Scottish bakery firm Black’s of Dunoon (Argyll) has recently launched a range of breads made from O’mega Bread, a 50% mix from specialist ingredients company Zeelandia (Billericay, Essex). The mix is enriched with omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to aid the efficient circulation of blood and functioning of the heart. Omega 3 has also been shown in studies to have positive effects on brain function, with primary school children who took omega 3 showing vastly improved reading and spelling results over a three-month period.“The customer is now more health conscious and O’mega Bread obviously appeals,” says Black’s owner Charles Black. “Our customer feedback is very encouraging. One customer has placed a standing order of eight loaves per week, saying it recovers well from freezing.“Return business is also due to the distinct flavour achieved by using the blend of oats, spelt, linseed, rye, sourdough and malt,” he adds.Zeelandia reports that sales of O’mega Bread have far exceeded expectations.
American firm CH Babb (stand D300) will be showing its custom-made tunnel ovens. The company says it has moved to new premises in Raynham, just outside Boston, and is expanding its test baking facility to enable customers to carry out trials on site. CH Babb has recently completed an installation of four air impingement ovens for Avana Bakeries.
Think of the most difficult-to-handle dough, batter or mix your bakery has to deal with on a daily basis. Flapjacks may spring to mind but, for many, soda bread tops the list.Combine cold, fresh Irish buttermilk, with extra coarse wholemeal flour, wheat flour, bread soda, salt and wheatgerm and the result is best described as being like porridge. Scale up to industrial quantities and you need plant and equipment that is up to the job.One of the main Irish producers of soda bread is McCambridge (Rathcoole, Co Dublin). Established in 1985, the company is a wholly Irish-owned food manufacturer that has history of food production going back to 1945. It started baking in 1994 and also still produces a variety of luxury cakes, puddings and ice cream, in addition to speciality breads.The recipe for its best-selling Irish Stoneground Wholewheat Brown Bread has been in the family for generations and it gives the product a distinctive nutty texture and taste. The product is yeast-free, low in fat, high in dietary fibre and has no added sugar. British consumers can now buy it over the internet in cases containing eight loaves at £15.60 per case.In April 2005, McCambridge bought Gills bakery and, following a strategic review of operations, decided to move all soda bread production to the Gills site, seeing great market opportunities for soda bread produced in a modern plant on purpose-built production lines. Managing director Michael McCambridge takes up the story: “We took a long hard look at the market and, with the help of a third party consultant, decided the time was right to invest in its future.”We had previously worked with European Process Plant (EPP) and purchased a small amount of packaging plant from them. After talking to a number of other suppliers we were very impressed, not only with the equipment EPP could supply and support, but with its overall approach to the project, particularly the partnership attitude employed.”McCambridge decided on an automated VMI double-spiral, three-bowl carousel mixing system. “This not only offered us the capacity but, perhaps more importantly, the mix consistency we were seeking,” explains McCambridge. “A very gentle mix is a prerequisite for a quality end product.”The machines have been designed by VMI to be robust as well as efficient, says EPP. Every carousel system is individually specified, including the mixer and tool type, as well as the number of ingredients’ feeding stations, mixers, bowls and bowl elevators. VMI systems can be full integrated with both the upstream – silos, small ingredients systems – and downstream equipment, including dividers and depositors, says the firm.Soda bread has very different production requirements to yeast plant bread and, for an installation of the size required by McCambridge, it was imperative that every detail was correct. Take, for example, the ovens. When baking soda bread there is no need for a turbulent air flow in the ovens and the product needs to be placed in heat as quickly as possible after mixing for the 10-12-minute bake. Get the baking profile wrong, and the loaf will burst open.RADIANT HEATEPP did its homework and liaised closely with engineers at Gouet, designer of the 18m-long Cyclothermic tunnel oven that is the centrepiece of the production line. The oven is easy to use and, importantly, easy to learn. It uses purely radiant heat to achieve the best possible quality. Even heat distribution is critical to achieving consistent product colour, shape and eating quality. The airflow through the heat exchangers, ducting and radiators in the oven is optimised