Latin American bakery firm Bimbo is entering the Chinese market through the acquisition of Beijing Panrico Food Processing Center from Spain’s Panrico, in a deal valued at E9.2m. The local company produces a variety of baked goods, including chocolate-filled bread buns; in Spain Panrico’s Bollycao filled buns are market leader.Budgens stores are introducing a World Cup pie especially for England’s footie fans. The £3.99 pie is being baked by Thame-based M Newitt & Sons and, in acknowledgment to the current England manager, is steak and ale with a touch of swede. It has a crust featuring the Cross of St George and is packed in a box flying the St George’s flag.
Political events in Scotland have become extremely interesting. A minority SNP administration is moving cautiously forward trying to avoid contentious issues where the other parties can combine and defeat the Government.The publication of the Government’s Lifelong Skills Strategy was an issue where the administration would have felt on firm ground. I am sure that much of the strategy will remain intact.Key issues covered by the strategy include: the recognition that work-based learning is central to raising skills; measures to ensure parity of esteem between academic and vocational learning; a demand that Sector Skills Councils do more to establish a strong basis for their work in Scotland; and, most importantly, the commitment to extend Modern Apprenticeships to encompass SVQ level 2.All good stuff, but the critical unanswered question remains funding, particularly in the ’Cinderella’ area of raising skills for older workers.There is a long way to go to catch up with our nearest neighbour. In England bakers can receive substantial support from Learning and Skills Councils under Business Link programmes, such as: up to 100% funding of older workers with less than 5 GCSEs registering for NVQ level 2; employers receiving up to 50% funding for technical courses; and wages support for small companies sending workers away for training.Over to you Mr Salmond!
Makes approximately 30 x 500g loavesIngredientsWholemeal flour: 9kg/20lbButter: 1.1kg/2½lbBaking soda: 150g/5ozButtermilk (or a 50/50 mixture of plain yoghurt and milk): 6 litres/10¾ pints Method1. Combine the flour and the baking soda2. Rub in the butter3. Pour in the buttermilk (or plain yoghurt and milk) to form a soft dough.4. Shape the loaves and put onto greased pans. Soda bread is traditionally made into rounds.5. Bake at 205?C for 45-55 minutes. Did you know?? Traditionally buttermilk is the liquid that is left over from making butter but nowadays most buttermilk on the market is a much thicker cultured product.? The texture of soda breads is always more cake-like than yeast-risen bread, regardless of whether they are made from high- or low-gluten flours. Chemical raising agents began to replace yeast in cakes, pancakes and some breads during the 19th century and soda breads became particularly popular in Ireland. This recipe comes from Ellen Duffin, who lived in Belfast during the mid-1800s. Her handwritten recipe book has survived and is now stored in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.This is a recipe where less is more. There are only four ingredients, which are quickly mixed and baked. It is a very easy bread to make and one that is full of flavour. To aerate the bread, the soda must have something acidic to react with, and in this recipe buttermilk does that, to create a wholemeal loaf that is as light as many yeast risen ones.
n UK retailer Waitrose is set to expand overseas, after signing a licensing deal with Dubai-based Spinneys. The first store is to open in Dubai in April, with an agreement to open more than 20 sites in the United Arab Emirates by 2010.n Staff at Greggs’ Battlefield Road bakery in Glasgow were left badly shaken but uninjured following a robbery by a man armed with a knife, according to Strathclyde police. The suspect, in his mid-30s, fled after being handed a three-figure sum of money.n Marks & Spencer is to open a new store in Leeds, which will feature a food hall, with a bakery, a café and a deli selling a selection of food, snacks and hot drinks. The 150,000sq ft store will be at the heart of an £800m leisure development, Eastgate Quarters.n Somerfield grocery chain, part-owned by property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, is up for sale and could change hands for as much as £2.5bn (E3.4bn) in an auction being conducted by Citigroup, according to Private Equity News.n Former 1968 president of the London Region of the National Association of Master Bakers (NA), Roy Edwards, has died at the age of 87. His funeral is on Wednesday 30 January at 11.30am at Tunbridge Wells crematorium. Mourners are requested not to send flowers, nor to wear black to the funeral, intended as a celebration of Roy’s life. Any donations can be sent to the Bakers’ Benevolent Society, of which Roy was a trustee.
