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== by bakery consultant Wayne Caddy ==The five-a-day recommendation on fruit and vegetables is important to both the food industry and to consumers. It makes sense and is easy to understand. So if consumers have a good awareness and understanding of five-a-day, can bakers target incremental sales with products specifically designed at achieving at least one of them?Ingredients that could contribute to a consumer’s five-a-day target include some basic raw materials, which are readily available and probably already used within your bakery, such as raisins, sultanas, currants, dates, figs, apricots and prunes. All of these can go towards five-a-day. Typically, a five-a-day portion for vine fruits is one heaped tablespoon or approximately 25g per portion. Fresh, frozen, canned or chilled fruit purée or pulps can be used in dough or batter. These can give great flavour and impart softness in products.Secondary raw materials can be used to complement the overall perception of consuming five-a-day. Flour is obviously not part of five-a-day, due to the starch content, but it is the fundamental base of a product. It is fine to use white wheat flour as long as the content of fruit is at around 25% of a 100g serving. Wholemeal or malted wheat flours can also be used if required and can enhance perceptions of ’health’. Fats are usually seen as the sticking point to ’health’ in bakery products, but olive oil, given its healthier connotations, can be used and is particularly well-suited in bread dough.If using oil in batters, use rapeseed oil or pomace oil – basically a lighter olive oil that does not impart too much flavour. Olive oil is a mono-unsaturated fat and is full of anti-oxidative content, which is good for the heart.Natural sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup, can also enhance a healthier product. Incorporate blends of grains and seeds into your products; oats, barley, rye, flax seed, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed and millet, to name but a few. Grains and seeds are a great source of vitamins and protein that generate distinctive flavour and texture.Watch out for my five-a-day recipe ideas, coming soon in British Baker.Top tips for five-a-day:? Target five-a-day bakery products around ’grazing’ or lunchbox opportunities? Focus on familiar products, which your consumer can easily identify? Keep the flavour combinations simple and not too complex? Healthier and indulgent is the key? Tell your consumer the benefits through point-of-sale.
The power of the spoken word! In the world of today, with its telephones, microphones, gramophones and talking films, the importance of good speech is increasingly impressed upon us. The selling power of the spoken word may be far above that of the written word. Masters of the art of selling are well aware of this, and do not fail to exploit the advantage. We too must learn the lesson.There is all the difference between merely taking an order in a shop and being a salesman. The taking of orders for dances and weddings demands distinct ability. Not every woman comes to the confectioner’s with a complete list of what she needs. She welcomes the advice of a capable assistant, and it is in these circumstances that salesmanship has opportunities to show itself.We must also not forget that in coming to us, the customer has greatly honoured us. Our spoken words should be gracious words; our willingness to serve needs no further incentive.
By Wayne CaddyWell, it’s certainly no coincidence that, on the back of numerous New Year’s resolutions made to strive towards healthier lifestyles in 2009, we may have a boost to help us along.Change4Life is the kickstart of a major campaign launch by the Department of Health. The campaign is a society-wide movement, which aims to prevent people from becoming overweight by encouraging them to eat better and move more.Initially, the first stage of the campaign is targeted at young families. Its priority is focused on poor diet and inactive lifestyles and the relationship between the health and happiness of our children and young people.Change4Life predicts nine out of 10 children today could grow up with dangerous amounts of fat in their bodies by the year 2050. This can cause life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.The campaign is very compelling and hard-hitting, with a simple message based on a great deal of common sense – ’Eat Well, Move More, Live Longer’.So as bakers can we support this campaign? Of course there is the side of bakery that is treat-orientated and I don’t believe this should change at all. Surely the key to a healthier diet and lifestyle is about moderation, frequency and portion size.Bakers should endorse such a campaign and a sub-brand, which is actively encouraged by the campaign. How about Bake4Life?Top Tips to… Bake4Lifel Adopt a product strategy and portfoliol Tell the story through point-of-sale and back up with a poster campaign. Why are your products Bake4Life? And what are the product benefits?l Sugar swaps and snacks are easy wins for kids to swap out of sugar and reduce intake, so target reduced-sugar products or those without added sugarl Use natural sugars such as honeyl Avoid sugary drinks and offer alternatives such as unsweetened fruit juices, milk, water or even sugar-free fizzy drinksl And if kids want to eat treats that taste like treats, then reduce portion sizes to “dinky”l Change4Life recommends healthier snacks, such as breadsticks or cereal barsl Change4Life recommends toast as a breakfast option. Make sure you promote itl Use healthy functional ingredients, typically associated with baking, such as oats, vine fruits, wheatgerm and so on.[http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life]
