JBS Master Baker (Market Deeping, Peterborough) has a new planetary mixer with an oil-free gearbox. Developed by Italian mixing specialist Sancassiano, it provides hygiene, maintenance and production advantages on a wide range of products, claims the company.The oil-free gearbox eliminates the possibility of leakage and product contamination and allows a simpler design, reducing surfaces in which bacteria can grow.With independent motors to drive the tools and planetary movement, changeover between paddle, spiral and whisk is tool-free and can take less than 10 seconds. The speed of the tools and of the planetary movement can be adjusted independently, increasing flexibility for different mixing phases and recipes, says JBS.All Sancassiano planetary mixers have two tools and one scraper, reducing mixing time by up to 65% compared with a single tool mixer, claims the firm. Other tools including a cutting tool and a flat paddle can also be used. The scraper continuously follows the internal profile of the bowl, ensuring a consistent mix.
Bakery giant Greggs dwarfs its rivals on the high street, both in the takeaway and fast food sectors, according to British Baker’s new league table, the Top 50 Bakery Retailers 2007 (see pg 14).Our independent research shows that Greggs has more than five times as many shops as its nearest bakery rival, Lyndale Foods, the company which owns the Sayers, Hampsons and Maison Blanc brands.With 1,327 outlets in the UK and a further six in Belgium, it also has more shops than fast food giants McDonald’s and Burger King, and more shops in the UK than Subway and Starbucks combined.Managing director Sir Michael Darrington told British Baker: “We are delighted to be recognised as Britain’s top baker in the first year of this list. This position reflects the enormous contribution of Greggs’ employees all over the country and their individual commitment to making and serving great products.”Despite the significant changes to this industry and market over the years, Greggs is committed to retaining our bakery credentials and heritage, at the same time evolving our bakery offer in line with customer needs.”The new league table, which will be updated annually, gives a full countdown of the number of shops operated by the big bakery and takeaway operators in the UK. For example, it shows that Subway, Starbucks and Costa Coffee all have 500 or more stores and Caffè Nero, M&S Café Revive, BB’s Coffee & Muffins, Pret A Manger and SSP-owned Millie’s Cookies all have estates in triple figures.The list also reveals that SSP, formerly owned by Compass, has built up a substantial bakery business, with brands including Upper Crust, Millie’s Cookies, Caffè Ritazza and Ixxy’s Bagels. With a total of 522 bakery-style stores, it is number three on the list, behind Subway, which now has 780 UK stores.Traditional bakers in the top 20 of the new list include: Peter’s Cathedral Bakers and Cooplands (Doncaster) in joint twelfth position; Ferrari’s, which is currently in administration, at number 15; WT Warren & Son and Firkins, both at number 17; and Birds (Derby) at number 19.
International food, ingredients and retail group Associated British Foods (ABF) has announced the merger of W Jordan & Son (Silo) (’Jordans’) and its Ryvita Crispbread business.ABF will hold a 62% interest in the combined businesses, the balance of which will be held by Jordans’ existing shareholders. ABF acquired a 20% shareholding in Jordans last year.George Weston, ABF chief executive, said: “We are creating a strong new business and I look forward to the further development of both the Jordans and Ryvita brands.”Completion of the merger is subject to certain regulatory clearances and is expected to take place during the third quarter of 2008.
Greener packaging – it’s straightforward, right? Plastics are “bad”, while paper and cardboard are “good”. Well actually, it’s not quite that simple, and even the experts don’t agree. Landfill, where most of the UK’s waste ends up, is under huge pressure. Space is due to run out within the next five to 10 years, according to Defra. And with conventional plastics taking between 200 and 500 years to break down in landfill, it’s obvious that we cannot keep burying it underground, then burying our heads in the sand about the environmental impact.But the battle for greener packaging is more complex than plastic versus paper and cardboard. First of all, paper and card, if dumped in landfill, degrade and produce greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. This is why the government is targeting biodegradable waste first – aiming to recycle or compost greater proportions year-on-year.Also, some plastics are recyclable; Britain is expected to meet its 2008 plastic recycling target of 22.5% by weight this year. But plastics recycling presents economic and logistical challenges, so Defra is focusing most of its effort on recycling or composting biodegradable waste.Moreover, there’s a new player on the plastics scene. Starch-based plastics – or bioplastics – have emerged as a viable, natural and sustainable alternative to plastic and paper-based packaging. Then there’s the carbon footprint issue. Plastics nay-sayers flag up the damaging side-effects of plastic manufacture, while pro-plastics people counter that, as it is lightweight, it has less of a carbon footprint at the distribution stage than cardboard.Cautious approachAmid all the issues, it seems sensible to consult an expert. Mike Webster, waste specialist at charity Waste Watch, thinks bakers should approach claims of degradability with caution. “There are lots of types of plastic with different types of degradability,” he says. “Some will degrade in sunlight, which is not much use if it is buried in the ground. And some packaging which says it’s compostable frankly just isn’t.”Webster says he would push businesses “towards recyclable cardboard and paper”, and he also approves of bioplastics, which “compost quite well”. So, heeding his advice, what is available on the market?One of the companies that has spotted the growing possibilities for sustainable packaging is two-year-old Vegware Sustainable Disposables. Director Joe Frankel was working in the software industry in the US, when he saw that the quality of biodegradable packaging was improving year by year and, with that, came a wider variety of applications. One of the Edinburgh-based company’s stated goals is to enable a “paradigm shift in how waste is managed”.Packaging available from Vegware includes cutlery, tableware, cups and deli items, sandwich wedges, takeaway boxes, napkins, bags and sheets, made from recycled paper, vegetable starch or bagasse – a waste fibre made from pressing sugar cane. Frankel says businesses should think about the total environmental impact of the packaging they use. “The manufacturing process for our products is so much cleaner than the high-volume injection moulding plants used for plastic,” he explains.But what about the cost? Vegware’s cutlery, for example, costs around 1p more per item than standard plastic. On the other hand, its takeaway boxes made from bagasse cost less than their polystyrene equivalents. Frankel says if businesses plan to introduce greener packaging, they should use it as a marketing tool to attract new business. “You’re talking about an extra 1p on a fork, so that could be £1,000 more on a catering budget in the year. I tell people to put it on their marketing budget instead. So compare that £1,000 to taking out any kind of advertising.”Another firm that supports the greener-packaging-as-marketing-tool theory is Perivale-based Packaging Environmental. Director of the one-year-old firm Devesh Patel says businesses need to take heed of consumer pressure and switch to sustainable, ethical packaging, both for the sake of the planet and their brand. “Consumers are more interested in finding out about businesses’ green credentials,” he says. “They are much more sensitive now about whether businesses are responsible in their practices.”All of Packaging Environmental’s products, which include cups, food containers and cutlery, are biodegradable and made from “renewable and ethical sources”. Patel says sustainable packaging is priced much more competitively than it was 10 years ago – and with oil prices on the rise, traditional oil-based plastics aren’t likely to get cheaper.Closing the loopGreener options are also available from larger companies such as Solo Cup. The food-to-go packaging specialist has signed a contract with recycling service Closed Loop London, a public/private venture. Closed Loop will take 35,000 tonnes of recovered plastic every year and turn it back into recycled food grade PET (rPET). Solo Cup says it will be first to market with a range of “fully recycled and recyclable disposable products” using the material.Tony Waters, managing director of Solo Cup Europe says the company has taken a stand “in favour of championing the closed loop principle. This way, packaging used for food products will be recycled back into packaging for food products”.Solo Cup Europe is taking 20% of the rPET output from Closed Loop, and has also announced the sponsorship of the Closed Loop Office Recycling Scheme, which is pioneering the recycling of materials, particularly food packaging, in the workplace, initially in London.Given the amount of sometimes contradictory information available on green packaging options, it is hardly surprising that another packaging supplier, Flitwick-based Colpac, believes in shying away from phrases like “green” and “eco-friendly”. Marketing manager Jo Sheward says the suppliers’ job is to be straightforward about the qualities of each material rather than declaring they are “green” or “environmentally friendly”. Clients should be free to take the information about their biodegradable and recyclable products, then make up their own minds, she says. “Ultimately, it’s about being carbon-neutral, ensuring that whatever you do has the least impact on the environment,” she says.When all is said and done, however, your business is only as “green” as waste facilities allow. There is little point introducing recyclable or biodegradable packaging if it’s just going to end up in landfill, producing greenhouse gases. Companies like London Bio Packaging (see Useful Contacts) offer a fully closed-loop composting service for businesses, which helps if local provision isn’t good.Hurdles aside, businesses should at least take steps to move away from packaging that will end up hanging around underground for half a millennium. Those lucky enough to have excellent local recycling and composting provision have a clear reason to make the switch. Those that don’t can switch to greener packaging anyway, while putting pressure on councils for better facilities, and shouting about it in a local publicity campaign. And that, surely, is good for business.—-=== Baking Industry Summit: green focus ===Packaging will be one of the hot topics at British Baker’s Baking Industry Summit on Corporate Social Responsibility on 27 November.Confirmed speakers at the London event include Harriet Lamb, director of the Fairtrade Foundation, and Asda’s bakery director Huw Edwards. See [http://www.bakerysummit.co.uk] for further details. To book, contact Helen Law at [email protected], or phone 01293 846587.—-=== Useful contacts ===Colpac – 01525 712261 [http://www.colpac.co.uk]Expresso packaging 2 Go – 01202 429299 [http://www.espressopackaging2go.com]Huhtamaki – 02392 512434 [http://www.huhtamaki.com]London Bio Packaging – 020 8969 8086 [http://www.londonbiopackaging.com]Packaging Environmental – 020 3006 2432 [http://www.packagingenvironmental.co.uk]Planglow – 0117 317 8600 [http://www.planglow.com]Solo Cup Europe – 01480 459413 [http://www.soloeurope.co.uk]Tri-Star – 0208 443 9100 [http://www.tri-star.co.uk]Vegware – 0845 643 0406 [http://www.vegware.com]
www.monoequip.com Swansea-based machinery firm Mono Equipment hosted an open day at Miller’s Vanguard’s Training facility in Bury earlier this month, to display the latest machinery, designed to increase efficiency, productivity and profit.Among the exhibitors were Mono Equipment, Bakon Food Equipment and Rondo Doge.Mono was promoting its Omega Depositor, which deposits muffins, cupcakes and biscuits, that were then baked on its deck ovens.Ronde Doge displayed its Sheeting and Polyline, which sheets dough, before filling it, rolling it and cutting it into products such as cinnamon Danish pastries.Another machine on display was Bakon’s Ultrasonic Cutter, which is capable of cutting through trays of freshly baked custard slices, without the blade even touching the product, enabling minimal wastage.Its Enrobing/Finishing machine can also produce a constant flow of fondant icing over a continuously moving conveyor belt of Danish pastries, traditional custard slices and Belgian buns.