For bakery owners, buying a new vehicle to transport perishable goods can be an expensive business, particularly when looking for specialist vehicles such as refrigerated vans. Many fledgling firms opt for used vehicles when attempting to build up a small business or start-up on a tight budget. Most will be aware of the used commercial van dealerships. But there is an alternative option that offers a wide variety of vehicles and potential to unearth a bargain – the auction.The main advantage is the fact the vehicles, having been supplied new to bakeries, are fully specified for the task in hand. The cost of specifying a vehicle to these standards can cost a large amount of money so the added value in the used vehicle also plays a part in the savings you make by sourcing second-hand through the auction.”Those in the bakery trade may be apprehensive about the auction process – thinking it’s just for dealers and expert vehicle buyers,” says British Car Auctions (BCA) business development manager Duncan Ward. “But it doesn’t have to be a daunting experience and, with a little knowledge, you can get a great deal. Buying at auction is a simple solution and can save a considerable amount of time, especially when compared with searching for what’s available elsewhere.”He argues that an auction is one of the best places for those in the baking industry to source a commercial vehicle, “which are all competitively priced and fit-for-purpose”.== Beyond the price ==Of course, price is not the only consideration when it comes to delivering chilled foods. Buying fridge or freezer vans introduces another set of parameters to be concerned about. “You’ve not only got to look at the van itself, but also the fridge or freezer box and the cooling systems,” says Ward. “Generally, it’s best to avoid the older, high-mileage examples – while these are likely to be the cheapest, it could be a false economy in the long run.”At BCA, all commercial vehicles are ’sold as seen’, he adds, and the vendor of the vehicle gives no warranty against the condition of the vehicle. So bakers should take every opportunity to examine them prior to entering the auction hall.But aren’t the vans at auctions likely to be clapped-out old bangers? No, says Matt Brookes, general manager for Commercial Vehicle Auctions, whose main source of vehicles is from Greggs the Bakers. He says: “Greggs’ vehicles are all well-maintained, one-owner vehicles, with full service history. They’re well spec’d for the job in hand, with good fridge units and tail-lifts.”Recent auctions have sold Greggs’ 1998-1999 DAF 7.5-tonne Box Trucks and 2000-2001 Mercedes Atego 7.5-tonne Box Trucks, but smaller vans come up from time to time, from Ford Transit 3.5-tonne vans up to 44-tonne DAF Drawbar rigs. In the main, these vehicles are around five to seven years old, but are claimed to be well maintained.On the other hand, in buying a vehicle from auctions you never really know what you are getting. Quite often, the fridge will not be working on an auction van and it’s not always possible to check the vehicles before you buy. “You can sometimes get a good deal,” says Mark Beaton at dealership CoolVan. “If you do buy at auction, make sure it’s a vehicle that is offloaded at the end of a contract by a lease/finance company; that way there should be a full history with the van, and it should be in good running order.”== Avoid the fish van ==Other things to check for is what the vehicle has been used for. “Fish vans smell – that’s not good if you then use the vehicle for bakery, as the smell can taint goods,” advises Beaton.If finances permit, a new vehicle is often the best option as you get fridge warranties, as well as breakdown cover. “We always check every used vehicle before it leaves our site,” he says. “Obviously, a used vehicle is cheaper and has already done its big depreciation, but it’s like anything: when you’re buying used, you can never guarantee you won’t get issues.”—-=== Where to go ===l BCA holds regular, dedicated commercial vehicle auctions in the following locations: Manchester Belle Vue, Glasgow, Bedford, Measham, Newport, Birmingham, Blackbushe, Bridgewater, Bridgehouse, Derby, Enfield, Nottingham, Paddock Wood, Peterborough, Preston and Tewkesbury. A typical BCA auction will offer up to 400 vans for sale on the day, a figure that may surprise some firms expecting a limited choice. For more information visit: [http://www.british-car-auctions.co.uk]l CVA Auctions regularly sell refrigerated vans, including the disposal of Greggs’ fleet through auction. This is primarily 7.5t-18t HGVs. However, they do get some vans through from their fleet. They also see a regular number of refrigerated vans from a variety of sources: contract hire fleets and rental fleets. These are normally around three to five-years old. [http://www.cva-auctions.co.uk]l If you’d rather avoid the stress of an auction, these dealerships specialise in refrigerated vans:Cool Move: [http://www.cool-move.com]Petit Forestier: [http://www.petitforestier.co.uk]CoolVan: [http://www.coolvan.co.uk]Jiffy Trucks: [http://www.jiffytrucks.co.uk]—-=== Top auction tips ===The primary advantage