A local council would cut its right hand off to attract inward investment from a company that employed as many people as Brace’s Bakery – nearly 400, with a successful track record. It would put in all the roads and services necessary, especially if the company had a big international name. Then, probably, like many before it, it would move away once the grants ran out.But Brace’s Caerphilly County Borough Council took the opposite approach when it decided to redevelop the local Oakdale colliery site and tip, and resurrect it as a business park. The council reckoned it could create between 5,000 and 8,000 new jobs. For this project, it would need access to the park. It is an issue we have been battling for the past eight years.== cunning plan ==The local town of Blackwood required easing of its traffic congestion but had plans for a bypass turned down by the Welsh Office on a number of occasions. So the council came up with a cunning plan. By adding access to the business park via Blackwood Bypass, then changing the name from bypass to Enterprise Way, it could have both.There was a flaw to this plan. There were already two existing industrial estates, Pen-y-fan and Croespenmaen next to the business park, where we have production facilities and had perfectly adequate access.What the council did was block this access off to goods vehicles. It did this by calling a public meeting advertised in the local newspaper, which we and many other businesses missed. It did not inform us of what it was up to.The cost of the Enterprise Way was £36m. The problem being it heads west and the existing road heads east, making the new road 6½ miles further around through seven roundabouts.== negative impact ==I even went to see the director, Roger Webb, from the Directorate of Environment (Highways to me and you). He was unaware of how the road disadvantaged existing businesses. In fact, he told me I was wrong and had to look at a plan to see I was correct. They were so caught up in their own planning, they had not considered the negative impact.Every couple of months for eight years, I wrote to him. I did get them to move the weight restriction from 7½ to 18 tonnes but this still means our articulated vehicles, deliveries of flour and raw materials, have to circumnavigate the now open Enterprise Way. This, we consider to have cost us 30 to 40 minutes per trip, a gallon of fuel each way, totalling £100k of extra cost. In this climate of increasing energy costs, it’s another to add to the pile. For a council not to be bound by commercial considerations is par for the course.Even if everyone is against a plan but the council wants to do it, it will, and make you suffer. It has caused a compromise for residents and businesses. I feel disenfranchised by its actions, yet our rates pay for their shortfalls.We have considered moving the business – not an easy task with the amount of capital employed in plant bread production, but maybe further investment would be wiser placed elsewhere. n
In 1898, John F Renshaw decided to mix marzipan in his bathtub! Humble beginnings for a company that is now a leading manufacturer of marzipans, ready-to-roll icings and chocolate and jam, supplying major cake manufacturers, high street bakers and retailers.Recently, Renshaw invited about 40 members and guests of the prestigious Richemont Club (Great Britain) to the company’s factory in Liverpool. The Richemont Club is an international society, formed in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1948, to encourage the exchange of ideas between bakers and confectioners.Sarah Summers, commercial director of Renshaw, welcomed the party as it arrived. “Hosting this visit offers us the opportunity to share some of the vast amount of knowledge and skills we have acquired over the years.”Members were taken on a guided tour of the factory, where the smell of caramel is potent. Renshaw’s range includes a rich, thick Luxury Caramel, with a firm setting, and an injectable caramel, with a soft, spoonable consistency, which can be placed into piping bags or injected into bakery goods such as muffins.”We can’t stress enough that we make more than just sugarpaste,” says Janet Abraham, marketing manager. “In Liverpool, we also make caramel, marzipan and nut pastes. Our factory in Scotland produces jam, mallows and chocolate.”Tom Cardwell, marketing and innovations controller for Renshaw explains that over half of the company’s sugarpastes are now coloured with natural ingredients. “We’re working to ensure that, in time, all of them will be,” he adds. “If you buy a Cars Disney cake in Marks & Spencer, the bright red icing has been made in Renshaw, using paprika.”In the factory, there are huge metal drums, which have been coloured bright red, luminous pink, bottle green and so on, because of the sugarpaste. “Other natural products used by Renshaw for colour include tomato, seaweed, grass and radishes. Kids would probably be horrified to