Over 300 entries competed in the 2006 Western Bakery Championships, held earlier this month at BAKO Western’s new facility in Cullompton, Devon.The Open Bread Championship was won by Kathleen’s Kitchen of Colchester, which also won Best Loaf in Show. The Open Confectionery Championship was won by St Mary’s Bakery in Torquay and “remains firmly in the West Country,” said Ian Hawkins, who organised the event. There was also keen competition in the two Cornish Pasty classes. The ’D’ shape winner was Polmorla Pasties of Bude and the ’A’ shape was won by Endacotts of Okehampton.The overall winner in the trainee classes was Sean Stanley, who works at Burns The Bread, Somerset. He won a three-day bakery visit to Reeves the Baker in Salisbury and also a one day course at Campden & Chorleywood Research. “Trainees are the lifeblood of our industry and it was gratifying to see the high standard of exhibits in the open classes being reflected in the trainee classes,” said Hawkins.There was an “excellent” display of Harvest Festival loaves, wheat sheaves, multi-flavoured plaits and a large butterfly, said Hawkins. However, entries in the decorated cake classes were “disappointingly low”. He added: “Without the financial support of our allied traders these competitions would not have been possible. I believe the trade has shown it is still very much alive and kicking.”The event was aired on the local ITV news
Scottish shops are signing up to help make the first World Scotch Pie Week a highlight in Scotland’s bakery calendar.Twenty-five companies have already pledged to raise money for the Scottish Society for Autism by either selling branded wristbands or donating a percentage of their Scotch pie sales during the week, from 25 November to 2 December. By registering for the event, bakers get a promotional pack with posters, balloons and a collection box.The new event hopes to follow the success of National Doughnut Week, which raises thousands of pounds annually by selling doughnuts at more than 1,000 bakery outlets throughout the UK.Organisers of World Scotch Pie Week have already received £2,000 in donations and expect to get more bakers signing up to take part in the week before the event.Scotch Pie Club founder, Alan Stuart, said: “The World Scotch Pie Week Championship has improved standards in the industry. Now we’re calling on butchers and bakers to get behind the week and to support a worthwhile charity.”For details email: [email protected]
As one of the 800 members who do not use training from the National Association of Master Bakers, I too am a little fed up with the near hysteria over the Board’s decision to look for better quality and more cost-effective training for our members. As CEO Gill Brooks Lonican’s letter in British Baker (26 January, pg 6) states, there is no intention to stop training by bakers for bakers, so the criticism is somewhat premature.If I had received a letter from the NA, informing me there would no longer be training, I would still pay my subs. Yet if I received a letter telling me I would no longer receive employment, environmental and health and safety advice, I would drop out of membership, as this is the kind of advice members need.Compared with a recent £600 charged from a solicitor for three letters and four phone calls, my membership to the NA for help 52 weeks a year on every subject is the best payment I will ever make.Nigel Howe, Theydon Bois Bakery
A review of all the retail trading statements issued on the London Stock Exchange during the first quarter of 2007 has shown an increase in the number of positive statements, suggesting that the retail environment may be improving, said business and financial adviser Grant Thornton.The Grant Thornton Quoted Retail Companies Index has shown that 44% of all listed retailers issued positive trading statements for the first three months of the year – up from the 33% of positive statements issued in 2006. And 46% issued neutral statements leaving only 10% to issue negative statements.David Bush, head of Grant Thornton’s retail services team said: “This quarter’s results have been buoyed by the strong increase experienced in the food and drink sector, with 83% of grocers issuing positive trading statements during the quarter.”
May19 – 20 Basic BreadmakingLocation: Panary, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 22 Essential Skills For Working with ChocolateLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Advanced Skills for Working with ChocolateLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 767930323 – 24 Caffè CultureLocation: Olympia exhibition centre, LondonContact, tel: 020 7288 6176email:[email protected] Chocolate Wedding and Celebration CakesLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 767930325 Chocolate Desserts and Individual CakesLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Easy-to-Make ChocolatesLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Sugar Craft – Human Figure ModellingLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Sugar Craft – Character ModellingLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] – 6 Going ProfessionalLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 10 British Traditional BreadsLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 15 Masterclass on breads: five-day courseLocation: Bread Matters, CumbriaContact, tel: 01768 88189912 Basic Bakery Processes, CCFRALocation: DublinContact, tel: 01386 84210413 Sugar Craft – Simple Cake Decorating SkillsLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] One-Day Basic BreadmakingLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 17 Italian BreadsLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 19 Sugar Craft – Simple Cake Decorating SkillsLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Continental, Italian and French breadsLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] Half-Day Chocolate WorkshopLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Sugar Craft – Creating Shaped CakesLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] FlatbreadsLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] One-Day Italian breadsLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 4 Residential Breadmaking CourseLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] Wheat Variety – Visual IdentificationLocation: CCFRAContact, tel: 01386 842104 (The Training Department)
…the increase in value recorded by the vegetarian food market last year, partly due to clever marketers using the term “meat-free” on packaging rather than the stigmatised “vegetarian”, claims The Grocer. Sneaky.
