The NEW President of the National Association of Master Bakers (NA) told delegates the organisation must diversify, as she started her year in office at its annual conference in Stratford last weekend.Shirley Ryder, 39, the NA’s first lady president, is bakery manager at Peters Homemade Bakery in Manchester.She said that in the same way that bakers have diversified into sandwiches, hot food and deli lines, the NA needs to add members from other food sectors as the craft sector contracts.She commented: “The way forward for this Association is to diversify. We are the voice of the craft sector, but we should be shouting to other sectors.”
Since its introduction in 2002, the Citroen Dispatch-based Jiffy Salsa has been one of the best-sellers in the Jiffy Trucks (Shipley, West Yorkshire) range. Kerbside serve and double ambient options have enhanced its appeal. But there was one feature not available on the truck until now. Hot food specialists, such as Cornish pasty makers, have noted that the heated section was not big enough to carry sufficient full-sized pasties. A standard Salsa will carry 180 ‘normal’ pasties (in display format), but the new Salsa Gemini will carry 300 normal pasties. Although the refrigerated and ambient areas are reduced, it will still display 300 wedge sandwiches, as well as other products such as cans, bottles and crisps. The Salsa Gemini is made from long-life, easy-clean stainless steel, but also includes electric windows, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors and a reverse warning alarm. Price for the Jiffy Gemini Salsa is £24,000 plus VAT and the truck is now available to special order.After nearly 12 months of product development, culminating with live trials on existing customers’ rounds, Jiffy Trucks has introduced the Jiffy Café 247. On the 247 Jiffy’s engineers have integrated 12v vehicle DC and 240v mains AC electrical systems to enable the truck to offer quality bean-to-cup coffee, fan assisted oven heat, mains standby power and overnight temperature-controlled storage facilities. The truck comes in stainless steel with sunrise effect white side hatch doors. The price for the 247 is £34,000 plus VAT and Road Fund Licence.
Our packaging helps in-store bakeries look as if the products have come from the back of house. We did a lot of research and a strong view was that, if the product is in a bakery, consumers expect to see them in plastic trays. So we package the doughnuts in trays and wrap a plastic sleeve around them. Research suggested that although people might suspect products weren’t made fresh in the store, they were happy to believe it anyway. It’s a bit of an illusion. With our packa-ging we are helping bakeries to drive consumer perception.Where we make doughnuts at our Kitchen Range Foods factory in Peterborough, the packaging system is fully automated to keep line speeds high – now at around 100 packs per minute. The system denests the acetate trays, adds the product, closes the lid and adds tamper-evident seals. It then puts the sleeves on the trays, runs them through a metal detector and packs them into cases. They are then coded for traceability.We also have a flow wrapper for single doughnuts, which are packaged differently. The packaging on these is designed to be eye-catching and bright to encourage impulse buys. Our larger packages of frozen branded doughnuts, also go through the flow wrap; they are packaged in quality metal film, which the consumer cannot see through, because frozen doughnuts are less attractive.Ross Macken,Factory manager,Kitchen Range Foodsl Each month, British Baker asks a member of the packaging industry to comment on a bakery product or trend
Corporate affairs director John Gillespie is retiring from food ingredients manufacturer Macphie after 37 years.He started in the industry 50 years ago as an apprentice with flour miller J&R Snodgrass in Glasgow. He joined Macphie as a sales representative in 1969 and in 1986 was appointed to the board as marketing director.Gillespie was appointed president of BATA (now Association of Bakery Ingredients Manufacturers) in 1997 and was a council member of the Food and Drink Federation for six years. The Scottish Food and Drink Federation was formed with Gillespie as its founder chairman. In 2000 Gillespie became commercial MD at Macphie.He served as president of FEDIMA, the European trade association for bakery ingredients manufacturers from 2003-2006. In 2004, he was appointed to the board of CIAA, the body for the European food and drink industry.
