BAKERY industry giants are lined up to address the British Society of Baking’s (BSB) two–day “Golden Jubilee” Spring Conference, taking place, mornings only, at the Food & Bake 2006 exhibition in Birmingham. Sir Michael Darrington, MD of Greggs, Tony Reed, bakery director of Tesco, and Brian Robinson, chief executive of Allied Bakeries, will open the conference, on March 20. Leading craft speakers appear on March 21, including baker Chris Freeman, organiser of National Dough-nut Week, Alan Stuart from Dubbie Bakery, Fife, and patissier John Slattery. The BSB will also host its Gala Dinner on the evening of March 20. All details are on www.foodbake.co.uk or call the BSB on 0161 427 1772. Food & Bake 2006 runs from March 19 to 22.
Tate & Lyle reported a sharp drop in pre-tax profit to £42m for the year ended 31 March, 2006, from £205m. The group was hit by an impairment charge of £272m after changes to the EU sugar regime. McCambridge Foods has bought Dublin-based Cookes Bakery out of examinership – the Irish equivilant of receivership.
A new bread map from Tesco of consumers’ buying habits around the UK explodes some myths about regional tastes.Although white bread is more popular further north and brown bread is more widely bought in the south, Tesco store data reveals that the area with the highest demand for ’upmarket’ bread is Tyneside.Geordies buy more bread with added ingredients, such as wholegrain and cranberry, malted wheat and sunflower, and sunflower and pumpkin seed. Meanwhile residents of Cheltenham – known for its ladies college and Regency town houses – buy the most standard white sliced bread.Tesco bakery category manager Andrew Brocklehurst said that five years ago most people were happy with either a basic white or brown loaf, but tastes now change from area to area.”The diversity of British bread tastes these days is simply astounding and we must now be reckoned to be the world’s bread connoisseurs,” said Brocklehurst. “Travel has become cheaper, especially to Europe, and more people have begun to try out the wide range of breads available on the Continent.”Tesco also found that residents of Edinburgh buy the most Irish soda bread in the UK, while more German rye bread is bought in Manchester than anywhere else. British traditional loaves sell best in northern England with bloomers most popular in Sheffield, Brighton has the biggest bagel- eating population and Bristol residents can’t get enough tortillas.Brocklehurst added: “Britain has a style to suit every age group, taste and occasion.”
International savoury ingredients and flavourings expert Synergy (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire) has developed an innovative range of authentic curry pastes for ready meals, soups, sauces, flavoured breads and mayonnaises and ethnic snacks.The pastes provide a solution for reproducing authentic curry tastes, eliminating the need for multiple spices and ingredients, says the firm. The range consists of the most popular Indian curry flavours, including mild curry, biryani, tandoori, Madras, Balti, rogan josh and korma, as well as new Thai Red, Green and Mussaman curries.
This is our last issue of 2006 and I hope all of you are having a busy and prosperous Christmas period.At the National Association of Master Bakers’ conference in May, president Shirley Ryder spoke in her keynote address of the pride she and her husband, Graham, felt on 1 December when all the Christmas displays and products were ready, followed by the panicky thought: “But will they sell?” In Shirley’s case, I’m sure they are.But I hope, too, that your shop assistants are informing everyone of your Christmas treats and greeting customers with a big Christmas smile.In this week’s issue we have an article on a wonderful cakemaker, Michelle Turner, who likes to be known as Mich (pg 18). Her Christmas Tree is on the front cover. She makes cakes for everyone, ranging from HRH Prince Charles to actress Emma Thompson and the winners of Strictly Come Dancing. Her book, Spectacular Cakes, will make a good Christmas present for some of my friends, but where I fear they may just be inspired, many of you will have the talent to fulfil similar ideas.One of the new features we are introducing is Meet the Buyer – a supermarket buyer for bakery or cakes. We kick off with Drew Tiffin of Asda, who is ideally qualified because he literally swapped sides – from supplier to buyer (pg 16). If you have wondered what it takes to supply the supermarkets, then discover what Drew desires from you! What is really key is bringing new and existing products to the shop floor and, importantly, into customers’ trolleys.Also this week, we take a quick look back at the year and some of its major stories (pg 24). I am always amazed at how much news takes place in this industry – and we report it weekly!But I cannot close without mentioning the editorial team: Hayley our reporter, who has just passed her probation with flying colours; Andrew our features writer, who makes many of the most interesting visits (yes, we get jealous!); Anne our deputy editor; and Philip our art editor. And if you can’t find too many spelling mistakes that’s thanks to our part-time subeditors – Ellie and Patrick. From all of us, to all of you, a very merry Christmas!
