For many years, plant bakers have undertaken a process of salt reduction. We have long recognised the importance of responding to consumer needs.While the media are keen to portray the food industry as villains, risking the nation’s health by filling their products with salt, the plant baking sector is a clear example that there are always two sides to every story.In 2005, the Federation of Bakers (FoB) entered into discussions with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to establish what was an acceptable target for salt reduction by 2010. These discussions resulted in an agreed target of 0.43g sodium (a sales-weighted average per 100g) by 2010. Over several years prior to this, there had already been significant reductions in the salt content of bread, including a 10% reduction in the two years to the end of 2005. Further reductions are being made to meet the forthcoming 2010 target.The FoB will continue to work with the FSA to monitor progress towards this target – in particular the review in 2008. At present, the FoB annually submits details of salt reduction in members’ bread to ensure the FSA is kept abreast of progress.We must not lose sight of the role bread plays in a healthy diet and the role salt plays in baking. Our challenge, as an industry, is to deliver a range of products, which have the same healthy attributes and widespread appeal, but with lower salt. Achieving this salt reduction target is a challenge, requiring a thoughtful, considered approach.
== l Organic bakery ==With Fairtrade and local sourcing in the ascendancy, we ask organic bakers: is organics facing an identity crisis?== l Profile ==We speak to Proper Cornish Food Company to find out how their relaunched biscuit brand, Furniss of Cornwall, is faring== l Automation & robotics ==All the latest news and developments from the Interpack show in Germany. Plus news of a new robotics research centre in the north of England
As summer is almost upon us – or at least as much of a summer as Britain normally gets – most of us like to have a barbecue in the garden when the opportunity strikes, and salad is nowhere to be seen in shops by Sunday afternoon. But does this hot weather affect the sales of hot savoury food? Do consumers, who are out shopping in a busy high street on a hot summer’s day, choose to grab a pasty-on-the-go, or a sandwich?”Summer is an interesting challenge. Pork pies and sausage rolls for salads, as well as bread rolls for homemade sandwiches and barbecue parties, usually increase with the rise in temperature,” says David Smart, production director at Greenhalgh’s Craft Bakery. He feels the variation in hot savoury sales depends on the summer weather. “Last year it was a very wet summer and we didn’t notice any drop in sales. We are waiting to see what will happen this year.”Usually in the summer, hot pies and sausage rolls face a bit of a dip – although any shortfall is usually compensated by the sale of pork pies and cold sausage rolls – while sandwich sales go through the roof. We are pushing those at the moment.”While the summer is typically a slump period for hot savouries, more generally, TNS data from previous years revealed that the hot savoury market had suffered an overall slump in sales. For example, the figures from December 2005 to December 2006 showed an overall decrease in sales of 5.4%. One of the main suggestions for this decline is thought to be the nation’s emphasis on healthier eating, an issue which has been the focus of many a TV programme over the last few years, such as ’You Are What You Eat’.TNS’ latest figures for savoury pastries on-the-go, show there has been an overall increase in the market by 3.36% (52 w/e 20 April 2008). However, a number of hot savouries have experienced a fall in sales since April 2007 – for example, Cornish pasties have fallen by 6% and quiche by 20.3%.But Greenhalgh’s is finding success with products such as quiches and has just launched a new range using a Scotch pie shell. Whether Greenhalgh’s production of hot savouries will vary over the summer is difficult to predict. “Production really does vary, maybe 5% less but it’s really hard to say,” says Smart.Official figures show sausage rolls have increased in sales by 2%, whereas another cold picnic favourite, pork pies, have dropped by 19.1%, and pork pie bars by 43.8%. This just shows that not all cold savoury pastry products are as popular as they were. Also on the decrease are savoury bakes, sales of which have dropped 52.2%. In contrast, however, sales of savoury slices have risen by 7.1%. It seems consumers may merely be changing their eating habits when it comes to hot savouries, rather than stopping buying them.Figures also show that the ’other pies’ category has increased by 9.1%, and the ’other pasties’ category by a huge 127%. This could be due to the increased number of pasty and pie shops, selling products made from a much wider range of ingredients