n Nearly 80% of 17,000 mothers who took part in an FSA online survey supported the Traffic Light Labelling scheme over the rival Guideline Daily Amount labelling scheme preferred by some retailers and manufacturers.n Denver Cottage Bakery of Ilkeston in Derbyshire has been fined more than £1,800 after mouse droppings were found baked onto the outside of a bread roll. The company admitted breaches of hygiene regulations during a hearing before South Derbyshire magistrates after an investigation by health officers found a serious infestation at the bakery. Denver Cottage said it had had no previous problems and that it had now upgraded systems. It was fined £500 with £1,380 costs.n Knaresborough-based marketing company Allott & Associates is offering free advice to the food industry. In a one-off promotion, the agency will conduct a free marketing review to a number of companies. The audit takes about two hours and provides an assessment of a company’s marketing and what steps can be taken to improve it. Call 01423 867 264n A survey by trading standards officers (TSOs) in Herefordshire has shown a drop in the amount of salt being added to bread.The TSOs examined 53 different bread samples from both supermarkets and high street bakers to find an average salt content of 1.2%. This compared to a total of 1.34% in a similar survey in November 2005.n The HGCA’s Innovation is the Key half-day seminar will be held at the British Library Conference Centre in London on 14 March.
A s doctors promoting healthy eating plans go, you’d have to say that the Swiss-born Dr Vogel’s plan is faring better in the longevity stakes than his counterpart – or nemesis – Dr Atkins. While the former had wholegrain seeded bread as an integral part of his diet, the other banned bread consumption altogether. As Atkins Nutritionals witnessed boom and bust, the slower burn of the hype-free Vogel’s licence has established a loyal following. Dr Vogel lived to 94; the less said about the demise of Dr Atkins, the better.PR and celebrity endorsements have played no part in the success of Vogel’s bread in the UK. Such is the passion elicited for the bread, that two organic specialists – Fresh & Wild and Planet Organic – both sell Vogel’s, a non-organic product. In fact, shoppers were up in arms when one of them withdrew the brand. “Within a week we were back in. Vogel’s has got a very loyal fan base,” Colin Lyons, director of Goswell’s Speciality Breads wryly recalls. “Because their customers want it, and because it doesn’t contain any nasties, we’re a clean enough label for them.”licensed to bakeThe speciality wholesale bread baker Goswell’s started life in 1950 and has built up a strong niche in healthy-style breads with a series of successful licences. “Since we went purely wholesale about 40 years ago, we’ve concentrated on producing speciality breads,” explains the third-generation baker Lyons. “In recent years we’ve taken on licences, which are exclusive to ourselves, such as Vogel’s, Cranks and Dove’s Farm. That is the mainstay of the business.”Furthermore, the bakery produces a West Indian bread under its Caribbean Cuisine brand. A selection of unbranded products such as bagels are supplied in pallet-loads to foodservice customers, while it continues to offer the light rye breads and Polish rye breads it has done for many years.Dr Vogel began making bread in the 1950s with a muesli bread, using milk as a humectant to give moisture. A Swiss baker took the idea to New Zealand and the loaf eventually migrated to the UK. Goswell’s started producing one mixed grain variety of Vogel’s in 1972. “We saw a ’licensee wanted’ advert in British Baker in 1971 and, because it was weird and wonderful, we thought we’d do it. We like doing difficult things,” says Lyons. In the mid-’90s, two other varieties, Honey & Oatbran and Sunflower & Barley were launched followed by a fourth – the now best-selling Soya & Linseed.record yearLast year was Goswell’s best year of sales, building on the record it set the previous year. Turnover is now over £5m. Over the past four years the number of national listings has multiplied, along with the growth in brown and seeded breads across the bread category, and Asda, Co-op and Marks & Spencer are the only supermarkets not supplied. “Until then, we were regionalised to London, which is a large demographic area, but there were always pockets of people contacting us from different parts of the country. We now supply major supermarkets throughout the country,” says Lyons.The growth strategy has been to increase Vogel’s availability in existing supermarkets rather than pitch for new custom. “We supply a lot of people with a little bread,” he says. At present, this amounts to 700 supermarkets now stocking Vogel’s.A few years ago, Goswell’s approached the Vogel’s