McDougalls Doughnut & Bun Mix

first_imgSince not all bakers have time to make hot cross buns from scratch, RHM Foodservice (Reading) offers the McDougalls Doughnut & Bun Mix.The mix requires the addition of water, currants, mixed peel and mixed spice. It can then be shaped into rounds and a cross piped on top, before baking and glazing. Coral Rose, marketing manager, says: “McDougalls Doughnut & Bun Mix is a yeast-based mix that is convenient and easy to use, giving authentic and consistent results every time, while also retaining that much desired freshly baked taste that customers expect.”When Easter is over, McDougalls Doughnut & Bun Mix can be used to create a range of doughnuts from ring to jam-filled or glazed, adds Ms Rose.The mix is available in 4 x 3.5kg bags per case with a 92 x 57g pack yield, says the manufacturer.last_img read more

Scholarships build young bakers’ skills

first_imgStuart Gibbs of Oliver Adams and Lucy Williamson of Janes Pantry both enjoyed an all-expenses paid, one-week placement with a member company of the British Confectioners Association (BCA) in January for winning scholarships under its Baking Excellence scheme. Mr Gibbs completed his placement at Waterfields (Leigh). He spent the majority of his time there studying the production of pastry and savoury goods. Ms Williamson, an experienced confectioner, widened her knowledge of other bakery processes, particularly fermented products, at Simmons (Bakers) in Hatfield. Both were commended for their enthusiasm and willingness to broaden their experience on returning to their respective employers.last_img read more

MPs back bill for local communities

first_imgA Sustainable Communities Bill, which sets out to protect high street retailers, was backed by 175 votes to 17 at its second reading at the House of Commons last week.The Bill, sponsored by Conservative MP Nick Hurd, aims to give local communities powers to tackle social, economic and environmental decline. Among the measures it is promoting are availability of local shops and access for communities to food adequate in quality and nutritional value.The Bill now goes to the Com-mittee Stage in March, and is scheduled to have its third reading around April. It is currently supported by 80 national organisations, 300 local organisations and over 1,000 parish and town councils.Meanwhile, The Competition Commission (CC) said that, so far, it has found “food and drink manufacturers and processors, as well as wholesalers to be in reasonable shape”, in an update on its review of the UK grocery market this week.In its Emerging Thinking document, it summarises evidence gathered on areas such as the supply chain, planning and land banks (undeveloped land). Related issues brought to the CC’s attention have included the character of town centres and the ’high street’ and the need for thriving rural and urban communities.It comments that there is no clear evidence that supermarket buying power is reducing supplier innovation and is still examining the ’waterbed effect’ – whether smaller retailers are paying higher prices to suppliers than larger retailers. Its investigation shows that Tesco holds most undeveloped land, but that other retailers are actively increasing their holdings.The CC, which started its inquiry in May 2006, will concentrate on retailer competition over the next few months, looking for evidence of below-cost selling and price flexing. It is required to publish its final report by 8 May 2008, but is aiming to do so ahead of schedule in November 2007.last_img read more

Budding bakers pick up prizes

first_imgBakery students submitted some 694 entries, in bread and confectionery categories, including Live Piping, Innovation and Morning Goods, at the student conference in Blackpool last weekend.Winners included Ian Sutherland from Blackburn, who picked up the Horton Trophy and Sarah Hughes from Leicester who won the Gerry Cup.Supplier and conference suppor-ter California Raisins announced the results of its Future Baker awards at the conference, with a team from Tameside College, Manchester, winning a trip to the Richemont School in Switzerland.last_img read more

