SICKIE v WORK

first_imgForty per cent of employers believe major sporting events cause unwarranted absence, the latest annual sickness survey from the Confederation of British Industry and insurance company Axa shows. This is bad news for this summer, when some of the World Cup football matches will be played during working hours. Yet workplace absence has fallen to its lowest level since the survey began in 1987. That said, almost 75% of employers said staff were inclined to take Mondays and Fridays off and 64% said absenteeism was used to extend holidays. The Forum of Private Business’s (FPB) most recent survey on the issue found that 71.4% of respondents had suffered through workers’ absence. The most common tools for managing “sickies”, it added, were restricting paid absences, return-to-work interviews and incentives for good attendance.This is precisely what Potts Bakers, the five-strong Barnsley-based chain, does to prevent malingerers bringing all the other staff members down. Joint managing director Roger Potts, recalls: “We had one person who had three grandmas who died in three months.”A few years ago, after estimating that the reasons for 50-60% of “sickies” were fake, the business introduced attendance benefits which add a bonus of £20-£50 per week. It also conducts back-to-work interviews and insists on absenteeism reports, which make it even harder for employees to pull a fast one. As a result, the proportion of fake “sickies” has dropped to an estimated 30-40%, says Potts.Tough on other staffAndover independent baker Burbidge’s had a member of staff absent on the morning British Baker telephoned, equating to a third of its full-time workforce. Steve Burbidge, owner, described it as “soul destroying” and said that this made it tough on the other staff.He, too, has had the granny excuse. “Just how many grannies can one person have? You are trying to build a team of people and one of them is not playing the game. It makes me want to phone Poland.”Burbidge says he needs his staff to be dedicated if he is to expand and be creative. The fact that he only pays the legally mandatory standard statutory sick pay (SSP) of £70.05 a week from the fourth day of absence should be enough to discourage those who are not genuinely sick, but it does not always work that way.Burbidge adds that he does not have a problem if someone is genuinely sick, but he has called staff at home to hear them cheerfully answer the phone, only to change the tone of their voice when they realise it is the boss calling. He says it is obvious they are trying it on.Peter Herd of Wilmslow, based in Wilmslow, Cheshire, has been tackling absenteeism for two years and is just beginning to reap the benefits.The three-strong group uses detailed contracts of employment in which it includes what will happen in case of drug or alcohol abuse.Carol Gatto-Hall, managing director, says: “If we feel that we’ve had people coming into work not ready or unfit to do the job, we’ve sent them home. That has had quite an impact.” Everyone else has to work that much harder when someone is off and, when they come back, they incur the wrath of their work colleagues if absent unnecessarily. Gatto-Hall says: “The usual excuse is ‘Mummy’s forgotten to take the overalls out of the washing machine’. A 19-year-old told me that.”Another time, an employee said she had run out of petrol. Gatto-Hall asked her where she was, offering to pick her up. “She didn’t know what to say because she was still in bed.”The company now moves sales assistants between its three branches, which are all within a 10-mile radius. Gatto-Hall says this has helped with absenteeism, because staff feel they are contributing more to the whole business and understand they are not just in an isolated shop. “They feel they are putting more into the business – putting ideas into other branches – and it maintains their interest,” she explains.Salford-based Employment Law Advisory Services says a quarter of small businesses are so scared about being sued that they are refusing to tackle their own lazy staff. But Gatto-Hall is not easily scared off. She has fired three staff in the last six months – one of them due to absenteeism. “They seem to think the employment laws are made to protect them… it’s not true.”The company pays sales staff the basic SSP, but tops it up for staff in the bakery “because it’s a difficult job. They do an awful lot of hours and they are all salaried. If they abuse it, we have to put them back on to SSP.”Gatto-Hall says the secret is to make staff feel part of the business and give them as much information as possible. “If you don’t, they are just going through the motions,” she says.Mike Petrook, spokesman for the Chartered Management Institute, says the key issue is that, while employers are continually looking for ways to stay “lean and mean”, they also need to ensure that genuinely ill staff are not penalised and sick people are not encouraged to work when they are not fully fit. “After all, a culture of confidence needs to be created in which employers should be able to trust their staff when they phone in unwell. Positive approaches to managing absenteeism are more likely to reduce its occurrence,” he says. How to tackle absenteeismWhenever staff phone in sick, ask what is wrong, when they expect to be better and to keep you informed.Hold a back-to-work interview when they return. This will act as a deterrent to people who may not want to be questioned over their fake illness, and will allow you to uncover any underlying factors for those who are regularly genuinely ill.Monitor the number of occasions of sickness and discipline staff upon a trigger. Seeing that action is taken against people who overstep the mark should act as a deterrent.In the most extreme cases request permission to approach their GP for a medical report to uncover evidence of their dishonesty.Only pay SSP, rather than their full wage, but consider that punitive measures usually demotivates a workforce.Reward good attendance with extra holiday or a weekend break and reduce extra holiday for good attendance for each day off sick.Use a computer to analyse and tackle absence and for isolating sickness patterns.Keep channels of communication open with staff, so employees gain a sense of involvement in the direction of the business.Create a culture of trust in which employees have the confidence to make decisions. Encourage staff at all levels to learn new skills. Helping them to develop keeps them motivated.Identify employees’ career path and plan their progression.Introduce flexible working practices, so employees with families are less likely to take time off for personal reasons or when children are sick.Celebrate individual and company success, praising those responsible.Create an environment in which staff can socialise. This is good for team spirit.Source: Employment Law and Advisory Services; Cripps Harries Hall LLP, Bibby Financial Service What the law says: The Employment Rights Act 1996 sets out the employee’s right not to come into work when ill and the measures which employers must follow in such circumstances.Employees’ rights to Statutory Sick Pay are included within the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982, as amended.Employers’ rights with regards to staff who take time off sick for genuine reasons are included in the Employment Rights Act 1996. This sets out how employers should deal with workers who are ill.When employees give fake reasons, this becomes a contractual matter and depends on what contract, if any, the employee has. Most employers will be able to invoke disciplinary action for misconduct.If employees have been sacked for taking time off sick, but they were genuinely ill, they can pursue a case at an Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal. The maximum penalty for employers is capped at £58,400. The average penalty is closer to £8,000.Source: Peter Mooney, head of consultancy at Employment Law and Advisory Services.last_img read more