to achieve this.The oven is divided into six zones and has two separate burners/heat exchangers to enable maximum adjustment of the baking temperature curve as the products travel through the baking chamber.EPP also supplied the tray conveyors to link everything up and an automatic tray stacker to store trays and to maintain a constant feed of trays through the plant. In consultation with EPP, a needle depanner was specified – perhaps to the surprise of some. The system was chosen in preference to a vacuum depanner, as it is quieter in operation, more energy-efficient and more reliable, with 100% of the product being depanned.LEAP OF FAITHMichael McCambridge admits that, in many ways, it required a great leap of faith on his part to put his trust – and money – in EPP and VMI and Gouet. But on the day the new oven was fired up in the Rathcoole Bakery, beyond the expectations of all involved in the project, the very first product put through the oven was 90% right and it was not long before what McCambridge describes as the “sweet spot” was found and full-scale production could begin in earnest.The order for the equipment was placed in November 2005 and, by the following July, soda bread was continually cooling on the newly installed spiral cooler before being placed in resealable Freshgard packaging, ready for despatch. The new plant has improved production efficiency in terms of the number of people required, as well as reducing energy consumption.McCambridge Group is also expanding in the UK. It now owns Husseys Bakery in Berkshire, Queen of Hearts cake supplier in Oxford as well as West of England Bakeries based in Plymouth. n
Welsh bakery chain Ferraris had its headquarters in Hirwaun, south Wales “severely damaged” after a fire broke out on 19 April.The first floor of the two-storey building at the Bryngelli industrial estate was badly burned by fire. Ten firefighters in breathing apparatus tackled the blaze with two hose reels, one main jet, a thermal imaging camera and two ventilation fans.There were no injuries and, despite the fire, all staff were said to be in work and production is continuing. Ferraris, which has 60 shops across south Wales, went into administration one week before Christmas.However, in February, the company was bought by Best Bakeries, saving 600 jobs. No-one at the company was available for comment.
Dan O’Donohoe (63) of Foxrock, Dublin, who collapsed and died suddenly at the beginning of April, was a well-known figure in the Irish baking industry, writes Hugh Oram.In the late 1970s, he was managing director of plant bakery Bolands in Dublin. But trading and union restrictions on plant bakeries at that time meant severe difficulties and, despite many rationalisation and modernisation measures, the plant ultimately closed in 1984.Dan O’Donohoe then set up a number of high street hot bread shops in Dublin. Their eventual closure signalled the end of his involvement in baking, although he remained involved in flour importing.He is survived by his wife Wendy, one daughter, Luci, four sons, Andrew, Danny, Jamie and Stephen, and 10 grandchildren.His funeral mass, attended by many former bakery trade colleagues, was held at a church in Foxrock, Dublin and was followed by a burial at Glencullen cemetery.
The West Cornwall Pasty Co is to open a further 15 outlets in the next 12 months, as well as refurbishing 25 of its existing shops.The firm now has 57 company-owned shops across the UK, from Brighton to Glasgow, and is hoping to grow the brand to make it “more nationally recognised”.David Howarth, commercial director, said the refurbishment won’t just mean a lick of paint. The company is to change the layout of the shop to create more space and seating for customers. “It will enable us to cater for our customers and, hopefully, enjoy a higher turnover in those shops,” said Howarth.In terms of the new shop locations, he said the company “probably won’t go further north than the M62 corridor”, due to the feasibility of distribution. Howarth explained that next year’s budget was in place, and the company had the funding available for the new shops and refurbishment project.In October last year, the firm moved to a new HQ, based down the road from its existing one in Long Crendon, near Oxford. “It has given us two-and-a-half times more storage, office and freezer space and a base for growth,” said Howarth.The company recently introduced new products to the menu, including a salmon pasty, and has changed its traditional steak and ale pasty to a steak and St Austell Ale pasty, using St Austell Tribute Ale. “We’ve also tried to enhance our breakfast offe-ring and we’re now doing a Cumberland sausage roll, as well as chunky baked potato wedges,” explained Howarth.l In British Baker’s recently published Top 50 Bakery Retailers table (16 January issue), West Cornwall Pasty Co were incorrectly listed as being in 28th place with 35 shops. However, the company currently has 57 shops.
