Caffè Nero, which has 292 cafés, has launched its latest seasonal menu, including focaccia with salami and two cheese, butternut squash and Brie panini.The autumn range also includes a ham, leek and cheese wrap, ham and Brie panini, soups including butternut squash and garlic, and an apple and rhubarb brunch-pot, made with yogurt and muesli.Commercial director Paul Ettinger said the company is now preparing to launch a Christmas range. He said: “We bring out a new menu four times a year, usually adding about 12 new products, which typically reflects that season. In October we launched a prime beef and horseradish panini, which was the panini of the month. November’s panini is Provolone cheese, pesto and tomato – which is vegetarian.”For Christmas Caffè Nero’s menu will include a turkey and cranberry panini, a Brie and pear panini, mince pies and gingerbread men.
Firms are flocking to join the Baking Industry Exhibition (BIE), organised by William Reed Events.The latest firms to come on board are Autobake, Martins Conveyor Belts, Mono Equipment, Tromp Bakeries, Par Pak and Ziegra Ice Machines and Ennis Engineering.They join companies including Orbital Food Machinery, Abacus Aquameter, Pillopak and Oliver Douglas, which have already agreed to take part.BIE will be located with the Convenience Retailing Show, Food and Drink Expo and Foodex Meatex, from April 6-9, at the NEC in Birmingham.Plans for the show include a live bakery and the Student Alliance’s 2008 competition finals. BIE’s Board of Patrons includes representatives from Sainsbury’s, Tesco and craft bakery Arthur Chatwins.
Chief executiveBakoThe so-called ’mega trends’ of health and well-being, indulgence, convenience and ethical standards have been at the heart of new product development recently, colouring every product launch.In the past 12 months, we have seen some remarkable changes in our industry: rampant commodity markets fuelled by commodity traders; growing populations in far away places; crop failures around the world; and the push for biofuels. On top of that came the credit crunch, the spectre of falling house prices and the erosion of disposable income.So the questions are obvious. Will my customers have even tighter budgets? Will they trade down or cut costs elsewhere in their spending? How do I recession-proof my business? Should we be looking at premium products or economy versions? Can I look to reduce the cost of my products?Frankly, I fear we are in uncharted water, at least for a little while. But this should not mean that we stop innovating and put everything on hold until we become more confident of how the land lies. It is exactly at moments like these that suppliers and bakers who seize the moment will be successful. In the last economic downturn, businesses became lean and removed costs to survive. Yet these are not options for many of us today and it is critical that we become even more fleet of foot in developing and launching new concepts and, where necessary, walking away from things that are less successful.Charles Darwin said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
Canada Bread Company, the parent company of the UK’s biggest bagel supplier Maple Leaf Bakery, will take no further action following an internal investigation into allegations that an employee at its UK bakery operations may have sought to influence the pricing of a competitor. Lynda Kuhn, senior vice president, communications and consumer affairs, told British Baker that initial allegations made in a tabloid newspaper in December 2008 involving The Bagel Group – a company Maple Leaf had previously been in talks with to acquire – were unfounded and that no evidence had been supplied to substantiate the claims, despite requests. She said: “While we requested a copy of the video tape [which allegedly showed an employee involved in price fixing], we have not received it – and no further action will be taken by the company.” The Office of Fair Trading does not plan to conduct an investigation into the matter.
