Spooner invests in pilot tunnel

first_imgSpooner Industries (Ilkley, West Yorkshire) has completed its investment in a pilot tunnel oven at its head office. The high performance tunnel oven will enable customers to carry out tests and trials.The oven incorporates three independent, direct gas-fired heating sections and is suitable for baking a variety of products at temperatures up to 350ºC, says the company. The potential applications include bread, biscuits, cereal, cakes, confectionery, pizzas and pies. Damper control of the airflow to the top and bottom chambers allows different bake profiles and surface effects to be produced. “Our customers are under pressure to develop new processes and products quickly. This equipment will enable them to bake and test products in a way that can be replicated exactly on production machinery,” says sales and marketing director Steve Newell.last_img read more

Smoothies soar as fizzy drinks go flat

first_imgThe following tale of corporate wrestling between two Goliaths of the soft drinks industry may seem far removed from the average baker on the high street, but stay with it.PepsiCo, a third of the value of megabrand Coca-Cola five years ago, overtook its bitter rivals for the first time last December. Spotting a trend, the former diversified into healthier products, fruit juices and energy drinks. The latter was slow to react to changing consumer lifestyles, dithered and fell behind.But why should the baker care about this hare-and-tortoise tale of tussling multinationals? The moral of the story is that consumers want healthier drinks options from their retailers – not just sugary carbonated drinks. And this trend is not restricted to the upmarket sandwich chains and food-to-go outlets, such as Pret A Manger. Bakery chain Greggs, for example, has seen success in its south east stores selling Fairtrade pure orange juices and fruit smoothies.There are signs that classic drinks like cola are being outperformed in some outlets by juice drinks. Marks & Spencer’s Pure Juice, for example, is a big seller with the lunchtime sandwich trade, says Georgina Pickford, consumer insight director at TNS Worldpanel. Latest figures show expenditure on juices up 10% year on year, with cola up 5% and fruit carbonates down 4% (TNS Worldpanel, 52 w/e Jan 1, 2006).“There are some interesting trends in the soft drinks market with a move away from carbonated drinks, and juices are really growing,” she comments. “We are seeing a move from juice drinks to pure juice drinks, and people are certainly wanting more wholesome products.”This is a trend that PepsiCo cottoned onto quickly in acquiring number one orange juice brand Tropicana in 1998, nearly seven years ahead of Coca-Cola’s introduction of Minute Maid orange juice in the UK in June 2005.Smoothie operatorAnd in February last year PepsiCo bought UK smoothies brand PJ Smoothies, credited as the first company to introduce smoothies to this country in 1994. Smoothies are the fastest growing part of the soft drinks category and the PJ brand accounts for about one-third of the UK smoothies market. One set of figures shows value sales of chilled juices up strongly, by about 17%, but smoothies were up a hefty 98% (IRI 52 w/e 3 Dec, 2005).Last year Unilever launched its Vie smoothies brand with a flurry of marketing. But leading the charge in the smoothies category is Innocent, with nearly half the market. Since launching in 1998 the London-based company has rapidly become the number two chilled fruit drink behind Tropicana in the UK. Its drinks are sold in the likes of sandwich chain O’Brien’s, Starbucks, Bagel Factory and Eat, as well as independent bakeries through its regional and national wholesale suppliers.But why should a healthy drinks option appeal to a typical bakery customer coming in for a pasty? “Consumers are definitely wanting to go to these outlets and find a healthier choice,” argues Innocent sales director Giles Brooke. Many people will ‘trade-off’ a sandwich or a pie against a product that offers them health benefits, he observes.He views bakeries as a huge untapped outlet for healthier drinks. “We don’t think there’s a better time than now to be getting into bakeries and we want to help them improve their offering so that they are bringing in more healthy products, as well as giving them the opportunity to benefit from one of the fastest growing categories,” he states.“In terms of craft bakeries we’re not in as many as we’d like. We are actually in a significant number of outlets that sell sandwich and pastry offerings, but we will be looking to get into even more.”Changing consumer lifestyles have put sugary drinks and carbonated drinks, in particular, into long-term decline. Meanwhile, smoothies is the fastest growing category and Innocent was the number one chilled juice value growth brand over the last 52 weeks, accounting for 89% [IRI] of the growth on branded smoothies.In the first three weeks of this year, the brand underwent some 30-50% increases above projected sales in foodservice outlets. This was on the back of Innocent’s £1m January marketing campaign, featuring slogans like ‘Tasty as pie, healthy as mung beans’. The core range of 13 250ml drinks has a recommended retail price of £1.79; but lunchtime sandwich and drink promotions, best illustrated by Boots’ lunchtime meal deals, are a great way to increase volume sales of drinks, says Mr Brooke. He adds that Innocent’s position as market leader gives it strength to offer retailers good margins on its products. “I think the biggest opportunity with smoothies is the cash margin and we outsell our nearest competitor within smoothies by at least two-to-one,” he claims. “With such a strong unit rate of sale we can really improve cash margin for retailers.”Greggs gets on boardGreggs has embraced the smoothies concept in the south east – the region with the strongest smoothies sales – and has sold The Big J smoothies in around 230 stores for nearly two years. The drink also sells in Cooks (formerly Three Cooks) bakeries nationally, coffee shops