FEBRUARY18 Chocolate Desserts and Individual Cakes. One-Day Course. Slattery. Contact John Slattery, tel: 0161 767930325-26 Breadmaking: Two-Day British Traditional Course. Panary. Contact Paul Merry, tel: 01722 341447; email: [email protected] Breadmaking: Three-Day Going Professional Course. Panary. Contact Paul Merry, tel: 01722 341447; email: [email protected] Easy-to-Make Chocolates. One-Day Course. Slattery. Contact John Slattery, tel: 0161 76793033 Chocolate Wedding and Celebration Cakes. One-Day Course. Slattery. Contact John Slattery, tel: 0161 76793034 Chocolate Workshop. Half-Day Course. Slattery. Contact John Slattery, tel: 0161 76793036 LASER AGM, London. Contact Ray Reddick, tel: 07774 18855910 Breadmaking. One-Day Italian Course. Panary. Contact Paul Merry, tel: 01722 341447; email: [email protected] Breadmaking. Two-Day Italian Course. Panary. Contact Paul Merry, tel: 01722 341447; email: [email protected] Sugar Paste Modelling. One-Day Course. Slattery. Contact John Slattery, tel: 0161 767930311-12 Bread Matters Funda-mental. Two-Day Course. Contact Andrew, tel: 01768 881899;email: [email protected] Breadmaking. One-Day Basic Course. Panary. Contact Paul Merry, tel: 01722 341447; email: [email protected] Breadmaking. One-Day Flatbreads Course. Panary. Contact Paul Merry, tel: 01722 341447; email: [email protected] Food & Bake Exhibition. NEC, Birmingham. Contact Alan Bell, tel: 0121 767 2118; email: [email protected] Convenience Retailing Show. NEC, Birmingham. Contact Matthew Butler, tel: 01293 86761319-22 Food & Drink Expo. NEC, Birmingham. Contact Jane Malcolm-Coe, tel: 01293 86762119-22 Foodex Meatex. NEC, Birming-ham. Contact Julie Higgins, tel: 01293 867639 20-21 British Society of Baking’s Spring Conference. NEC, Birmingham. Contact Jean Grieves, tel: 0161 427 177221-24 The Basic Principles of Baking, CCFRA. Contact The Training Department, tel: 01386 842104; email: [email protected]
Allied Bakeries’ parent Associated British Foods (ABF) said this week that it was negotiating with customers to increase the price of a loaf.In a trading update, ABF blamed “recent sharp increases in the cost of flour” for a decision to seek a price increase. A spokeswoman confirmed that Allied was negotiating with customers on price rises and that it was a case of “not if, but when”. The company refused to reveal the amount sought.In its trading update, prior to announcing its full-year results to 15 September 2007 on 6 November, ABF said that its grocery profits would be down this year, partly due to losses at Allied Bakeries.However, a relaunch of the Kingsmill brand in February had increased volumes and market share. Along with a previous increase, this had resulted in an improving performance for Allied Bakeries.Meanwhile, profit in ABF’s sugar businesses was ahead of last year, driven partly by a substantial increase in profit from China due to a record crop and firm prices.European sugar profit has been affected by moves to reform the EU sugar regime. Agreement to the final form of the regulations is expected from the Council of Ministers by the end of September.
Finsbury Foods, the holding company for Lightbodys, Nicholas & Harris and Memory Lane Cakes, among others has revealed successful interim profits.
In December 2006, Mike Thurlow, miller and tenant of Letheringsett Watermill in north Norfolk, won the UKTV Local Food Hero Award. One of the judges, celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, described him as “the nation’s favourite” and thousands of internet voters clearly agreed.He had already been crowned East Anglian winner – there were 379 entries from Norfolk alone – before cooking-off in Devon against three other finalists from across the country. “It was totally unexpected,” he says. “I would have been thrilled to be regional winner. But national? Quite fantastic.”You can believe him. There is no chintzy Good Lifer about Mike Thurlow, no rat race escapee cruising on a few City bonuses and playing at being green and ethical. Letheringsett Watermill is a business and Thurlow won the award because he operates to an ethic in which he happens to believe: local sourcing, renewable energy and low food miles. “My wheat is local,” he says. “Our ZI19 and our spelt all comes from Norfolk. I cooked with spelt in the final.”Renewable energy comes from the little River Glaven and the flour is sold through 66 outlets in Norfolk and three in north Suffolk. And there won’t be many more.”After the award, enquiries came from around the country – particularly for our spelt – but we didn’t take them on because food miles are important. We do mail-order, which is less damaging than driving it yourself, but 25kg is about the limit there and that wouldn’t suit most bakeries.”The story of how he got where he is today wouldn’t suit most millers, either. Thurlow is self-taught. He has been at Letheringsett since 1987, having earlier seen the mill while lorry-driving after being invalided out of the Navy. It was barely working and undergoing sporadic refurbishment. “I fell in love with the building,” he says. “I couldn’t believe that it might be lost forever – there are so few traditional mills. It just sparked me.”Although Thurlow didn’t know anything about milling, he