It’s red, it’s an antioxidant and it is rocketing in popularity. It can also be easily sweetened, it’s bake stable and it can be infused with other flavours. Oh yes, and it can cure cystitis.There are a lot of claims made about the common cranberry – and if recent evidence is to be believed they appear to be true. In fact, a couple more claims have recently been made: cranberries boost good cholesterol (HDL) and help circulation.In case you think I have swallowed the sales patter along with the cranberries, let me emphasise that a health symposium held at the botanical gardens at Kew lined up a practising professor of urology, Stuart Stanton, and two nutritionists to present the facts on cranberries and answer any questions.But why should all this interest bakers? Well, aside from the fact that Christmas is coming and cranberries are a festive red colour, almost every national newspaper and food programme on TV seems obsessed with health at the moment. So adding a selection of cranberries can not only add colour but also a healthy image to breads, muffins, Danish and flapjacks. I expect they are already being seen in mince pies with a difference.Health shops and supermarkets are now selling a fruit mix with cranberries as a hand-held snack and sweet alternative to the traditional chocolate bar. The juice and purée are also highly nutritious and if used cost effectively can again add colour and value enabling a premium price to be charged – customers should pay for all that health!Cranberries undoubtedly help in the indulgence versus health debate because as with blueberries they help combine the two.Cranberries and related products such as the juice are available in the UK through Ocean Spray and distributed through wholesaler JO Sims of Spalding, Lincolnshire, which has nationwide distribution.—-=== Health issue ===Ocean Spray is an agricultural co-operative owned by more than 650 cranberry growers in the US and Canada. It was formed 75 years ago by three cranberry growers from Massachusetts and New JerseyCranberries grow in very acidic soil or, even better, in wet fields. There are four little air pouches in the centre of the cranberry which means it floats well making it slightly easier to harvest them in the boggy fields than on dry land.They have a hard outer skin that becomes softer when heated. Their natural flavour is slightly sour so they balance sweet products well, but they can also be dried or infused with a sweetener or even other flavours.Cranberries are harvested in autumn. This year cranberry lakes were created at Kew Gardens as an autumn spectacular and a publicity stunt that received widespread press coverage. With such marketing muscle behind it the cranberry’s future looks rosy.
Small bakery manufacturers at the show were upbeat amid a backdrop of increasing consumer awareness of food origins and a retailing drive to ’think local’.However, The Heatherslaw Bakery doesn’t talk about ’food miles’; ’food metres’ is closer to the truth. This top-end cake and biscuit bakery stands on the same site as a water-powered mill among the fields where the wheat is grown in Northumberland. MD Colin Smurthwaite claimed this was proving a great selling point. “The story we try to convey is the location, and that everything is handmade to traditional recipes,” he said of the 120 products, which range from four to six months’ shelf life, including a Christmas range with national distribution.The one-year-old Heavenly Cakes was hoping to expose its new branding to distributors. Having formerly helmed a catering firm, the owners switched to baking cakes when they became frustrated at the quality of products they were buying in. The firm now makes 20 lines of traybakes, supplying the likes of London Zoo. “We avoid artificial flavourings, bindings and colours as much as possible and stick to real ingredients, such as real egg and Belgian chocolate,” said co-owner Nigel Green.Ian Craig, MD of Beckleberry’s, which supplies ice cream and speciality patisserie to the hotel and restaurant market, said he was promoting its use of real ingredients: “We work from first principles; we make our own pastry, frangipane, mousses and purées – we use real strawberries rather than what some ingredients suppliers think is the taste of a strawberry!” The seven-day life baked products are deli-vered chilled, while the bulk of the 1,000-strong range are frozen; 40% of products are bespoke. It deli-vers direct to the north of England, while the firm is still joining the dots on its UK-wide distribution.Farmer/miller Gilchesters Orga-nics started working with a wholesaler last month and was drumming up interest in the south for its spelt and rye speciality flours. “Getting bakers to change their habits is a very difficult process,” said owner Andrew Wilkinson. “They have established grists of grain and set modes of production. So for us to introduce speciality stoneground grains, with different baking characteristics, has been hard work. But once bakers try the flours and realise there’s something special in the flavours of these old varieties, it helps us to help them develop new ranges of speciality breads.”Pullins Bakers was launching branded mini bar flapjacks, shortbreads and tiffins, with contemporary-looking cardboard sleeves for coffee shops, travel, retail and foodservice. “We’re also introdu-cing a Family Breads range of five Great Taste Award-winning breads, which have been developed from recipes dating from 1925,” said marketing executive Tristan Hunt.Meanwhile, bake-off specialist Mantinga was showcasing the only product to win a Great Taste Award in the new bake-off category this year – a seeded wholemeal loaf. “To us, that has been a great achievement – we’re the only people, ever, to win a gold in bake-off!” said delighted MD Steven Mackintosh. Mantinga also launched a sun-dried tomato loaf, Mediterranean green olive bread, peperonici and fougasse, with ham and walnuts.