Craft bakers up and down the country are gearing up for National Craft Bakers’ Week, with special promotions and bakery tours for schoolchildren planned.The week, which runs from 8-13 June, has been designed to promote ’The Shop That Never Sleeps’, and reinforce its importance in the local community.Beaney’s Bakery, based in Strood, Kent, will be inviting at least two schools in for bake-off sessions, where they will get a tour of the bakery before getting the chance to make a small cottage loaf. “I will also be visiting a third school to give a talk,” said proprietor Chris Beaney. It will also be producing speciality products throughout the week, including gypsy tarts, hand-crafted breads and handmade meat pies.Warings Bakery in Reading is going to split the week up by promoting different products each day, with “rock bottom prices”. The week will kick off with big discounts on multi-buys and some giveaways on Mad Monday, explained retail training manager and PR spokesman Daniel Carr. Takeaway Tuesday will be a promotion of takeaway products; there will be rock-bottom prices on cream cakes on Wicked Wednesday, and on tarts on Tart It Up Thursday. On Free Bread Friday, consumers will be able to pick up a free loaf in store, and the bakery will be offering discounted savouries on Savoury Saturday.”It’s a fantastic week, that puts a real emphasis on craft bakery,” said Carr. “If people come and pick up a free loaf on Friday, they will firstly come see where we are and, secondly, will get to taste the product and hopefully come back.” Staff will also wear white aprons and bakers’ hats for the week.Joe’s Bakery, Bishopstown, Bristol, will be promoting its Continental range, while Carter’s of Pallion, near Sunderland, will be promoting local specialities. “I’ll be putting up the posters and highlighting some of our specialities, such as macaroons, snowballs and Eccles cakes,” said owner Simon Carter
UK exports of cakes and biscuits increased significantly in 2008, according to the latest report by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). The data, supplied by Leatherhead Food International, showed exports of UK biscuits shot up by 15% to £204 million and cakes weren’t far behind, up 12% to £156.5m. Canada, Australia and The Netherlands were some of the biggest importers of sweet biscuits, with the UK seeing export growth of 36%, 39% and 27% respectively. Exports to Ireland accounted for 57% of all UK cake exports, up 5.8%. However, exports to The Netherlands and France saw some of the strongest EU cake export growth, up by 26% and 35% respectively. Bulgaria and Poland have both significantly increased their imports of bakery, cakes and biscuits, by 302% and 226% (£3.6m) respectively.The FDF said that total exports of food and non-alcoholic drinks “hit record levels”, with an overall increase of 19.6% – to reach a value of £9.2 billion.The popularity of British products in central regions has underpinned the overall growth, with demand strong in the former Eastern Bloc countries, it added. For the full story, see next week’s issue of British Baker – out 19 June.
With the recent publication of new targets for sodium reduction in processed foods, salt (sodium chloride) remains at the top of the bakers’ list of product quality concerns.Currently working towards the 2010 targets (1.1g salt per 100g bread, 430mg sodium average; 2012 targets: 1g salt per 100g bread 400mg sodium average), the plant baking industry has continued to collaborate with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and other interested bodies and has made significant reductions in the salt levels used in modern plant breadmaking. Each reduction that the plant baking industry makes takes it deeper into unknown territory, as the role of salt in breadmaking, especially at the lower levels we now use, has yet to be fully understood or explained.The most apparent change we see when salt levels are lowered is the change in product flavour. This is not surprising, since saltiness is considered by sensory scientists to be one of the primary tastes. The high solubility of salt means that its impact on our taste buds is immediate when we eat bread. So the overall impact of reducing salt levels is complex, because not only does salt have its own flavour impact, but our overall assessment of the ’flavour’ of bread is changed as the balance of the different and often more subtle flavours of bread that come from ingredients and processing are changed. Salt has such a unique flavour that it is not just a question of using less salt and tossing in a (permitted) alternative.The fact that salt can inhibit the fermentation of bakers’ yeast is well-known and the need to balance yeast and salt levels has been a fundamental principle in breadmaking for many years. Fermentation to produce carbon dioxide occurs in all breadmaking processes – otherwise we would not get the light, aerated and digestible food that we call bread. In plant baking, the fermentation of the dough takes place after the bulk dough from the mixer has been divided and placed in the prover. For people less familiar with baking, this terminology creates confusion between the terms ’fermentation’ and ’prove’ but, as far as the dough is concerned, they are one and the same thing. The expansion of the dough in the prover and its continued expansion in the early stages of baking – as manifest in oven spring – rely on the dough being able to grow in a controlled manner. There is a balance to be struck between gas production (by the yeast) and gas retention in the dough and, once again, salt plays a key role in striking this balance and, in doing so, contributes indirectly to the fineness of the cell structure in the baked product.Gluten connectionThe least well-understood role of salt is the contribution that it makes to the development of the gluten network in the dough. Dough development is an ill-defined term, but is manifest in the dough property, described as ’gas retention’. Even less well understood is the contribution that salt makes to the collective properties of dough, referred to as ’dough rheology’. This property tells us about how the dough will behave under the stresses and strains of processing through the plant and how easy it will be to shape and process the dough pieces. One of the significant problems facing all bakeries is that lower salt