decided to get involved. “People were doing this nearly 1,000 years ago, with minimal technology, and I thought I had to be able to do it. I finished driving in August and, by late September, I was here, taking over financially in November and I’ve not looked back.”But he can look back on a lot of hard work by him, his wife, Marion and, now, his five staff. “I had early help from someone, but sadly he died and thereafter I was on my own. We had to replace the floors – we used local oak – and Marion and I dug out the millpond by hand.”We had to realign and rebalance the water wheel and have since rebuilt it, replacing the wooden blocks and arms. The worst thing was the damage that had been done beforehand, such as cogs being smashed to stop the mill turning in high water. We had replacements cast by a local foundry.”Advice appeared unexpectedly. “A party visited from Worsborough Mill in Yorkshire and one man had been to a Dutch milling school. He gave me a few tips. Later, when another group came from Yorkshire, I asked a lady to take some flour back to the man at Wors- borough for his approval. And I got a phone call saying, ’You’ve cracked it.’ That was wonderful. And now I just love what I do.”Demand for his flour has trebled since winning the Local Food Hero award and is outstripping supply. “We produce spelt flour – which is organic because spelt can only be grown organically – and also organic stoneground flour, together with non-organic stoneground and then a special blend – of white and stoneground – for bread makers. There are no additives in them and although they soak up more moisture and take longer to rise and prove properly, the result is a more wholesome loaf with a distinctive flavour.”I am milling well over a tonne of spelt a week, and just over a tonne of normal stoneground, together with about half a tonne of organic stoneground and about three quarters of a tonne of special blend.” Retail outlets, particularly farm shops, are bigger business than bakeries now, because so many people are returning to home-baking, he says.Overall, he sells up to eight tonnes a week, but that includes 10 other exceptional flours that are bought in from people like W & H Marriage and Sons, in Chelmsford and Smith’s Mill, which makes its pastry flour, and also Doves Farm at Hungerford.The mill runs one set of stones and sometimes two, along with a chain hoist, screen cleaner, separator and rolling machine, but its 14hp output could drive four sets if required and another set from the Netherlands is on order.Part of the mill’s top floor has now been converted to a classroom for spreading the word to visiting school parties. And the word on Letheringsett’s output also seems to be spreading rapidly among paying consumers, attracted by its green provenance, thanks in no small part to the Local Food Hero accolade. This watermill may be an anachronism; yet, with a minimal carbon footprint, its time seems to have come again.—-=== At a glance ===Business name: Letheringsett WatermillLocation: Letheringsett, near Holt, north NorfolkRe-established: 1987Ownership: Mike Thurlow, tenant at a peppercorn rent (paying a token amount)Turnover: £125,000+ (2007) and risingWebsite: [http://www.letheringsettwatermill.co.uk]—-=== What the bakers think ===Frankie Whittred, manager of Whalebone Bakery, Melton Constable in Norfolk, has been buying from Letheringsett since 1997. He says: “We buy spelt, stoneground and organic stone, from Letheringsett – about 10 or 12 sacks a week in all. We use spelt in particular for biscuits, scones and bread rolls, and we use stoneground and organic stoneground for the large and small loaves. They all sell very well, but orders for organic have gone up a lot.”David Boley, of H&J Moore, Fakenham, has also been dealing with Letheringsett since the mid-’90s. “It’s very good flour,” he says. “What I can never understand is that you hear British farmers say they cannot grow bread-making wheat in Norfolk, but that isn’t right. His is excellent and it makes an excellent loaf of bread – particularly his spelt.”Michael Goetze, of All Natural Bakery, Bury St Edmunds, has been using Letheringsett flour for seven or eight years. “It is absolutely perfect for our purposes,” he states. “I buy the organic stoneground and that is a fantastic wholemeal. We use it in all our wholemeal breads and it works so well. It is surprisingly finely milled and not too compact, which helps very much. People don’t want these heavy bricks.”Very often, wholemeal stoneground is quite coarse, but this isn’t. And its quality is very consistent. That’s why we like it. It is better than anything I have come across.”
Coffee and snacks vending machine company JJ Beano’s has acquired savoury pastry firm, Devon Savouries, and has three new contracts in the pipeline.Beano’s provides vending machines at service stations across the UK and Bath-based Devon Savouries is one of its key suppliers. The firm supplies ’hot bakes’, including pies, pastries and sausage rolls as well as a new line, Angel Cakes, including flapjacks and Eccles cakes.Beano’s has also struck deals to provide its coffee machine and convenience food offering to Roadchef, First Motorway Services and north of England-based forecourt operator Euro Garages.
