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A simple country baker

By on April 21, 2021

first_imgHow often we are given so-called facts, which are often nothing more than guesses or wishful thinking. For example, some film star was quoted in the newspaper the other day. She said: “I was voted the sexiest woman in the world.” But by whom? At my grammar school we would all have voted for Julie. In our lunch hour, at the bottom of the playing field, she initiated many of us in the delights of the flesh. I hasten to add that we only looked and never touched, but to us she was the sexiest girl in the world.I mention this because all you seem to read about at the moment is organic bread and healthy eating. Great – but the problem is we do not sell a lot of it. Although they say porridge improves your sex life, lowers cholesterol and heals the skin, it does not improve sales. We thought we would give it a good try, so produced porridge-filled iced buns, porridge tarts and porridge doughnuts – sales were appalling!Our volume sales still come from the same lines we have been making for the past 20 years. This does not mean we ever give up on trying new products. Customers appear to like new lines in our shops – it is just that they are not over-keen on buying them.I often wonder why I am the only person in the trade not selling oodles and oodles of these terrific ‘in’ lines. Is it perhaps because they only sell in London and poor country folk, like us, are slow to catch on?On a different note, another subject that never fails to arouse debate is training. While I believe strongly in good training, I must confess I have never seen the value of ticking boxes on a form or taking exams that everyone passes.A member of my staff has been lucky to gain a place for a week of training at Simmonds of Hatfield in Hertfordshire, sponsored by the British Confectioners’ Association. Now that is really something. Lucy is thrilled to bits to have such a great opportunity, as are we all at Janes Pantry. My manager Neville has visited Simmonds and discussed what the training will involve with its MD Ian Matthews. The result is great enthusiasm and a wonderful opportunity for Lucy to enhance her skills. This to me is what training is all about – not the government-sponsored training that costs a great deal of our money and achieves so little. Should you doubt this, think of all the money lavished on training with so little result. If it were really working, we would be awash with highly skilled bakers.State-run training is usually just a job creation scheme for the people operating it. There’s very little practical advantage to either the recipient or the company supplying the trainee.This sort of comment never fails to arouse the wrath of those providing the training. I really don’t know why, because my question is always the same: if it is so great, why do so very few use the services provided?We find one-to-one training works very well for us and, when we have the opportunity, we send staff on practical courses. Companies like Thomas Adams of Northampton have the right ideas on training and are large enough to tailor-make schemes to give them exactly what they want. Unfortunately, we are too small for that. nlast_img read more

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Julian Hunt, director of communications, Food and Drink Federation

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first_imgWhether you are a craft baker or a plant producer, the Commission’s forthcoming review of EU food labelling regulations, due to be published later this year, will affect the way you do business. There is clearly a need to simplify the rules and the Commission’s review will look to streamline the legislation. We also hope it will look at ways of reducing some of the unnecessary clutter on packs while limiting any further ’mushrooming’ in the information demands placed on food and drink labelling.These were some of the key messages we put across at a recent workshop in Brussels, hosted with our colleagues from the British Retail Consortium, where we were able to exchange views with Commission officials on the forthcoming review. A key issue raised was the industry’s concerns that extending allergen information and ’best before’ dates to loose foods, such as unwrapped loaves or cakes, would cause real headaches for companies of all sizes and would be prohibitively expensive for the country’s smallest firms, such as specialist craft producers. One speaker reckoned the microbusinesses selling through the UK’s 500 farmers’ markets would have to invest E1m in labelling guns alone to help them meet such a requirement!The workshop also highlighted practical ways of reducing the burden on labels through the removal of duplicate information, such as multiple ’with sweeteners’ declarations. Hopefully, if the industry’s thoughts are taken on board, we should end up with rules to create simpler labels that work better for consumers.last_img read more

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Crunch or grind?

