Do bakers want the DTI to keep Sunday special?

first_imgBakers have called the possibility of liberalising Sunday trading hours “bad for business” and “bad for society”. The present law restricts stores over 3,000sq ft to opening for six hours on a Sunday. But the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched a consultation on the issue on January 13, saying Sunday trading laws may need to be updated. National Association of Master Bakers (NA) chief executive David Smith said the NA was part of the Keep Sunday Special campaign in 1994, and has not changed its position since. “We are against any extension or liberalisation of hours, even though not many of our members are open on Sunday,” he said. “Extended Sunday opening will weaken the position of convenience stores and that affects the profitability of local shopping parades. It is this linkage that we are interested in, if people stop shopping on the parade, the baker’s shop is hit.” His view was echoed by craft bakers polled by British Baker. One baker, who did not wish to be identified, said: “I was anti-Sunday trading when it came in. It was the second worst thing Margaret Thatcher did after Statutory Sick Pay. We trade in two shops on Sunday. Extending hours will play into the hands of the big retailers. It is hard for small businesses to open seven days a week, but the supermarkets can easily do it.” But he predicted the law will change: “I think it is inevitable hours will be extended, as the government will bow to pressure from the large retailers. But it is bad for society.”Chatwins general manager Kevin Pearce said its new Chester shop will be its only one open on Sundays (see news pg 8). “Current Sunday hours are ample,” he said. “Opening longer would cost us a fortune. It would eat into our profits as people are not going to be buying more in 10 hours than six. They will just be browsing.” An extension of Sunday opening hours may be less of a burden for supermarket in-store bakers. One said his hours are currently 6am to 1pm, regardless of day of the week. “Someone else looks after the fixture after we have finished baking. I would not like to work longer on a Sunday though!” he said.Indeed, a survey of over 500 shopworkers by retail union Usdaw found 92% reject relaxation of the law. It says 62% of those surveyed come under pressure to work on Sundays and only 11% have used their legal right to opt out of Sunday working.The DTI welcomes evidence or views on all aspects of liberalisation. It said: “Many people are benefiting from flexible working outside nine-to-five weekday hours. In a more multicultural society, there is recognition that we should only regulate where necessary.”And it is commissioning a cost-benefit analysis on Sunday opening, which it plans to publish in Spring. Submissions, which should be marked as confidential if you do not want the DTI to publish them, should be emailed, by April 14, to: [email protected] or write to Maria Bazell, Consumer and Competition Directorate, DTI, Bay 418, 1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0ET.last_img read more

Subway grows with suppliers as its expansion continues

first_imgSandwich chain Subway is predicting it will sell 150 million submarine rolls in the UK and Ireland and in continental Europe in 2006, as its rapid expansion continues.The chain sold 53.3m sticks in its 617 stores in the UK and Ireland in 2005 and 46.6m in its 500 continental European outlets, said Bryan Griffiths, MD of the European Independent Purchasing Company (EIPC), which manages the buying for Subway’s franchises for those markets. “For Subway, 2006 will be all about increasing store numbers and making strides towards our growth goals,” Mr Griffiths stated. “We want to have 2,010 stores in the UK and Ireland by the year 2010.”The sandwich chain sources its bread for the UK and Ireland from frozen and chilled bakery supplier Evron Foods, based in Portadown, Northern Ireland. In the last 12 months, EIPC has enlisted a bakery supplier in Eastern Germany, which supplies all bread to Subway in continental Europe, he said. As the chain grows, EIPC is increasingly working collaboratively with its suppliers, Mr Griffiths added. “We are sharing store and volume growth information with them, developing joint business plans. You can’t hit your stores goal if you don’t get your supply chain right. We need to understand the costs so that everyone in the chain can be profitable.” The company is also making investment decisions with its suppliers, he said. “For example we can tell them that we know that, by 2007, they would need another production line installed to keep up with our projected store growth.” Mr Griffiths told British Baker: “As we are doubling in size, we are finding some suppliers have the capacity to expand and we are growing with them. In other cases, we are bringing other suppliers on.”Subway offers suppliers long-term contracts of between one year and five years as it grows with them, he said. The stability of prices is important, Mr Griffiths said: “We will not change retail prices based on what’s happening in the market.” The EIPC has rolled out centralised leasing, insurance, cleaning chemicals and equipment buying functions to franchisees over the last year, as it cuts costs out of the Subway operation, he added. Mr Griffiths said the key challenges Subway faces in the UK are rising energy and transport costs. He commented: “Energy costs are, without a doubt, a challenge in the UK in particular. Fuel costs are higher and there is more congestion. There is a prevalence of parking fines here, which is reflected in costs.”last_img read more