brand owners, based in Sydney, Australia, to extend the Vogel’s range in the UK. It cherry-picked a Soya & Linseed loaf, which has become Goswell’s biggest-selling bread over the last three years. Allied Bakeries has since seen similar successes with a direct competitor, Burgen Soya and linseed, though Lyons remains unperturbed. “I’m not too fussed who our competitors are; if, every quarter, our sales are up within the constraints of what I want to do, then I’m not worried if Burgen has doubled sales or we’ve taken half its sales. The two complement each other.”Apart from occasional cross-promotion, such as a recent offer alongside Premier Foods’ Loyd Grossman soup, there is little promotional activity. “We tend not to do large promotions and marketing, because if the packaging is distinctive enough on-shelf, then shoppers will try it.”organic optionsThe bread does not contain any stabilisers or additives, and although Vogel’s is not organic, this is probably just as well in light of the rising cost of organic wheat and pressures to reduce on-shelf price, he says: “With the way organic wheat availability and cost is going we would probably be priced out of the market.” Goswell’s does, however, supply organic bread under the Dove’s Farm label, which it has done since 1982, as well as Cranks in ’89. The latter, originally a vegetarian wholefood restaurant with a bakery in Islington, outsourced its breadmaking to Goswell’s when it shifted focus towards making vegetarian ready-meals. The organic brand has since launched into three major supermarket groups and is “going well,” says Lyons. Bakery La Fornaia also produces sandwich focaccia and rolls for Cranks.The Cranks brand is now owned by The Grocery Company – part of the Nando’s group – which rebranded the range in recent years, with products including sandwiches, smoothies and desserts. Wrapped bread is the only Cranks product that has remained organic. An unsliced loaf with distinctive packaging, the loaf is akin to a heavier homemade bread, which gives it a unique selling point and few competitors, says Lyons.”When you’re selling bread to the supermarkets your USP has to be strong, clear and focused. Our company has never used anything that could be construed as being artificial or unnatural, whether organic or not, and that sets us apart. The organic breads are still selling strongly because people are even more aware of green issues. But no matter how good organic sales are, they’re still only scratching the surface.”Meanwhile, Vogel’s USP is that it has a clean label at the expense of a longer shelf-life. Says Lyons: “Personally, I think a loaf of bread should have four ingredients – flour, salt, water and yeast. Our company’s USP has always been different. When people started putting acetic acid in bread to inhibit mould, when the larger bakeries were under pressure to put more water in, we went the other way rather than follow suit. I like to think of ourselves as a large craft bakery rather than a small plant bakery.”With consumers paying closer attention to the label, recent shopping trends have certainly helped Goswell’s. Though Lyons has a wizened scepticism of flash-in-the-pan diets, Vogel’s is well-placed to capitalise on current eating trends. “Vogel’s breads are at the forefront at the moment because people are saying ’Glycaemic Index is good for you, look for products with seeds and grains’. GI was the fad of last year and is still carrying on. But whichever professor you listen to, some things are great for you and some will kill you!”Goswell’s has not featured a GI logo on the packaging. “There is a danger and a trend that products are becoming over-labelled. There’s a battle going on with nutritional information labelling, but there’s also the Fairtrade logo, Soil Association logo, vegetarian logo, Vegan Society logo, carbon footprint logo… you can go on forever. A lot of it is in danger of getting overplayed and the public are going to get confused.”absence of preachinessOne plank of the brand’s success has been a refreshing absence of preachiness and a virtually non-existent PR machine. Lyons delights in saying that his criteria for choosing what he eats is based on taste rather than goodness, and reveals a favourite weekend treat to be a supermarket baton with two eggs and a non-organic full-fat sausage. “Anything can be unhealthy if you eat too much of it,” he says.It’s a happy coincidence that Goswell’s makes healthier breads, he adds. “At Goswell’s, our breads have never been produced for any other reason than they taste good. We’re told that soya and linseed are good for menopausal women, and it helps this, that and the other. Someone will come up with something saying that sunflower seeds are twice as nutritious as anything else. But we put them in, because