The baking industry should be allowed to decide how new funding for skills, recently announced by government, should be spent, as the head of the UK’s food and drink sector skills council accused the government of “clinging onto the purse strings”.Improve chief executive Jack Matthews welcomed the government’s pledge of an additional £260 million, but criticised the ringfencing of the funding for only training under-25s, stating that funding for skills would only work if it was left to industries to decide where it should be deployed.Individual sectors including bakery were in “dire need” of direct assistance to help fund solutions to training and skills shortages, he added.Matthews also argued that “rapid-response” strategies were needed to retrain and relocate workers in areas where their skills were needed. “This can’t happen while the government clings onto the purse strings and attempts to micro-manage where funding is allocated,” he said.Justine Fosh, director of the National Skills Academy for bakery, said: “The funding available for training is tightening and often being redirected towards these kinds of generic initiatives [under-25s training]. The profile of the workforce is largely older in the bakery sector, so this initiative misses the target. There’s a need to ensure the bakery sector has a skilled workforce that will help drive it forward.”Matthews also urged the baking industry to train those older workers coming onto the labour market who had lost their jobs or who were seeking a career change, and not just young people.
The Drury Tea & Coffee Company has launched a range of Christmas teas and infusions. The loose teas include Christmas Flavoured Black tea and Christmas Flavoured Green tea in 125g packs, as well as Christmas Rooibos Infusion and Christmas Cookie Infusion in 100g packs. The black tea features apple, cinnamon; almonds, star anise and vanilla. The green tea features ice crystal sprinkles, pink peppercorns, chocolate chips and clove buds. Cinnamon, orange blossom, blackberry leaves, cardamom seeds, ginger clove buds and safflower are included in the Rooibos infusion, while the Cookie Infusion features apple pieces, hibiscus, rosehip, orange pieces, cinnamon and ginger and cloves.RRP: £1.60 to £2.10 for leaf teas and infusionswww.shopdrury.com
Hovis has not been over-promoting its product, insisted Hovis’ marketing boss, as the brand closes in on rivals Warburtons.Premier Foods’ heavy price promotion of Hovis, alongside Allied Bakeries’ Kingsmill, has seen the number two and three brands respectively steal a march on market leader Warburtons.According to recent data (TNS 4 w/e 3 October), volumes of pre-packed bread were down by 2.5% in total, with Hovis bucking the trend, up 19.9%. Kingsmill rose 7.6%, while Warburtons fell by 7.9%. Own-label suffered a big drop, down 24%.”I genuinely don’t think we are over-promoting and by that I mean offering such value that it is somehow harming the brand,” Hovis marketing director Jon Goldstone told British Baker. “We are offering good value to consumers in a way that is consistent with the overall brand values.”Hovis has now closed the gap on market share with Warburtons to 4.5%, having seen it grow to 10% a year ago. “We don’t have any posters on the wall saying we want to overtake them,” said Goldstone. “We want to grow steadily, responsibly and sustainably. We’re close to being back to the high point of 2006, around the 28% [market share] mark, and that will be a huge achievement that we will celebrate and move on from.”As the economy recovers, Goldstone expects the level of promotions to recede. He said: “In the current economic environment, the value we’re offering is appreciated. As we enter the next economic cycle there is an opportunity for the category as a whole to deal less.”He said the brand’s success was down to “confidence in market-leading quality”, a strong marketing drive on brand perception and developing more reasons to trial, such as the Wholemeal Challenge.The next challenge, he said, would be to return the wrapped bread category to the volume growth it briefly enjoyed in 2008. “We want a healthy market with steady long-term growth,” he said.l See full interview in the next issue of British Baker
Stephen Greenfield is to leave Jackson’s Bakery in April, having already handed over the role of MD to his successor James Watson, announced William Jackson Food Group.Greenfield has been managing director of Jackson’s for the past nine years, in which time the company has seen a number of major investments in its manufacturing site, and has grown its sales in the sandwich bread, foodservice and export sectors.“The Board of William Jackson Food Group is enormously grateful to Stephen for turning around the fortunes of our bakery business and we would like to wish him all the best in whatever he decides to do next,” commented group managing director Norman Soutar.“Jackson’s is a great company with great people – probably why I have stayed for longer than I first intended,” said Greenfield. “I have no doubt that Jackson’s Bakery will go on to enjoy even more success in the future.”Anyone wishing to get in touch with Greenfield can reach him via his email address: [email protected]