Read More »

Health to the fore at BSB Conference

first_imgHealth is set to be a hot topic at the British Society of Baking’s Spring Conference. Two of the keynote speeches at the event will be ’Reducing salt in cakes and biscuits’ and ’Health and well-being’, delivered, respectively, by Dinnie Jordan and Laetitia Rocha.Jordan runs Kudos Blends, which formulates raising agents with zero or minimal levels of sodium, while Rocha is Holgran’s nutrition innovation manager.Other speakers at the conference include Finsbury Food Group CEO Dave Brooks, and John Gillespie, who will draw on his experience of 37 years in the baking industry, mainly with Macphie & Co.The conference is on 19 and 20 March at Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association in Chipping Campden.Contact Sharon Byrne on 01869 247098 or [email protected] for more information.last_img read more

Read More »

German specialist cartoning machine manufacturer Vepatec

first_imghas recently been bought out by Dienst Verpackungstechnik, located in Hochheim near Frankfurt, a German manufacturer of end-load cartoning systems and high-speed carton erectors.”This important marriage of skill bases and expertise enables the Dienst Group and UK agent Partners in Packaging to offer the most comprehensive range of packaging lines for either cartonboard or corrugated board, of any company within the industry,” says Duncan Macintyre, MD of Partners in Packaging.last_img

Read More »