When you’re trying to steer a premium course through the choppy retail waters of what is, arguably, Britain’s most commoditised food category, it’s good to know there’s a steady hand on the tiller. But then running a tight ship comes as second nature to Waitrose bakery buyer James Dickson, formerly of the navy.”It’s not so much that it’s boring. People just don’t spend a huge amount of time on bread. The frustration is that you know what you could offer, but the people buying it don’t necessarily want it!”That means existing and potential suppliers really need to think carefully if they’re to excite any interest beyond Dickson’s stock-in-trade fresh crusties, speciality wrapped breads, and pre-packed rolls, not to mention the in-store bake-off for which he’s responsible.Take a recent foray into products made with regional flours on the serve-over counter – an obvious fit, you might think, with Waitrose shoppers. So did Dickson. “We launched a range of round cobs with named regional flours. We really felt they were so fresh and new and interesting that people would buy into them. But they didn’t because they were round: they didn’t fit into the toaster and they didn’t make sandwiches. “That one surprised me because I thought they were fairly safe, day-to-day products, but it taught me that functionality is an early buffer in that category. In others, you can push harder and harder by degrees.”Of all his customers, it’s the crusty bread buyer whose habits are hardest to break. “It tends to be bought by older consumers who do not thank you for changing it,” he says.That’s not the case with the DINKY (dual-income-no-kids) globetrotters, who have developed a taste for the exotic. But authenticity is key and pale imitations just won’t do. The successful launch of Waitrose focaccia, introduced in August last year, proved the point.”Bakery has too short a shelf-life to be imported, and that has been part of focaccia’s problem. It’s difficult to make it the way the Italians make it. It is only now that it has got close to how it is made in its own country that focaccia is taking over from ciabatta.”The wrapped category in general is on the march,” he says. “It encompasses some of the most interesting, new and innovative areas and it has so much going for it. It appeals to younger consumers and, as it matures, it has potential to grow. The Italian side of things is where it’s developing.”Having recently completed a series of major category reviews, Dickson and his team are now engaged on one of their annual interim make-overs, during which they ask already nominated suppliers to pitch in with comments and suggestions on how to move a fixture forward.”Major reviews take place every two or three years – speciality breads was last year – and an interim review every other year, when we work with existing suppliers. It’s a consideration to the people we already have. If you constantly bring in new people,the ones who are already there find it disconcerting.”The Waitrose pool is kept deliberately small, with as few as two or three nominated suppliers out of 10 in a category, but that’s not to say new national, and even regional, bakers, can’t grab a thick slice of the action. But, be warned: you’ll have to polish more than your buttons when you go on parade at “Port Bracknell”.”If I were doing a major review this year, Iwould be saying: ’Come andsee me; tell me what you can do.’ At the same time, I would be asking for an opinion on what we are doing and what others are doing, all the while trying to get a sense of the suppliers’ idea of the context in which they are making their commercial bid. What’s the competition to Waitrose in your area? How do you sit in the market? I need to make sure the supplier is engaged with the category. Let’s have a rounded discussion.”Typically, somebody comes in to do a presentation without having set foot inside a Waitrose store. If all they have done is make bread and want me to buy it, that’s not a compelling enough case. If they come in and say: ’Waitrose is selling eight rye breads and has been for some time. There’s an opportunity to move the category on and here’s a way of improving it’, then I’m more likely to go with them.”In bakery, as in other aisles, regionality is increasingly seen as a way of leavening the mix, particularly as Waitrose pushes the northern frontiers. “We’re very keen to move into the north. We’re looking at having regional bakeries provide us with our product as we move into new areas.”But he’s more cautious about the functional agenda dictating NPD. “We’ve already moved a lot of wholemeal suppliers to wholegrain and we are looking at introducing a lot more healthy products, but we don’t want to turn into a chemist.”There’s no doubt that the public is open to the idea. A lot of it has been driven by the premiumisation of sliced bread, and I will be looking at what development there is in my speciality category. But if you start moving to enrichment, there’s a danger that people feel you are fiddling. If you put in a known entity, such as oats, people know what you are talking about; if you add Omega 3, they are not quite so comfortable with it.” n