and independents. The Big J MD Josephine Carpenter says price point has been a sticking point for bakeries in the past. But perceptions are changing, and its 250ml smoothie pack, which sells for £1 in Greggs, is particularly suited to bakeries. “Over the years, as the smoothie market has grown, more and more bakers have come online,” comments Ms Carpenter. “Because smoothies are generally a more expensive soft drink, we wouldn’t have dreamt that they would have sold in a bakery in terms of the price point a few years ago. But now people are prepared to pay more for a smoothie because they know it’s good for them.” And, echoing Mr Brooke’s remarks, she says: “Bakers have told us that people will buy a sausage roll and a smoothie – there is a trade-off.”But why should a baker choose The Big J over a more recognisable brand name like Innocent? “One of the main reasons people choose our brand – even though it’s a similar product – is the fact that we package it in a Tetra-Pak, which means it has a longer shelf-life,” she says. “It’s easy to keep and can be stored outside the refrigerator. When bakeries are trialling new products that can prove essential.” The company also sells 330ml bottles, juices and a Roald Dahl juice range with no additives or preservatives for children.According to market research company Euromonitor (June 2005), natural ingredients and low sugar content in pure juices, compared to carbonates, appeals to health-conscious consumers. “Not-from-concentrate juice also owes its growing popularity to the combined benefits of high-juice content and convenience, which fits well with the current consumer trend favouring convenience beverages,” it said.Colin Davis, commercial manager at Gerber Foods Soft Drinks, which manufactures, distributes and markets top-five juice drink Ocean Spray in the UK, as well as making own-label juice drinks, agrees that the juice content of a drink can play a part in the purchase choice.“Ribena has 6% juice whereas Ocean Spray Cranberry Classic has 25% juice. It is predominantly for health reasons that consumers buy Ocean Spray.” The drink comes in a 500ml re-sealable cap bottle in three flavours – Cranberry Classic, Cranberry and Raspberry, and Cranberry and Blackcurrant. They are also available in 250ml can and 200ml carton formats.Mr Davis says bakers should reassess their drinks range: “Although bakers will tend to stock waters they haven’t really embraced the juice market. They might have one or two juices, but they may be missing a trick by not offering a wider choice.”According to Britvic’s category director Andrew Marsden, the key to driving sales is to stock the right range of big-name brands in the right formats, such as 500ml bottles. So the answer to maximising the drinks offering might well rest with getting a balance between big name brands and niche, healthier options. “We recommend retailers stock for all ages; include still and carbonated drinks and, most importantly, identify and stock for drinking occasions that suit their customers,” concludes Mr Marsden. Have sugary carbonated drinks had their day?There is a sea change in the soft drinks market underway. The Union of European Beverages Associations, which represents the major soft drinks manufacturers, last month announced plans to curb its marketing to children.The soft drinks industry will place a self-imposed ban on the marketing of soft drinks to under-12s, with a pledge to avoid directly appealing to children. It will also place limits on presence, branding and portion sizes in schools.Chaired by PepsiCo’s Europe’s Stephen Kehoe, the association’s move signals the big players’ response to pressures from the European Union, state governments and consumer groups to curb obesity.Long-term consumer lifestyle trends are also seeing shoppers moving away from sugary carbonated drinks towards perceived healthier options: juices, smoothies and waters. If this latest move to discourage children’s ‘pester power’ for sugary drinks proves successful, the trend is likely to continue.SOFT DRINKS BY NUMBERSExpenditure on juices was up around 10% year on year, with fruit carbonates down 4%(TNS Worldpanel, 52 w/e Jan 1, 2006)Value sales of chilled juices were up by about 17%; smoothies were the fastest growing category, up 98% (IRI, 52 w/e Dec 3, 2005)CRAFT BAKERY’S VIEWMike Holling is retail and sales manager at craft bakery Birds of DerbyQ. What is in your core range of drinks? A. We offer a standard range of the most popular carbonated drinks, including Coke and Diet Coke, Fanta Lemon and Orange, low-sugar Ribena, still, sparkling and flavoured waters, and a pure orange juice. Ideally, I would like to have an own-label product, but because of the production required we can’t.Q. Do you sell hot as well as cold drinks? A. We sell more cold than hot drinks because not every store is set up to offer hot drinks, and seasonal changes will make a noticeable difference. We see a dramatic increase in the demand for cold drinks when the weather is hot, and sales can go up by 20% in a hot week.Q. Do you change your drinks range much? A. We will always look at new products. We have bean-to-cup coffee machines in selected stores, and you need a decent amount of skill to make a really good coffee. The shops sell flavoured waters from a local supplier in the Peak District. We think it is important to keep supply as regional as we can. Strangely, sales of still water far outstrip sparkling water.Q. Do many purchases include a drink? A. It really depends on the location. If it were one of our Expresso outlets (a food-to-go fixture designed for shopping centres), you would see a much higher percentage than in a standard Birds craft bakery shop.Q. How important is merchandising for boosting turnover of drinks? A. We have self-service refrigerated display units and we incorporate our sandwiches in them as well. By doing that the customer will link the product. If you’re buying a sandwich and there’s a pure orange juice next to it, you’re going to make that link and buy the drink.last_img read more