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first_imgWith a glut of food-to-go and sandwich outlets offering special coffee deals, such as recessionary £1 coffees linked to meal deal promotions, as seen in the likes of Pret, Upper Crust and Coffee Republic, focus is shifting from pushing premium coffees to just making sure consumers stay hooked on their daily coffee fix. This poses the question: if you are about to buy coffee equipment, should you go for cheaper filter or instant options or stay true to the premium ground espresso machines?Following the success of the coffee chains, it’s easy to overlook that the most commonly drunk format in the UK is filter. “Filter coffee still accounts for 70% of all coffee sold in the UK, but thanks in part to the SCAE’s Gold Cup programme, we are seeing renewed interest in filter coffee service,” notes Chris York, sales director for Marco in the UK.Paul Meikle-Janney, managing director of coffee expert Coffee Community, believes filter could be set for a retro revival. The reason it fell out of favour, he says, was because it was served so poorly and merchandised badly. “Too little coffee was used to achieve a rich flavour and then, once made, it was left to stew on a hot plate,” he says. “It’s what people tend to want when they stare at a large menu in an espresso bar and then shout in desperation, ’But I just want a coffee’. Filter coffee has been cast into the shade by espresso in recent years but this should not be the case. Indeed, it is one of the best ways of enjoying single-origin coffee grown on one particular estate.”Made properly from freshly ground beans, and served quickly, filter coffee can be a “wonderful drink”, he says. It offers a cost-effective route into coffee and would only cost a couple of hundred pounds to set up. Many coffee suppliers will even provide the equipment free on loan.Even instant coffees are making a comeback in some quarters. “Affordable coffee solutions are becoming an increasingly attractive proposition as operators look at offering more cost-effective options to their customers in line with market shift,” says Martin Lines, marketing director for Nestlé Professional. He says Starbucks’ recent ’Via’ launch of take-home instant coffees has added credibility to instant coffee. Plus, the point-of-sale support and loyalty promotions from big brands like Nescafé can help to boost impulse purchases, he adds.However, compromising on quality won’t do you any favours on the high street, says Meikle-Janney. After all, high-quality coffee can cost little more than the poor. “In these hard economic times the appeal of a product with a 1,000% mark-up that is commonly, even addictively, drunk by a large population should be attractive to most retailers,” he says. “Coffee offers huge opportunities. It can be the perfect complementary product to offer a bakery or café retailer’s existing customers and may attract new customers as well.”In fact, latest figures from market research firm him! show that both chain and independent coffee shop visits are still in growth this year, while sandwich shop visits are declining, suggesting that coffee quality is not being sacrificed by consumers (see graph below).So are cheap coffees worth doing? Max Jenvey of food-to-go consultant Oxxygen thinks you would do well to focus on cross-category promotions to improve customers’ average spend. “Research shows we can achieve as much as a 40% increase on a combination purchase such as coffee and pastry,” he notes. “By offering both categories together, we can also increase frequency of customer visits from 1.5 to 3+ times per week.”Rather than offer price promotions on coffee, he suggests increasing the range of cup sizes to encourage trading-up. “Coffee and bakery are both still in growth of up to 14% and, in today’s credit-crunched society, customers are still prepared to part with their hard-earned cash on a regular basis,” he stresses.—-=== Costing it out ===A quality espresso blend may only cost you £2-£3 more per kilo of beans than cheap coffee, writes Coffee Community’s Paul Meikle-Janney. If each kilo makes about 125 espressos, it only means about 2p extra per cup. Or, to put it another way, a cheap espresso could cost you 6p to make and a quality one 8p.If you then take the time to learn how to make it well, your customers will notice and return for more, but you still need to get them to buy it in the first place. To do this you need to demonstrate your “coffee credentials”.This can be done through good point-of-sale, such as a blackboard menu that’s more than just a list of drinks; write some details about your blend – where it comes from, what it tastes like. You could also sell retail size bags of your coffee.last_img read more

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Richemont Club competition winners announced