learn that the green and orange icing on their birthday cake was coloured by spinach and carrots, for example! Together with our suppliers, we’ve even managed to produce what we consider to be the ’holy grail’ – a naturally coloured blue sugarpaste, created using ingredients derived from maritime plant extract,” he adds.Recently, Renshaw decided to make all of its Regalice branded sugarpaste products with non-hydrogenated fats and claims this is the only non-hydrogenated sugarpaste on the market. Tom Shaw, product development manager says: “We have worked hard to develop a sugarpaste that maintains the functionality and stability qualities which have made it the professional choice.”Model approachAfter the tour of the factory, Richemont Club members were treated to sugarpaste modelling demonstrations. The first was a joint effort given by Renshaw’s Claire Bailey and Nic Hemming, the second by Karen Bowden from Slattery Patissier and Chocolatier, winner of Celebration Cake Maker of the Year at British Baker’s Baking Industry Awards 2006, which was sponsored by Renshaw.President of the Richemont Club (Great Britain), Trevor Mooney said: “Visiting an industry leader, such as Renshaw, was an enlightening experience for all our members. The modelling demonstration provided some great ideas and techniques, which I’m sure many will put to good use.” n
n Administrators say they are now talking to just one potential buyer for Hull-based bakery chain Skeltons, which has been trading in administration since March. Negotiations are expected to conclude next week, said a spokeswoman for PriceWaterhouseCoopers.n Rich Products, supplier of premium frozen and ambient bakery products to the retail and foodservice markets, is celebrating after achieving ’A’ grade BRC accreditation for both its Hartlebury and Fareham sites.n According to new research conducted by Ohio State University in the USA, raisins have a low to moderate Glycaemic Index (GI). The GI – a measure of how a food affects blood sugar levels – is being used as a tool in diabetes management, weight loss and sports nutrition. This independent clinical study, sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board, fed California Raisins to 11 people with pre-diabetes, 10 healthy sedentary individuals and 11 endurance athletes.n Starbucks has signed a deal with SnowDome that will see a coffee house open next to indoor ski slopes in Tamworth, Staffordshire. The Starbucks Lounge will operate under licence, as part of Starbucks’ strategy to establish outlets in locations not wholly owned by the group, such as offices and service stations.n Org-e, London’s first organic certified cafe and takeaway, has opened in London’s Covent Garden. Org-e stands for ’Organic Excellence’. Sandwiches and salads cost around £3.50. Director Sanjay Sridher hopes to open a chain of org-es all around the world.n Burton’s Foods, the UK’s second-largest biscuit supplier, is ending production at one of its sites, a move that could lead to the loss of 660 jobs. The company, which produces brands including Maryland Cookies and Wagon Wheels, said the planned move at its site on The Wirral follows an “extensive” review of the business.n Baking equipment supplier Interbake (Bury) has been appointed UK and Irish agent for mixing systems specialist the Tonelli group. David Dunne, MD, told British Baker that Tonelli was the “Ferrari” equivilant brand for prestige mixers. He said: “For Interbake to be appointed an Agent for the renowned Tonelli Group is very prestigous acquisition to our product portfolio that we are able to offer to both bakers and food processors.”n Drinks supplier Britvic last week announced that it has agreed to acquire the soft drinks and distribution businesses CCSD, of C&C Group, for £169m. CCSD owns a number of leading brands in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, including Club, Ballygowan water, Britvic, Cidona, MiWadi, and Energise Sport.n On 11 May British Baker said that Bell Perkins was based in Leeds (pg 25). Products are actually manufactured by Brook Food Processing Equipment, based in Minehead, Somerset.
Coffee Republic is dipping its toe into continental-style drinking culture as some cafés have started to sell alcohol. Speaking to British Baker at Caffè Culture, UK franchise director Kevin Frostick said Coffee Republic hadn’t really pushed the concept of licensed cafes, but where franchisees wanted to sell alcohol, the company had helped with alcohol licence applications to local authorities.”It’s just a handful, three or four, at the moment,” he said. Frostick said some councils were not willing to grant the licences, but others welcomed the move towards a continental European drinking culture. One of the franchises selling alcohol, in Crawley, Sussex, is offering both chilled wine and beer.Coffee Republic was at Caffè Culture to promote its concessions. Frostick said that the quality of enquiries at the show had been high.