Warburtons is on the hunt for Britain’s best picnic area, as part of its National Bread Week celebrations from 4-10 May.Consumers are being encouraged to join in by voting for their favourite picnic spot on the website www.welovebread.co.uk and all those who vote stand a chance of winning a year’s supply of bread. In addition, people can upload images of their own picnics and take part in an interactive sandwich game.Warburtons is also offering consumers a chance to win £1,000 daily during National Bread Week by way of an on-pack promotion. The promotion will run across Warburtons’ top-selling lines: the 800g Toastie Loaf, 800g Medium and 800g Farmhouse loaves.To enter, consumers enter a product code from the packaging on the website for the chance of winning a prize.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published its third progress report on the proposals going forward for the nationwide Scores on the Doors (SotD) scheme. But it said agreements have been difficult to reach and further discussions are needed.At a meeting on 21 July, the UK-wide SotD Steering Group and its Working Groups were unable to agree upon “how the top tier of the six-tier national scheme should be ‘mapped’ from the numerical score derived from the intervention-rating scheme at Annex 5 of the Food Law Code of Practice”. The Group also reached a stalemate on how the concept of ‘broad compliance’ should be ‘mapped’. “In the light of this, the Group has referred these issues back to the FSA for a decision.”The FSA said the decisions were difficult, due to the complexity of the issues and polarised views of key stakeholders.Further discussions are to take place and it is hoped that decisions will be reached in September.For more information and the chance to share your views, visit www.food.gov.uk.
lBaking Industry ExhibitionWe report on the exciting launches found at the UK’s premier bakery exhibition and Food & Drink WorldlFlavouringsHow can you add a bit of zing to your offer? Flavour suppliers give us the lowdownlThe Big InterviewIan Toal, MD of bakery giant Delice de France, on how the company is coping in a tough foodservice market
Ham, Cheese and Leek is the latest special edition variety in the Ginsters pasty range.The product contains 100% cured British ham and mature cheddar cheese with Cornish leeks wrapped in a light puff pastry and has an RRP of £1.99. It replaces the previous special addition Pork & Apple pasty.Andy Valentine, head of brand marketing for Ginsters, said: “As a brand, proud of our strong British roots, Ginsters has always sought to bring some great British flavours to life. We expect the new Ham, Cheese & Leek to be just as successfully received by our customers and consumers alike.”We are already planning the next special edition for later in 2010.”
Over a third of exhibitors are attending the show this year for the first time, making the event a good opportunity to find new suppliers and source new products. Over 550 producers from around the world will offer creative and premium products that could provide that all-important point of difference.Among the bakery firms will be Artisan Biscuits (stand 552), which will show its Elegant & English all-butter biscuits in chocolate and raspberry, vanilla and cream, honey and almond and ginger and lemon flavours, as well as an all-British biscuit line in stilton, cheddar and smoked cheese flavours.Ashbourne Foods (stand 336) will offer its Sugar and Spice range of muffins, biscuits and slices on display. The line includes chocolate, cherry and caramel brownies, shortbreads, and raspberry and toffee muffins, developed by a fourth-generation craft baker.Kent and Fraser (stand 508) will launch gluten-free hand-baked cakes, biscuits and cookies, including stilton and walnut biscuits and vanilla and walnut shortbread.Artisan bakery Nisi’s (stand 141) will show handmade biscotti, amaretti, limonetti and chocolett, using local ingredients.The Cracking Good Food Company (stand 1173) is launching Cracotti savoury crackers double-baked, then delicately cut to create distinctive savoury slices.PT Bakery (stand 316) will show gourmet biscuits, including white chocolate and macadamia, milk chocolate chunk and oat, and oat, apple chunks and cinnamon.An additive-free range of pies from Simple Simon’s Pies (stand 520), offers 36 different fillings, including chicken with Durham Blue cow’s cheese.l The event takes place on 57 September at Olympia, London. Register free at: www.specialityandfinefoodfairs.co.uk
A West Sussex craft bakery is making the most of its delivery van by using it as a mobile shop to sell bread and cakes in nearby villages.The Spinning Wheel, which has a shop in Midhurst, came up with the idea after customers at its monthly market stall in the nearby village of Stedham asked whether the bakery could visit more frequently. The firm’s delivery van now visits the village every Friday after it has made its wholesale deliveries, setting up shop for an hour.”There is no shop in Stedham after the post office closed down and many elderly people who live there find it hard to get to neighbouring towns to do their shopping,” said Spinning Wheel owner Mark Hubbard. “It started as an experiment, but has become really popular, with takings of between £60-£100 in an hour. The van wouldn’t normally be used for anything in the afternoons. We’re thinking of extending the idea to other villages on other days.”