honey and sunflower, sunflower and barley… these are names that roll off the tongue and go together well. We didn’t enlist chemists to tell us their properties. Baking bread isn’t rocket science.”So what about the future? Foodservice rather than retail will be the biggest growth area for the firm, he believes, especially with bagels, and the bakery will continue to foster its niche. “Our brands each fulfil a niche in the market. It might sound strange, but we don’t want that niche to become too big, because once you become mainstream you’re there to be shot at. We want to be like a field mouse crawling through the grass.” n—-=== At a glance ===Location: Caxton Street North, Docklands, LondonStaff: 82 including temporary staffTurnover: Over £5mBrands: under licence – Cranks, Vogel’s, Dove’s FarmProduction: Vogel’s bread (accounts for two-thirds of production), Cranks, Caribbean Cuisine, Dove’s Farm, rye bread and bagels
Liquidators were called in to London wholesale bakery DM Holdings (UK) Ltd, trading as European Bakeries (UK), on 22 November, following a debacle over rent (British Baker, 23 November, pg 5).The bakery has now closed and liquidators Kevin Murphy and Mike Kernick from Chantrey Vellacott have been appointed. Some 120 jobs have been lost, said European Bakeries (UK)/DM Holdings (UK) MD David Merchant.The closure came after bailiffs from the landlord of the London site locked staff out of the premises on 14 November.Merchant, who bought the business out of administration in June for £350,000, alleged that European Bakeries’ administrators had not completed arrangements for the continued occupation of the premises by the new business, making European Bakeries (UK) an unlawful tenant, Merchant added.Merchant also claimed that, in early October, he had paid £38,000 for two months’ rent advance plus service charges to the administrators, but the money was not paid over to the landlord.A further £19,722 covering the outstanding balance was available in trust with solicitors when the bailiffs were called in, Merchant said. “I had completely and utterly turned the company around. Turnover was £85,000 a week and we were making a comfortable profit,” he said.However, joint administrator Lee Manning from Deloitte countered Merchant’s claim. He said that rent of £52,000 a quarter was not received in full, which was unsatisfactory to the landlord.”We were not given the rent in full, only partial payments were made,” he said. “We will robustly defend this accusation. If the company had paid the rent in full, the landlord would not have foreclosed. What benefit could it be to us to cause the downfall of this company?”
The UK economy is in dire need of the construction of purpose-built, efficient and adequate roads to improve bakery delivery and cut the awful cost of congestion. UK transport needs more than a sticking plaster; it needs a major operation.Following the successful experiment of running traffic on the hard shoulder of the M42 in Birmingham, the Department for Transport is to consider extending the operation to other congested motorways. All the news from the M42 trial has been good: reduced journey times; increased reliability; a reduction in accidents; and benefits to motorists, commercial vehicle operators, the environment and the economy. Yet the M42 scheme cost £100 million and has involved road strengthening, the construction of refuge lay-bys, overhead message gantries, CCTV and, key to it all, a sophisticated computer operation to determine when the ’hard shoulder running’ is turned on and off.Using the hard shoulder can inject some quick extra capacity into an overburdened motorway network and is relatively cheap compared to the construction of new roads.The FTA believes the experiment should be repeated elsewhere, but there are no plans for such a scheme on the M25. Instead, full-blown road widening will take place. And that is good news.
If St Anselm’s thought a boozy bakery was bad, heaven knows how they might have reacted had Grand View Topless Coffee Shop – which has opened in the US town of Maine – opened next door. The name captures the essence of what this café has to offer without the need of further elaboration from Stop the Week.But elaborate we must! This over-18s-only emporium to beans and bosoms breezed past local objections and was given planning permission to open last week. Topless waitress Susie Wiley, 23, believed the work was not degrading to women. “No, I love it. I find it very empowering,” she said. And if that’s not testament enough to convince you that this venture is anything other than a sexist, retrograde step, there is also a bare-chested waiter on the books. And the topless nature of the work might be the answer to your recruitment problems – the café attracted 150 applicants for just 10 jobs.
