Shopping centre coffee operator BB’s Coffee & Muffins is preparing to extend its healthy range including new healthy sandwiches over the course of the year.The first new product, launched this month is a low-fat, low-sodium Cranberry and Orange muffin for customers on a low-fat diet, made from a mix supplied by Dawn Foods.General manager Michele Young said: “Increasingly we are being asked for a healthy eating muffin option in our cafés. Our customers still seek indulgent treats and so we have worked with our supply partners, Dawn Foods, to create a muffin with all the flavour and characteristics that our customers expect, but with lower fat and sodium content.”BB’s already offers a range of salads, wraps, smoothies and natural ice cream, frozen yoghurt and fat-free sorbets at its 126 outlets.The new muffin will contain 3% fat and less than 300mg of sodium per 100g.
Nestlé FoodServices’ (Croydon, Surrey) warm-and-serve Bakery Cookies have been joined by two limited-edition flavours – Sticky Toffee and Oatmeal & Raisin.The branded warmer, which is designed to sit on a counter top, features sloping shelves and can hold up to 27 cookies. The cookies are supplied in cases of 48 and they should be warmed for 30 minutes. The warmer costs £108, plus VAT.Product can be kept in the warmer for up to four hours. Nestlé FoodServices says the cookies have a soft centre and crisp outside.The two new flavours complement the core range of Classic Choc Chip, White Choc Chip, Macadamia Nut and Triple Choc Chip.
The phrase ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ is a common cliché. But what if you didn’t know what you could have, would you still want it? This apparent paradox underscores a recent shopper panel study, which asked whether people were really happy with the product range at their supermarket in-store bakery (ISB). An emphatic ‘yes’ was the reply from most – that is until picture cards of some of the wondrous breads sold by overseas retailers (but not in the UK) were flashed before them. This lead to hopeful cries of: “Where can we buy them?” Research into the category from ingredients manufacturer Puratos shows ISBs are falling short of shoppers’ expectations. Insights gleaned – and the key findings apply equally to industrial and craft bakeries – include a call for more diversity in breads and an unfulfilled desire for impulse products.Puratos undertook a series of nine focus groups and ‘accompanied shops’ with customers at Tesco and Sainsbury’s to give a snapshot of how consumers categorise the typical supermarket bakery offering. The groups were shown distinctive breads from across the world as a counterpoint to commonplace UK products. “People just went mad, asking ’Where can I buy these products?’” recalls Matt Crumpton, Puratos UK’s sales and marketing manager.But the British public is traditionally conservative when it comes to parting with their cash. Although impressed by an exotic offering, is there a danger they will still put the same old tried-and-tested staples into their baskets? “True, but we found there’s no point having these new products just stuck on the shelves because people will walk past them; they’re almost scared of them,” answers Crumpton. “They wanted these products, but they wouldn’t buy them unless the communication and merchandising material was there.”Emotional attachmentThe knowledge found in deli, cheese and rotisserie counter staff, point-of-sales material and samples to taste were all found sorely lacking in ISBs, meaning the strong emotional attachment that people instinctively feel towards the bakery is being under-exploited. “There’s a very strong engagement with bakery, but people want more out of it; they want more theatre,” he says.Shoppers understand ciabatta, they almost get focaccia, but anything else and they will want to know what to eat it with, where it is from and what it tastes like. Tradition, origin, health benefits and serving suggestions could all be flagged up to encourage customers to buy. Most people recognise that wholegrain is good for you, for example, but ask them why and they will scratc their heads. So information needs to spell things out in simple terms, avoiding the jargon surrounding many health claims To garner a greater understanding of the customer’s decision-making process, how they structure their shop and what motivates their purchases, opinions given on various products were mapped according to perceived ‘need states’. These included: ‘treat’ – where people indulge guilt-free; ‘show-off’ – to impress others; ‘diversity’ – trying something different; ‘bonding’ – such as family occasions; ‘comfort’ – a pick-me-up; and ‘functional’ – the convenient, everyday foods. Time to show off So what product gaps did this highlight? “There is a gap for ‘show-off’ in ISBs,” says Crumpton. On the cakes front, there was a similar feeling that few products were hitting the target. The current offer of éclairs, scones with cream or fruit tarts simply did not impress; even a tarte au citron was perceived by some respondents as “just a fancy cheesecake” – hardly enough to impress guests at a dinner party. The underlying message was that there are few credible cakes and desserts in ISBs that meet the emerging trend for indulgence. “People kept citing time and again the branded, nicely packaged, Gü-type products, saying ‘I could pass this off as my own’,” he says. While these are shelved among the chilled desserts, the sweet ranges in the ISB are changed too infrequently with little to excite, they thought. And there is too much cream on display, where there could be glazed or fruited items.Meanwhile, the idea of pre-ordering products for