== 6.2% ==…the percentage year-on-year fall in sales of bread in Italy, according to Italian farmers’ body The Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori (CIA), – worse than veg (-4.2%), pasta (-2.6%), pork (-4.7%) and beef (-3.8%)
Independent supplier of hot and cold beverages Aimia Foods has launched a new range of Outspan juice drinks. The drinks come in 330ml PET bottles in apple and orange flavours and are the first in a series of launches in the Outspan range. They contain no artificial colours, preservatives, flavourings or sweeteners.”This is the first time that Outspan, a South African brand, has ventured in to the drinks market,” said Neal Haworth, cold drinks category marketing manager at Aimia Foods. “We’ve worked hard on every aspect of the drinks, from the recipe through to the packaging design.”The drinks are available in cases of 24 and a support package is available from Aimia for vendors and food-service operators.RSP: 85p per bottle[http://www.aimiafoods.com]
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is calling for amendments to the Business Rates Supplement Bill, which it fears could result in the burden of extra taxes for businesses.The new Bill, which had its third reading in the House of Commons yesterday (Wednesday, 11 March), would allow local authorities to levy supplementary taxes designed to pay for infrastructure projects that benefit local economies.According to the CBI the supplementary taxes, which would follow the overall 5% rise in business rates announced by the government, will particularly affect manufacturers and retailers. Currently, the Bill will enable a 2p supplement to be levied on non-domestic rate-payers – the equivalent of a 4% increase in rate bills.According to Sir Michael Lyons’ Review into Local Government – Final report (March, 2007), if this was to be applied throughout England, it would raise £800m for local authorities.The CBI says firms should be entitled to a vote to approve or reject proposed tax supplements for new infrastructure projects. It says this would help avoid projects that businesses don’t actually need, but would mean priority could be given to the most worthy projects that actually help the local economy.“These extra taxes on business could harm local economies by placing extra financial demands on firms when they can least afford it,” said John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general. “They could make the difference between companies surviving the downturn or going to the wall.“By amending the Bill to give business a vote, we can ensure that local economies get the right investments, which stimulate economic growth and create jobs, instead of threatening them,” he added.
Premier Foods has announced strong growth for Hovis’ branded bakery, and plans to push for increased sales of white bread.In the firm’s preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2009, it announced that branded bakery sales for Hovis grew by 13.5% to £370m, though it explained that the increase in volume sales was partly offset by pricing – with the proportion of bread sold on promotion higher than in 2008.Retailer brand bakery fell by 15.6% to £179m, however Premier noted that the loss in non branded sales was “more than offset” by increased volumes of branded bread.Hovis grew its market share of the branded bread market to 26.6% by value and 25.8% by volume in 2009, which Premier put down, in part, to the firm’s ability to develop advertising which emotionally connects with the consumer.Commenting on opportunities for the future, Premier said growth was still available from “expanding in segments of the market in which Hovis is underrepresented, such as white bread”.Total bakery sales in the Hovis division were up 2% to £549m. Milling sales fell by 16.8% to £193m, as raw material costs had a significant effect, according to the firm. This resulted in a fall in total sales for Hovis of 3.6% to £742m.However trading profit for the division was up 75% from £24m in 2008 to £42m in 2009.Premier announced that branded sales had increased across the board, and as part of its strategy for further growth it said it will “concentrate our investment into areas with the greatest growth potential”. It has therefore placed its brands into Drive, Core and Defend areas of focus. Within the Drive category – the areas it believes it can grow ahead of the market – are its bread and cake businesses, including the Hovis and Mr Kipling brands. It classifies its Cadbury Cakes business as a core brand within its Drive category.