BFAWU awarded £50k to aid foreign members

first_imgThe Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) has won government funding of £50,000 to assist members for whom English is a foreign language.The money was awarded by the government’s Union Modernisation Fund and has been matched by financial support from Thompsons Solicitors, a legal firm representing trade unions in the UK. It will be used for two projects, one of which has already started. Initially, there is research into the needs and attitudes of workers for whom English is a foreign language. This also includes diversity awareness training for staff and members. Subsequently, the results from this initial work will form the basis for more long-term monitoring and evaluation.The BFAWU’s bid for funding for the work was backed by Northern Foods and RHM. In addition to a nationwide survey by questionnaire, in-depth research will be carried out at two sites each of both companies and at Finsbury Foods’ Memory Lane Cakes plant in Cardiff.BFAWU general secretary Joe Marino said the food industry has an increasingly diverse workforce, including many for whom English is not their first language. He said: “These are some of the most vulnerable members, in need of trade union support and protection. But it is a concern for employers too. Together we can halt this growing inequality.”Announcing the funding, employment relations minister Gerry Sutcliffe commented: “This fund helps ensure unions remain an integral part of the UK economy, making an effective contribution to constructive employment relations.”last_img read more

Asda in bakery revamp

first_imgSupermarket Asda is to relaunchthe whole of its Extra Special premium range, across all categories, over the next few weeks.The brand has been given a “more modern” look, and over 300 new products are being added to the range, bringing Asda’s total number of Extra Special lines to over 750.A new-look Extra Special bread and cakes range was introduced in stores last week as the roll-out began, bakery director Huw Edwards told British Baker.Edwards said: “We are making a big splash on organic and Extra Special, as hero categories. We’ve got some really great products, mainly different products from the same suppliers as before. There are some really delicious lines in there, such as new really rich Bakewell tarts.”The new range also includes Extra Special chocolate muffins, with 80% more chocolate than before, and very berry muffins with 40% more fruit, he said.Asda has redesigned packaging for the range, introducing a new strapline ’Loving Food at Asda’. A sideways ’E’ on the new cream-coloured Extra Special logo is shaped like a heart. The Extra Special products went into store alongside a revamped organic bakery range, with 19 lines merchandised in a dedicated bay in the bakery area.Edwards commented: “We are launching various branded organic products alongside an Extra Special organic range. We plan to move branded organic lines to own-label Asda in future.”Asda’s Extra Special line includes Honey and Sunflower Seed Bagels (at 98p for a four-pack), Extra Special Toffee and Apple loaf (340g) at £1.98 and Extra Special Sticky toffee pudding (400g) at £2.48.Asda is the latest supermarket to relaunch its premium range. Last week, Sainsbury’s told British Baker it was relaunching its 1,200 Taste The Difference lines, including bread and cakes, with a new logo and “clean” ingredients (British Baker, 22 September, pg 4).last_img read more


first_imgThe Atlanta gastronorm range of fridges and freezers from Apuro has been re-designed to significantly improve operating efficiency, cut down on energy use and increase internal storage space, says the company.The four-shelf, single-door AT70TN, has a capacity of 650 litres (23 cu ft), and energy consumption of 3.6kWh per 24 hour, while the eight-shelf, AT140TN double door fridge has a capacity of 1,300 litres (46 cu ft) and energy consumption of 5.4 kWh per 24 hours.Temperature within the cabinets can be held between -2?C to +8?C.The matching single-door, AT70BT, and double-door, AT140BT, freezers use 5.4kWh per 24 hours and 11kWh per 24 hours respectively, while holding the cabinet temperature between -18?C to -22?C.last_img