The Lotus Original Caramelised Biscuit from Belgian firm Lotus Bakeries has been launched as a twin-pack.The biscuits boast over 75 years of café heritage and the new premium twin-pack can be used to add sales or provide premium add-on to original purchase of snacks or drinks.The bright red and white packaging is designed to stimulate impulse purchases and a handy dispenser suits all counter-tops.www.lotusbakeries.com
Machinery: two lines, each utilising four FlexPicker IRB 360 robots for the picking and stacking of pancakesWhy installed: to improve productivity and hygienic conditions for the production of pancakesHow it came about: recognising the need to improve productivity, the food specialist approached ABB’s channel partner RG Luma – suppliers of industrial automation, special purpose machines and robotic integration – to lend its expertiseWhat it does: speeds up the production line, increasing productivity and reducing labour costsTech spec: the four FlexPicker robots are capable of handling 110 picks per minute to ensure all pancakes are picked and stacked quickly and precisely. The robots are also connected, via conveyor belts, to a standalone, automated hot plate production line that produces large quantities of batter-based productsProblems solved: Turnaround time has been dramatically reduced between products and as a result it can meet its customer’s tight deadlines without delay. The robots have already enabled the firm to absorb a number of overheadsSupplied by: RG LumaTelephone: 01905 753700Website: www.rglumagroup.co.uk
Canadian coffee and doughnuts franchise chain Tim Hortons, which operates 290 self-service kiosks in convenience stores in the UK and Ireland, is set to expand its international operation with fast-growing China and India seen as potential targets.The company currently has 2,800 stores in Canada and over 500 sites in the US, but in a four-year strategic plan, unveiled earlier this month, it revealed that it was looking to take the brand to a worldwide audience.“Outside the Republic of Ireland and UK, the world is wide open,” said Scott Toop, executive vice- president and general counsel, adding Tim Hortons had received nearly 1,500 unsolicited international enquiries about franchises in 2009 alone.Although no firm decision has been made on which countries to target, the company plans to launch in three to five initial entry markets during the next four years.Research highlighted in the strategic plan showed that the fast food markets in China and India were expected to grow by 9% and 4.5% respectively, between 2010 and 2013. In comparison, the UK was set to grow by just 2%. The fast food market in China was expected to reach $54.5bn by 2013, up from $33.1bn in 2008, said the company.As well as coffee and doughnuts, Tim Hortons’ stores sell sandwiches, soups and a full range of sweet bakery goods.
Coconut: The market continues to reach all-time highs. Weather has hindered supply in Indonesia and the Philippines, while coconut oil prices have risen to record highs, due to demand from the biofuel sector.Raisins: Prices in Turkey have increased rapidly over the past two months, as darker Turkish berries have been cleared out by domestic alcohol producers. Californian prices also look set to increase.Sultanas: The market is over-priced, and has every indication of climbing further. Any respite might only now come within the summer months when weather permitting we might see a strong new crop spooking origin stock-holders into offloading their remaining current crop stocks.Currants: Prices look set to rise in the medium term, with UK prices seeing no further benefit from the recently weak sterling.Apricots: The Turkish apricot market continues to rise seemingly without respite. With apricots vulnerable to frost damage as late as June, there is no sign of respite for another five months or so.Prunes: Prices for prunes continue to be stable, with adequate supply a match for existing demand.l Based on information provided by RM Curtis
Sylvia Halkerston, HR director of Macphie of Glenbervie and chair of the Scotland Food & Drink Skills Academy, has called for action to ensure that skills, employees and products are of world class standard in today’s baking industry. Speaking at the Scottish Bakers conference last month, she said: “Our aims must be to safeguard craft skills and raise awareness of different product innovation, plant technologies and leadership skills.”She pointed to her Academy’s scheme, launched last November, which looks at ways to obtain funding support for training. “For some courses, participating firms may be asked to provide only 50% or more, depending on the initiatives being funded. The end result is well trained staff and low staff turnover something the whole industry must strive for.”