Sainsbury’s is to open the UK’s first supermarket bakery college in an ambitious drive to train hundreds of staff.The college has been set up in partnership with flour supplier Whitworths, and is based at one of Whitworths bakeries in Welling-borough. Rather than using one of the usual colleges or universities, the new facility will speed workers through an NVQ Level 2 in retail in half the time it currently takes, from 12 months to six months, meaning qualified bakers will be sent into stores more quickly. Sainsbury’s will recruit 200 bakery apprentices this year (up on 104 last year) as part of its target to have at least one apprentice in every supermarket.However, college training will be available to everyone who works in bakery, not just apprentices, and the supermarket chain plans to send all its bakery workers from stores around the country about 1,500 people including 400 bakery managers on a five-day course at Wellingborough. This starts with a tour of the mill before moving onto the basics such as the biology behind the yeast. Students will then move on to practical skills, such as handrolling and how to do a mix. This will help them make rolls, French sticks and a wide range of other goods.Nick Townend, Sainsbury’s bakery category manager, said: “Opening a bakery training college will ensure that all of the bakers across our estate are trained to a consistently high standard. We are committed to scratch-baking to deliver the best in freshness and quality for our customers. So we have substantial growth in our current and future need for skilled bakery colleagues.”Training at the college which is not affiliated with the National Skills Academy will be carried out by Sainsbury’s learning and development trainers, all of whom have a background in bakery. It aims to train 12 bakery workers a week.Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Yvette Cooper said: “As one of the UK’s biggest youth employers I welcome Sainsbury’s commitment to train the next generation of bakers.”
All bakers are terrorists at least, that is the prevailing orthodoxy in Sri Lanka, where the government has effectively waged war on bread. Exorbitant tax rises on wheat have followed an order not to serve bread at state hospitals, prisons and schools, as bureaucrats insist that eating rice is healthier than consuming bread and wheat-based goods.”The government has intensified a campaign against bread,” association president N K Jayawardena is quoted as saying in local reports. “One minister has equated eating bread to ’terrorism’. This is absurd.”Is it a coincidence that this public health guidance comes at a time when global wheat prices are high, while there is a surplus of home-grown Sri Lankan rice? It’s not for Stop the Week to speculate.
Bridie eyes protectionThe Forfar Bridie could soon join the Cornish Pasty and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies as a regional product with protected status. An application for European protected name status is currently being drawn up by Angus council. If successful, production would be restricted to the Forfar area of Angus.Food to Go specialThis issue sees the launch of British Baker’s new four-page Food to Go section, which will look at different aspects of food-to-go retailing. It will feature once every alternate month (six times a year). See pages 27-30 for a look at soft drinks retailing, and take a tour of the high-street with him!Puratos’ Pure buyPuratos has taken over Latvian fruit ingredients supplier Pure Food in a deal that will strengthen its position in Nordic, Central and Eastern European markets. The acquired company, which employs 167 people, specialises in berry-based ingredients for bakers and patissiers.Vogel’s listingsVogel’s has launched a fruit loaf, which has been listed by Tesco. The product, containing currants, raisins and spices, is to be stocked in 242 stores. Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s will stock two Vogel’s Rolls wholemeal and oat and seeded in 225 stores, up from 62.
Members of the Real Bread Campaign will appear on a new BBC2 series tonight highlighting the importance of Community Supported Bakeries (CSB).Duncan Glendinning and Patrick Ryan, artisan bakers from The Thoughtful Bread Company, will appear in The Big Bread Experiment. The programme, airing tonight (5 December) for three consecutive nights at 7pm, will show the bakers’ year-long journey to help set up Bread…Actually, a CSB in Bedale, North Yorkshire.Chris Young of the Real Bread Campaign, said: “Since it began in 2008, the Real Bread Campaign has been encouraging and supporting CSBs, so it’s great that BBC2 is now helping to share this great idea with Britain. Hopefully these Campaign members’ stories will inspire even more people to get baking Real Bread for their local communities.” Carol Brown of Bread…Actually, said: “We hope it will help people to understand where we came from and what we believe in: the beauty of simple, locally produced bread, and the unifying power of baking it together.”The series also shows fellow Real Bread Campaign members working to restore Crakehall Watermill so that they can use its stoneground flour.