Beyond the muffin

first_imgB B’s Coffee and Muffins may be best known for its handmade and fresh-baked muffins, but the expanding franchise operation now sells a whole lot more besides – and its doors are wide open to suppliers.In the 11 years since BB’s Coffee & Muffins opened its first UK café in Maidenhead, the chain has grown, not only in size, but also in the spread of its food and drink offering. Muffins, as the firm’s name suggests, still form the mainstay of sales throughout the chain’s 180-odd cafés, and around 18,000 sweet and savoury muffins are baked daily from fresh each month. But they now jostle for space with a whole range of other sweet bakery products, including breakfast pastries, cookies, cakes, brownies and scones. These sit alongside savoury pastries, sausage rolls, pizza baguettes, sandwiches, bread bowls filled with hearty soup, and hot panini melts – not to mention the one million-plus fresh-filled baguettes that are sold every year – and, before you ask, egg mayonnaise is the top selling flavour. To wash them down, there’s also the choice of blended iced coffees, milkshakes and smoothies, and for the sweet-toothed: ice cream, frozen yoghurts and sorbets.== Franchise model ==The BB’s business model, which originates from Australia, is primarily a franchised estate, with around 95% of shops now franchised and 70-plus franchise partners in place. This model has allowed BB’s to grow into the fifth-largest coffee-focused food chain in the UK, the number one in shopping centres and the 10th-largest coffee chain in Europe. But, with more franchising opportunities available, particularly in Ireland, and a stated aim of having 200 cafés by the end of this year, it is clear BB’s is not just looking to appeal to tired shoppers seeking a five-minute break. New product development and range innovation also have the crucial task of attracting would-be franchisees to the company.Bakery accounts for around 35% of BB’s total sales, and bake-off items for around a quarter of that. For Michele Young, who heads up all retail operations, including the company’s buying, the most vital ingredient in any new product is that it can fulfil the core BB’s brand proposition. This is that products have to be ’made fresh today’ and be sold at a price that generates satisfactory margins for franchisees. She explains: “Suppliers must understand that our franchisees have to make money. A product has to tick the boxes for the business model we operate.”Products also have to be right for the typical BB’s customer, which Young, BB’s retail and brands director, describes as “very mainstream, very mid-market”. She says: “So, you may well offer a fantastic flavour or filling, but it still needs to be something that our customers want to eat.”== Limited space ==Products also have to be operationally suitable for the stores, which can be compact and can have limited equipment or storage at their disposal. Overly complicated production also increases labour costs, which contradicts the aims of the BB’s profitable franchising model, Young warns. It is worth noting that operational failure is the most common reason why trialled products fail to secure an ongoing listing.But, tick the right boxes and it’s likely you’ll get a good reception. BB’s prides itself on its new product development and ability to react quickly to market needs. On the muffin side alone, each year, BB’s serves at least 28 flavours – and that’s aside from the 12 ’Muffin of the Month’ recipes. The seasons, as well as festivals, such as Christmas, all provide impetus for new product development, as does feedback from team meetings, franchisees and current suppliers. Customer feedback, whether via the website or via in-store sampling, is also crucial to a product’s success. “Get a positive opinion on whether a product is priced correctly, or if the taste or portion size is right and there’s an 80% chance of making it to a listing,” Young says.== Speculative offers ==Competitors’ offerings are also taken into serious consideration. As Young explains: “What starts off as innovation can quickly become mainstream, and that’s when customers start to expect to see it as part of your offering.” The same goes for speculative information, especially if it is posted rather than emailed. Around one in five speculative offers ends up in a trial or a listing, Young estimates, although timing can make a big difference to success or failure. Seasonal goods are often developed half a year in advance; so while it may seem odd to be talking about Christmas in July, it may be exactly what is needed. Category reviews – which happen on a quarterly basis – are also a good time for new suppliers to catch Young’s eye and market trends, whether in favour or against a product, are key barometers of likely success; currently, traditional, comforting, homemade recipes are in vogue, especially if there is a modern ’twist’. A prime example is BB’s new Yorkshire Pudding Wrap with roast beef, which has trialled successfully in several stores.Young is also aware of moves to achieve greater health awareness, and ingredients provenance, although in bakery, in particular, there is still a lot of space for indulgence/treating yourself.Describing herself as “a people person”, someone who likes dealing with dynamic and innovative individuals, and who actually enjoys eating muffins on almost a daily basis, Young is clearly open to hearing from new suppliers. But, she is also adamant that any would-be supplier should have done their homework before talking to her.She says: “Suppliers need to know who they are talking to. You should have at least visited our stores, and you should know who our BB’s customers are. You should also have some supporting rationale as to why you think your product is better than our current offer, and why it should replace another line or ingredient.”—-=== BB’s fact file ===l BB’s Coffee & Muffins opened its first store in the UK in 1997 and now serves over 50,000 customers a day in its cafés across the UK and Irelandl Its cafés break down as follows: company-owned – 17; town centre carts – 10; franchised – 115; Ireland company owned – 20; Ireland franchised – 11; Northern Ireland company-owned – 2; NI franchised – 4l Top-selling muffin: Sticky Toffeel The company sells over one million baguettes each year and the top flavour is egg mayonnaisel Each year, its customers drink the equivalent of two Olympic-sized swimming pools of coffee, mostly cappuccinoslast_img read more