The growth in supermarket convenience-store formats is paving the way for more impulse and top-up bake-off and finished goods. However, heavy promotions could devalue the category and, as inevitably happens when new launches occur, long-established key products become commoditised.”The past few years have seen quite a lot of promotional activity in retail bakery, creating a danger of commoditising the sector,” confirms Kate Raison, marketing director at bake-off supplier Bakehouse. “It’s more important than ever that we introduce products at the more premium end of the market, and consumers seem comfortable with that.”This could lead to in-store bakery (ISB) ranges being segmented in the same way that other bakery categories have been tiered, with super-premium lines that generate great visual appeal sitting alongside core lines.Raison says: “To drive category growth, it’s important to attract a younger demographic while maintaining existing consumers. Premiumisation is crucial to maintaining category health in the long term.” She notes that Tesco has already established a premium tier of ISB products, with its cinnamon rolls, cookies, muffins and Belgian buns. Similarly, Waitrose and M&S are selling individual pastries, priced up to 99p.Meanwhile, fewer than a quarter of consumers buy Danish pastries and penetration is in moderate growth, offering an opportunity to attract new consumers to the category. For example, the Danish pastry market is growing by 5.5% year-on-year in value terms, with market growth driven by rising pack prices and more frequent purchases.Bake-off croissants have also enjoyed growth over the past year, outstripping a declining plant-produced offer. According to TNS figures [52 w/e 20 May 2007], the ISB sector is racing ahead at nearly 17% growth, while plant declined by more than 3%. The latter still makes up the vast majority of take-home croissant sales, however, at 84%.Raison says the boost is due to the suitability of the product to the growth in the supermarkets’ convenience store spin-offs and are therefore prominently featured.Mini-indulgences lead the wayElsewhere, in the food-to-go sector, savoury pastry sales dropped across the board, with only sausage rolls seeing a year-on-year rise, alongside a rapidly expanding non-Cornish pasty market.On the other hand, sweet-finished goods such as muffins, cookies and brownies all enjoyed growth, with the latter seeing the biggest percentage rise at 36%, according to market analyst Nielsen [52 w/e 14 July 2007].Within the cake market, moist, American-style bakery products are driving the category. The small cake market is showing huge growth, up 39.8% year-on-year, fuelled by increased snacking and families eating as individuals rather than as a unit.Growth in thaw-and-serve, which figures most prominently in the ISB sector, is outstripping the ambient cake sector. This is valued at £395m and growing at 11% year-on-year (Nielsen, December 2006). Within that sector, many newer and more cosmopolitan products are driving growth, such as brownies and muffins, while multipacks of mini items have boosted the category over the past year.”These mini indulgences also indicate the consumer’s need for everyday treats,” says Maggie Dagostino, marketing director of Dawn Foods. “People would rather have something small and delicious than something large and disappointing. These products command a premium price, so they need to deliver on taste, finish and authenticity. Many ISBs have increased their ranges over the past year and consumers now experience much more of a ’cake shop’ feel in the store, with a huge variety of products on offer.”Overall, it’s obvious that freshness, quality, variety and breadth of range are key. To keep pace, stores may need to bring in thaw-and-sell to tally with 24-hour trading and compensate for a decreasing skills base within the industry.nSweet pastry/Danish take-home marketCategory LevelYoY changePenetration 26.3%+1.6%Volume+ 3.0%Expenditure £31.7m+5.5%Price/pack 73p+2.4%Croissant take-home marketCategory LevelYoY changePenetration 29.6% +0.2%Volume+0.4%Price/pack 89p-0.8%Source: TNS Worldpanel 52 w/e 20 May 2007—-=== Four key trends in the sector ===1 Greater use of super-fruits and organic/healthy ingredients, allied to kitchen cupboard simplicity and freshness2 Greater awareness of ethics and sourcing, although this trend needs to be set in the context of a category where labelling doesn’t feature prominently3 Greater use of opportunities to communicate messages via point of sale4 Changes in the price of wheat, butter and other dairy products – this will remain a major issue for retailers and manufacturers in the coming year
Greggs’ chief executive Ken McMeikan has pledged to crack down on wasted food, as he takes the helm of the UK’s largest bakery retailer.McMeikan told British Baker: “We throw away sandwiches that we make that day, but they are still perfectly edible. I’m a little frustrated at the moment that we have to send a lot of product to landfill that could be used in different ways. We don’t want to.”Former Sainsbury’s retail director McMeikan, who is two months into his new role, said Greggs would work more closely with charities which distribute food fit for human consumption to hostels. “There are people in our country who cannot afford to eat; they are homeless. We should be doing more to ensure that they are eating, at least,” he said.Greggs also hopes to boost the amount of food accepted by farmers for use in animal feed. There has been a dramatic downturn in demand since the introduction of Europe-wide animal by-product laws in 2005. Prior to this, Greggs gave away – or sold for a small fee – around 80% of food past its sell-by date to farmers. That figure now stands at 2%, said Greggs’ group safety, health and environmental manager Steve Peat.The law bans meat products being fed back to animals, but products derived from cereals, such as plain bread, are permitted. “Farmers fear that something could get from the food waste into the food chain and they could be accountable,” said Peat.See features section for an exclusive interview with McMeikan.—-=== Greggs: still Number One ===Greggs is still in pole position as the UK’s largest bakery retailer, according to exclusive research carried out for British Baker (News Insight, page 14).Our independent report shows Greggs, with 1,388 shops, as the retailer with the largest estate, although fast food operator Subway is catching up fast with 1,200 UK shops. Costa Coffee takes third place with 764 shops, while Starbucks comes in fourth, at 679 stores.Greggs’ McMeikan said the company plans to expand gradually, focusing on areas of under-representation, including the south-west and north-west of England. Subway, meanwhile, has pledged to open 2010 shops by 2010.