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first_imgThe winners of this year’s Richemont Club of Great Britain competition have been announced, following judging at Bakers’ Fair in Manchester over the weekend.Elaine Hamey and Lisa Smith (pictured right) of Peter Herd of Wilmslow wowed the gathering visitors by winning the President’s Challenge Cup after being challenged on the day to make a circus-themed celebration cake as part of the Richemont Club competitions. And the Best in Show accolade went to Richard Griffiths of Glovers Bakery for his outstanding Multigrain Cob.Class One Three Sausage Rolls1st Martyn Ormesher, Glovers Bakery2nd Darren Greenway, Gerrards Confectioners3rd Ryan Robinson, Glovers BakeryClass Two Three Meat Pasties1st Craig Wright, Arthur Chatwin2nd Rob Taylor, Arthur Chatwin3rd Terry Betts, Arthur ChatwinClass Three One Vegetarian Product1st Jamie Humprey, Arthur Chatwin2nd Craig Wright, Arthur Chatwin3rd Darren Greenway, Gerrards ConfectionersClass Four One Quiche Lorraine1st Jamie Humphrey, Arthur Chatwin2nd Martin Ormesher, Glovers Bakery3rd Terry Betts, Arthur ChatwinClass Five One Brown Tin Loaf1st Craig Wright, Arthur Chatwin2nd Nigel Attwell, Arthur Chatwin3rd Richard Griffiths, Glovers BakeryClass Six One Multigrain Cob1st Richard Griffiths, Glovers Bakery2nd Dean Kirkham, Glovers Bakery3rd Nigel Attwell, Arthur ChatwinClass Seven One White Plaited Loaf1st Nigel Attwell, Arthur Chatwin2nd Jamie Humphreys, Arthur Chatwin3rd Richard Griffiths, Glovers BakeryClass Eight Four Fresh Creams1st Debbie Martin, Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier2nd Jai Stockton, Arthur Chatwin3rd Richard Griffiths, Glovers BakeryClass Nine Four Danish Pastries1st Rachel Wilkinson, Arthur Chatwin2nd Richard Griffiths, Glovers Bakery3rd No AwardClass Ten Four Christmas Fancies1st Robert Wass, Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier2nd Janette Lyons, Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier3rd Richard Griffiths, Glovers BakeryClass Eleven Four Puff Pastries1st Rob Taylor, Arthur Chatwin2nd Steve Barnes, Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier3rd Craig Wright, Arthur ChatwinClass Twelve One Novelty Celebration Cake1st Elaine Hamey, Peter Herd of Wilmslow2nd Frazer Carr, Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier3rd David Wilson, Slattery Patissier & ChocolatierClass Thirteen One Sugar Paste Model1st Kay Quinn, Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier2nd David Wilson, Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier3rd Karen Bowden, Slattery Patissier & ChocolatierClass Fourteen One Character Biscuit1st Christopher Williams, Gerrards Confectioners2nd Elaine Hamey, Peter Herd of Wilmslow3rd Helen Murrell, Arthur ChatwinClass Fifteen Three Almond Products1st Rosemary Humphreys, Gerrards Confectioners2nd Martin Wienholt, G Wienholt3rd Paul Bates, Arthur ChatwinClass Sixteen One Christmas Cake1st David Wilson, Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier2nd Robert Wass, Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier3rd Karen Bowden, Slattery Patissier & ChocolatierClass Seventeen One Christmas Pudding1st Rob Taylor, Arthur Chatwin2nd Christopher Williams, Gerrards Confectioners3rd Peter Toombs, Peter Herd of WilmslowClass Eighteen One Chocolate Log1st Helen Murrell, Arthur Chatwin2nd Eric Cran3rd Dawn Dunn, Arthur ChatwinClass Nineteen Four Fruit Scones1st Kirsty Scott, Tameside College2nd Rebecca McLoughlin, Tameside College3rd Sarah Bowden, Tameside CollegeClass Twenty One Oven Bottom Loaf1st Jamie Humphreys, Arthur Chatwin2nd Craig Wright, Arthur Chatwin 3rd Abbie Mountford, Tameside CollegeClass Twenty-one One Round Pizza1st Jason Jones, Gerrards Confectioners2nd Sarah Bowden, Tameside College3rd Christopher Barrett, Tameside CollegeMilling & Baking Trophy: Arthur ChatwinRank Hovis Trophy: Arthur ChatwinBakeMark Trophy: Joint – Arthur Chatwin & Slattery Patissier & ChocolatierRenshaw Trophy: Gerrards ConfectionersChristmas Trophy: Arthur ChatwinBritish Baker Trophy: Tameside CollegePresident’s Challenge Cup: Elaine Hamey & Lisa Smith – Peter Herd of WilmslowBest in Show: Richard Griffiths – Glovers Bakery – Multigrain CobRichemont Trophy: Arthur Chatwinlast_img read more

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EAT opts for less contact

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first_imgSandwich chain EAT is the latest firm to roll out contactless payment across its stores. Following a successful trial in 24 London based stores over the past 18 months, EAT will roll it out across its entire network of 100 stores from mid-November. The system allows customers to pay for items totalling £10 or less, by touching their credit card against a sensor. Rene Batsford, head of IT at EAT, said that the success and feedback from customers during the scheme’s trial period meant the decision to roll it out across the entire network was an easy one to make.More than 9,000 outlets in the UK, including branches of Subway, Pret a Manger, Coffee Republic and Krispy Kreme, now accept contactless pay-ments with Barclaycard’s OnePulse system.last_img read more

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Martins puts in the money

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first_imgManchester-based Martins Foods will invest £1.5m in new equipment after buying cake firm Mellors from administration.Martins, which has a turnover of £10.4m and a chain of 28 shops, bought Mellors in April, saving 60 jobs, and has now secured funding from NatWest to boost capacity. New proving equipment and line upgrades are planned at the former Mellors site in Southport, which makes Chelsea buns, Belgian buns, cinnamon buns and fruit toast for supermarkets and foodservice suppliers. An additional cake line will be installed at the central 50,000sq ft Newton Heath bakery, which supplies its shops with over 200 different products.Martins also has a 10,000sq ft facility in Llandudno, making Eccles cakes, and a 30,000sq ft site in Radcliffe, supplying products such as brownies and scones to ISBs and coffee shops.The Radcliffe bakery has recently been improved, with a new roof and enlarged weighing and mixing areas. The company also plans to double the capacity of its tart lines at the site and install new cooling equipment.Neil Martin, Martins MD, said the company had focused on supplying coffee shops with frozen cakes and pastries in recent years, with the Mellors deal enlarging its product range.last_img read more