ONS figures reveal changing face of UK baking industry

first_imgNew data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed a 2.3% decline in the number of bakery manufacturers over the last year, while the number of bakery retailers grew slightly.The data shows there were 2,885 bakery retail businesses (eg, Greggs counts as one business) in the UK in 2007, up five on the year before, operating a total of 6,515 units, up 1.7% from 6,405 in 2006. The number of bakery manufacturers (wholesale and industrial) fell from 1,740 to 1,700.The figures, gathered on March 17, 2007, and published this month, give details of turnover and location of all UK companies by their VAT classifications.They indicate that the average bakery retailer is based in the north-west, employs under five staff, is over 10 years old and turns over between £100,000 and £249,000.For example, the data shows there are 835 bakery shops in the north-west, 700 in London and 735 in Scotland. More than half of the 2,885 bakery retail businesses, some 1,465, employ four or less staff.The new figures also show a rise in the number of mills over the year, with 115 companies operating 185 mills (of all types) in 2007, compared to 170 mills in 2006, which were operated by 105 companies.The coded data, available from the ONS’s Inter-Departmental Business Register, shows that within the bakery manufacturing industry there were 1,515 manufacturers of bread, fresh pastry and cakes in the UK in 2007, down 35 on 2006.The ONS also lists 195 manufacturers of rusks and biscuits, preserved pastry goods and cakes (a separate category) up from 190 in 2006. Therefore, the overall tally for bakery manufacturers in 2007 is 1,700.last_img read more

Read More »

