With gas and electricity prices soaring by 40% in 2005 and potentially more increases on the way, the need to be energy-efficient has never been greater. By investing in the right equipment and making simple adjustments to the way it is used and maintained, businesses could see big savings on their energy bills. This is of particular importance for refrigeration equipment as it uses energy all day, every day. Buying an energy-efficient fridge and/or freezer could cut carbon dioxide emissions produced by up to 228kg a year and save up to 70% in energy usage – meaning it is not only environmentally responsible but will also save money. Key features and new technology to look out for when choosing refrigeration units include:Hydrocarbons – these offer zero ozone depletion potential and very low global warming potential, unlike other standard refrigerantsECA approval – equipment that is registered to the government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme meets stringent standards on energy efficiency. Anyone purchasing equipment from the list will be entitled to a 100% tax relief on their investment in the first yearSmart temperature control – refrigerators with this device fitted will automatically adapt to cope with how they are being used (for example, frequent door openings) and use only as much energy as they needAutomatic fan cut-out – fans stop working when the door is open to avoid wasting energySelf-closing doors – to ensure that doors are not left ajar and energy is not wastedIt is also important to have existing equipment regularly serviced, as a poorly maintained and serviced refrigerator can use the energy of two to five refrigerators. A blocked condenser can increase power consumption by 23% and a faulty door seal by 11%. Service engineers can recommend how often equipment should be serviced as this depends on usage.HACCPAt the same time, the industry is experiencing the biggest changes in food safety laws for 15 years, due to new Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) legislation, which came into effect on January 1, 2006. HACCP is an internationally recognised system of food safety management. The new legislation requires that all food businesses, regardless of size, put in place, implement and maintain food safety management procedures based on HACCP principles.The 2006 HACCP is more flexible than previous legislation in place and this has met with a positive reception in the industry. Already, notable food safety improvements in knowledge, attitude and behaviour have resulted. Foster Refrigeration has guides on energy efficiency and HACCP. To receive a copy call 0500 691122 or visit www.fosterrefrigerator.co.uk
Three senior personnel have joined the Liverpool headquarters of ingredients supplier Renshaw, now part of the Real Good Food company. Managing director STEPHEN HESLOP joins the firm from Grampian Country Food Group, where he was regional managing director (Scotland). This followed four years in managing director roles at Golden West Foods (RHM). SARAH SUMMERS comes to the company as commercial director, She has eight years’ experience at board level with Glanbia, Uniq and Food Partners. New operations director DAVID WRIGHT joins the team after eight years at Tetley GB, where he was UK operations director. He also has expertise in engineering, production and dispatch management gained at Park Cakes and Campbell Frozen Foods.Continental patisserie and speciality breads supplier Bakehouse has recently appointed food consultant NELLIE NICHOLS to facilitate a project investigating a new way of thinking about product development. Nichols, who has worked with some well-known food brands in the industry, gets companies to think radically about the way in which they approach NPD, encouraging them to include people from outside the standard product development circle to contribute ideas. Part of her project with Bakehouse is based on the theory that everyone has a ‘food memory’ and is therefore able to contribute valid ideas. Key to successful new launches, says the company, will be translating those ideas into products that are commercially viable.Cranberry co-operative Ocean Spray has appointed ROB BEAMS to the position of vice-president, agricultural supply development. Mr Beams currently heads the company’s ingredient technology group.Fudge and toffee ingredients manufacturer Food Design has appointed MIKE SMITH, formerly of Meadow Foods, as technical sales executive for the firm. At Meadow Foods, he worked closely on new product development and helped to establish and grow a specialist ingredients division, supplying inclusions and toppings for bakery, ice-cream and chocolate products.Consolidation of fresh fruit and fruit ingredient supplier JO Sims’ UK operation has resulted in two appointments. KEVIN MATCHETT joins the firm as commercial director with responsibility for fresh fruit and ingredients. He joins the company from Kerry Ingredients. RON MCMILLAN, previously European sales manager at Ocean Spray ITG, is appointed business development manager, drinks, and will liaise with UK manufacturers to develop this sector for the company.Bako Northern has welcomed its newest recruit to sales and marketing – MARTIN HOULISTON. He joins the company straight from college, where he recently completed an advanced qualification in business studies. Houliston’s father, Keith Houliston, is sales director of British Bakels and he is keen to develop a career in the baking industry. He initially joins Bako as business development executive.PAUL HARRISON has been made sales director at the UK arm of Turkish raisins and sultanas company Unsoy. He joins from Barrow Lane and Ballard, where he was senior trader in dried fruits.He has also held senior sales positions with Voicevale and HJ Heinz. He brings over 15 years of experience in the dried fruit markets.
