Easter is a time for celebration and food is as pivotal to today’s Easter celebrations as those of centuries ago, according to David Astles, trade marketing manager of BakeMark UK (Merseyside). He says that bakers are well placed to reap the rewards from offering luxury simnel cakes, hot cross buns and new takes on traditional favourites, such as mini-egg topped cookies and gingerbread bunnies. Named after the fine flour from which it is made – simila – simnel cake has long been symbolic of Easter. Traditionally topped with 12 balls to represent Jesus and the 11 faithful apostles (Judas is omitted), simnel cake is a rich spiced fruit cake made to celebrate the end of fasting and the start of spring. They can be made with Rich Celebration Cake Mix from the Craigmillar portfolio. The mix is described as easy to use, and produces a fruit cake with a rich texture and good crumb stability. Buns baked on Good Friday are said to have magical powers that ensure they keep for a year. The Arkady range of dough conditioners, including Platinum and Gold rich bun pastes, do not quite boast that long a shelf-life, but do claim to facilitate handling and processing of hot cross buns. Mr Astles adds that customising home-style cookies for Easter is also a good option for bakers.
Walsall resident and native of Bengal Rina Kundu has carried off the latest trophy from Wolverhampton-based Freshway Foods for her Bengal Chicken Do-Piaza Sandwich.Four years ago Alan and Graham Wright, who head Freshway Foods, which supplies sandwiches and fillings to four out of the UK’s top 10 retailers, established the annual Frank Wright Cup. Named in honour of their father, the Cup encourages students at the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure to design creative and innovative sandwich fillings. Student from as far afield as Germany, Taiwan, China, Malaysia and India take part.This year’s winner Rina Kundu originates from Bengal but is now married and living in Walsall. The chicken in her sandwich was marinated overnight in a spicy yoghurt sauce, then browned with onions before being baked in the oven. She presented it in an organic mixed grain roll and accompanied by rocket, baby spinach, lamb’s leaf, cherry tomatoes, homemade chutney and mini popadoms. Joint managing director of Freshway Alan Wright said “The Frank Wright Cup is just one of the ways in which we remember the contribution our father made to what is still a family business. As a responsible local employer, the Cup is a great way for us to be involved with the local community and, at the same time, develop the sandwich makers of tomorrow.”
The baking industry is braced for a debate about who picks up the bill, after experts recommended flour be fortified with folic acid this week.The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s (SACN’s) recommended on Tuesday that mandatory fortification of flour could cut the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida.On the same day, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) launched a consultation on the issue, with four options open to debate – including voluntary measures and mandatory fortification at bread or flour stage. It will make a recommendation to ministers in May 2007, following the consultation.The SACN view, that flour should be fortified, could become law in around May 2008, if backed by the FSA after its consultation.Federation of Bakers’ director Gordon Polson said that if the government did decide to make fortification mandatory it should be done at the milling stage.There were a number of implementation and labelling issues to consider, he said. For example, should fortification be made mandatory through the Bread and Flour Regulations? And should wholemeal or organic flour be covered in any legislation?He said: “There will be cost discussions. How does government plan to meet the costs? Industry should not have to pay for this.”The FSA may still decide to go for a campaign to raise awareness of folic intake, rather than back mandatory fortification, Polson said, but conceded the SACN committee decision did carry weight.National Association of British And Irish Millers’ director general Alex Waugh said millers currently add calcium, iron, thiamine (B1) and niacin to white and brown bread flour, under the 1998 Bread and Flour Regulations.The simplest solution would be to add folic acid at the same time, he said. But if folic acid had to be added to other flours the situation would be more complicated.There was a possibility that extra feeders and an extra mixing stage would be required. The industry would not be willing to pay these costs, he added.The outcome of this consultation will be discussed at the FSA Board meeting in May. The SACN first recommended folic acid be added to flour in 2000, but the government wanted more evidence to support the suggestion.
A growing community of migrant workers, hungry for a taste of home, is fuelling growth in traditional Polish breads while also stimulating interest in traditional eastern European bakery among ’standard white loaf’ Brits.Although still only a footnote in UK bread sales reports, consumption of rye and other loaves indigenous to eastern Europe is on the increase, according to The Polish Bakery in Wembley, London. It is an important enough segment of the market to have persuaded both Asda and Budgens to flag up its products in their London stores.The bakery, which is applying for BRC accreditation, having recently moved to a new 700sq m unit in Abbeyvale, makes half-wheat, half-rye flavoured breads, doughnuts, cheese buns and custard buns, but is planning to extend the range with more traditional recipes, using ingredients sourced from Poland.Set up in 2002 by Romuald Damaz, who comes from a family of award-winning Warsaw bakers, it now employs around 20 staff and is introducing lean manufacturing techniques with the help of the London Manufacturing Advisory Service.Damaz’s business partner Agnes Gabriel said homesick Polish workers, who number nearly 250,000 in the UK, were still the company’s biggest customers, but the unique texture and flavour of Polish breads also appealed to health-conscious Brits and other ethnic groups. “Traditional Polish bread is a mixture of wheat and rye flour. The rye gives the special texture and flavour and we also use caraway, sunflower and poppy seeds. They are all very healthy.”
