was originally launched in 1955 and was later relaunched in 2006.
Warburtons’ Hot Cross Bun Loaf is to feature on the shelves of retailers once more from January. It will be available in a 400g format, made with sultanas and currants within sweet and mildly spiced glazed bread.”Seasonal products such as the Hot Cross Bun Loaf help to build interest within the category and drive sales during the seasonal period,” commented Warburtons’ category director Sarah Miskell. “The Hot Cross Bun Loaf has always been an Easter favourite for the family as a tea-time treat and continues to grow in popularity. Last year, Hot Cross Bun Loaf showed a huge year-on-year volume and value sales growth of 22.9% (according to data from AC Nielsen – 52 w/e 4.10.08 vs 6.10.07) and we are confident that Warburtons’ Hot Cross Bun Loaf will be enjoyed just as much in 2009.”RSP: £1.30[http://www.warburtons.co.uk]
Walkers has become the first food company to retain its Carbon Reduction label, after reducing its carbon footprint by 7%.The snacks brand was also the first to display the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label in March 2007 when it committed to cut its carbon footprint by 3% by 2009. Companies have to reapply for the label after two years.Walkers has introduced a number of energy-saving schemes which helped save 4,800 tonnes of CO2 emissions including: new high efficiency gas burners and low energy lighting; light-weighting packaging; switching to 100% British potatoes to lower food miles; and running delivery trucks on biodiesel containing 5% used cooking oil. This has saved Walkers more than £400,000 over the past two years, which it reinvested in future energy-saving projects.Last year, Mey Selections also signed up to pilot the scheme and now the Highlands-based producer, which makes oatcakes and shortcake, is working to reduce its carbon footprint. Initially, Mey Selections’ Luxury All Butter Shortbread, Heather Honey and Blossom Honey will feature the new label on-pack.
Supermarket chains are attrac-ting record numbers of young bakers to their apprenticeship schemes.While many craft bakers struggle to find recruits, multiple retailers are sourcing enthusiastic would-be bakers from in-store and outside. Both Sainsbury’s and Morrisons report that the category is a growth area, which they have no trouble staffing.Sainsbury’s recruited 200 apprentices this year, 104 of them in bakery, and half from inside the company, while Morrisons now has around 188. Andy Clegg, Morrisons’ bakery trading manager, said: “We’ve got more bak- ery apprentices going through than we’ve ever had. We’re marketing the apprentice scheme more and there’s an emphasis on getting skills through. There has been an interest from people outside as well as inside the firm.”Sainsbury’s Apprentice Baker programme has not found it difficult to attract people, said Gary Tovy, qualifications and skills manager. “They get four qualifications and are on normal Sains- bury’s pay and benefits.”Sainsbury’s aims to have an apprentice in every main store by 2010, which will mean recruiting another 350 people onto the scheme – in either meat, fish or bakery. The retailer is now asses-sing how many trainee bakers it will need. However, Tovy said: “There will be a heavy reliance on bakery, as it is a key growth area. They learn craft skills, bread production, confectionery and cakes. They are sent on three workshops, learn skills such as dough production and how to become team leaders and managers.”—-=== Students take Thai trip ===A group of bakery students from Leeds Thomas Danby College (LTD) recently visited Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand, as part of the college’s continuing association with educational providers and bakery food manufacturers abroad. Key aims of the trip were to look at the Young Entrepreneur Scheme run by Kasetsart University, to compare it with LTD product development on the BTEC National Diploma in Food Manufacturing Science (Baking Technology), as well as looking at the current market for bakery products in Thailand.