Cream Supplies (CS) is promoting its range of coffee and beverage flavouring syrups to add to coffee, frappes and shakes. The firm supplies over 20 different items, which can also be used in sauces, coulis, desserts or for flavouring cream. Popular varieties include vanilla, hazelnut and caramel, but unusual flavours such as marshmallow, lychee and bubblegum are also offered.CS said it can accommodate flavours for special dietary needs, for example a sugar-free option.www.creamsupplies.co.uk
According to The Telegraph, a survey commissioned by pudding maker Matthew Walker has found that only 41% of those asked will be having roast turkey for their Christmas dinner, with beef, lamb, chicken, goose and duck all increasingly featuring on the festive menu.The London 2012 Organising Committee has pledged to serve ’the best of British’ food during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Committee says it will source all dairy products, beef, lamb and poultry from Britain. Bananas, tea, coffee and sugar will be Fairtrade and traditional British cheese such as cheddar will also be British. Chosen caterers will also include the London 2012 commercial partners Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Cadbury, who will provide the only branded products on sale. According to the BBC, 20% of the food would be supplied by these three companies.According to research by Dr Xiao Ou Shu, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, USA, eating soya foods may help prevent breast cancer from returning. The study showed women with the highest consumption of soya foods, had a lower recurrence rate.Cornish sardines have been given EU protected status for their quality and regional identity and join the likes of Melton Mowbray pies and Stilton cheese in the Protected Food Names Scheme.
Noble Foods, the largest supplier of eggs and egg products in the UK, has acquired premium chocolate desserts company Gü Chocolate Puds, in a deal reported to be worth £35m.The Hertfordshire-based egg supplier has bought a majority stake in London-based Gü, which turned over an estimated £22m last year, from the company’s founder and MD James Averdieck. He will maintain a stake in the business and continue to manage it within the Noble Foods group. The move follows Noble Foods’ takeover of Serious Desserts, a South Wales-based premium desserts business, in August 2008.Peter Thornton, Noble Foods chief executive, said: “This acquisition is consistent with our stated strategy of diversifying into value-added fresh food categories with attractive growth potential. Gü is recognised in the foodie world as a premium-quality, innovative and moreish brand. I am looking forward to working closely with James Averdieck and his team to continue to extend and grow the Gü brand.”Averdieck added: “Gü continues to trade well and this deal will allow us to accelerate our growth, taking the brand to new heights while maintaining the pace of innovation.”
The bakery option on a new advanced diploma in Artisan Food Production is over-subscribed as people look to retrain and set up their own businesses.The School of Artisan Food in Nottinghamshire is now accepting applications for the two-year full-time advanced diploma, which begins in September, with students able to specialise in baking cheese-making, butchery or brewing. “We can take a maximum of 25 students each year and we already have nine people who have chosen to specialise in baking. We’re looking at reworking the timetable to provide a few extra places,” said marketing and admissions officer Joe Piliero. “The feedback we’re getting from applicants is that they want to set up their own deli or café, making fresh bread each day, or their own artisan bakery.”The bakery side of the course will be headed by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, currently bakery director at Judges Bakery in Hastings, with practical classes looking at production techniques, as well as fundamental bakery science and microbiology. Students will also take classes in history, anthropology and the social and political context of today’s food landscape, alongside classes in artisan food business and management.Based at the Welbeck Estate, which is also home to the Welbeck Bakehouse, a farm shop and Stichelton Dairy, the School of Artisan Food was set up last year offering a range of food production courses.
The Burton’s Biscuit Company has signed a deal to distribute a selection of Cadbury biscuit products to Canada’s largest supermarket business.The UK biscuit manufacturer has agreed a new arrangement to stock 11 products from the branded range, including its flagship Cadbury Fingers product, at more than half of Loblaws’ outlets. The export deal aims to build on the success of the Cadbury biscuit range’s seasonal offering, which was available throughout the Canadian supermarkets during the Christmas period.Steve Newiss, chief commercial officer at the Burton’s Biscuit Company, said: “The Canadian market presents a significant opportunity for the business to bring much-loved British products abroad. The Cadbury brand has a unique appeal in Canada, given the country’s cultural links to the UK, so we’re optimistic we’ll be able to build further momentum in the market through Loblaws.“Further expanding our international footprint is a core pillar of our growth strategy, as we continue to go from strength to strength.”The Burton’s Biscuit Company, formerly Burton’s Foods, has secured distribution deals in Moscow and St Petersburg to supply its Wagon Wheel products throughout Russia in 2012. It will be launching an advertising campaign to support this move.It signed a deal with global retailer Walmart last August for the distribution of its standard and toffee crunch varieties of Cadbury Mini Fingers to about 2,500 North and South American stores.It aims to increase export sales from around £30m in 2009 to £100m in two years time, boost its international presence in existing markets in Ireland, France, Canada, Sweden and the USA, whilst developing a presence in areas such as Russia and China.The Burton’s Biscuit Company reported a 3% rise in sales last year to £322.1m.