Cooks has invested in a new system for capturing sales and trading information across its 120 bakery shops. The company previously used manual systems for recording sales data, which were often slow and incomplete. A broadened product range, introduced across all Cooks stores, increased the pressure on store managers to maintain their stock more effectively.The new web-based system, supplied by Alphameric Hospitality, feeds information back to head office instantly and is tailored to the needs of bakery retail. Previous customers of Alphameric include companies such as Costa Coffee and West Cornwall Pasty Co.Richard Prime, finance director at Cooks, comments: “When I joined Cooks, I recognised an immediate need to introduce an integrated solution to address the business issues caused by using outdated manual systems. At that time, we had no measurement of products purchased and no recording of stock, sales made or wastage. We were receiving handwritten and often illegible documents from our outlets and, as a management team, we were unable to make the rapid business decisions needed in this competitive market.”Initially, the company installed InnTouch, Alphameric’s touchscreen point-of-sale tilling and, later, this was integrated with various Caterwide software packages. At the same time, it replaced its outdated central finance system with Caterwide Dimension, a solution tailored to deal with the requirements of the hospitality market. The system can be accessed via Cooks’ tills and the information is immediately available at head office.direct ordersAll Cooks’ outlets place their ingredient orders directly with suppliers. Once the deliveries arrive at the individual stores, the contents of each delivery note are booked into Caterwide by the store manager while the invoice later arrives into the system at head office. Caterwide then links each ingredient to a predefined recipe and reports on the sale as finished product, wastage or transfer.Before Cooks implemented Alphameric’s solution, it employed 18 people to reconcile weekly store banking, process payroll and in its accounts department. With Alphameric’s system in place, Cooks has now reduced that number by over 50%.”The numbers speak for themselves,” says Prime. “Our trading information is more accurate, which means our customer service is improving and our wastage decreasing. Ultimately, we were looking for a solution that would enable us to view detailed sales information, but also enable comprehensive analysis, so we could become more proactive on driving product promotions in-store or removing products that were under-performing.” n
D ear employers, are you looking for workers who are skilled, physically fit, intelligent, selfless, ambitious and prepared to wait for advancement? Should they be adaptable, loyal, prepared to work long hours for low pay, educate themselves, train themselves and have little or no social life? If so, you need a baker – and you will have to go back 50 years in time to find him or her.The answer to this problem is that employers seem to know best. And that is the problem – there are too many experts who mostly know what they need, not what the employee/student/trainee needs.A few weeks ago, I was approached by a head-hunter, who told me that there are lots of jobs out there to fill. “We need new product development specialists, troubleshooters and technicians; employers are screaming out for them – how many can you supply?” he asked. “None,” I said, “they are spoken for.””What must we do?” he asked. I replied: “You must be prepared to talk to schools; improve bakers’ ’image’ out there and tell them about these jobs; work with colleges to improve the incoming stock of young people; and be prepared to wait a while for them to arrive.”So why am I not surprised not to hear from him again? There are those of you who just want to pick the plums, whereas men of vision plant trees – and seldom see the fruit.Why do most of the students/trainees come into the baking industry? The schools careers teachers send them because they think they cannot do anything else. Improved image is the key; most young people with a passion for food think “chef”, because chefs on TV dominate the channels and talk with enthusiasm about their food. What do bakers do? Well, we put some old person with a savoy piping bag on TV once every 10 years.Wake up, employers, your image is of an industry that works long hours, offers low pay and poor training – and now, HSE thinks we are at high risk from dust-related illness. This is what the intelligent kids are told about us. Young people need an industry with a vision of the future, which is prepared to invest in their education and training, wherever it is taking place.They need: school liaison via DVDs, giving a balanced view of the industry’s opportunities and promoting a new image; support with studies, time off and guaranteed attendance at an education unit to gain a qualification; sponsorship via scholarships; a career path; and a qualification that is respected by the industry and reflects both its needs and the needs of the student.The ragged remnants of colleges and those members of the baking industry with vision are banding together to create a plan for the future of bakery education and training. It hopes to put forward the needs of the wider industry and must have represented views from all sectors.You will soon be able to contact the Alliance for Bakery Students and Training and offer to help with a joined-up long-term strategy to make our industry a place where young people will want to work. n
Bakery ingredients supplier Holgran is to work with an Italian-based ingredients specialist.Millbo is a suppliers of speciality ingredients including enzymes, sourdough, fermented flours and improvers. Customers include flour millers, bread improver and premix manufacturers, large plant bakeries and artisan craft bakers. Products are currently sold in over 30 countries throughout the world.By combining resources customers will have access to a much wider range of products and will be able to buy from either the UK or Italy.