Sporty style for sandwiches

first_imgPreferred Packaging Europe (Daventry, Northamptonshire) is kicking off the forthcoming World Cup tournament early with sporty football sealing films for its sandwich wedge range. These are intended to be eye-catching and provide on-shelf impact, while increasing sandwich sales this summer.Managing director Mike Rawlins says: “We are deligh-ted to be able to offer custo-mers and potential customers a portfolio of quality products to suit everyone’s needs.”last_img

Let McDougalls take the strain

first_imgThe sale of American-style donuts has taken the UK by storm with more and more specialist shops being opened throughout the country.Bakers and consumers are becoming more adventurous; it is no longer enough to serve ring or jam-filled doughnuts, says McDougalls.Nowadays, the choice is extensive – glazed, sprinkle-covered, cream, lemon and blueberry to, even, chocolate cake doughnuts.Coral Rose, head of marketing at RHM Foodservice, says: “Making a selection of baked goods from scratch is no mean feat so why not let McDougalls’ high-quality bakery mixes take some of the strain? McDougalls Doughnut & Bun Mix combines convenience and a much-desired freshly-baked taste to give consistent results with minimum effort. The yeast-based mix can produce doughnuts in minutes. It’s easy to use with authentic and consistent results every time.”It is available in 4 x 3.5kg-bag cases with a 92 x 57g-pack yield.last_img read more

Commodities tracker

first_imgInformation from 64,000 wheat samples and 22,000 barley samples has been received and analysed by HGCA for its final Cereals Quality Survey.It shows the UK has harvested another good quality wheat crop. Compared to recent years, average Hagberg and protein content is higher with specific weight slightly down and moisture content very similar.”After what was seen as a good quality wheat crop in 2005/06, these results suggest that quality levels will be quite similar this year. Given a slightly lower crop size, there could be slightly less wheat available to millers. However, the HGCA Cereal Quality Survey suggests that quality is likely to be fairly uniform across Great Britain, making it less likely that large amounts of grain will need to be transported large distances to meet millers needs,” said Michael Archer, HGCA Economist.”Great Britain seems to have harvested another good quality wheat crop, with average Hagbergs the highest since 2003. Regional variation seems to be limited, with Hagbergs in all regions being at least 279 seconds on average,” he added.The final barley results suggest quality is mixed compared to last season but superior to most of the three-season averages. Average GB specific weight for barley is 67.7 kg/hl. This is 0.6 kg/hl above 05/06 and 0.7 kg/hl above the three-year average. The average nitrogen content of barley is 1.74%, down slightly from last season’s 1.76% and the same as the three-yearlast_img read more