Canada Bread Company, owner of UK bagel supplier Maple Leaf Bakery, will take no further action after an internal investigation into allegations that an employee at its UK bakery operations may have sought to influence the pricing of a competitor.Senior vice-president, communications and consumer affairs Lynda Kuhn said no evidence to substantiate claims, made in a tabloid newspaper in December 2008 involving The Bagel Group, had been received, despite requests.The Office of Fair Trading said it will not pursue the case.
l The sadly departed author JG Ballard was assistant editor on The Baker in 1956, then the official publication of the Institute of British Bakers and of the Institute of Irish Bakers… tinyurl.com/dgbtpv l Deep Fried Coke is taking off in the States with a calorie count equivalent to 10 slices of bread… tinyurl.com/2jnt7u l A thief managed to steal a spiral mixer in front of craft bakery staff and whizzed it off in his sports car… tinyurl.com/dfl7v6 l There’s a ’National pineapple upside-down cake day’… tinyurl.com/d62wlj
Melton Mowbray pork pie company Chappell’s Fine Foods has gone into liquidation just six months after it was taken over by a new owner with ambitious plans to expand sales.The factory in Wigston, Leicester, closed suddenly before Christmas, leaving its 12 employees out of work and its customers frantically searching for alternative supplies during the year’s busiest trading period. CBA Insolvency Practitioners has since been appointed as liquidator.Founded in 1972 by David Chappell, the company was taken over last May by former Rank Hovis and Associated British Foods high-flier Ian Nicholls, who said he planned to double the company’s workforce and more than triple its £750,000 turnover (see British Baker, 5 Jun). David Chappell’s son Phil and granddaughter Lisa continued to work at the factory, which also made savouries and other meat pies.According to local newspaper reports, several members of staff confronted Nicholls outside the factory at the beginning of January over claims that they were still owed wages. According to the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, value sales among its members grew by 8% in the past year.
Buyers have been found for the vast majority of Leeds-based Ainsleys, which went into administration in November, with Country Style Foods acquiring the company’s central bakery and brand.A deal has also been struck to sell 20 of Ainsleys’ 29 leasehold retail outlets, split evenly between craft bakery chains Cooplands of Scarborough and Cooplands of Doncaster. Ainsleys’ sandwich van business has been sold to AW Food Services.Joe McLean, a partner at administrator Grant Thornton, said: “We are really pleased to have found buyers for the majority of the various businesses within the Ainsleys portfolio. Negotiations are still ongoing in respect of the remaining nine stores and we hope to be able to announce a positive resolution shortly.“I would like to thank all Ainsleys staff for their help and support during this difficult time. Their loyalty and commitment to Ainsleys, shown by their high standard of work despite uncertainty and terrible weather conditions, has been vital in securing a buyer.”For the full story, see the February 12 issue of British Baker, out today.
Bakehouse has launched a new range of fully baked pastries called Patisse, designed to meet the demand for premium sweet pastries reminiscent of those found in high-end patisserie outlets.The new pastries come in six different varieties: caramel & pecan rosette; rhubarb crumble square; orange & poppy seed rosette; chocolate & raspberry panier; passion fruit & raspberry diamond; and apple & blackberry panier. The thaw-and-serve products are made using all-butter dough and real fruit pieces, and undergo two glazing processes before and after baking.”Our research has told us that there was a gap in the market for top-end sweet pastries and that products in this area are not readily available outside of handcrafted patisserie outlets,” said Peter Drew, innovations director at Bakehouse.The firm has also added a new Multiseed Rusticata to its Rusticata range for 2010, which already includes Baguette Rusticata, Demi Baguette Rusticata in 120g and 170g variants and a Rusticata Dinner Roll Selection. Its Rusticata breads are designed to combine the qualities of the two most popular bread types in the UK the French baguette, and Italian ciabatta. The breads, which feature a combination of: pumpkin seeds, linseeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, are stonebaked and are made using extra virgin olive oil, and semolina flour.Supplied frozen, Rusticata loaves simply need to be baked-off for 12 minutes to refresh.