Bakery equipment supplier APV Baker has been acquired by private investors John Cowx and Brian Taylor, from owners Invensys. The process technology company will now trade as Baker Perkins, a name it was known by between 1920 and 1987.John Cowx becomes managing director and Brian Taylor chairman of the company, which has sites in Peterborough, UK, and Michigan, USA. John Cowx said: “We are committed to the long-term development of the business. We believe that the freedom of a stand-alone enterprise will allow us to release the skills and potential within the company through a more flexible, focused and entrepreneurial culture.”Strategic development direc-tor Rex Gibson told British Baker that it will be business as usual for the company and its 400 employees following the takeover this month. He added: “The new name is a return to a name that was familiar to our customers in the last century.”
The latest exhibitors confirmed for next year’s Baking Industry Exhibition include ingredients company Orchard Valley Foods, bakery products supplier Dawn Foods and catering equipment firm Reynards.They will be exhibiting alongside names including Rank Hovis, Fermex and Scobie McIntosh at the show from 6 to 9 April at Birmingham’s NEC.The show will feature craft masterclasses and competitions, a live demonstration bakery and a bake-off area.
Staff at Sheffield bakery Fletchers have been holding talks with union representatives and legal advisers over proposed changes to their contracts, which they fear could cost them thousands of pounds in pay cuts.Management at the plant in Claywheels Lane, Wadsley Bridge, revealed their plans on a company noticeboard (see British Baker, 14 September, pg 6).The changes relate to cuts in holidays, overtime payments, Bank Holiday payments, shift premiums and rates for taking on roles with more responsibility.Fletchers, which was part of Northern Foods until the company sold its speciality bakery products business to Vision Capital in November 2006, wants a five-day working week, not 24/7 shifts.A 90-day consultation period with 550 staff at the bakery ends on 4 December.
“We’ll do our damndest to be the lowest priced [grocer]. We will be as aggressive as possible with prices. I’m not going to squeeze suppliers, but I am going to be very assertive.”- Andy Bond, the chief executive of Asda, quoted in The Guardian offering some soothing words to suppliers
Northern Ireland’s Irwin’s Bakery has been appointed one of the lead ’ambassadors for Ireland’ by Tourism Ireland, partnering with the tourist board in a series of initiatives in Britain, including large-scale sampling events in London and Glasgow over St Patrick’s Day on 17 March.This tie-up with the Irish tourist authority is a result of Irwin’s success with the Rankin Selection traditional Irish breads range, made in conjunction with Irish chef Paul Rankin. In 2007, Irwin’s sold some 15 million loaves in Britain and Rankin Selection achieved £11.5 million in export sales.Tourism Ireland spotted the potential to reach a massive external audience. There will be a high visibility on-pack marketing campaign on Rankin Selection products, encouraging consumers to visit Ireland for its gourmet heritage.”We are extremely proud to be considered as an ambassador for all that is great about Ireland,” said Michael Murphy, commercial controller of Irwin’s Bakery.David Boyce, of Tourism Ireland, added: “Irwin’s success in selling an inherently Irish product to GB consumers helps prime consumers to take the next step and visit Ireland ? not just for its beauty but also for its cuisine.”
Instant coffee from traditional vending machines or via the kettle is increasingly becoming a thing of the past, as consumption of higher-quality coffee in the workplace booms, fuelling value growth of the market, according to new research.In its report, UK Coffee at Work, Allegra Strategies said that spending by UK workers on their coffee habits had rocketed since 2000 and is predicted to have nearly doubled to reach £1.18 billion by the end of 2008.It said there had been a growing “retailisation” of workplace coffee, with the flight to higher quality being inspired by the spread of high street coffee shops, such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee, and a corresponding reduction in catering facilities provided by employers.”However, while the value of this coffee consumption has grown strongly, volumes have increased modestly – rising to an estimated 6.06 billion cups of coffee – eqivalent to 26.3m cups a working day and to one cup for every full-time worker in 2008,” the report stated.A slight moderation in average daily coffee intake per employee, coupled with healthier drinking trends and the rising participation of women in the workforce were cited as reasons for the constrained volume growth.Allegra estimated that roast and ground coffee currently accounted for a quarter of all workplace coffee. And it predicted that the market will have grown in value by 31% to £1.55bn by 2013.