Our deli bread

first_imgWastage of unsold products can be a problem with bread, and even more so with higher-cost items, such as pies and pastries. But in the deli trade, it can mean the difference between being in business and out of it.Stocking potentially dozens of high-cost lines, each of which has a short shelf-life (but different sell-by dates), is a daily jaunt through a financial minefield. As Shirley Cobley, co-owner of the Bakery & Delicatessen in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, puts it: “We have to be very careful on rotation.”Of the shop she calls her “mini-Harrods”, she adds: “It’s a good business, but it’s stressful. A lot of that stress comes from the fact that you cannot allow any waste. You have to keep watching your stock.”Recently, these and other strains even led to a falling-out with her business partner. And, in the 21 years she has run the business, she reckons she has had just four holidays.Over in Worcestershire at the Ombersley Bakery & Deli, co-owner Diane Seivewright agrees that wastage is a constant concern. “You have to keep an eye on what you’re selling all the time,” she says. “Otherwise, what you’re throwing away is your profit.”As she points out, most delis will factor potential waste into their margins (see panel). Increasingly, even locally-produced lines, such as cheeses and bacon, can be supplied portioned and pre-packed, says Seivewright. This means that shelf-life is longer, and the mark-up might be less. With some products such as sausages, she says, chilled storage simply does not make sense for her business, and they are supplied frozen.She has one prime piece of advice for would-be doyens of the deli: “If you have a small kitchen or preparation area that has been approved by Health & Safety, you can make use of many of your leftovers in soups and so forth.”BB columnist Jo Fairley makes the same point. Better-known as one of the founders of the Green & Blacks chocolate brand, she took on the co-ownership of Judges Bakery in Hastings in 2005. Judges stocks local fresh produce, and anything that is not sold is likely to end up in a soup. Similarly, she says, any smoked salmon reaching its sell-by date becomes the filling in a sandwich. Other owners offer free tastings or sell off products at cost price.When Fairley bought Judges, it was a bakery only. “The numbers didn’t add up, and we realised that the only way to make it work was to turn it into a ’one-stop-shop’,” she says. “Organic is the given. All food has to be sustainably produced.” It is also all sourced from within 15 miles.The shop has some 40 different suppliers altogether. “It was time-consuming and labour-intensive to begin with, but people do respond to the local message,” she explains.Given concerns about wastage, Seivewright at Ombersley says her philosophy with suppliers of short shelf-life items is “little and often”. This way, using local suppliers can yield two benefits. It plays to growing consumer awareness of – and preference for – local products, but also allows more frequent and precise regulation of stock. Some suppliers may stipulate minimum order values such as £50, she adds, although many locals will waive that.Backhaus developmentGerd Kusche owns the Backhaus deli and bakery in Ham, south-west London. Although he has a history in bakery-related new product development, international consultancy and entrepreneurship, in this case the deli came first. Later, he opened the craft bakery two shops away.The area’s substantial expat German population provides the backbone of his business. On the deli side, this includes some 100 different sausages, which will keep for up to 28 days, around 40 cheeses and up to 700 popular grocery items.Surprisingly, supply lines to Germany are not complex. “In fact, we have a single merchant who provides us with all the products we need,” he says. “One of the big advantages is that most of our products are not available elsewhere in the UK – or else are prohibitively expensive.”In this business, health and safety concerns are never very far away, and food safety training for staff is important. But even where part-time staff are trained and well-intentioned, the owners will inevitably find themselves in a state of eternal vigilance.”You always need someone on-site who will take responsibility,” says Seivewright at Ombersley. “I used to constantly be double-checking that certain things had been done, such as dates written down for fresh pâté.”Fairley at Judges takes all of this in her stride. “We have temperature checks three times a day and a daily date check,” she says. “Any short-dated stock gets noted down.”In terms of inventory management, she advises would-be deli-owners to invest in a good electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) analysis system. “Ours was quite an investment, but you know what, you’re selling hour-by-hour,” she says.In the end, whatever the benefits of spreading the risk and the opportunities with deli lines, they are no guarantee of profits – or even turnover. Fairley confesses: “Grocery sales generally are in freefall.” She puts this down to customers throwing less food away. Or could they be shopping around more?Whatever the reason, it has had a dramatic effect on her business. “We’re looking at temporarily closing down the back of the shop and having just our 500 best-selling lines at the front,” she says.So the verdict seems to be, if you have clear ideas about stock management and margins, a strong pool of local suppliers and possibly a specialist or ethnic angle, then an in-store deli could be the break or extension you are looking for. Otherwise, there are always other less risky options, such as launching a new chocolate brand…—-=== What are the margins? ===Exceptionally, perhaps, Judges in Hastings claims to make proportionally less on deli products than on baked goods. “If I were making the margins on everything that I’m making on bread, I’d be a happy bunny,” says co-owner Jo Fairley. Instead, she says, non-bakery products are marked up 33-35%.At Backhaus in London, the relationship is reversed, with bakery pulling in 40-50% of net profit, says owner Gerd Kusche. Margins on the wide range of imported German deli products range from 60% to a whopping 120% net profit, he claims.Meanwhile, at the Ombersley Bakery & Deli in Worcestershire, co-owner Diane Seivewright aims for margins in the 40-45% range, and will go no lower than 35%. “But 65% or even 80% margins are quite usual for deli businesses,” she says. “Some even go as high as 100%, because you end up wasting the food.”—-=== Case study: Huntley’s ===Farmer Eddie Cowpe opened his farm shop, Huntley’s of Samlesbury, in response to the foot-and-mouth crisis of 2001 and has developed it into a full-blown deli and a destination attraction. A bakery was built in March 2008 and, with former Greenhalgh’s employee and one-time BB Young Baker of the Year Mark Hanson at the helm, the bakery is already turning over £3.5k a week – around a 10th of the deli’s sales – plus an extra £1.5k sold through the adjoining restaurant.Hanson uses back-to-basics methods, including 48-hour fermented doughs. Cowpe says: “We cannot make enough bread at the moment – it’s taking off. Everything is done traditionally and Mark really knows what he’s doing.”The range has developed to include pies, cakes and pastries and the next step will be to wholesale the bakery. “We’re finding we can compete with the supermarkets,” says Cowpe.last_img read more

Read More »