Grahams Bakery in Dromore, Northern Ireland, has announced a partnership with charity Barnardo’s. As part of the bakery’s corporate and social responsiblity programme it has launched promotion packs to raise funds for the charity and has involved staff by encouraging them to fund raise at events. “We are constantly looking at ways to improve as a business, and want to get the community involved with what we do, and the obvious choice was a charity,” explained sales and marketing manager, Alistair Toal. The bakery then invited interest from a number of charities, involving their staff in the decision, before deciding that Barnardo’s was perfect choice.
Richard Stevenson, technical manager at NAMB, answers members’ queries on food and trading law and other business issuesQMust I register my business with the Local Authority?AYes. The new Europe-wide food hygiene regulations, which came into force in 2006, made this a specific obligation for all food businesses. In the UK before this date, it was already a legal requirement to register and it was not therefore thought necessary to get everyone to re-register under the new rules.Basically if you were in business before 2006 and have inspections from an Environmental Health Officer (EHO), you are OK. If you have only started since 2006 and never seen an EHO, I would recommend you contact your Local Authority immediately.When registering, the authorities will require basic contact information and particulars of the type and nature of the business. Under the legal obligations of the regulation the Authority is obliged to keep a list of all registered food establishments in their area, which is available to any member of the public requesting it. Personal details of you and/or your manager will not be published on this list, but will be required for registration.It is also likely they will ask you for details of your outside customers and suppliers for use in recall situations. Also, EHOs will often ask butchers to calculate their weekly supplies outside their premises, as well as request supporting evidence, such as invoice copies. Basically, they are checking that you are under the two tonne/week limit. Members who need more information on this and the ’local’ definition can call me for more details.
The UK government has confirmed its intention to retain the Food Standards Agency (FSA), though a number of its former policy areas will become the responsibility of other government departments.This follows a report in The Guardian last week, which stated that the FSA was set to be abolished and its responsibilites divided up in Whitehall.These claims were downplayed at the time by government, which said that the FSA’s role would be reviewed in a public health paper due this autumn.It has now announced its plans ahead of schedule, with the Department of Health gaining responsibility for nutrition policy in England, including front-of-pack labelling, such as Guideline Daily Amounts. However, the FSA will retain its responsibility for nutrition and labelling policy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will take country of origin labelling under its wing, along with various other non-safety-related food labelling and food composition policies in England. This will leave a drastically scaled-down FSA focusing solely on food safety policy and enforcement.The FSA will support the delivery of the government’s commitment to deliver honesty in food labelling, and the delivery of one of Defra’s top priorities: the commitment to support and develop British farming and encourage sustainable food production, and promote increased domestic food production.The government said it was keen for food safety policy, the primary focus of the FSA when it was established as a non-ministerial Government department in 2000, to remain independent.The changes have been made with the aim of contributing to “objectives to improve efficiency”, as well as improving the health of the nation.“It’s absolutely crucial for the Food Standards Agency to continue providing independent expert advice to people about food safety. But bringing nutrition policy into the Department makes sense,” commented secretary of state for health Andrew Lansley. “It will enable a clear, consistent public health service to be created, as our Public Health White Paper later this year will set out.”The Food & Drink Federation has welcomed today’s announcement. “We believe it is important to maintain an independent food safety regulator and fully support today’s decision by the government to retain the Food Standards Agency,” commented director general Melanie Leech.“We also support the decision to move responsibility for nutrition, and other food policy issues, back into government departments. This should lead to clearer and more consistent policy-making, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort across Whitehall.”>>Question mark on FSA leaves bakers in limbo
Cooplands of Doncaster continued with its ambitious expansion plan this month after acquiring two shops from Sparks Confectioners in Bradford.The company, which has plans to double the size of its business over the next five years, bought 10 Ainsleys shops out of administration earlier this year. The two Sparks shops are leased from Morrisons supermarkets and have a combined turnover of £0.7m, employing 20 staff. The shops, to be rebranded as Cooplands within the month, take the firm’s retail estate to 89 stores, with over 800 staff. Annual sales stand at around £22m.Executive chairman Chris Peck commented: “The stores are in high footfall locations and the heritage and family culture of Sparks fit seamlessly with our own business, which has been in retail baking for almost 80 years. We are proud to be a Yorkshire-based business, offering fresh, artisan and high-quality handmade products representing great value. We see this as a crucial differentiation from our national retail bakery competitors, who we believe are primarily price-focused and sell mass-produced products.”Cooplands has also launched a shop refurbishment programme across its estate with two shops revamped and a further five or six to carry the new look by end of the year. Sales have increased by around 20% at the shops that have been updated.”The market remains challenging and the pricing strategy of the market leaders remains very unclear and defensive,” said Peck. “With commodity cost inflation in flour and wheat-influenced proteins impacting the retail bakery sector, we might have expected market leaders to be driving prices up, with the rest of the market following, helping themselves to an operating margin uplift at the same time.”>>Country Style buys Ainsleys’ central bakery