“This year will be the year when demand for healthier eating options will push demand for nuts, dried fruit and seeds to all time high levels,” said RM Curtis’ trading director Mark Setterfield in its new report – Edible Nuts & Dried Fruit, Dec 2006-Jan 2007.He explained: “Although increased demand may also push prices to higher levels, this trend is unlikely to prevent buyers in Western Europe and in the UK from, albeit begrudgingly, paying the increased levels, as their own demand increases.”Walnuts are now a relatively cheap option within the tree nut sector and so any price decline for 2007 seems extremely unlikely, he said. Meanwhile, cashew prices are starting to look attractive against pecans, almonds, hazels, pistachios and macadamias. “It may be a mistake to look at historical demand without considering this emerging rise in interest for natural and healthy eating options,” said Setterfield. The price of hazels should remain firm into 2007, he added.January was typically a quiet time in the sultana calendar, whereas there is an Easter demand for currants. “We would also expect an increase in demand for apricots from within the UK and mainland Europe as they feature more prevalently within food manufacture and snacking mixes,” added Setterfield.RM Curtis is an importer, trader and packer of nuts, dried fruit and other dried products, based in London and Essex
The combination of chocolate and poppy seeds may sound odd, but these biscuits are great, not too sweet and with a lovely crunchy texture. Poppy seeds are not widely used in traditional British bakery or cookery, although their nutty crunch has long been recognised by bakers in Eastern Europe.This recipe comes from a book edited by Elizabeth Craig, Cookery Illustrated and Household Management, which was published in 1936. The original recipe suggests adding the grated chocolate towards the end of the mixing but this makes them an unattractive speckly grey. They look better if you melt the chocolate in the hot milk. Makes 150-175 biscuits 600g poppy seeds750ml milk300g dark chocolate600g butter600g sugar800g flour25g ground cloves15g ground cinnamon700g currants 1. Heat the milk. Pour it over the poppy seeds and leave them to soak.2. Chop up the chocolate and put this in the hot milk and poppy seed mixture to melt.3. In another bowl beat the butter and sugar to a cream.4. Stir in the flour, sifted with the cloves and cinnamon.5. Add the currants and the chocolate poppy seeds mixture.6. Drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto buttered and floured baking tins.7. Bake for 20 minutes in a moderate 180?C, then cool on a rack.
British Baker’s latest online poll suggests bakers are concerned that the skills shortage is the biggest issue facing the industry in 2008.So far, some 48% of respondents highlighted skills shortage as their biggest concern, with 24% saying their biggest worry was the rising cost of ingredients. Competition from larger rivals was the main worry of 19% and the burden of regulation and legislation of 10%.To take part in the poll, which will remain live throughout this month, log onto [http://www.bakeryinfo.co.uk]
A new pie company has launched in the UK. The Great Australian Pie company is manufacturing a range of eight pies, created by a leading Australian chef, Ben O’Donohue.The pies are being made under licence by Wrights Pies, based in Crewe. Targeted at the retail sector, they contain only British ingredients and are clean label with no artificial colours or flavours.After two years of trials at sports grounds and music festivals the pies, which use a shortcrust pastry top and bottom, are said to be richer, heavier and harder than the crumblier and softer version in the UK, holding their shape well. The pies have 30% meat content with the beef and lamb sourced in Dumfries & Galloway.Business development director Steve Hamer said: “They can be delivered chilled or frozen baked and come in eight flavours. These include Peppered Steak, Thai Chicken, Veggie and the classic Aussie pie called Footy, which is minced chuck steak, onions and organic spices in a rich gravy.”All the pies come in 265g, except the Footy at 220g.
Britvic and PepsiCo have announced that Pepsi will be incorporating quick-response (QR) codes across its brand in a bid to provide entertainment on-the-go. Using mobile phone technology, the codes, which will appear on more than 400 million packs, will enable consumers to gain access to content provided by Pepsi via the WAP service on their phones.The two-dimensional codes work by acting as a conduit between print and web through the use of mobile phone camera technology. Using a QR code reader (available free on the web), consumers can take a picture of the on-pack code, which will then direct them to the entertainment. The content will include: seminars by Pepsi’s very own tongue-in-cheek life coach, Rusty Champion; popular games including Pro Evolution Soccer and Project Gotham racing; ringtones; wallpapers; and Pepsi’s view of the best of the web. The codes will appear on all major packs across Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max.[http://www.pepsi.co.uk]