I f the major multiples are to be believed, their attitudes to local sourcing have shifted dramatically over recent years. Gone is the emphasis on size and scale. Gone are the uncomfortable trade-offs between volume and margin. Or so we are told.Certainly, supply of branded products which are distinctive and locally-produced, sometimes to only a handful of stores, is increasingly being encouraged. As Sam Nundy, senior buyer at Tesco’s East of England regional office, puts it: “We’ve looked at the Tesco business model and done the complete opposite. Some of our suppliers’ products go to as few as five stores.”So why turn all these hard-won economies of scale on their head? Most retailers will claim this is what consumers want. “You can ask 10 different people why they buy local products, and you’ll get 10 different answers,” Nundy suggests. Among these reasons, support for the local economy is likely to figure prominently. Road miles and carbon footprint will score highly among the environmentally-aware. There may also be an assumption that the food is fresher or uses fewer preservatives. Overall, concerns over food safety, quality and provenance will probably be on most consumers’ shopping lists.With retailers more often being accused of stifling the local economy, visibly doing the opposite plays well with consumers. They can tap into loyalties and enthusiasms not only among shoppers, but also among this new seam of suppliers, many of them run by families and owners with a hands-on passion for their products.Stuart Easton, director of Riverbank Bakery in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, has been supplying local Tesco stores since January this year. He is pleased that the range supplied now stands at nine different cakes. As he points out, the fact that the regional buyers are from the area and are approachable makes a great difference. According to Nundy, the bakery is currently supplying some 30 stores in and around Norfolk.But not all suppliers are so star-struck by Tesco’s attentions. Some suggest that the retailer’s ’softly, softly’ approach at the outset gradually gives way to a more aggressive attitude to margins, as it pursues its targets. There is a contrast here with Asda, for instance, which is more willing to compromise on margins in order to stock more local products, a handful of suppliers report.Predictably, the various retailers also have different requirements when it comes to ordering and delivery. Riverbank, for instance, supplies through Tesco’s own distribution network. Waitrose, which has forged a strong link between local sourcing and quality in its consumer advertising, emphasises a more direct relationship between suppliers and local branches.However, there is a degree of centralisation in every retailer’s local-sourcing strategy. One supplier in a position to draw comparisons is Sussex-based Battle Bakehouse, which now supplies Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and Budgens with locally-branded biscuits. It also has a national contract to supply Sainsbury’s with cakes through 120 stores, recently doubled from 60.Owner Kate Kent says she delivers biscuits directly to eight Waitrose stores, but contact is with national buyers. With Tesco, delivery is to the regional distribution centre (RDC), and contact is with the south-east regional buyer. With Asda and Budgens, supply is via a third-party distributor, but Kent says that the lack of direct contact with retail buyers is a major hindrance to progress here.AW Curtis in Lincoln is among two or three bakers that supply Asda’s regional hub – in its case for distribution to stores around Lincolnshire and Humberside. According to director Neil Curtis, the twice-weekly deliveries span over 10 different products, from local delicacy plum bread to boxed pastries, fruit pies and pork pies. Curtis also supplies Asda with cured and cooked meats.The company is a retailer as well as a wholesaler, with several local shops of its own. But Curtis says: “We are already well-known in the area, and people come to us as well as Asda. The supermarket’s longer opening hours and narrower range mean that we complement rather than compete with each other.”Most retailers now encourage direct contact from smaller, local suppliers with something special to offer. Increasingly, this can be through dedicated pages on their websites, but in many cases, regional food groups and the events they organise have provided a forum for exploring new business relationships.Even Marks & Spencer (M&S), with its uniform image and branding, claims to be going local, although in most cases the products are identified as national (as in Welsh or Irish) rather than local or even regional. Gail Richards, category manager for bakery at M&S, says: “We are more likely to work with a small supplier if we believe there is potential to develop more products or ranges in the future.”