Continuous process

first_imgA visit to an industrial bakery in Britain will usually reveal that its processing lines are continuous, from the make-up plant through to packaging. However, it is not often that you encounter a continuous or fully automated batch mixing system, although there are rare exceptions.With plant bakers increasingly striving for a seamless highly efficient production process, it is surprising that more have not fully automated the dough mixing process. Increasing numbers, however, are beginning to evaluate continuous and carousel mixing systems for new plant or when refurbishing or replacing lines.When doughs are mixed correctly, downstream processing should, all being equal, proceed smoothly. Make a mistake during the mixing phase and you can end up with issues to deal with all down the line.Continuous automated mixing can improve the consistency of doughs – everything from stiff to highly developed – by helping to eradicate those variables caused by human error. By delivering continuously consistent dough, the dividers, sheeters, moulders, ovens and other plant elements can operate at their full potential without adjustments having to be constantly made. The result is a consistently produced quality product.Moreover, with the built-in metering systems now available, any error is indicated and the opportunity to correct the problem – such as an ingredients error – is available before the dough goes down the line.In a batch manual mixing system, the error may not be found until quality control tests are carried out at the end of the line, wasting valuable time and probably a lot of product.Over recent years, a number of major producers have installed continuous automated mixing systems and this has focused the attention of the industry on continuous and carousel mixing and why bread, morning goods and savoury manufacturers have gone down this route.So what are the other advantages of continuous automated mixing? Stewart Morris, a director of Epsom-based European Process Plant says that labour issues have always been top of the agenda. “Recruiting, training and retaining skilled labour remains a challenge and training is a thorny issue,” he says. “If a new, partly trained employee makes a mistake, the results can be costly. Even when fully trained staff change shift or take their holiday, maintaining a process in which skilled workers play a key role, it can be very hard to guarantee product consistency over a period of time.”Dough as neededMorris admits that many bakers can initially feel uneasy because they are used to seeing a large amount of dough being prepared for processing, whereas with continuous mixing they only get it when they need it. But he says that, in his experience, they soon get used to it. He also points out the benefits of this when there is a problem with a downstream piece of equipment.EPP installs and maintains VMI carousel systems both rotary and in-line. This automated system comprises a loading station, one to six stations mounted on feet, a bowl elevator and a dough conveyor. A dough resting station can be added if required. The bowl passes from one station to the next by rotating around a motorised circle. The system can handle up to 6,000kg of dough an hour and is available with fork, single or double spiral mixersThe VMI in-line carousel combines a number of stations: dosing, mixing, dough transfer and resting and can automatically sequence the recipes. It is guided by an integrated process control system.EPP also offers the VMI Verymix continuous mixer. The whole process – from gravimetric dosing through pre-mixing to final mixing – is run continuously. The Verymix guarantees dough of even consistency, says the company, and problems of scrap dough, variations in mixing, resting and fermented doughs can be avoided.In the Verymix system, the mixing rotor can be adapted and the shape of the bowl designed for continuous mixing. Flexible and high-precision dosing with pieces of fat or liquid fat, scraps, special flours, eggs, dried or candied fruit and chocolate chips is straightforward, adds the firm. A triple- jacketed mixing bowl with liquid cooling to regulate the dough temperature with glycol ensures dough consistency and means a wide mix of doughs from 8?C to 30?C in capacities up to 8,000kg can be produced.Morris concludes: “Installing a continuous mixing system is not as radical as many bakers may first think. All you are doing is bringing what is happening downstream back to the mixing. And the benefits can be huge.”last_img read more

Read More »

D Gibbon invests £100k in new machiney

first_imgSouth Wales bakery D Gibbon and Sons has invested £100k in new machinery for its factory in order to cope with increased business.The manufacturer and wholesale bakery, based in Newport, supplies its own breads, rolls, cakes and confectionery, including its Gibbons Family Bakers brand, as well as national brands such as Hovis, across South Wales and areas of the UK. The money has been spent on two single-rack ovens, which were installed last week, as well as a flow wrapper and an additional van for its fleet. “The new ovens are less labour-intensive, but we will need to take on more staff because production has gone up,” said bakery manager Julian Owen. “We will probably need around four to six people at first, but hopefully it’ll be double figures over the next 12-18 months.”“One of our major customers is Aldi and, in time, we’re looking to set up separate distribution in Swindon (Gloucestershire). At the moment, we supply around 25 stores local to Newport, but we’re hoping to expand on that.” The bakery currently employs around 60 staff, 25-30 of which are in the bakery, and makes around 1,000 deliveries a day.last_img read more

Read More »