== Mich Turner, founder of Little Venice Cake Company, Marylebone, London ==is author and celebration cake maker to the stars. Turner employs a team of patissiers, chocolatiers and sugar-crafters, making bespoke cakes and her own branded line of productsAs a Supreme Judge in this year’s Great Taste Awards I have just returned from a morning session blind-tasting over 40 gold medal-winning foods. For me these have included smoked salmon, very berry jams, chocolate lime biscuits, Aberdeen Angus steak pie, Cajun mustards, lemongrass-flavoured oils, cheese biscuits and Clementine chocolates.The Great Taste Awards are now seen as The Oscars of the speciality food industry, celebrating their 15th anniversary this year with some 4,500 entries from independent food producers. From small acorns these awards have grown, the first year being held in the dining room of Bob Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, with fewer than 200 foods. Six years later, entries topped 1,000 and around 50 judges assembled to choose the Supreme Champion – Rannoch Smokery’s smoked venison.The awards are now capped with 4,500 entries, judging takes place over several weeks and the winning entries are bestowed with one- two- or three-star golds. This was my role today, together with over 60 other judges in the food world, including journalists, home economists, the Women’s Institute, food buyers and chefs. All are foodies and all are keen to sample the wares and none too shy to proffer spoonfuls of a particularly outstanding Manchego cheese or blackcurrant sorbet they felt deserving of three gold stars.I was impressed with the sheer scale of the event; over 4,000 foods have successfully made it to this round, divided into various food categories, including bread flours for which there were 12 contenders. Faced with the challenge of tasting 12 such flours, one of the Supreme Judges dutifully took the flours home and made a loaf of bread with each, following an identical recipe. This allowed the group to taste the breads and award their gold stars accordingly.From soda breads to chocolates with alcohol, rich fruit cakes to frozen yoghurts, meat pies to biscuits, there are currently in the region of 300 classes of food.Sharing the judging on my table were three other foodies awarding three gold stars to just one of our products, a flaky smoked salmon, which was quite exceptional – not too pink with a lovely skin, authentic flavour and firm, but not chewy texture.Well, I have given my opinions and put forward my Supreme Champion. Many of the judges were staying for an afternoon session – I had a book to get off to repro and some Christmas cake samples to prepare. This year’s regional and national winners and the Supreme Champion will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on Monday, 8 September.
him! has just spoken to 1,400 custo-mers while they are buying food and drink items from outlets of Burger King, Pret A Manger, Greggs and Subway. Only 6% of customers are currently buying an item that they didn’t intend to buy on arrival.So what can actually you do to encourage customers to spend more in your outlets?They asked:What would appeal to customers if offered by the store?Information about calorie or fat content of food 32%Nutritional information about food 26%More seating 24%Wi-Fi/internet available 22%Television in-store 15%Meal deal 9%Which of the following would you consider buying if offered in this store?Smoothies 15%Newspapers 13%Chocolate bars 10%Cereal bars 6%Ready meal to heat up later 5%Kids sweets 3%Branded sandwiches (eg Ginsters) 2%Time to check out the competition?If you want to get more customers into your outlet, then you may want to check out the competition and understand why they have been so successful.When him! asked food-to-go customers where they received excellent customer service they said:Pret A Manger 21%Greggs 19%Subway 17%McDonald’s 9%My local independent sandwich shop/café/coffee shop 8%Would you and your staff benefit from a trip down to the local competition? Look at things through your customers’ eyes. Why are these retailers rated so highly by customers?Well a big factor is that these retailers are particularly good at being super-efficient and serving customers very quickly, while maintaining a friendly but professional manner towards them.For more information on him!’s Food-to-go tracking programme please contact [email protected] 07912 717 567 or visit www.him.uk.com
Through reasons only known to themselves, aspirational coffee chain Costa recently chose durable tabloid magnet Peter Andre to front its publicity drive around the launch of its ’flat white’ coffee, featured in these very pages (see Masterclass, pages 34-35).However, professional celebrity tittle-tattlers, The Mirror’s 3am Girls, were less than impressed when they received the invitation from Andre’s management, Can Associates, to witness his flat white-making masterclass in a Costa store, as it featured a number of very specific stipulations:l “The interview will be about Costa Coffee and the event only.”l “3am online agrees to give Can Associates Limited full copy and headline approval of the interview.”l “3am online understands that no images of Katie Price can run with this feature, relating to this feature at all.”l “3am online, under all circumstances, must accompany the photographs of Peter Andre with positive text/captions/headings.”While most journo’s hackles would be raised by such demands, the 3am Girls devised a suitably withering response: “The reason this bothers us so much is because it’s Peter bloody Andre. Should it really be a special privilege to get a cup of coffee and five minutes of his time? He’d do well to remember that if it wasn’t for his marriage, he’d probably still be getting paid by Costa… it’s just that a barista’s salary has a few less zeros on it.” Ouch!
Wheat exports According to HMRC, the UK exported 169,429t of wheat in December 2009, which takes exports for the first half of the marketing season (July-December) to 953,594t. This equates to 44% of Defra’s current estimate for this season’s total exportable surplus of 2.161mt. The UK imported 107,041t of wheat in December 2009, taking the total so far this season to 734,191t.McVitie’s sat fat driveMcVitie’s is kicking off a £1.3m TV advertising campaign this month, to drive awareness of the further 50% reduction in saturated fat, introduced in December 2009, across its Digestives, HobNobs and Rich Tea standard biscuits. It will run for six weeks across a mixture of terrestrial and Sky channels.Starbucks in SwedenStarbucks Coffee and travel operator SSP have opened Sweden’s first Starbucks at Stockholm-Årlanda Airport, Terminal 5. The two firms, which entered a strategic partnership in June 2008, have opened stores in the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland.Ginsters’ TV pushSavoury pastry brand Ginsters has launched a new national TV campaign for 2010, as part of its £3.5m media spend this year. The adverts, to be aired from early February, aim to promote Ginster’s ’Real Honest Food’ tagline.Lotus blossomsBelgium’s Lotus Bakeries saw a 24.8% increase in net profit for 2009, to E25,160m (£21,906m) from E20,165m in 2008. Turnover was also up by 1.7% to E261,071m (£227,394m). The firm said sales of its caramelised biscuits in the UK “got off to a difficult start” in the first half of 2009, due to the recession, but improved in the second half.