levels yield dough that is stickier and more difficult to process. This has been known for some time and has recently been confirmed by research supported by the FSA and members of the Federation of Bakers.Though the precise contribution that salt makes to controlling dough rheology has still to be explained, salt forms strong ionic bonds with the gluten network and the water in the dough. Mechanical processing subjects the dough to greater shearing forces than hand moulding and some of the bonds are broken, with the result that the dough is smeared across equipment surfaces – for example, the conical moulder drum – which then impedes the transfer of successive dough pieces in the plant and ’stick-up’ ensues. During resting (first proof) some of the bonds are reformed and the stickiness is reduced but in the final moulder, the dough again experiences high shearing forces and increased stickiness.In the craft bakery and, to some extent, the in-store bakery, coping with sticky dough in processing is often a matter of patience and reducing the rate at which dough pieces are fed into the processing equipment or dealing with ’stick-ups’ through manual intervention. In a plant bakery running 2,000-8,000 loaves an hour, the options are more limited. Watching plant bakers having to un-stick a plant is painful – and even worse when you are the one that has to do it! You cannot stop dough from fermenting, so a 10-15 minute stoppage to clean through the plant is not just about the few pieces lost in the moulder, it is also about the dough that is already in the line; on a 6,000-unit an hour plant, a 10-minute stoppage equals at least 1,000 lost loaves. Along with wasted raw materials and energy, the cost implications are very significant.As salt levels in bread have been gradually reduced, bakers have learned to adapt their processing to cope with the changes in dough rheology. Improved process control has helped a lot with the introduction of measures to limit the tendency for dough to stick to moulding equipment and processing belts. The challenges have been greatest for premium branded products, where the requirement is for high and consistent quality. The drag of sticky dough trying to pass through the final moulder can lead to misshapen dough pieces falling into the pan, with subsequent variations in shape and texture in the final product. This may be acceptable in some marketplaces, but the UK consumer of branded products is very discerning and does not readily accept quality variations or losses.The use of air streams in dough processing has supported the efforts of plant bakers. However, there is a balance to be struck; too much air may cure dough stickiness, but will lead to problems of dough skinning, which is just as bad for product quality. The use of air streams needs to be focused on the critical processing points in order to be most effective – long gone are the days of standing a big fan by the rounder to blow air over the dough.Need for researchWith the new targets for salt levels announced, where does the plant baking industry go? Clearly there is a need for good, focused research to understand the functions of salt and the contribution that it makes to all aspects of bread production and quality.There is talk of ’salt replacers’, but finding a legally acceptable alternative that delivers all three functions described above will not be easy. Reformulation strategies will certainly play a part in achieving lower salt levels, but changes in dough processing perhaps have a bigger role to play. This may require the redesign of some aspects of dough-processing equipment, but care is needed to be sure that ’the baby is not thrown out with the bath water’. Premium breads have very specific qualities that attract consumers, so any change in processing should not be at the expense of product quality if we are to continue to encourage consumers to eat more bread, with its positive contributions to calcium and fibre to the average diet.
High street bakers have reported a largely positive festive perfor-mance, with a full trading week between Christmas and New Year and the mild weather aiding sales.Pie and sandwich retailer Bradley’s Bakery, in Ashton-Under-Lyne said it doubled its orders on Christmas Eve. Co-owner Mark Bradley said: “We’ve had a phenomenal Christmas our busiest ever. We sold 700 pork pies on Christmas Eve and, in the three days leading up to Christmas, we took just short of £10,000 at our one shop.” Bradley put the increased sales down to the bakery’s work on promoting itself over the past 12 months. “We’ve invested a lot of time in promotional work, and networking with other local businesses for example. We’ve also done a few tasting nights, which have been very successful.”Chris Pocklington, owner of Pocklingtons Bakery in Lincoln-shire said: “Total sales for the three months to Christmas were up by 15% on last year. However, margins were squeezed due to raw material price increases, which could not be wholly passed on to customers.”Mike Holling, retail sales director, Birds of Derby, and chairman of the National Association of Master Bakers, said the retail chain experienced very satisfactory trading, with its busiest day on Christmas Eve. “Customers left it until the last minute to buy as fresh as possible,” he said. “Sales of our novelty lines rose from just short of £7,000 in 2010 to almost £14,000 this year.”Meanwhile, Angie Townsend, owner of The Tiny Cake Company, said her Christmas cake pops “went down a storm” online and in the retail outlets it supplies. “Stockists also increased orders for our hand-decorated mini Christmas cakes,” she added.Bakery also performed well in the major multiples. Waitrose saw 53% more Christmas puddings sold than last year. Its total mince pie sales were up by more than a third, with 2.4 million sold by Christmas Eve. Sainsbury’s also had a record-breaking Christmas, with its Taste the Difference range up by 10% over the quarter. Morrisons achieved record customers numbers at Christmas and The Co-operative also saw mince pie sales rise up 12%.