Chinese beet deal for ABF

first_imgInternational food, ingredients and retail group Associated British Foods (ABF) has announced a deal with the China-based Hebei Tian Lu Sugar Group in a move to boost sugar beet yields.The formation of the joint venture, to be called Bo Tian, is awaiting the approval of the Chinese government expected at the end of September.ABF will hold 51% of the joint venture and Tian Lu will hold the remaining 49%. The Chinese sugar beet industry is based in the north east of the country, which has high-quality arable land with ideal weather conditions for producing high sugar content in beet.”A significant increase in sugar production is planned. There is an opportunity to improve yields by applying British Sugar’s European beet sugar expertise through better agricultural practices and technology transfer,” said ABF.last_img read more

Baker of the Year

first_imgV andemoortele has been involved with the awards since 1987 and is proud of its commitment to maintaining and developing the highest standards by recognising the skills, expertise and passion of bakers.”As bakers ourselves, we are well aware that bakers today face challenges such as removing hydrogenated fats, colours and flavours, while reducing trans-fats, saturated fats, salt and, at the same time, producing high-quality products,” says Stephen Bickmore, UK commercial manager of Vandemoortele’s Lipids Division. “We are pleased to sponsor this category, as we are a company that recognises the importance of the British baker within the food industry.”Judges will be looking for a baker who can demonstrate commitment and passion for quality finished products and the willingness to meet the challenges of the current business climate. Ingredients quality, baking skills and consideration for the environment are some of the criteria that will be assessed.”Vandemoortele manufactures high quality ingredients and we recognise that skilled bakers are essential within the industry to ensure these ingredients are used to the best of their potential. We hope that these skills will be passed on to the next generation of bakers,” says Bickmore.This award is open to any individual with hands-on baking expertise. Entrants can be from small or large companies and do not have to be customers of Vandemoortele, but they must be able to demonstrate baking excellence and innovation.”The entrants and ultimate winner of this category will show what a rewarding and enjoyable career being a baker can be,” says Bickmore. “As well as the £500 prize for the winner, the publicity surrounding the awards and high-profile event is of immense value. We would urge anyone who is proud of their achievements to take part.”last_img read more

Fire rips through De Gustibus bakery

first_imgDe Gustibus’s Oxfordshire bakery has been destroyed in a fire.The blaze ripped through the artisan baker’s Abingdon plant on Wednesday night (10 September), damaging most of the building before firefighters arrived. Owner Dan Schickentanz said: “Only the walls are left standing – the place is completely gutted.”Schickentanz said he was mystified as to the cause of the blaze. The factory has recently been completely rewired. Police are keeping an open mind about the cause – they are to check CCTV footage from the time leading up to the blaze. Sniffer dogs found no trace of accelerant at the scene, Schickentanz said.Within 12 hours of the fire, De Gustibus had moved its operation into a smaller unit in London, and is currently able to meet about 80% of its supply commitments. Schickentanz said his staff had been hugely supportive, working tirelessly to get the second factory up and running. “I find the dedication of the people standing behind me absolutely incredible,” he told British Baker. Suppliers have also lent their support, with Shipton Mill sending some replacement flour and JR Trollies sending down extra equipment.One part of the Abingdon factory may be saved, Schickentanz said, adding it could be up and running within four weeks. “From there, we will come rising like a phoenix out of the ashes,” he said. De Gustibus is widely regarded as one of the best craft bakeries in the UK, with customers including Fortum & Mason and the Hilton and Cadogan hotel groups. It has won two British Baker Baking Industry Awards – Independent Baker of the Year 1997 and Best Baker of the Year in 1998.last_img read more