special occasions was greeted enthusiastically, with people prepared to pay anything up to £20 per cake. Selfridges-style high-end patisserie products “really got people excited”, while there were calls for an overhaul of the patisserie counter. And interestingly, people saw the on-shelf sponge cakes and cake-bar products as more suited to the biscuits section than the ISB – an insight which could open up room for other speciality bakery items.But it was the bread offer, not the cakes that attracted people into the bakery. So what else would help shoppers upgrade to buying speciality goods? The ‘anchor’ products, such as French sticks, must be in stock, says Crumpton. And freshness is paramount. “People want to see what’s going on in the bakery, the warmness of the ovens, the smell and the texture of the bread,” he says. Packaging contradictions Responses on packaging were more confused, with ‘naked’ breads preferred over cellophane, but at the same time loaves exposed to mucky fingers brought hygiene worries. Distinctive packaging, such as La Brea’s sourdoughs, which are baked off in-store and come in branded bags, however, successfully taps into that ‘show-off’ element, notes Crumpton. “Plastic packaging almost dampens people’s illusions about these ‘wow’ breads. But if you take it out of the packaging and put it in a nice wicker basket, there’s the perception that it’s made by the guy out back.”But are the more unusual Continental breads ever going to sell in big enough volumes to attract the multiples? “Supermarkets are going to get a much higher margin for these products,” reasons Crumpton. “If retailers get the communication right, we could see more speciality products becoming mainstream, as ciabatta and naan have already done.” WeekendersPuratos’ study reinforced the difference in buying behaviour between the week and weekend. Single- and dual-income households with no kids spend little time indulging in bakery products during the week, limiting their consumption to morning toast and lunchtime sandwiches. But the weekend is more about indulgence, slowing down and taking time to appreciate more luxurious bakery products.Younger families will buy bakery products to share and to cater for children’s fads. Older families will purchase a wider variety of baked goods and make more frequent shopping trips. Meanwhile, so-called ‘empty nesters’ – who are retired and whose children have left home – take the ‘every day is a weekend’ approach to food shopping. They are health- and diet-conscious, eat smaller portions, and can afford more treats over frequent shopping trips.“Customers are saying that they shop differently from the weekend to the week,” says Crumpton. “There is a logistics issue to get over, but in an ideal world you would have a range of products that are proven to sell during the week. And at the weekend you would slightly change that offer to suit the various need states, such as when people want to slow down and explore new breads.”Puratos at a glanceInternational: The family-owned Puratos Group is based in Belgium. Founded in 1919, the firm now has 89 companies in 53 countries, with 55 manufacturing sites, employing 4,500 staff worldwide, with a turnover over £530m. UK subsidiary: Started in the 1980s and now based in Buckingham. Two years ago Puratos restructured to simplify its business into three units – Bakery, Patisserie and Chocolate. UK turnover: £30m+UK staff: 100+Products: Bakery – bread improvers and mixes, flavours, enzymes and emulsifiers; Patisserie – confectionery mixes, fillings, glazes, icings, fudges and ganaches, margarines and fats; Chocolate – Belcolade real Belgian couverture and compound coatings.Key pointsThere are signs of consumer disengagement from the bakery category, although most are satisfied with the current offerShoppers say the in-store category is crowded and confusedPeople wanted products to be split up more in line with different occasions, such as weekend indulgence or to show off to guests‘Show-off’ breads are a key area of interest but product types remain undefinedNew bread formats need to be introduced carefully if they are to have impact, but could support a ‘super-premium’ fixtureAmbient cakes are perceived as boring and functionalShoppers want ‘show-off’ patisserie in the ISB – a market currently being tapped by dessert brands such as GüThere is a strong desire for high-end single portions, and those with the look and feel of products found on the ContinentShoppers want a patisserie counter – but not in its current format. There is a lack of change and innovation on the counterA lot of the products on display are the same colour, which people found boringPre-ordering for specific occasions is of real interest
The National Association of Master Bakers (NA) has announced that its annual conference will be held on the first Bank Holiday in May in Harrogate.The event will take place 4-7 May at the Majestic Hotel, with entertainment including a Disney-themed evening, comedians, soul and jazz singers, casino tables and a cocktail party. The NA’s annual general meeting wil be held on the Sunday morning.At the conference, president Shirley Ryder will be succeeded by the NA’s 113th national president, Mike Holling, retail operations manager of Birds of Derby.
has launched a fruit flapjack into shops across north-west England to raise money for its 2008 Local Hero campaign. For each flapjack sold, Greenhalgh’s will give 5p to a fund that will help several charities in the region. The first of these charities, The Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team, helped get Greenhalgh’s campaign under way, outside its Bank Street shop, Warrington.