UK cake maker Michelle Wibowo last week scooped a gong for Britain at the Patisserie Showpiece section of the International Culinary Olympics, with a lifesize dog-shaped sugar sculpture. We were equally impressed (and slightly disturbed) by this sped-up video of her making a life-like baby cake. tinyurl.com/6gvf5k
Sveba-Dahlen ovens and proversS series: Small rack ovens; built-in steam system; user-friendly e-panel for manual or automatic programming; can be supplemented with underbuilt prover; stainless steel; low operating and maintenance costs. For baguettes rolls, fancy breads, and heavier breads. The S400 runs on electricity and gas, while the S200 is only released as an electric oven.C series: Compact; large airflow; powerful heat; variable steam; user-friendly e-panel; available in different sizes with different options. Also available in a CS version for stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets. Delivered in one piece for easy installation and quick start. Runs on electricity, oil or gas.V Series: Large, efficient heating package; patented steam system; heavy throughput; flexible – up to four racks per chamber, with various options. Runs on electricity oil or gas.Deck ovens: Classic series. Traditional baking; flexible modular system. Up to five decks, five widths also double depth option. Stone soles; steam option; castors. Can be delivered with underbuilt prover.Pizza ovens – three versions:l Trendy: Built-in turbo and timer; high operating economy; two chambers.l Classic: Up to three sections, can be controlled separately; available in different widths.l Travelling: Design is based on mesh bands, which transport pizza and also other products through the oven. Up to three separately controlled sections.Tunnel ovens and fermentation lines:Tunnel ovens: high operational reliability; low maintenance; delivered with direct acting electricity or gas; various types of bands up to 4m wide; size according to customer needs.Fermentation lines: On one or two levels; band width up to 4m woven across the complete width.Provers, retarder-provers, freezer-provers: Stainless steel; capable of all above functions. Many sizes, works with low air exchange, ensures everything is ready when needed. A climator unit gives optimal control of humidity.Contacts and services: Technical programming and layout drawing free of charge. Technical bakery support for installation and start-up. Country-wide 24-hour service.UK agent: Benier, tel: 01908 312 333, email: [email protected]
The Traditional Polish Bakery in Dublin is now supplying 25 Tesco stores in and around the city. Established in 2006, the wholesale bakery, which employs 23 staff, has also gained orders to supply seven other supermarket and convenience store chains, including Spar and Super Valu.The Polish bakery has had to change its marketing strategies, as thousands of Poles living in Ireland have now left, explained owner Karol Tracz. The departure of so many Poles has left a dent in sales, but the slack has been taken up by Irish consu-mers, who like the traditional taste of the bakery’s products.Said Tracz: “We haven’t done any detailed research into how many Irish people are buying our products, but I believe that it’s between 20 and 30%.”All the flour it uses is Irish, except for rye flour, which it imports directly from Poland. The bakery produces breads to traditional Polish recipes: Chleb Krolweski (Polish King bread), Chleb Razowy (Polish brown bread) and the Poznanska roll, as well as pastries and cakes.
Ingredients supplier Bakels has added four new product launches and six new and improved recipes to its line-up of cake and sponge mixes, all aimed at increasing convenience for bakers.Leading the launches is Genoese Mix Complete for producing a Genoese slab for celebration and novelty cakes that require a flat and smooth surface, said the company.Meanwhile, Deluxe Creme Cake & Muffin Concentrate needs the addition of flour, sugar, egg, oil and water to create a wide variety of loaf cakes and muffins with excellent volume, flavour and shelf-life, said Bakels.Also in the range are Deluxe Chocolate Creme Cake & Muffin Concentrate and new Mid Muffin Concentrate.Pauline Ferrol, Bakels’ national sales controller, wholesale, said: “Everyone is aware how popular muffins and cupcakes are and we are offering bakers a choice between premium products and so-called ’price-fighters’.”The aim is to give our customers products that exactly match their needs.”www.bakels.co.uk
Grain prices in 2009/10 have been much below the level of the previous two years. During the months before Easter, wheat prices drifted further along, with good news about the area planted for the coming harvest and the condition of crops emerging from winter; consequently expectations are for a large world crop in 2010.So you could be forgiven for expecting grain prices to be lower in the autumn of 2010 than they were in 2009. Yet current market prices indicate the reverse is true: HGCA recorded bread wheat prices in the bellwether Liverpool region at £130-135/tonne in November 2009, and today’s forward quotation is around £145 so what is going on?There are several factors, says Nabim’s Alex Waugh: the falling exchange rate tends to push up the sterling value of crops, which are traded internationally in dollars; although a large world wheat crop is anticipated, there is extra demand in the UK from the new biofuel plants (Ensus on Teeside is already functioning and a further plant is expected to start up in 2011). This means UK supply and demand will be more finely balanced, which could support firmer prices.At this time of year, grain markets are always affected by weather stories and fluctuate accordingly. But current market conditions suggest it might be optimistic to build post-harvest plans on the expectation of cheaper grain than in 2009.
If the fashion for iced biscuits had been on the wane, The Biscuiteers have single-handedly made it their mission to revive the tradition in the UK.Having been inspired by highly decorated biscuit creations on a visit to New York, founder Sarah Moore and partner Stevie were inspired to start a bakery business in 2007. Now supplying many of the upmarket department stores in Britain, Moore has put pen to paper to share some of their product inspirations.As befits a largely gift-orientated business, many of the ideas here are seasonal, with clever twists such as biscuit advent calendars. While there are plenty of fashion cookies (dresses and shoes), it’s not all cutesy, with blokey biscuits for dads.With the Royal wedding approaching, why not try the ingenious bunting biscuits: Union Jack-decorated and hanging along a cord?