is the cost-saving through auction, compared to a dealer’s forecourt. There are some fantastic savings available, but potential bidders need to be aware of a few rules when buying at the auctionl Older, cheaper, high-mileage vehicles could be a false economy in the long run, especially with fridge or freezer vans, which may have faulty cooling systemsl Check for outstanding finance prior to the auction to be sure the vehicle is clear of any finance or lease agreementl Arrive in good time for the sale, especially if you’re looking for specialised vehicles, such as refrigerated vans, as this will give you a chance to have a look at what is available and to give the vehicles you are interested in a thorough visual appraisall Auctions generally operate on a ’sold as seen’ basis, so be absolutely certain you’ve checked the vehicle out thoroughly before you wink at the auctioneerl When checking the fridge, run the engine and ensure the fridge control in the cab is set to 0?C or 3?C, then watch it for 10 minutes or so and make sure the temperature dropsl Where the auction has an online preview facility, go prepared, by logging on before the auction. If there is a specific type of vehicle you are after, checking out the web facility can be an invaluable tool to locate what you want and where it is being sold. The BCA network can be viewed at [http://www.commercialauctionview.com]l As a buyer at auction, remember that you are there to get a good deal, so setting a limit on what to spend is sensiblel When the auction starts, vehicles are driven in lot order in front of the rostrum to be sold. Stand somewhere the auctioneer can clearly see you and bid by waving your catalogue to catch their eyel Then, once the auctioneer knows you are bidding, he will return to you if others outbid you, so don’t worry. Generally, bidding increases in £100 increments, although when bidding slows, the auctioneer will usually take a £50 or even a £25 bidl If bidding doesn’t reach the reserve value set by the seller, the vehicle will be sold provisionally to the top bidder. The auctioneer then contacts the seller to see if they will accept the bid. More often than not, sellers will approve the sale, which means you could be getting a good-value deall Don’t forget to budget for VAT, which is added on top following the closing bid
== Northern highlights ==Northern Foods’ bakery division performance improved in the first half of the year, according to its interim results statement. Revenue increased to £97.6m from £91.4m for the 2007/08 period. Profit from operations also rose to £6.5m compared to £4.4m last year. “Selling prices increased by 4% as we successfully recovered commodity inflation, and volumes increased by 2.8%,” said the company.== Wheat fall predicted ==According to the Soil Association, yields on non-organic wheat could fall by over half between 2040 and the end of the century – from an average of nine tonnes per hectare to four tonnes. The expected drop is due to a decrease of phosphorus on the planet, a key part of the fertiliser used for non-organic crops.== Israeli price drop ==The price of subsidised bread in Israel is set to drop by 3%. The Industry, Trade and Labour Ministry’s economists had previously been considering reducing bread costs by 7.4% in order to equalise losses suffered by bakeries in the past year, according to ynetnews.com.== Lower coffee crop ==The biennial nature of the coffee crop could see Nicaragua produce 21.4% less coffee for export in the 2008/09 growing season, than in 2007/08, which saw about 1.6m 60kg bags of exports produced – a 37.1% increase on the year before. Coffee trees by nature tend to produce less after a boom year.== Protient plant opened ==US dairy ingredients firm Protient, part of ABF Ingredients, has opened a new research and applications centre in Eagan, Minnesota. The facility, which cost over $1m, features labs, a processing room and a sample storage and preparation area.
Greggs’ like-for-like group sales rose 5.3% over the Christmas period according to a trading update released today.Sales growth for the four weeks to 3 January 2009 was higher than in previous months. In the 28 weeks to 27 December 2008, the bakery chain’s like-for-like sales increased by 3.9% and it saw a total sales increase of 6.6%.Chief executive Ken McMeikan said he was pleased with Greggs’ Christmas trading performance, “and that we were building on strong like-for-like sales in the same period last year.” He claimed that these results reflected customers’ loyalty to the chain. “I expect to report 2008 results in line with expectations when we make our preliminary announcement on Tuesday, 10 March 2009,” he added. “The trading outlook for 2009 is demanding and customers will continue to feel the impact of the economic downturn. Costs will remain high into the first half despite the recent easing of prices for fuel and a number of key commodities. “As a cash generative business with no debt we remain well placed to weather the recession and benefit from opportunities for future growth.” For the fiscal year to date, Greggs’ sales have increased by 7.1% and like-for-like growth by 4.4%.