Products from Welsh bakers Lewis Pies will soon be seen on Spanish supermarket shelves, after a deal was struck with supermarket chain Carrefour.Swansea-based Lewis Pies makes pies, pasties and savoury products which will be now be available through Carrefour – one of Europe’s largest supermarket chains. The family-run bakers exhibited at the Alimentaria International food and drink exhibition in Barcelona in March this year, under the Welsh Assembly Government’s International Business Wales (IBW) and True Taste banner, attracting interest from foreign companies.Nine products from Lewis Pies ‘bake off’ range have been ordered by Carrefour, including Cornish pasties, sausage rolls and lamb oggies – a lamb and vegetable pasty.Company secretary Pat Lewis said: “We are thrilled to be going into Carrefour, we already export to customers in southern Spain and Lanzarotte through Euro Foods, but after attending Alimentaria we have picked up contracts in Malaga, Majorca and Tenerife.” “We are now looking to develop our market in the Canary Islands and the Balearics. Alimentaria opened so many doors for us, we even had interest from Peru. Apparently our Cornish pasty is very much like a product they enjoy in South America but cannot re-produce.”
Dawn Foods will be on hand at Bakers’ Fair North to keep hunger pangs at bay, by offering a cake and a hot cup of something to every visitor. Dawn are sponsoring the refreshments section of the show, which is the UK’s only autumn exhibition for bakery companies, cafés and coffee shops, and will be giving attendees a free cake from its Adore and Sweet Bakery Snacks along with tea or coffee.“This is a great regional event, as decision makers visit the show to make their final buying decisions for 2009 and we are making sure that everyone who attends is refreshed and ready to do business,” said Dave Roberts, Dawn Foods’ national accounts controller UK. “With tea or coffee and one of our sweet bakery products, visitors can have some time to recharge and plan their day.”Organised by British Baker and supported by Norbake, the Fair on 19 October at Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium will give visitors the opportunity to generate all sorts of business tips as well as new product and recipe ideas. It has also been designed to provide a one-stop shop for Christmas planning and one-to-one conversations with key suppliers of flour and ingredients, finished goods, food-to-go solutions, equipment and ancillary items.To book a free ticket to the event, phone 01792 365906 or for more information visit www.bakersfair.co.uk.
Pineapples grow in Brazil, Paraguay, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Thailand, the Philippines and Africa. They are so-called because of their resemblance to pine cones.Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down protein and is used to tenderise meat. These enzymes stop gelatine setting unless the pineapple juice has been boiled or the fresh pineapple has been cooked. Canned pineapple can also be used with gelatine.Flavours and ingredients that go well with pineapple are, among others, coconut, honey, ginger, mango and bananas. It can be used in savoury pies and pasties with bacon or ham. Also, put pineapple in almond frangipane tarts instead of the more usual apple or pear. Or why not chop it finely and add to grated carrot for cakes or muffins?You can also mix some with coconut and dried mango for a tropical fruit cake and, instead of a traditional upside down cake, make a tarte tatin with pineapple. For a twist on the upside down cake, make it using a sticky gingerbread recipe.In season: They are available all year but are particularly good at these times:Hawaii: peak season April-end MayCaribbean: December-end February and August-end SeptemberFiona Burrell, co-author of Leiths Baking Bible, from the world-famous Leiths School of Food and Wine in London
The future of McCambridge’s Bradford bakery is in doubt as bosses consider a proposal to close the cake manufacturing site at Thornton Road. The McCambridge Group has met with the Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) and has entered a period of formal consultation, which is expected to last a minimum of 30 days.Staff have been warned that 80 jobs may be lost. In a statement issued to staff on Wednesday, 18 March, the firm said the current plan was to consider the transfer of approximately 40 of its 120 employees, with the move of the confectionery line, to its City Road site.Group HR director Nick St John-Moore told British Baker that the Thornton Road bakery had been acquired by McCambridge as part of the Inter Link Foods group, which went into administration in mid-2007. “It was one of Inter Link’s-loss making bakeries,” explained St John-Moore. “We reduced the loss and actually got it back to a state where it was ‘washing its face’, neither losing nor making money, but we’re now faced with the onset of a recession, which has made a lot of difference.” St John-Moore admitted that if the firm were unable to transfer any jobs to City Road, that it would be looking at a worst-case scenario of 120 job losses. “We’re working closely with the union representatives, and we’re by no means committed to closing the site yet,” he said. “We’re still looking at other ways in which we can salvage the whole situation, but it is difficult,” he added. “However, if we have no choice other than to close it, we would certainly hope to salvage at least 40 jobs by transferring them to City Road.”Staff have been told selections for the transfer positions would be done by use of a skills matrix, which has yet to be agreed with the union, but is expected to include an assessment of skills, flexibility and attendance.
A new craft bakery apprenticeship, set up by a group of south west bakers in conjunction with their local college, made the headlines when student Adam Greenaway was named as winning Bakery Apprentice.The Apprenticeship in Craft Baking at The City of Bristol College was launched 18 months ago with help from local bakeries, including Hobbs House Bakery, Catherine’s Patisserie, The Avon Bakehouse and The Bread Store. One of the first students to enrol in the NVQ Level 2 accredited course was Greenaway a trainee baker at Hobbs House who last month won the Bakery Apprentice accolade at the college’s Appren-ticeship Awards.Hobbs House, which has taken on a second apprentice baker this year, was also named Employer of the Year at the event.