Tunnel vision

first_imgWhat can the optimum travelling oven achieve? Fast efficient baking well, that should be a given. But nowadays, every semi and industrial user is looking for more. At the Iba exhibition in Germany, Gouet, a part of Mecatherm, launched its new Double Action oven. Gouet chairman Olivier Sergent took British Baker through its workings: “The Double Action oven combines two of the most sought-after baking systems: cyclotherm and impingement, also known as radiation baking and forced convection baking.” Radiation baking means there is no air movement, so the products bake gently and evenly. “In convection baking, when the core temperature is correct, the top opens and hot air flow gives fast surface baking for exactly the right amount of colour.”Its dual action makes the oven ideal for tin breads, he says, ensuring they have no burnt tops, but is also suitable for flat breads, rolls and topped lines, such as pizzas. Sergent adds: “There is fantastic flexibility, but also consistency. And what makes it unique is that you can bake such a range of goods on an industrial scale in one oven. Baking time is reduced, saving energy, while the quality of the product, including tin bread, is excellent.”The first oven has already been sold to the Village Bakery (Coedpoeth) for its gluten-free production site at Wrexham.Italian manufacturer Polin’s tunnel ovens are designed for larger-scale bread, pastry and biscuit production. Polin manufactured its first oven some 80 years ago in Verona, Italy. The company now makes ovens capable of multiple applications. From cyclothermic heated systems to convection and electric, the made-to-order range can be adapted to suit a particular product and the production levels required.With the benefits of combining multihead depositors and sheeters to the line, as well as a choice of conveyor, from wire mesh, metal or stone-based, production can become more streamlined and versatile.Travelling cookerDouble D, now a division of JBT FoodTech, installed its first Revoband Continuous Oven over 16 years ago, using technology based on the company’s travelling cooker for the meat and poultry industry. Designed in zones, for extreme flexibility, the high impingement oven can be programmed to suit any number of different bakery recipes and specifications, while the travelling stainless steel band can be custom-built up to 3.6 metres wide.The production of chilled or pre-cooked speciality breads is an expanding market, one in which New Primebake, part of the Bakkavör Group and one of Double D’s customers, specialises. Three factories in Nantwich, Barton and, most recently, Crewe, produce speciality breads for most of the major UK supermarkets, including a range of handcrafted breads with toppings, comprising butter, garlic, cheese, olives, herbs and sun-dried tomatoes.With the addition of the Crewe factory, Mark Jones, New Primebake’s manufacturing director, was charged with the task of doubling capacity without changing the technical specifications of the bake and, importantly, maintaining safety, as toppings like butter and cheese can be extremely volatile. He says: “We initially wrote a spec for 10 oven manufacturers from across the world and shortlisted five. Double D ticked all our boxes. Their knowledge straddles both baking and food industries, allowing our initial specification and design to benefit from a diverse product knowledge, imparting significant benefits that we would not have thought possible in traditional baking principles.”The oven also boasts Double D’s Clean In Place (CIP) system, featuring sparge pipes that deliver a pressurised, heated, caustic solution throughout the oven, cleaning any debris or residue. “The Double D oven also contains a water bath, which collects and discards this volatile residue. It has halved our cleaning down-time,” says Jones.Energy-saving featuresSpooner Industries of Ilkley has over 75 years’ experience in bakery, developing new technologies in its in-house testing and R&D facilities. The company’s tunnel ovens are designed with an energy efficiency mode installed. During product change-over, the oven temperature and airflow can be automatically lowered, while remaining ready to bake with minimal energy usage. Spooner has also integrated energy-saving features to automatically minimise the combustion air quantity and can install easy-clean heat recovery systems to capture the flue stack energy and use it to preheat fresh air or for bakery hot water heating.Adjustable air systems allow Spooner’s tunnel oven to alter its baking characteristics, providing the ability to adjust heat flux at numerous points throughout the baking process. The company uses various methods of retraction for ease of access, including traditional hinge doors, retracting doors and a complete retracting top half. Specific attention is paid to hygiene throughout the detail, design and also in the manufacturing techniques used in the oven construction.Forced convection systems provide uniform airflow, which results in even and consistent bake quality, says the company, while the installation of radiant effect damper systems offers versatility in the type of bake between either convection or radiant type baking to give the product the desired quality and appearance.Spooner Industries recently secured a fourth order from Warburtons to design and manufacture a tunnel oven for its new ’super-bakery’ in Bristol. Warburtons chairman Jonathan Warburton says: “The new Bristol Bakery is one of our biggest developments. We’ve invested heavily in the latest state-of-the-art equipment from companies we know and trust.” Spooner Vicars, a separate company, also supplies tunnel ovens.Benier UK supplies ovens to suit every type of bakery and works with four main manufacturers three within the Kaak Group, and Sveba Dahlen, a specialist semi-industrial oven supplier in Sweden. Within Kaak are: German-based Daub, which pioneered the use of thermal oil ovens, saving customers up to 30% on their energy costs while producing a quality end product; and Italian firm MCS, a specia-list manufacturer of pizza ovens and industrial cyclotherm ovens. Its products are also suitable for almost any kind of baked goods, from traditional bread (hearth-baked) to all types of panned bread, rolls and the more delicate products. MCS ovens can reach a baking temperature of up to 350°C. Also, in the Kaak Group itself is the Multi-Step oven which travels vertically rather than horizontally.The Daub Hanseat range is a multi-deck tunnel oven system that can either be batch or continuous. Its special system means heat cannot escape when products are being loaded and the oven is aimed at large bakeries that require a continuous throughput. David Marsh, managing director of Benier UK, says: “Daub’s ovens use thermal oil to heat a radiator, which runs through the oven and maintains it at the optimum temperature throughout its entire length, a bit like a domestic central heating system that maintains the same heat throughout a property.”The MCS Bakemaster tunnel oven can be supplied with either a wire mesh or a stone plate baking conveyor. The wire mesh oven is suitable for hearth-baked products as well as baking on trays or in tins, pans and moulds. Similarly, one or more turbo zones can be incorporated to optimise heat transfer. Its modular design also allows each Bakemaster oven to be easily adapted to bake a wide range of products, such as rolls hearth-baked and in pans or trays; bread hearth-baked and/or in tins; cakes; confectionery; and pizza. The MCS direct-fired HT Oven is used for baking products that require high temperatures, often more than 350°C, such as pizzas, pitta bread and other similar products. The Kaak Multi-Step vertical tunnel oven has an indexing chain at the entrance, which lifts the baking trays stepwise towards the top of the oven. The trays are then pushed into the second baking chamber, where a similar stepping mechanism will bring them down. This process is repeated, after which the trays will leave the oven.last_img read more