Finsbury Food Group, a leading manufacturer of cake, bread and morning goods, today announced it had seen a near 16% rise in its pre-tax profit to £2.2m for the six months ended 31 December 2011.The rise in profits arrived as group revenue increased by £14m or 16% to £102m, after the company broke the £100m sales record for the first time.Commenting on the results, John Duffy, chief executive of Finsbury, said: “We are pleased to be reporting further growth across each of the Finsbury businesses. This is particularly noteworthy considering the pressure we are seeing from high commodity and input price inflation. With this in mind, we are focused on driving both efficiency and productivity to mitigate against the negative margin impact of these pressures, and believe that the measures we are taking will continue to bear fruit.“Our priority is to further invest in the business to ensure that the growth momentum continues and look forward to both driving further shareholder value and reaching our next sales milestone.”Finsbury said it had seen increases in performance across both bread and cakes. Sales in the cake division were up by 19% to £76.4m and revenue in the bread and free-from division grew by 8% to £25.6m
GVC Holdings plc (GVC) and Ladbrokes Coral Group plc (Ladbrokes) both supply online betting and gaming services.The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been carrying out an investigation into the proposed merger. This has found that the merger does not give rise to competition concerns.GVC has a small presence in the UK and only offers services online. The CMA has found that GVC and Ladbrokes are not close rivals and there are many other providers of betting and gaming services online.The CMA looked closely at betting services for individual sports and individual games but found that, in all cases, there will be enough rivals to the merged entity to prevent price increases or a reduced quality of service as a result of the merger.The merger will therefore not be referred for an in-depth investigation.Information relating to this investigation can be found on the case page.
Autonomous Warrior, the 2018 Army Warfighting Experiment, will push the boundaries of technology and military capability in the land environment.And one of the key areas it is set to test is the autonomous last mile resupply. The ‘last mile’, which represents the extremely dangerous final approach to the combat zone, is crucial to ensuring soldiers have the food, fuel and ammunition to keep them alive.Autonomous Warrior will test a range of prototype unmanned aerial and ground cargo vehicles which aim to reduce the danger to troops during combat.The British Army is set to launch the four-week exercise on November 12, with a Battlegroup from 1 Armed Infantry brigade providing the exercising troops and taking responsibility of command and control.British soldiers will test and evaluate the effectiveness of robotic and autonomous systems (RAS) on the battlefield.These technological advances will play a key role in the Army’s Strike capability, ensuring our forces remain unmatched on the global stage.Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said: Our Armed Forces continue to push the limits of innovative warfare to ensure that we stay ahead of any adversaries or threats faced on the battlefield. Autonomous Warrior sets an ambitious vision for Army operations in the 21st Century as we integrate drones, unmanned vehicles and personnel into a world-class force for decades to come. Autonomous Warrior will play an integral role within the £800 million Defence Innovation Fund which supports ground-breaking ideas aimed at transforming both defence and British industry.The land-based exercise follows on from the hugely successful ‘Unmanned Warrior’ which the Royal Navy demonstrated autonomous systems diving, swimming and flying together to engage in surveillance, intelligence-gathering and mine countermeasures. As well as demonstrating the vehicles during the last mile, Autonomous Warrior will also develop capabilities in surveillance which will greatly improve the effectiveness of long-range and precision targeting by service personnel.The exercise is the result of a large collaboration between the British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, US Army, MOD, Dstl and around 50 industry participants.The new Chief of the General Staff, Gen Mark Carleton-Smith, who will give his first address in his new role at the conference, setting out the backdrop of a “darkening geo-political picture” as he calls for British forces to be “combat ready today and prepared for tomorrow”.Giving the closing address, Gen Carleton-Smith will stress the need for British forces to work with their allies not just in the battlefield, but also in the virtual world. He will warn that “we live in exceptionally unstable times and that the world has never been more unpredictable”.As he describes how “the nature of warfare is broadening beyond the traditional physical domains” he will add that 21st Century battlefield requires non-traditional skills, beyond those normally associated with careers in Army, to ensure British forces remain world leaders. We need a more proactive, threat-based approach to our capability planning, including placing some big bets on those technologies that we judge may offer exponential advantage because given the pace of the race, to fall behind today is to cede an almost unquantifiable advantage from which it might be impossible to recover. Gen Mark Carleton-Smith will say: