Not surprisingly, males are the key consumer group when it comes to eating pies, according to data gathered by TNS Worldpanel on behalf of savoury pastry manufacturer Waldens.In the out-of-home market, males account for almost double the market share of their female contemporaries. The largest male share is in the 45-64 age group at 17.3%.Compare this to the 9.2% of females in the same bracket. Come down a generation to the 35-44 age group, and the gap narrows, but only slightly – 11.5% of males, compared to 7.3% of females.Ian Stone, business develop-ment director of Waldens’ parent company, Apetito, says: “Pies have a very male image and a reputation for being far more filling than other traditional pastry snacks.So, where a hungry female might be satisfied by a sausage roll or a sliced snack, males tend to go for something more substantial like a pie.”The rest seems all to do with lifestyle. For example, one of the fastest-growing areas for pie sales over the last three years has been the roadside and leisure market (28.1% of sales).The roadside sector is dominated by males in the 45- to 64-year-old category, such as sales reps, service providers and lorry drivers, and the leisure sector is fuelled by attendances at football matches and other sporting events.”So, where is growth coming from? Although females eat fewer pies, in public at least, it is significant that the age group that eats the most pies regardless of sex (45-64 – 26.5% market share) is also the most affluent.”This suggests that women can be tempted into the pie market providing the quality, portion size and flavour profile match their desires,” says Stone.Finally, 16.7% of pies are consumed on Thursdays, 18.3% on Fridays, and 19.5% on Saturdays. The longer the week goes on, the harder it is to resist the temptation of the pie.
Independent flour mill FWP Matthews (Chipping Norton, Oxon) offers a Cotswold Organic Crunch flour, containing organic wheat flour, organic malted wheat flakes and organic malted wheat. The firm’s range includes four organic white flours, three organic brown flours, three organic French flours and three other organic cereal flours.
What have fishermen got that bakers don’t – apart from whiffy hands and a taste for horrible mints? A national centre for skills, that’s what. Meanwhile baking, possibly the oldest profession (behind the illegal one that also involves fishnets), has had to put up with businesses, skills providers and government all pulling in different directions.In the seafish industry, the various associations, trade and training groups united to build a National Skills Academy Centre for their sector, based in Grimsby. This delivers greater accessibility to training and is augmented by seven other centres, as well as materials available for training via IT. This has enabled the seafish sector to access significant government investment to increase skills. So why can’t it be the same for bakery?The answer is, it can. Thanks to some effective lobbying from the Alliance for Bakery Students & Trainees and other interested parties, sector skills council Improve has given its backing to a training centre for bakery. Bakery employs more people than seafish and has a larger financial impact on the food and drink manufacturing sector, so the benefits of getting skills provision right are immense. Baking industry bodies, such as the Association of British & Irish Millers (abim), have already been persuaded to support the project.A Centre of Bakery Excellence has been mooted for a long time, but has never built any momentum beyond the talking-shop stage. But now the ball is finally rolling and the centre should come to fruition under the direction of the National Skills Academy. The Academy is already seeking expressions of interest for hosting the new centre, provisionally called The National Skills Academy for Bakery.Over the next three months, we are keen for you to voice your views on what you think the centre should be for. We will also explain a number of key issues set to play out in the baking industry, including the Sector Skills Agreement, the role of the National Skills Academy and, biggest of all, last year’s government-commissioned Leitch report, the policy driver on skills within the workplace, colleges and schools. The report recommends exacting targets and threatens to introduce a training levy if employers do not embrace the need to increase skills or make significant progress to the targets identified. Leitch is an England-only policy, but it is likely that the direction will be followed in each of the other UK nations.Our aim is to show you how the bakery sector could build a mechanism to deliver these skills through a National Skills Academy Centre. In April, it is hoped the Baking Industry Exhibition will host a conference to thrash out the detail. So why not make your views heard by contacting [email protected] william-reed.co.uk?
Visiting Bells of Lazonby, near the heart of the Lake District, can be a confusing experience. On the one hand, you have miles and miles of quintessential country lanes, punctuated by centuries-old hedgerows and traditional stone cottages. On the other, lying in a lane just off the village high street, you have one of Britain’s most forward-thinking bakeries – one that has national distribution, was the winner of Sainsbury’s Bakery Supplier of the Year and considered corporate social responsibility (CSR) a part of its very ethos long before most us had even got our heads round the slogan.So while the heavenly hills around Bells have seen little change over the years, the firm has embraced so much change, it is hard to keep up! But wisely, it ploughs back the profits into growing the business and serving the community. That means supporting the local school, providing affordable housing and sourcing goods locally, among other things.The business started as a retail outlet after the last war, but now has five shops in local market towns. The remainder of the business comprises three companies: Bells with its own brand of breads, cake lines and puddings; OK Foods, a free-from range for coeliacs and those with food allergies, based in Lazonby alongside Bells; and the Village Bakery Melmerby, in Melmerby village itself, about five miles away. Here they make organic breads and cakes, and run an organic restaurant/café. Head baker Tiff (Anthony Tiffin) also runs masterclasses for bakery enthusiasts and ignorant journalists.All three businesses supply the major supermarkets as well as health food stores and local foodservice companies.== coveted accolade ==But what exactly made proprietor Michael Bell enter the Baking Industry Awards? He says he knew that Bakery Supplier of the Year, sponsored by Sainsbury’s, was one of the most coveted accolades. And while this was an incentive, it also posed a challenge. “There are always good bakers on a shortlist. How can you say you are a better baker, when you are all likely to use good ingredients and make great products?” asks Michael. “So we concentrated on what set us apart and decided it was our CSR policy.”Michael was not able to attend the actual day of presentation at Sainsbury’s head office at Holborn, due to prior commitments, so he sent Carolyn Nichol, national account manager, who was pitched against seven other shortlisted candidates.He says: “We arranged for Carolyn to take a selection of products, talk through a Powerpoint presentation then answer any questions.”She highlighted the affordable housing we helped build for people who have at least one child and will send them to the local school, which we also support. She also highlighted our big investment in education and training – our staff spend 800 days doing off-the-job training in a year.”Our packaging is mostly recyclable and we are the first to use compostable bread bags, which can be left to rot.”== waste minimalisation ==The company has put in a waste minimalisation policy for everything, ranging from cardboard to light bulbs with a strong emphasis on ’environmental stewardship’. This ’thinking of others’ policy, combined with a basic need to make profits, stimulated Michael to start a subsidiary company, OK Foods, making wheat-, dairy- and gluten-free products for those on a special diet or with allergies. Since 2003, turnover has gone from zero to £3.5m and has led to the company gaining the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.However CRS does not just extend to Bells’ goods. The new offices, a few yards from existing ones in a traditionally restored station house, and the bakery are quite original. The whole ethos is to minimise energy consumption. Sensors conserve electricity and water, careful construction and natural air circulation avoid the need for air conditioning, heating systems have been chosen for energy efficiency, wind catchers harness nature’s own power and local builders were employed in the new building’s construction.Was Michael concerned about the competition for the Baking Industry Awards? “Once we were down to the last three – and therefore eligible to attend on the night – we learned our two fellow finalists were La Fornaia, which has achieved astonishing success, and Memory Lane Cakes, which is a great company, so to have got that far was tremendous!Publicity for the awards helped too. Anyone who is a finalist finds press releases have been sent to their local papers and radio and TV stations.== advice on the competition ==So what tips might he pass on to anyone entering the same category next year, because he will not be allowed to re-enter? “I would advise people to major on answering the questions and concentrate on what sets you apart. For example everyone says they ’take great care, use the finest ingredients, or try to innovate’. You need to be different.”A tour around the new environmentally-aware Bells of Lazonby offices followed by those situated a few yards away in the old station house of Lazonby serves to emphasise the point. This will continue as the site for the marketing department and won an award for restoration to its original state – with a few environmental tweaks, of course.On one table are all the trophies and plaques that Bells has won in the past. On the other side, the station house looks out on to Lazonby’s platform, where a local train stops six times a day. “We roll out a red carpet when VIP customers arrive. It’s often quite a surprise,” says Michael.All this, of course, goes hand in hand with the sort of service and products that supermarkets and others expect, including market analyses and retailer support packages combined with innovations, brand extensions and consumer PR and advertising, alongside in-store samplings. Even so, the price pressures can sometimes be so great that there is literally no profit left – and then Michael will walk away and seek new business. Ethical trading, he believes, must go both ways, as everyone needs to make a profit.But when the winner of Sainsbury’s Bakery Supplier of the Year was announced on the night and Bells of Lazonby was chosen, the feeling was “absolutely tremendous”, he says.Sainsbury’s bakery and fresh foods director Simon Twigger presented the award, with the help of Joanna Lumley.The rural baker became a national award winner in one of the most challenging categories, applauded by Sainsbury’s Nick Townend, category manager bakery, Sarah Mackenzie, in-store bakery buyer, and Debra Wharton, who has since left Sainsbury’s. They, along with independent judges, thought that, in Bells of Lazonby, you could not only taste the difference but see it in action too.
s, potatoes have iron- Luis Ramirez, a baker in Lima, Peru, where the military has begun eating bread made from potatoes – potato baguettes, braided potato loaves and mini-potato croissants – to combat rocketing wheat prices
The Federation of Bakers is keeping a “watchful eye” on European proposals to restrict healthy-eating claims on breads that exceed a certain level of salt.The European Commission hopes to confirm proposals by the spring, which would cover the level of salt that bread can contain in order for it to make health claims such as ‘high in fibre’.Bakers would not be able to make a positive health claim unless salt levels were below a certain level – a yet to be decided amount, but potentially between 1g and 1.2g for every 100g of flour.This compares to the much-publicised voluntary FSA target for bread manufacturers of using only 0.93g of salt per 100g of bread by 2012, which is under consultation.Federation of Bakers director Gordon Polson said: “[The EC and FSA targets] are quite different. From what I understand, any levels that might be suggested would not impact unfavourably on UK bread. We are keeping a watchful eye on it, but we won’t know any more until the end of the month.”An FSA spokeswoman said the EC and FSA targets should complement each other, although she stressed they were only a proposal. “The EU levels are higher than the level that we’re proposing for reducing salt in bread,” she said. “The UK has done a lot more to reduce salt in bread than any part of the EU.”German bakers had raised concerns that the planned food labelling rules would render some German breads such as pretzels unhealthy due to their salt content.Speaking at a meeting on food labelling in Brussels, EC commissioner for health Androulla Vassiliou dismissed press reports that it had any plans to ban bread high in salt. “The Commission is not banning any bread and has no intention of regulating the salt level in bread,” she said. “What we are doing is setting the levels of salt which food products need to respect if they are to make a claim.”She also announced that the EC would allow bread with higher salt content to display health claims, for a “limited period” pending further reductions. She said nutrient profiling should take account of salt reduction initiatives promoted at national and community level.
Global bakery-café chain Cinnabon, which specialises in cinnamon rolls, plans to muscle in on the UK market by opening 40 stores over the next five years.The company, which originates in the US and operates over 700 stores in 30 countries, recently let loose a team of muscle-bound ’Cinnahunks’, laden with samples, on unsuspecting Oxford Street shoppers. The stunt aimed to raise the profile of its three London stores in Trocadero, Oxford Street and Queensway, which have opened in the past year.General manager Janine Hoggins told British Baker that the chain hopes to open a further one or two stores in the capital this year, before stepping up its expansion with a national roll-out. “We are looking for smaller sites in shopping centres, as well as high street locations,” she said. “There are some good deals to be had on rents at the moment; we feel it is the right time for expansion.”Cinnamon rolls comprise dough wrapped around a brown sugar and cinnamon filling, topped with frosting. All components, including the dough, are made from scratch at individual sites in front of customers.The rolls are served hot and can be eaten in or taken away, with free delivery offered within a mile radius.
LASER targets guestsThis year’s LASER Dinner and Dance will be held at Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire on 14 November. As a guest you would have complimentary use of the club’s new health and racquet pavilion. Tickets for the event are £75 and are available from: LASER, 142 Banstead Road, Caterham, CR3 5QF. The hotel is also offering rooms at a discounted rate. Please quote ’master bakers’ when booking. For details on the venue, visit stokeparkclub.com.Lower salt productEminate claims to have discovered a way of modifying salt, to provide more taste from smaller quantities. Soda-Lo 20 could potentially help bakers achieve lower salt targets in their products without compromising on taste, it is claimed. “From a level of 2% salt in a loaf of bread, we have been able to take it down to 0.6%,” said Eminate’s sales and marketing manager Andrew Stacey.German courseGerman education provider the Akademie Deutsches Bäckerhandswerk has established the International Baking Academy in Weinheim in response to requests from outside Germany by people wishing to attain a qualification in German baking, which is taught in English. Derek O’Brien will retire from his position as head of the National Bakery School, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland at the end of the year and join the management team at the International Baking Academy in January 2010.Chef link for FurnissChef Rick Stein has joined forces with Furniss of Cornwall to develop a range of savoury oat-based biscuits. Available in Cornish sea salt, Davidstow Cheddar and thyme varieties, the biscuits are now available in Waitrose and selected Tesco stores across the UK.
Warburtons profitsWarburtons has announced its pre-tax profit is up £5.2m to £62.7m for the 52 weeks to 26 September 2009, according to its latest accounts. Sales rose by 6% to £510.8m. The firm said it had achieved a “solid operating performance in a difficult economic environment”, and remained focused on growing its share of the bakery market in Great Britain.New Hovis ad Hovis is to launch a new TV advertisement as part of a £5m marketing campaign to support its most recent addition Hearty Oats. The advert will run for one week from 4 June, before returning for five weeks in August, after the World Cup. The loaf, launched in March, is the first to be baked with 50% wholegrain oats and 50% Wheatflour.Raisin bread deadlineCalifornia Raisins has extended the deadline for its 2010 bread competition to 30 June. Craft/artisan bakers are invited to take part for the chance to win a trip to IBIE in Las Vegas, followed by two days in Fresno to tour the California Raisin industry and a further two-day visit to the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley. Send your two samples to Bake Northern by midday on 30 June. For full details call 020 8741 8513 or email [email protected] heart riskA study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has suggested that replacing saturated fats in the diet with easily absorbable carbohydrates, such as white bread, actually increases the risk of heart ailments, while eating whole wheat or rye bread was said to decrease the risk. The study of 53,000 Danes has not yet led to a change in position by the Danish health authorities, which currently maintains white bread is not an unhealthy food.
Phil OrfordChief executive, Forum of Private BusinessSaving money on utilities should be the mantra of every small bakery emerging from the worst recession for several generations. That means shopping around for the best deals but, as I know myself having run several businesses, most busy bakers simply do not have the time to carry out extensive searches themselves.Further, many owner managers are mis-sold contracts by utilities companies, which often tie them into ’roll-over’ arrangements with little or no warning, leaving them with inflated bills.The fact that, from January 2011, roll-over contracts will be limited to one year for micro-businesses will be little comfort for those with more than 10 staff, which will not be protected by the change.I have also learned that some energy companies regularly impose back-dated bills on small businesses, often for tens of thousands of pounds, following meter errors and other mistakes that are not the fault of the commercial customer.My organisation, the Forum of Private Business, has joined forces with the Utilities Intermediaries Association (UIA), which has a code of practice for brokers and runs a redress scheme. Unfortunately, not all of them enlist.Concerned that Ofgem has little power to prevent mis-selling via verbal contracts, in particular, both organisations are calling for the practice to be banned. The protection for small firms is being eroded further with the scrapping of the watchdog Consumer Focus, which oversaw commercial utilities complaints.The best advice is to be proactive wherever possible and take advice before agreeing to verbal contracts. Above all, read the small print and be aware of key dates in order to cancel costly deals before it is too late.