Read More »

In my world: Pop-up shops

first_imgJo Fairley is co-owner of Judges organic bakery and grocery shop in Hastings and co-founded and sold Green & Black’s chocolate firm, with hubby Craig Sams’Pop-up shops’ are the retail buzz, right now. As bricks-and-mortar stores strive to compete with online sales, the swiftest way to add a little pizzazz to a retail offering is to showcase someone else’s wares for a day, a week, a couple of months to excite customers and keep them coming back to see what’s hip and happening. At the top end of the scale, you’ve got leathergoods brand Hermès at Liberty, the mini-Barbie store at the achingly hip Dover Street Market or the Icecreamists (an extraordinary punk ice-cream boutique), which had queues through the basement of Selfridges.And, in the past 18 months, Judges Bakery our Hastings artisan bakery has popped up in several places, too; in Selfridges first of all where we installed our own display for bread, muesli and our famous pink meringue pigs, which had won us Daily Candy’s Sweetest Thing award; then who’d have thought it? Topshop asked us if we’d plonk ourselves down in the middle of that other Oxford Street fashion emporium for London Fashion Week, to tempt shoppers with our brownies, flapjacks and oat-and-ginger cookies. Although logistically challenging as Topshop is 60 miles from our doorstep we leapt at the opportunity, although with hindsight, trying to sell calorific treats to girls wanting to fit into flimsy dresses designed by Kate Moss wasn’t such a great idea, but it was probably worth it for the PR value alone.Now, our bakery looks poised to open another little pop-up one which, in time, could prove much more commercially interesting in the centre of our home town, with much more footfall than we currently enjoy in the quaint Old Town. We will be partnering with another ’eco’ retailer, where our organic baked goods can sit happily. For them it’s a chance to boost traffic; for us, it’s a way of seeing whether another outlet would work for us, for very little investment. We already own most of the props and fittings required, because we ’rotate’ what’s in our flagship shop to maintain excitement there and daily deliveries can initially be made by taxi, without the need for our own van. We can maximise production in the bakery, without adding to our overheads.Yes, the owner will have to immerse herself in our bakery for a few days to learn to tell her baguettes from her bloomers. Yes, we’ll have to spend some time creating the right ’look’ in our section of the store. But for zero rent we’ll absorb her wastage, at least until she learns what sells and what doesn’t we get a foot in the door of a fresh retail outlet for three months, to test the waters in another location.last_img read more