== Cunning ploy? ==Eight companies, including Organic Patisserie, Battle Bakehouse and Higgidy Pies – whose sales have doubled since their contract with Sainsbury’s began in February 2007 – first met and presented their wares to category buyers and product developers at regional Supply Something New events. This supplier scout scheme was developed in conjunction with Food from Britain, the food promotion body that is now being wound up by DEFRA. Together, the eight firms totted up £1 million worth of sales within just six months for the retailer. Consumer groups with a sustainability focus suggest this is all nothing more than a cunning ploy on the part of retailers to find new sources of national supply.Some object that these initiatives are, in any case, not about substantial local supply but selective regional sourcing. But for a go-getting company with a premium product to sell, it is the regional perspective of the new breed of buyers that can be a limitation, while retailer flexibility to take products nationally can be a definite advantage. So of Sainsbury’s Supply Something New initiative, Kent at Battle Bakehouse says: “The opportunity to branch out nationally, as we have done with our cakes, will be based on sales. But with Sainsbury’s, we’ve been able to do something we never thought we’d be able to achieve.”Conversely, as she explains, the fact that her cakes are “quite expensive” means they are not appropriate for every store within her local catchment area.So where does this leave genuine local sourcing? “I hope it lasts,” says Kent. “But I doubt whether the supermarkets will invest in it long-term. And in a changing economic climate, where will people’s priorities lie?”—-=== Accreditation: jumping through hoops and doing the SALSA ===When it comes to the standards required by most national retailers and those achieved by many smaller local suppliers, there is often a mismatch not found with the majority of larger food manufacturers.While the latter may comply with British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standard, smaller producers are unlikely to have taken this step. And in fact, while the larger retailers welcome this standard, most do not expect it.Last year, the Safe and Local Supplier Approval (SALSA) scheme was set up, principally to fill this gap. Co-ordinator Keris Marsden explains: “The BRC Global Standard is relatively expensive and quite bureaucratic for a small, local business.” Importantly, SALSA is recognised by foodservice companies, as well as the majority of retailers, and provides mentoring as well as certification.Tracey Telford, local and regional buyer at Waitrose, says: “We are strong supporters of the SALSA scheme. It’s really good news if a particular supplier has achieved that standard. We also look at other evidence of best practice, from trading standards to environmental health.”Tesco is the one major exception when it comes to retailer recognition of the SALSA scheme. It carries out its own audits, but does not charge for them.One supplier says: “Tesco’s technical standards are higher, so they’ve made it quite difficult for themselves when it comes to bringing in new suppliers.”Neil Curtis, director of AW Curtis in Lincoln, says: “We are slightly bigger than a craft bakery, so we were already at BRC level. Tesco did its own audit, and we looked at the processes involved in meeting their technical standards. It’s still an option, but we’ve left it for now.”[http://www.salsafood.co.uk]
Greggs aims to open 40 more shops during 2008. Chairman Derek Netherton revealed the plans to the bakery retailer’s shareholders on 13 May.Like-for-like sales in the 19 weeks to 10 May were up by 4.7%. Netherton said growth had slowed since the beginning of the year, due to poor weather, the timing of its marketing strategy and a “less favourable pattern of Easter holiday trading”.He added: “There is also widespread evidence of reduced footfall on the high street, as consumers react to the tightening economic climate.”Greggs has opened 18 new shops and closed 10 since the beginning of the year, bringing its estate to 1,376.Netherton added: “We have a significant number of further openings in the pipeline, which should ensure that we comfortably achieve our target of adding at least 40 net new shops to our portfolio during 2008.”A spokeswoman told British Baker that, since last year, Greggs has tested extended opening hours, new branding and range changes.As well as extending opening hours at stores across the UK, Greggs has opened concept stores, including Fresh to Go in Lincoln, which makes up fresh sandwiches to order, and Baked, an upmarket store in Leeds.—-=== In Short ===== Hollands Flour Distributors ==We wish to make it clear that in the report in our issue of 4 April about the use by Hollands Craft Bakery of flour from Poland, we did not mean to suggest that this flour was in any way inferior in quality to that produced by UK mills and regret any inference to the contrary.== Sparkling breakfast ==London and South East Master Bakers had a “great success” with its Edwardian breakfast on 20 April, raising £2,500 for the Bakers’ Benevolent Society. Eighty-seven guests enjoyed a bucks fizz reception and five-course meal at the event. The bakers will present the charity with a cheque at their open day on 15 June, and hope to repeat the event next year.== Richemont Club reports good year ==On 29 April, Chatwins opened its doors to the Richemont Club of Great Britain, to host the club’s annual general meeting. Outgoing president Trevor Mooney reported on a good year, in which the profile of the club had been raised considerably. The annual competition last year – held in conjunction with the Bakers’ Fair – had been extremely well supported by British Baker.== Hot-to-trot savouries ==Hot savouries will be the most popular snack within the bakery category this year, according to visitors on British Baker’s website, bakeryinfo.co.uk. Hot savouries got 45% of the vote on our online poll, while filled sandwiches and rolls achieved 33%. Visit the site for the latest news, updated daily.== European robotics centre opens ==Europe’s only Centre for Food Robotics and Automation (CenFRA) is relocating to Doncaster and will open on 22 May.