than a standard meat pie.There are also many more products that would fall into this ’other’ category such as gluten-free pasties and vegan or vegetarian options. It seems that, in the land of 21st century pasty shops, there is a filling for everyone. Pasty fillings on supplier Proper Cornish’s menu, for example, include Cauliflower Cheese, Chicken Balti, Pork & Apple and Mexican Beef. Based in Bodmin, north Cornwall, Proper Cornish don’t tend to have a problem with a lack of pie and pasty eaters as the region is bombarded with tourists out and about on holiday, hungry for a tasty snack to eat on-the-go. “We have an enormous influx of tourists in the summer, due to the sheer volume of people coming to the south west, says Mark Muncey, Proper Cornish’s marketing manager. “Providing food-on-the-go has helped to increase sales.”The company does not promote its hot savoury products any less over the summer, but thought is given to the kinds of ingredients used in them. For example it tries to move away from the slightly heavier fillings, using different ingredients for different seasons – for example chicken and asparagus in summer. “Of course, in really extreme hot weather there is a dip, but only when it’s really hot. The important thing is the menu mix and the occasion,” explains Muncey.Outlets that cater specifically for people on the move, for example SSP’s retail chain The Pasty Shop, do almost as well in the summer as the winter months. Alan Kirkup, deputy marketing director for food travel operator SSP, explains that it depends on the brand. “We tend to use more lighter fillings in the summer, such as more vegetarian and chicken fillings, and fewer of the heavier fillings such as beef, but the main thing is to put in the things that people like,” says Kirkup. He explains that products such as bacon and cheese croissants will always sell well, because they are predominantly viewed as a breakfast food, whether it’s summer or winter.It seems the smaller pasty outfits aren’t fazed either. Ian Baldry started up I’s Pies in Brighton in 2005, opening a shop in Gardner Street, and has since opened a second shop in Queens Road. Going by sales of his hot savouries over the last couple of years, Baldry is also optimistic that sales will not falter over the summer months, explaining he only notices a drop in sales “when it’s really hot”.In terms of capturing a wide market, I’s Pies is open until later than most bakeries: for example, the Queens Road shop opens until 8pm on weekdays and midnight on Friday and Saturday. This means the shop can capitalise on people wanting an evening snack. It also offers a ’happy hour’ two-for-one promotion in the evening to draw in the punters.It seems most producers of hot savouries are undaunted by a hot summer. The key to success appears to be offering a varied menu and to having the ability to diversify. The pasty, it seems, is as popular as ever and, with Britain’s notoriously bad summers, the industry probably has little to fear.
Costa Coffee could be forced to close one of its shops, following a planning appeal in Beverley. The coffee chain opened a store in the Yorkshire market town last year, without permission to change the use of a former shoe shop – a Grade 2 Listed Building in the town’s conservation area.Costa appealed to the Planning Inspectorate after East Riding Council refused to grant retrospective permission, while it also asked for a public inquiry to be held to hear the appeal.A Costa spokeswoman said: “Costa Coffee in Beverley has been serving over 3,000 custo-mers a week. This demonstrates it is providing a service that most customers have welcomed in the town. Other examples of Costa entering towns have revealed that Costa actually complements independent retailers and often draws increased footfall into retail spaces.”The inquiry report is due to be published in six weeks.Last year in Skipton – a similar market town to Beverley, the local council refused to give Costa permission to open a shop.
Asda is looking to work with “iconic” regional bakery firms to roll out branded bakery concessions in stores across the UK.Cornish bakery Rowe’s opened the first of these concessions in the Asda store in St Austell, Cornwall, earlier this month, selling a range of hot and ambient savouries.Roy Clark, Asda’s change and concessions manager, told British Baker that, if successful, further Rowe’s concessions could be launched in the south west and the model replicated with other bakeries in various regions of the country.”We hope to identify iconic local bakeries we can partner with throughout the country. We are working closely with our local sourcing teams, who have excellent supplier networks,” he said.The Rowe’s-branded counter features a 12ft-long hot counter and 12ft ambient sections, as well as a front-of-store food-to-go offering. Rowe’s has supplied local Asda stores with breads, cakes and pasties for 15 years.