“Herbert entrusts me with the ’secret’ recipe. In truth, it’s simple, containing just three ingredients: smelt flour, which gives the bread a lovely nutty flavour; Cornish sea salt and water”Smelt? Not spelt? Jasper Gerard of The Telegraph’s whiffy take on BB columnist Tom Herbert’s ’record’ £12 loaf”There is a truly absurd spelt-enriched breakfast cereal marketed by Food for Life Co, under the name Ezekiel 4:9. It takes its name from the biblical verse that instructs the Prophet Ezekiel: ’Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof.’ The word ’fitches’ is held by Food for Life to be the same as spelt. What the cereal marketing chaps seem to have overlooked is Ezekiel 4:12: ’Thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man.’ ’Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles,’ says the Lord. It’s not a recipe for healthy living at all”Christopher Howse, also in The Telegraph (maybe Jasper Gerard was right after all)”I really like the cakes and other sweets, donuts are my favorite”ambitious American Donna Simpson, who has set herself a target to become the world’s fattest woman by nearly doubling her weight to 1,000lb in two years, offers an unremarkable insight into her diet
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have succeeded in decoding the genome of wheat in a breakthrough which could help crop breeders increase the yield of British wheat varieties.It is the largest genome to be sequenced to date, and while the sequencing of the human genome took 15 years to complete, huge advances in DNA technology meant the wheat genome took only a year, according to professor Neil Hall, from the Institute of Integrative Biology.Liverpool scientists in collaboration with the University of Bristol and the John Innes Centre will make the DNA data available to crop breeders to help them select key agricultural traits for breeding. “The information we have collected will be invaluable in tackling the problem of global food shortage. We are now working to analyse the sequence to highlight natural genetic variation between wheat types, which will help significantly speed up current breeding programmes,” added Hall. Bread wheat is worth more than £2 billion to the UK’s agricultural industry, and is one of the most important food crops in the world, with an estimated world harvest of more than 550 million tonnes.Said Dr Anthony Hall: “Wheat production is already under pressure with failures in the Russian harvest driving up world wheat prices. It is predicted that within the next 40 years world food production will need to be increased by 50%. He added: “Developing new, low input, high yielding varieties of wheat, will be fundamental to meeting these goals. Using this new DNA data we will identify variation in gene networks involved in important agricultural traits such as disease resistance, drought tolerance and yield.”Alex Waugh, director general of the National Association of British and Irish Millers said that in the long run, these findings should enable crop breeders to develop new varieties of wheat more quickly. “It currently takes around 10-12 years to develop new varieties, but this should come down,” he said. He added that the process of establishing which of the characteristics in the wheat genome are most useful for new varieties will still be a complex process as the genome contains three sets of chromosomes. “It’s a big step forward but there’s still a lot of work to be done in order to translate these findings into real change.“However the more we understand, the better able we will be to meet future production requirements and importantly to use resources more efficiently, making agricultural production more sustainable.”The project was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and was undertaken at the University’s Centre for Genomic Research.
David Powell, Deputy Master of the Worshipful Company of BakersIf an event has received wide media coverage, the question is often asked as to where/which planet you have been on if you are not aware of it.I have just returned from the frozen Arctic with no sight of a ship, plane or indeed habitation, let alone phone or email access for several weeks. But even I have heard the reports about substantial increases in raw materials such as a 20% increase in animal food prices leading to a 10% increase in food prices, and a British wheat farmer making a windfall £300,000 profit by selling 1,500 tons of ’yet to be harvested’ wheat by selling it to a commodity broker, so hedge funds and the like can play the market.Since Russia announced it was stopping wheat exports, the event which started this saga, the price of wheat has fallen from its peak by £25/ton and is still substantially lower than 2007. A national miller increases the price of flour by £89.37, which would equate to a 10p per loaf increase. The largest bakery retailer claims it doesn’t envisage substantial rises driven by the price of wheat, due to high world stocks.Even if you are not yet confused, you are undoubtedly worried about where all this is leading. I am no ecomomist or wheat expert far from it. But I sense that we are in for an extended period of price turbulence. While some of the issues noted above sound and are serious, in real terms they are minor blips on the longer-term world stage. The driving factors are world-scale: climate change; the drought that has reduced the Russian harvest, while perversely, flooding has reduced the US/Canadian harvest; the increasing use of agricrops to produce ethanol in a mistaken belief that this will help, yet if all of Europe’s agricultural land went to producing ethanol, it would lower European oil consumption by a whole 10%!Perhaps the biggest issue, though, is the change in diet of the 1.3 billion Chinese. As their consumption of meat rapidly accelerates forecasts predict a 35% increase by 2015 the demand for animal feed, primarily wheat and maize, will accelerate much faster. It takes 9kg of feed to produce 1kg of beef! Don’t even mention water supply in this bigger picture, as there will be insufficient water long before oil stocks begin to run low.So the trend in raw material prices is only going one way upwards! Please don’t think the current increases can be ridden out or absorbed; food prices need to rise.