Read More »

The Innovation Award

first_imgBachmanns Chocolate Christmas PuddingBachmannsThames Ditton, SurreyGreg Cadoni, head chef/director has been with Bachmanns for just under five years and oversees all production at the Continental patisserie. His Chocolate Christmas Pudding is not a chocolate-flavoured version of the traditional dessert, but a “cartoon-style” take on a Christmas pudding, moulded entirely from chocolate.”We took the concept of an Easter egg two chocolate halves, filled and stuck together and adapted it to take advantage of the Christmas demand for chocolate novelties,” explains Cadoni. The two halves of the pudding are moulded milk chocolate, filled with Rocher clusters caramelised split almonds, covered in chocolate. The whole thing is sprayed with a dark chocolate, giving it a velvety texture, both in the mouth and in appearance. The pudding is then decorated with marzipan holly leaves and berries. “We made it in four sizes, from 2.5in to 20in,” he explains. “The biggest one, which had a box of chocolates inside, was a sort of Christmas Day piñata, so you could place it on the dinner table and leave everyone to help themselves.”The judges said the Chocolate Christmas Pudding clinched the top prize, as it had “real wow factor”. They were impressed that the product met a customer need, while remaining “incremental to the rest of the business and maximising production capabilities”.Warburtons’ Sandwich ThinsWarburtonsBolton, LancashireFamily-owned plant bakery Warburtons makes wax-wrapped loaves, wraps, crumpets and pancakes, as well as gluten-free breads. It distributes two million products nationally every day to customers. Started in 1876, the firm employs 5,000 people at its 14 bakeries and 15 depots. It boasts an annual turnover of £492m.Warburtons’ Sandwich Thins, launched this February, come as a six-pack of flatbread, pre-sliced rolls, which can be toasted or used to make sandwiches.Produced on a stress-free sheet-and-cut line, they have a tender-eating quality, unlike the more usual flatbread or wrap texture. Darren Littler, director of innovation, says: “They meet customer demand for ’healthier’ bread products each two slices of Thin are just 100 calories. “We get a lot of inspiration from the US, and flatbread-style products are massive over there.”Puratos Puravita BreakfastPuratosBuckinghamPuratos has been supplying ingredients and product solutions to bakers for 90 years. Family-owned, it has 50 production plants and 5,500 employees worldwide, boasting an annual turnover of E1bn (£0.9bn); its UK office turns over around £35m-£45m.The firm’s Puravita Breakfast Bar mix is designed to help bakers “regain a hold” on the breakfast market. “On average, we miss 90 breakfasts a year in the UK,” says Puratos marketing executive Lydia Baines. “Consumers rely on other ’grab and go’ products so bakers miss out.”The Puravita mix contains wheat, oat and spelt as well as apricots, raisins and figs. Baines says the 100g soft bread bar has a high proportion of slow-burning carbohydrates.”It can be baked off, frozen, thawed and refreshed. We hope it will help bring customers back into bakeries at breakfast-time.”last_img read more

Read More »