Coffee, the Italian way

first_imgLast month saw the London opening of an Italian coffee chain that harbours ambitions to reassert Italy’s easily overlooked status as the godfather of espresso – since its position was usurped around the globe by Starbucks and its bastard (in the nicest possible way) offspring. I know what you’re thinking: “Great, that’s just what the UK needs, another branded coffee chain.”But to Ca’ppucino’s founder Giacomo Moncalvo, this venture is not about shouldering your way into a crowded marketplace and shouting “Me too!” Instead, he’s on a mini-mission to remind people what the Italian coffee bar experience is all about.And who can blame him? Starbucks’ seeds were sewn when CEO Howard Schultz visited Milan in 1982 and returned to the US with a mission to transform his coffee bean stores into espresso cafés; in an ironic twist, it has since begun colonising Italy.By and large, the domestic Italian coffee scene is, and always has been, dominated by independent bars. Bearing in mind most Italians’ suspicion of coffee chains, it’s an achievement in itself that the Ca’puccino brand has rolled out five stores in Italy over three years.While many coffee chains have an Italian ring to them (think Costa, Caffè Nero, Ritazza), Maria Chiara Bonazzi, who worked as project manager for the Harrods launch on behalf of consultant Barabino & Partners UK, says the Ca’puccino concept stands apart, because it goes all guns blazing to hammer home its Italian credentials, rather than offer an Americanised version of coffee-drinking.”The fact that they’ve managed to do four and they’re doing so well means there’s something quite special about the product,” she says. “There’s a bit of a mission behind it: to give the experience of how a proper espresso is supposed to be drunk from an Italian perspective, not an American perspective. The Italians have always been very good at the staples of great food, pasta, pizza and coffee. But once the family tradition is gone, the company doesn’t move forward. Ca’puccino is actually trying to export a family concept.”With Starbucks on 16,000 stores, that battle is probably lost, even though the numbers are dwindling in the US. Even so, the firm is keen to export the brand outside of Italy, and the first UK branch is seen as a toe-dipping exercise into foreign markets. “How far they go depends on many things,” explains Bonazzi. “It’s very hard to decide where to draw the line between expansion and compromising your product.”Many firms tout the ’no compromise on quality’ line, but with Ca’puccino, you suspect they may have it tattooed across their chests. Every food item you see there has been developed by one person, and one person only – head of food research Roberto Quaglia – who takes a scarily fanatical approach to NPD.Every single product is an original variety, taking around 18 months or more to develop – per product. All the patisserie and bread used in sandwiches is exclusive to Ca’puccino. “What you eat here, you can only buy in one of our stores in Italy, and nowhere else,” says Moncalvo. “The chef has an obsession – it can take him up to three years to develop one product; for one sandwich he developed, it took him 18 months to decide on the right bread.”As such, the marketer’s gospel of ’know thy customer’ flew out of the window, as he admits not having researched British tastes, instead hoping a cosmopolitan customer base would