Hitting the decks

first_imgName: Sveba Dahlen Classic Deck OvenStockist/contact: Benier UK – 01908 312333How does it work?The Classic has been designed in a module system with six different oven sizes, along with a wide range of accessories such as a control panel – able to programme up to 40 different recipes – stone soles, a steam generator, an under-built prover and even castors.Why should bakers buy it?The oven helps bakers produce first-class finished products while keeping costs to a minimum. Each oven deck – up to five in height – can be individually regulated, with separate settings for the top, bottom and front heat. This gives it an extensive range of variations in time, temperature and the distribution of heat, making it suitable for traditional baking, but using the latest in modern technology.Anything else?The bottom frame is specially designed to withstand very heavy loads and with low operating and maintenance costs in mind. The exterior is made with high-quality stainless steel plates and there is a 120mm layer of rock wool insulation for superior heat economy and a safer working environment round the oven MIWE CondoStockist/contact: European Process Plant – 01372 745558In a nutshellThe MIWE condo has all the features of a professional rack oven, but takes up a lot less space and handles everything from delicate pastry to hearty bread.What can it do?Each of its electric-heated decks can be controlled independently with regards to top and bottom heat, baking time and volume of steam. Each individual baking chamber can also function as a separate oven with baking time, temperature, the amount of steam injected and top and bottom heat all able to be regulated.Why should bakers buy it?It is simple to operate, has an easy-to-read control panel and easy-to-operate door levers on the heat-resistant glass doors. One or all the baking chambers can be equipped with a steam system, heated separately, and a thermostat integrated into each chamber.Anything to add?The steam unit is separate, with its own heating rather than a bolt-on unit. This means the steam generation does not bleed heat from the baking chamber and if the unit needs replacing, the oven does not need to be taken Modul Series Electric Deck OvenStockist/contact: Norbake – 0845 130 1999What is it?The Modul Series Electric Deck Oven features individual decks that can be stacked, and is suitable for producing breads, pastries, pizzas and pies.How does it work?Each deck is independent and can be operated at different temperatures to give great flexibility. The steam injection system can be fitted to one or all decks. Split tempered glass doors and halogen lighting on each deck allow further energy savings so that the product can be viewed with minimal heat loss.What’s special about it?The Modul Series is made from top-quality materials and highly efficient insulation. An energy optimisation device allows bakers to reduce the oven’s electrical requirements by up to 50%. Energy decreases proportionally in the hottest areas of the decks while increasing in the coldest areas, allowing for maximum precision of baking and high production.What else should I know?Norbake also supplies gas and electric fixed-deck ovens such as the Ciclomondial gas oven and the Elettromondial electric deck oven which can set each deck at different temperatures to bake various products at the same Compacta Deck OvenStockist/contact: Tom Chandley – 0161 336 5444What’s the story?Tom Chandley’s latest deck oven range addresses quantity, logistics, ease-of-use and energy-saving, featuring a number of interchangeable features to cater for all kinds of bakers.How does it work?Bakers can choose from between one to six decks, with one to 12 trays per deck, catering for small-scale up to bulk production of quality baked goods. Doors can be six, eight or 10 inches in height to overcome space and logistical issues.What’s special about it?A ’pass-thru’ option allows bakers to keep produce strictly segregated, feeding products into the oven from a ’high-risk’ area and, once baked, depositing them into a ’low-risk’ area – a good feature if yeast and fruit or raw meats are involved.Any additional information?Turbo colour touchscreens can recall product details for all baked products, such as time, temperature, and steam operation. The turbo controllers can also overcome the issue of limited power availability – bakers can control the turbo-controller to input the maximum demand available and the oven will work up to this maximum read more

FSA reaffirms recommendation on folic acid

first_imgThe Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reaffirmed its recommendation that bread or flour should be fortified with folic acid after considering updated information on folic acid and cancer from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). The recommendation to the chief medical officer (CMO) Sir Liam Donaldson means mandatory fortification is increasingly likely, but raises unanswered questions about how the proposal would be implemented, who would foot the costs and what effect it would have on sales. Alex Waugh, director of the National Association of Irish and British Millers, told British Baker that, if the recommendation is adopted, the practicalities would have to be addressed by government. “It could be done if folic acid was added at the same time as other fortificants, but there would be a cost involved and that is an issue we would raise,” he said. “There is also a worry that the length of time discussions have taken has polarised views. The column inches dedicated to folic acid have not been helpful in developing consumer understanding. Some consumers could be turned off bread.”Read the full story in the next issue of British Baker, out 23 October.last_img read more