Scottish bakery M Corson Bakers, based in Castle Douglas, has been put up for sale as a going concern for £1.25 million. Scottish bakery M Corson Bakers, based in Castle Douglas, has been put up for sale as a going concern for £1.25 million. The bakery, which was founded in the 1800s, is seeking a buyer due to retirement. It’s main retail site and bakehouse in Castle Douglas and its three other retail shops in Castle Douglas, Dalbeattie and Kirkcudbright are all included in the sale.The bakery mainly sold its produce from its four shops, but it also has a good wholesale trade. It currently employs 40 staff – a mix of full and part-time workers – including eight bakers. Offers in excess of £1,250,000 are invited for the business, which has an average annual turnover of £1.2m for the three years ended 31 March 2008.
Coconut: There is little to no shortage of coconut worldwide. Demand has reduced at the higher levels so we are quite confident that, currency permitting, we should see prices ease into 2009.Raisins: While Turkey is light on raisins this season, Californian supply is excellent and should total more than 300,000 tonnes.Sultanas: With a significantly reduced Iranian crop this season, Turkey will continue to dominate supply of sultanas into 2009 and without any major competition. Prices will be dictated by Turkey, although its monopoly does not necessarily mean that it will be able to push prices any higher.Apricots: With the uncertainty of forward demand, set against a weaker Lira, good supply and nervous origin stock holders, we would expect prices to ease although Sterling is doing its best to hide the decreases at source.Prunes: Demand for prunes is still strong for the Christmas trade. The only respite to pricing is if we see a significant downturn in demand itself.Currants: The ongoing industrial action in Greece continues to create horrendous logistical issues at all destinations. There has been a scarcity of stocks at the start of the new season, with demand at its peak and availability at its worst, prices have increased significantly and without respite.l Based on information supplied by RM Curtis
Bare, the new range by Solo Cup Europe, consists of single-use products made from alternative resources. It uses sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging options, using recycled, compostable and post-consumer materials. The range includes PLA (polylactic acid)-coated paper hot cups, rPET tumblers, compostable drinks lids, PCF (post-consumer fibre) paper hot cups and rPET deli containers. Different size cups and containers are available. Solo Cup says the Bare range will be “constantly evolving”.[http://www.soloeurope.co.uk]
Fine food retailer Lewis & Cooper’s move into wholesale looks to be paying off after its fruit cakes and biscuits were listed at 11 National Trust shops and retailer Lakeland ordered 11,000 of its plum puddings.The Northallerton-based shop, famous for its plum puddings and fruit cakes, launched its wholesale business in October, targeting delis, farm shops, restaurants and cafés. The firm has now gained a listing for its fruit cakes, along with its biscuits made by a baker in South Yorkshire, in 11 National Trust shops, including high street stores in York and Skipton.It will supply Lakeland, which has 41 stores across the country and a large online business, with 6,000 of its 450g vegetarian plum puddings and 5,000 of the 220g gluten-free varieties.
Despite the economic downturn, there has been an increase in the number of bakery manufacture businesses, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).A total of 1,915 businesses registered as producers of bread, fresh pastry and cakes in March 2009, compared to 1,815 the previous year. Out of those, 85 (4.4%) turned over more than £5m, while 610 saw sales of between £100,000 and £249,000.Meanwhile, the statistics released on September 30 show that there was a net loss of 215 bakery retail businesses over the year to March 2009, with smaller businesses hardest hit. There were 3,140 VAT-registered bakery retail businesses in March 2009, compared to 3,355 in March 2008, amounting to a 6.4% drop in the number of retail bakery businesses last year.Some 405 of the businesses registering as bakery retailers were less than two years old while 50% or 1,575 were more than 10 years old.The businesses generally fell into the £100,000 and £249,000 turnover bracket, with 1,210 (38.5%) having a turnover in that range. Only 30 had a turnover of over £5m.The majority of the businesses, some 1,710 or 54.4%, employed fewer than five people. Eighty of the 3,140 (or 2.5%) registered employed more than 50 people.Scottish Association of Master Bakers chief executive Kirk Hunter commented: “There is a degree of rationalisation and consolidation going on during these difficult economic times. Planning law on out-of-town developments is certainly undermining high street bakers, although we hope there will be a change of government policy.”Difficulty in passing the family business on to the next generation was also a factor, he added.The data is based on firms that turn over more than £68,000, which must register for VAT.
“I don’t deny myself anything. Right now, my weakness is for cupcakes. I was sent 12 of them when I got to No.1 all different flavours”Cheryl Cole kicks off her own pro-obesity campaign”Assume you’ve done Eclair Short?”following a request for names of cake-themed politicians, former deputy PM John Prescott tweets his suggestion. Others he could have chosen are Hilary Bunn, Ed Doughballs and David Macaron (Cam-a-ron, geddit? Ok, that’s enough)”I’ve always had a sweet tooth, I was hungry and thought I would have just one Jaffa Cake from a packet. But I ended up eating the whole lot and never told anybody about it. You forget so much over the years, yet this just stuck in my mind I have never done anything like it before or since” Election? What election?! The Daily Mail devotes valuable space to 65-year-old John Bibby’s non-story of returning a packet of stolen Jaffa Cakes to a shop after 50 years 666 words to be exact. A sign of the coming apocalypse, surely?