embrace the totally Italian offer. “We’ve tried to make a real Italian chain,” says Moncalvo. “And I like to try out real Italian products here. We find all the typical recipes from Alba, from Naples, from Torrino, from Milano, Capri, Mantova and recreated them. When Harrods approached me, I decided, absolutely, not to change the offer.”He doesn’t compromise on price either, with an eat-in panini costing a platinum card-sapping £5.90-£8.90 – fine for a Harrods shopper but a barrier to mass-market appeal. For the time being, though, he’s happy to see how the Harrods basement store pans out before looking for another site. “London is very competitive – everywhere there is coffee,” he says. “There will be an expansion, but we’re never going to be a Starbucks.”Not that he’s intimidated by the vast competition here. “In Genoa, there are 23 coffee bars within 1km, so it’s nothing!”—-=== The brief ===Harrods approached Ca’puccino with a view to bringing an authentic Italian cafeteria concept to London. This struck a chord with the firm’s ambitions to develop a chain, both in Italy and abroad. The existing outlets are located in shopping malls in Italy, and the first overseas outlet was the first to be situated in a top-end department store. This had to be executed without compromising the obsessive standards of the Italian-made products.—-=== The execution ===Following a year of negotiation with Harrods, Ca’puccino had four weeks to create the store at a cost of £450,000. It followed its own design scheme, based on coffee and milk colours, as seen back home. All furniture was produced bespoke for its branches. The effect, they say, is to “give customers the impression of entering a soft, creamy, enveloping cappuccino”. Ca’puccino rents the space and will pay an additional royalty if it exceeds its projected turnover of £750,000.—-=== Vital statistics ===History: The brainchild of 33-year-old Giacomo Moncalvo, an entrepreneur who developed the concept after opening his first coffee bar in his mid-1920s, the Ca’puccino chain was launched in 2005 and has developed four outlets in Serravella Scrivia near Milan, Barberino di Mugello near Florence, Castel Romano near Rome and Genoa’s historical centre. The company is self-financingProducts: The menu was researched region by region throughout Italy over three years pre-launch; each of the sandwiches is named after an Italian city and is based on a local recipe – the regional theme runs across all products, designed to give a “giro d’Italia” (a Grand Tour of taste). Pastries are flown in pre-proved and frozen, while an impressive range of ice cream is made on siteTwists: The coffee in the Harrods branch is made by Italian cappuccino-making champion Mariano Semino (see pg 38 for his tips) and includes 12 espressos, spiked with, for example, pure chestnut or hazelnut paste, or made into drinkable tiramisu or panna cotta coffeeStandards: Moncalvo keeps his ingredients suppliers on their toes, insisting he won’t hesitate to switch tracks if there is any slipping of standards. He is not tied to any of the big coffee suppliers, and has developed his own blend made with five kinds of single-origin Arabica. “It is important to me that, tomorrow, I could change my blend, that I’m not tied to a factory and I can adapt to the market. In Italy, a lot of the bars are tied to coffee or croissant distributors and the quality is going down.”last_img read more