A high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet could improve your psychological state, according to research recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal. The study also revealed no difference in weight loss when compared with a high fat, low carb diet, similar to the Atkins diet.The study was carried out on 106 overweight and obese participants with the aim of investigating the long-term effect on psychological function of very low-carb diets, often used to promote weight loss.The participant group had a mean age of 50 years old, and a mean body mass index (weight in kilograms divided by height in metres, squared) of 33.7. They were randomly assigned to either an energy restricted (approximately 1,433-1,672 calorie), planned isocaloric, very low-carbohydrate, high fat diet (LC), or alternatively to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet (LF), for one year. Changes in body weight, psychological mood and well-being and cognitive functioning were then analysed.The results showed the overall mean weight loss was 13.7kg, with no significant difference apparent between the two groups. It also revealed that there were greater improvements in psychological mood states for people on the LF diet, compared to the LC diet. Working memory improved although speed of processing remained unchanged.The study found that there were rapid improvements after both energy-restricted LC and LF diets in the first eight weeks of the year, with those on the LF diet achieving a better outcome overall.However, the study concluded that: “there was no evidence that the dietary macronutrient composition of LC and LF diets affected cognitive functioning over the long term”.To see the study click here.
Bakery manufacturer Evron Foods, which supplies Subway’s breads, is to invest £400k in research and development, to include the investigation of a new sweet muffin-style range.The investment has been supported by an offer of over £140,000 from Invest NI, with funding from the European Regional Development Programme.The firm, which manufactures a range of chilled, frozen and ambient breads and pastries for the retail, foodservice, wholesale and food processing sectors, now hopes to increase its current turnover of approximately £20m by 50% within the next three years. It has also appointed a new commercial manager and key account manager as part of its plan to drive the business forward.“With the support of Invest NI, we now hope to achieve additional efficiencies by further strengthening our management team, while increasing our foothold in the retail bakery market around the UK and Ireland with our new sweet muffin range,” said Morris Evans, managing director, Evron Foods.He said alongside the constant challenge of meeting and exceeding customer expectations, the firm has also faced increasing pressure on its overheads. “Flour, butter and electricity costs have all risen dramatically in recent times, but this further motivates us to be innovative in how we do things,” he added.
From day one of employment, all employees have the statutory right to take dependant’s leave, providing, of course, that they inform you of their requirement as soon as is reasonably practicable. Its purpose is so they can deal with unexpected emergency situations involving: a spouse; a partner; a child; a parent; a person who lives with them as part of their family; or a person who reasonably relies on them for assistance. Dependants do not include tenants or lodgers living in their family home.Time off and payThere are no hard and fast rules on the amount of dependant’s leave an employee can take; all the law says is that it must be “reasonable” in the circumstances in other words, sufficient to enable them to cope with the immediate crisis or to make alternative arrangements for dependant care. However, your staff have no statutory right to receive payment during this type of leave, so you can deduct pay where it is granted.No detriment allowedThat said, the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) states that if the employee a) sticks to the rules on notification and b) provides you with the reason for their absence which must fall within the permitted statutory reasons they shouldn’t suffer any “detriment”. So, for example, you cannot subject them to disciplinary action as a result of their need for dependant’s leave.But what does this mean in relation to pay? More importantly, how much can you legally deduct?No childminderThis issue was recently considered in Clarke v Credit Resources 2011. One morning Clarke’s childminder let him down and he needed to organise emergency childcare. This caused him to be 30 minutes’ late for work. On arrival, his boss told him to sign a “late form”. Doing so would lose Clarke an hour’s pay, so he refused, but an hour’s pay was deducted in any event. Clarke was also disciplined and later dismissed for failing to follow a “reasonable management instruction”.Unfair treatmentClarke’s claim for detriment and automatically unfair dismissal was upheld. The tribunal confirmed he had the absolute right to take dependant’s leave, but not to be paid for the time he was away from work; his employer should have only deducted pay “directly equivalent” to the amount of time he was absent that is, 30 minutes, no more.Set out your employee’s right to dependant’s leave in a robust policy, which makes it clear that they have no right to be paid during this time. That should limit this type of request.To avoid disputes, record the exact amount of time taken for dependant’s leave on a family emergencies absence form and get the employee to sign it. You then have the evidence needed to deduct the right amount of pay.