Coffee shops are missing out on sales because they are failing to emphasise the freshness and quality of their sandwiches, accor-ding to a new IGD report on consu- mer attitudes on food-to-go.While coffee shops generally have a good reputation for their hot drinks, many people prefer to buy their sandwiches from specialist sandwich outlets, which are seen as offering fresher, better-quality products. At the same time, sandwich retailers are losing out on coffee sales to coffee shops for similar reasons.Michael Freedman, IGD senior consumer analyst, told British Baker: “Food-to-go consumers are generally looking to go to the perceived specialists, whether it is fast food outlets for hot food, sandwich outlets for sandwiches or coffee shops for the highest-quality, fresh hot drinks. There is a key opportunity for these outlets to promote the freshness and high quality of other non-core products, such as sand- wiches at coffee shops.”Meal deals are one way that coffee shops could boost their reputation for food, he added. “It is important that consumers believe they can obtain competitively priced food-to-go offers from coffee shops. Coffee shops may need to review their promotional strategy for food and consider providing meal deal promotions that include hot drinks and sandwiches,” he said.The report also found that shoppers who buy food- or drink-to-go are more concerned about quality and freshness (56%) than price (31%), despite the recession.Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive, said: “Food-to-go is a highly competitive market, but some retailers and suppliers continue to enjoy strong growth. Price is important, but definitely not at the expense of quality.”
Hot on the heels of Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ epic conquering of Everest, at the age of 65, comes a far greater test of willpower and endurance – one man’s effort to visit every Starbucks outlet in the world. We have The Telegraph to thank – and, revealingly, an almost identically worded version of the same article in The Times – for taking time off from witch-hunting MPs over dodgy expenses to copy and paste the following story from the newswires.Our hero, a 37-year-old American software engineer who has changed his name to ’Winter’, has arrived in Britain to make inroads into the 400-or-so UK outlets he has yet to visit. He’s already some two-thirds of the way to the 9,000+ world target, which he began in 1997, and which has cost him $100,000. His mother is quoted as saying his mission is a “waste of time”. How unenlightened.To Stop the Week’s immense delight, Winter has been chronicling his trip at starbuckseverywhere.net. Behold, the literary banquet that is the latest diary entry from our pilgrim’s grand tour, posted after sampling the relaxed ambience of a London store:”My mental ease was offset by sheer physical discomfort because of my stuffed, sniffling nose,” we learn of our ailing adventurer. “An explosion of sneezing on Oxford Street prompted me to add a third active ingredient, fake benadryl, to the mix I’d already taken (fake Sudafed, fake Tylenol cold pill).” Is it worth dwelling on what he means by fake? Probably not. “I hoped this shotgun approach would have some effect, because so far I was getting worse, not better.””Oh, boy,” he continues quaintly, “just three stores into the day, in about two to three hours’ time, and I already reached the point where I had to pass water constantly,” he concludes unquaintly. “I’m sure part of the reason was all the water, I was drinking to stave off dehydration from all the mucus I was producing.”You can’t deny it’s a riveting yarn. If further insight were needed into our intrepid traveller, Winter’s listed goals range from “changing the world” to “reaching the highest Scrabble ranking I can” – presumably achieving the former via the latter. At the same time our highly eligible bachelor hopes to be meeting as many women as humanly possible. Ladies, form an orderly queue.
The Organic Trade Board (OTB) has made its first senior appointment as part of its plan to double the value of organic trade over the next five years.Finn Cottle, previously of Sainsbury’s, Somerfield and the Noble Foods Group, joined the board on 1 June. Her role will be as a consultant to the OTB, and will include establishing the current status of organic businesses throughout the UK, and working with them to “knock down those barriers that are hampering growth”.“These challenging times are ripe for organic businesses to take advantage of opportunities to re-define themselves, reach out and build relationships with the public,” said Cottle. “I am looking forward to establishing the base for the OTB in developing the businesses of our members.” The OTB is a not for profit organisation co-ordinated by business leaders from across the UK’s organic industry to develop, promote and support organic trade in the UK.For more information or to become a member, visit www.organictradeboard.co.uk.