Co-op bakery decision hits Inbake employees

first_imgSupermarket in-store bakery (ISB) company Inbake has been forced to make around 80 people redundant in the past year, after its main customer – the Co-operative Group – decided to bring its ISB operation in-house.Keith Bentley, co-director of East Sussex-based Inbake, said that eight ISBs and 10 satellite units at Co-op stores across the country had closed down in the past year, with around 80 job losses. Inbake’s last ISB with the Co-op closed in Northern Ireland in November. The company still operates an in-store bakery for Somerfield in Margate.“It was very disappointing to close these profitable bakeries and lose so many highly skilled bakers that may never return to the trade,” said Bentley. “Unfortunately for Inbake, the Co-op’s strategy has changed over the years to trading from smaller stores, which they feel would be more suitable for bake-off rather than full scratch bakeries.”Previously part of Bakery Services, Inbake was acquired with the Don Millers bakery retail and franchise business in a £50,000 management buy-out by Keith Bentley and David Drury in January 2008.last_img read more

In my world

first_imgIf even one, tiny, undeclared enzyme in your body is interested in the future of bread and baking, then your internal buzzer will be going off. This alarm trills louder and louder until answers are found. At the end of last year, I attended the first Rise of Real Bread Conference. A veritable fermenta levain of well-cultured interested parties assembled, a throng of approximately 150 souls, each having parted with £38 or at the very least a whole Saturday, to consider the future of bread.As I travelled from the steep-sided valley of my home to Oxford, I considered the potential benefits of a British Baker press pass and surmised that, at best, the hay bales for sitting on would have had the thistles removed.There was much talk of stalks, ancient grains, medieval thatches and soil. Real bread has risen to meet the needs of increasing numbers unable to eat commercial bread: those looking for an alternative to bread that has been made with modern wheat and is significantly nutritionally depleted or has been depleted so much by high extraction milling that, by law, fortification is needed those loaves robbed of benefit by massively shortened fermentation.As an industry, we have a propensity to pander to the absurd gratification of a misguided eye. Coeliacs are among those who pay the high price of cheap bread and this is only the tip of a gross food mountain. As a society we should be focusing on improving bread for its natural health-giving qualities and taste, rather than using it as we do for mass medication through fortification.If you were to provoke me into putting it into a wet walnut shell, I would lean out of my agro-forestry tree and exclaim… “There is strength in diversity!” To feed all the people that are ever to live in the world, to the highest nutritious and gastronomic standard, we need to sever the strings that bind us to the economic dogma of the agrochemical industry and their graph-sucking numpties who perpetuate this destructive, centralising, monoculturesque unsustainable bleak reality. We must stop dancing to their prattler rave and claim back the land to husbandry and the kind of farming that is truly sustainable. One salient claim made at the conference was that 10 times the number of farmers will be needed in this country to fulfil the visionary prophecy.I’ll expand on this event in a future issue of BB. As a sneak preview, one of my highlights and belly laugh of the day went to Andrew Whitley’s anecdote of a three-month-old ’good as new’ crustless loaf, which was eventually spoiled by a mouse that mostly ate the plastic wrapper!last_img read more

Occupational health advisors

first_imgThere are many ways an occupational health advisor can assist your business, such as helping you reduce short-term sickness absence levels. But what else can they do and how much might their services cost?Occupational health is “the study of the working environment on human health”. Any individual who practices as an occupational health advisor (OHA) must have medical qualifications. Most are nurses, but in order to work in this field they must have further specialised qualifications in occupational health.As well as being reactive to certain issues for example long-term sickness absence, or helping employees who have a disability and require reasonable adjustments an OHA can take on a central and proactive role in reducing short-term sickness absence levels for example, preventing stomach upsets and musculo-skeletal disorders, both common causes of time off.For smaller employers an OHA with a nursing background is usually sufficient. However, there are a few areas where a doctor is required for example, if work involves lead or ionising radiation.OHAs are also often asked to review fit notes; their input is particularly beneficial where a GP’s recommendations seem too expensive, impractical to implement, or where a second opinion is required.Try to find an OHA through personal recommendation for example by asking anyone you know in a firm with its own occupational health department. Other options are to contact your local NHS hospital and speak to the occupational health manager or look for a local provider via the internet. But always insist on seeing proof of qualifications.Fees vary according to where you are based and whether you contract for a subscription service or simply use them on a pay-as-you-go basis. But expect to pay around £250-£300 for a half-day visit to your premises and £550-£600 for a full day.last_img read more

LaPorte man arrested for burglary, stealing squad car

first_imgIndianaLocalNews Twitter Pinterest Twitter WhatsApp Pinterest Google+ TAGS250 to 400 square feetarrestburglaryIndianaJacob DefeliceMichigan Citypolice carsquad carstolen By Brooklyne Beatty – September 1, 2020 0 420 center_img (Photo Supplied/Michigan City Police Department) A LaPorte man was arrested twice Friday after stealing a Michigan City squad car during his first arrest.Jacob Defelice, 29, was first arrested Friday afternoon after police responded to reports of a burglary on Manhattan Street. WSBT reports he was arrested after a short foot chase.During his arrest, Defelice was placed in the back seat of a police car wearing handcuffs. He was then able to get his handcuffs to the front of his body, climb into the driver’s seat and drive away.He was captured by officers a short time later and now faces charges for both pursuits. Google+ Previous articleSouth Bend Medical Foundation in need of blood donationsNext articleBenton Harbor man hospitalized and facing charges after boating accident Brooklyne Beatty Facebook Facebook WhatsApp LaPorte man arrested for burglary, stealing squad carlast_img read more