Bread in the dock

first_imgFind out why Bread Matters author Andrew Whitley is campaigning to “bring back real bread”, in British Baker, 13 Aprillast_img

Legislation watch

first_imgThe Pensions Bill 2007, which reached its second reading in Parliament last week, could hit the baking industry hard if it becomes law. That’s the view of pensions consultancy Aon, which said the Bill will cost UK companies an extra £4bn, if it is passed.Chris Dale, head of Aon’s food and drink practice, said: “The Pensions Bill could hit the tight margins of the food and drink sector, which will have to provide pensions to a high number of part-time staff. This could see deficits soar at a time when food prices are inflating at their fastest level for 14 years, driven by increasing fuel and raw material costs. Manufacturers will be forced to pass on increased costs to consumers via retailers. This will further exacerbate the spiralling food and drink price inflation.”The Pensions Bill 2007 proposes an automatic enrolment in a workplace scheme or personal accounts for all workers, aged between 22 and state pension age earning more £5,035 a year (at 2006/07 rates). Workers would contribute a minimum 4% of their salaries, employers a minimum of 3% with around 1% in tax relief from the government.”Reacting to the perception that the voluntary pension system is irreparably damaged, the government is now resorting to the enforcement of compulsory employer contributions,” said Dale.last_img read more

Seasonal seller

first_imgSweet mild peppers, sometimes referred to as bell peppers or capsicums, are related to chillies.They are available in a variety of colours, which denotes how ripe the pepper is. Starting with green, it ripens through yellow and orange to red. The red pepper is the sweetest tasting. There are also black or deep purple peppers, which turn green when they are cooked.Peppers are available all year round, but are better when in season. Choose peppers that are shiny and firm. They can be used in a variety of different ways in baking.In recipes where the skin needs to be removed first, grill them until blackened and charred, put them in a bowl covered with a plate and leave them to cool before peeling away the skin. They can then be mixed into breads, cornbreads and savoury muffins, put on pizzas and pastries as well as incorporated into vegetarian flans.They mix very well with tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines, olives, Feta cheese, mozzarella and a variety of herbs such as basil, oregano and thyme. Grilled, skinned mixed peppers can be incorporated with cherry tomatoes and ricotta or Feta cheese and herbs onto a cooked pizza or bread base. Cook for a few minutes before drizzling with olive oil. In season: March-Octoberlast_img read more

In Short

first_imgOnline food outlet Self-confessed foodie Paul Boyce has set up an online business that showcases small family businesses developing UK produce and enables them to offer the ability to sell online via the site. Sussex-based Prosperity Brownies will act as its UK mail order arm.Marshfield monitoredWiltshire-based Marshfield Bakery has succeeded in achieving a Grade A BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. The family firm has expanded considerably since a move to a new site in November 2006.French focusPatisserie Valerie is inviting customers to celebrate France’s Bastille Day at its new Knightsbridge outlet. The new store on Brompton Road, London, which opens on 14 July, will be the firm’s 27th in the capital.Handmade accoladeCommunity-supported business The Handmade Bakery has achieved a national co-operative accolade in recognition of “its innovation and excellent work”. The not-for-profit bakery, in Slaithwaite, Yorkshire, started trading in March last year. It sells products in its own shop, as well as distributing via its subscription service, The Bread Club.Food in good healthThe UK’s food and drink industry has emerged strongly out of the recession, according to a new report commissioned by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). The report, Value of Food & Drink Manufacturing to the UK, by the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge, revealed that, from May 2008-09, the production index for food and drink fell by only 1.9% compared to 13.1% for overall manufacturing.last_img read more

LCI innovates

first_imgLimagrain Céréales Ingrédients (LCI) has launched a new clean-label preservative for bakery products called Bakesafe.”In our trials we had very positive results with Bakesafe compared to calcium propionate,” explained Anne Lionnet, marketing manager for bakery at LCI. “Trials on the kinetics of mould growth showed there was no significant difference from using Bakesafe in the recipe in fact, Bakesafe gave a better result than the control.”The dosage for Bakesafe is 0.1-2.5% of the weight, or in substitution, depending on the initial quantity of calcium propionate. According to LCI, there is no significant difference on the rheology of the dough and no modification of the proof time. However, depending on the recipe, there can be a slight increase in the elasticity, but which LCI said is easily correctable.last_img read more