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Operating profit turnaround for Uniq

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first_imgChilled prepared food group Uniq has announced continued strong growth in its food-to-go operation, with overall group revenue up 6.8% for the year ended 31 December 2010.Increased sandwich business with Marks & Spencer – its share rose to more than 65% – helped the division to a 51% profit increase to £11m, with sales up 13% to £157m.Overall the firm posted operating profit before significant items of £4.1m, compared to a loss of £1.9m in 2009. Sales were up nearly 7% to £312m. Chief executive Geoff Eaton said the firm serves both large and growing markets. By investment in understanding more about its consumers and innovating to create a regular pipeline of new products, it can benefit from this growth.The firm was recently restructured to negate the effects of its significant pension deficit. In February this year an agreement was reached with the trustee of the Uniq Pension Scheme, which released Uniq from its obligations to the defined benefit section of the Pension Scheme in exchange for a 90.2% equity stake in the company, with current shareholders retaining a 9.8% stake in the company.Eaton said the restructure coupled with the positive outcome of its Desserts business review, means the firm is now well-placed to develop to its full potential.last_img read more

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Reporting in Need for more innovation

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first_imgJim WinshipDirector, British Sandwich AssociationOne of best barometers of economic times is innovation. Naturally, when the going gets tough, we tend to think more about maintaining the business we have, rather than taking chances, and any innovative thinking is generally refocused on managing costs.In the last couple of years, it has been noticeable how little innovation there has been in the UK sandwich industry quite a change for an industry that has a reputation for its creativity. In that time, we have seen relatively little true innovation, as most brands have sought to re-invent old and safe friends, rather than row the boat out into uncharted waters.This year has shown some improvement on this situation, but it is still clear that there is not a great deal of confidence in the economy at the moment although the first shoots of recovery may be just beginning to show.The good news is that innovation is still alive and kicking at least in the development kitchens. Entries for this year’s British Sandwich Designer of the Year award have been higher than ever, with some really bright ideas.Although the sandwich industry has been relatively lucky in seeing volume growth through the last couple of years, perhaps it is time for easing the brakes a little more to tickle the taste-buds of those consumers who have got a little jaded by the same thing each day.l The finals of this year’s Sandwich Designer of the Year Award are to be held on 19 May, at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.last_img read more

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A modern take on baking oreo cookie cupcakes

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first_imgI made these gluten-free oreo cookie cupcakes for an order. A confused customer called up and asked if I could make Oreo cupcakes like the ones she’d seen with Oreo cookies on top but gluten-free. I tried to explain that Oreos contained gluten, but this didn’t seem to matter. Anyway, I made the cakes, they are gluten-free, but for the Oreos on top. The texture and flavour is as in an Oreo.IngredientsSoft butter 120gLight brown raw cane sugar 125gEggs (separated) 4Ground almonds 80gBlack poppy seeds80gGood pinch saltBaking powder 1 tspMethod1. Beat butter and 100g sugar for 2 minutes on high. Add the yolks and beat on medium until fluffy. Combine the almonds and poppy seeds.2. In a separate, very clean metal bowl, beat the egg whites, salt and baking powder until fluffy, add the rest of the sugar and beat to form a glossy mass.3. Lightly fold in the whites mix to the main mix in three parts, alternating with the poppy seed mix.4. Spoon into cupcake cases and bake on 180C for 15 minutes.For the frostingIngredientsUnsalted butter 112gIcing sugar 450gDouble cream1/3 cupSplash milkGood vanilla extract3/4 tbspMethodBeat the butter until white for around 6-7 minutes. Add the sifted sugar, vanilla and cream, beat to incorporate, then add milk and beat on high until light and creamy. Add more milk if necessaryFinally, top cooled cakes with a dollop of the frosting and an Oreo if you like!last_img read more

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Two new football coaches join Fighting Irish staff

By on April 20, 2021

first_img Pinterest WhatsApp Google+ Google+ By Tommie Lee – March 3, 2020 1 380 Facebook Twitter WhatsApp Notre Dame players celebrate after an NCAA football game against Michigan in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. Notre Dame won 24-17. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) Notre Dame is announcing more additions to the Fighting Irish Football coaching staff.Head Coach Brian Kelly has added John McNulty and Mike Mickens to the coaching staff.Coach McNulty brings 30 seasons of experience to the Tight Ends, and Mickens, who played for Kelly at Cincinnati, will coach the defensive backs. Facebook Two new football coaches join Fighting Irish staff IndianaLocalNewsSouth Bend MarketSports Pinterest Twitter Previous articleDemolition of south side Shake ‘n Shake underwayNext articleWinamac woman dies in Fulton County crash Tommie Leelast_img read more

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