As more bakeware hits the market offering claims of coatings that make greasing of tins wholly or partially redundant, is non-stick bakeware making release agents defunct for bakers? And if so, are there potential cost savings for bakers investing in non-stick bakeware compared to using release agents?Non-stick coatings range from clear silicon glaze to Teflon. However, Teflon is best used on automated plants or at bakeries where bakeware is handled with care. Careless stacking of tins and straps will reduce the life of Teflon coating, reaching a point where the coating can break down. Gary Atkinson, technical director, of AAK Bakery Services, which supplies release agents that are designed to enable baked products to be removed without damage from pans, sheets or oven bands, says that although hard-glazed bread pans work well, they require high levels of maintenance and regular re-glazing to maintain the effectiveness. This can be very costly for the bakery, especially if they are mis-handled during loading and unloading onto the lines.”By moving to a slightly softer tin coating in conjunction with a small, carefully applied coating of a release agent, the interval between the re-coating of the tins can be significantly extended and the bakery can make significant cost savings than through using a ’greaseless’ system alone,” claims Atkinson. “Working in conjunction with our technical services and engineering teams we can supply the right release agent along with bespoke application systems to ensure that the release agent is used efficiently and hygienically to give trouble-free, cost-effective release.”Material type, thickness and tin construction – welded seams or deep drawing – need to suit the methods of handling and the number of releases required between refurbishment. Cost is therefore reflected in this process of design. Kaak Bakeware offers a range of coatings to suit breads and confectionery; tin and strap design will be largely defined by the production style, batch sizes, quantities per batch and baking profiles.Kaak Bakeware offers ’in-house’ supply of bakeware from concept to final product using 3D computer design and robotic fabrication to the exacting tolerances which are necessary for automated bakeries. This process also allows small batches of tins to be supplied to craft bakers.So what are the potential cost savings in non-stick bakeware? “Non-stick coatings, silicon or Teflon, can show profitable returns on investment but only when the coating is not subject to mechanical damage and refurbishment occurs after a pre-described number of releases – variably between 2,000 and 4,000,” says John Singleton, sales manager at UK Kaak supplier Benier. “The use of a coating may allow less release agent to be applied, which assists in increasing the number of releases obtained.”There are other benefits to using release agents, says Richard Field, customer communications advisor at ingredient manufacturer Zeelandia. One is the cost saving during the baking process itself.”When baking tin bread, a release agent is paramount for the longevity of the bread tin as well as the perfect release of the baked loaf,” he says. “During the process release agents are exposed to oxygen and very high oven temperatures – up to 250C – that ordinary oils and fats cannot withstand. Due to the contact with oxygen, a process is set in motion that begins with oxidation and leads to carbonisation. Once a layer of carbon has been built up, the transfer of heat deteriorates and the release and baking process becomes increasingly uneconomical.”Release agents, such as Zeelandia’s Carlo, help release steam during the baking process, which aids crust formation and helps crust colour development, claims Field. Zeelandia’s release agents, which are resistant to oxidation, also cling to the side of the tin, ensuring even release. So the best savings come from striking the right balance between the needs of your process and the benefits of non-stick bakeware and release agents – ask your supplier for advice.
UK food and drink manufacturers have reduced their carbon emissions by 19% – the equivalent of one million tonnes – since 1990, announced the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).As it launched its progress report for the second year of its Five-Fold Environmental Ambition, the FDF said that its members are “well on track” to achieving their goal of cutting CO2 emissions by 20% by 2010.The FDF said its members were also on target to meet its long-term target of a 30% reduction by 2020.Among its members is Premier Foods: its Hovis business has purchased 187 new vehicles which meet the new Euro emissions standards. Hovis has also worked on optimising its vehicle fill, with a 13% volume increase in products carried – saving 1,679,037 miles annually.Burton’s Foods has conducted a full-scale water investigation across its sites, relative to the tonnes of product baked. By the end of the year the company expects to have saved around 73,000m3 through greater efficiencies. United Biscuits has also been working to save water and, last year, achieved a 17% reduction. Its ultimate goal is to achieve a 25% reduction by 2020 compared with 2007 usage.
Country Choice has added a Harvest Grain Parisienne to sit alongside its existing White Parisienne. The new 400g baguette, made from a blend of brown flour and malted wheat grain, should be baked from frozen for 12 minutes.New Batched Brown Crusty Rolls follow the firm’s launch of Batched White Crusty Rolls last year. Made from a blend of European and Canadian flour and combined with an eight-hour-aged dough, they can be baked from frozen in 10 minutes.www.countrychoice.co.uk
Make sure you get your entries in for the Baking Industry Awards by the new deadline of 21 May. The Awards, now in their 23rd year, celebrate the very best of the British baking industry, and are attended by key players from across the industry.They are a great way to showcase your talents and achievements to current and potential customers and industry peers, as well as achieving recognition for yourself and your business.The Awards are open to businesses of all sizes, from a one-shop outlet, to the largest industrial plant manufacturers. Entrants do not need to be a supplier of customer of any of the category sponsors.The list of categories to enter is as follows:* Baker of the Year – sponsored by Vandemoortele* In-Store Bakery of the Year – sponsored by Dawn Foods* Confectioner of the Year – sponsored by Rich Products* Bakery Food Manufacturer of the Year – sponsored by ADM Milling* Bakery Supplier of the Year – sponsored by Sainsbury’s* Celebration Cake Maker of the Year – sponsored by Renshawnapier* The Innovation Award – sponsored by Asda* Speciality Bread Product of the Year – sponsored by Bakels* The Craft Business Award – sponsored by Rank Hovis* The Customer Focus Award – sponsored by CSM (United Kingdom)* Trainee Baker of the Year – sponsored by Improve and the National Skills AcademySo don’t delay, get your entry form in today!For more details or to enter go to www. bakeryawards.co.uk, or email Kelly Langridge – [email protected] or call 01293 610422.