More than 500 slices of bread and toast were used to create what is believed to be the world’s tallest sandwich. Assembled by O’Briens Sandwich Bar at the Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh, the giant sandwich measured 45 feet in height, beating the previous record of 40 feet, and will have raised thousands of pounds in donations for the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation. The charity helps children in Vietnam and Mongolia.
Early harvested wheat samples show a reduction in quality on last year, the first set of results for this season from the Home Grown Cereals Authority indicate.The new Cereal Quality Survey suggests that Hagberg falling number and protein content has also decreased year-on-year.The results represent over 3,000 samples collected from the first half of this year’s harvest, analysed before 22 August, and the data is therefore skewed towards earlier-cut varieties in the southern and eastern regions.HGCA economist Michael Archer said: “This is from a small fraction of samples, so it is too early to say what the picture might be for the UK as a whole. Flood problems around the country were localised, so it may not have had as serious an impact as might be feared.”He told British Baker that a more complete update on crops from the HGCA was likely to be published in early October, with an update on crop size expected on October 11, from government department Defra.The early wheat results, from samples, indicate nabim Group 1 wheat has an average moisture content of 14.5%, specific weight of 77.2kg/hl, Hagberg falling number of 255 seconds and protein content of 12.9%. Group 2 moisture content is placed at 14.3%, specific weight at 77.6kg/hl, Hagberg at 274 seconds and protein content at 12.5%.
With less than a week to go until the deadline, it’s time to get those Baking Industry Awards entries in. Due to a number of requests, the cut-off date for entries has been extended to 23 May.British Baker’s 2008 awards are split into 11 categories and recognise the very best in the industry, covering craft and plant bakers, suppliers, in-store bakeries and a host of others. Winning an award can seriously improve your business. Last year’s Skills Achievement Award winner Paul Barker – owner of Cinnamon Square – said the award was “especially good for our baking courses, because it gave them extra credibility”.Asda’s Boldon Colliery bakery team won last year’s in-store award, and bakery manager Chris Spoors has since been promoted to fresh food team leader. Spoors said the team is “still riding the wave” of excitement from its success. The awards will be presented at a glitzy gala dinner at London’s Grosvenor Hotel on 15 September. To enter, call 01293 610433 or click on the link below. Don’t delay – the entry deadline is 23 May.
== l Baking Industry Awards 2008 ==All the best from the night’s action at the baking industry’s premier event== l Plant baking supplement ==Our annual overview of plant baking, plus the latest ingredients and equipment== l Fruit, nuts, seeds & mixes ==We take a look at dried ingredient all-rounder RM Curtis== l Healthy eating consumer trends ==Find out which healthy bakery options are proving a hit with customers
£4.31The average price of a loaf, according to young people aged between 12 and 19, who were asked to estimate the cost of bread. The poll of 1,000 people in May was conducted by education charity Young Enterprise
== McCambridge ’losses’ ==Ireland-based McCambridge experienced pre-tax losses of almost €900,000 (£772,965) in the full year to 20 June 2008, according to the Irish Examiner. The firm, which has just filed its latest accounts, purchased Inter Link Foods in July 2007. According to the Examiner, the firm insists it will be profitable again within the next two years. It has also been reported that Barclays Bank has become a shareholder in the group after agreeing to swap nearly £32m (€37.5m) of debt for equity.== Napket expands ==Gourmet sandwich chain Napket has opened its fourth store in London – a flagship branch on Piccadilly. The outlet joins branches in Brook Street, King’s Road and Vigo Street, and sells premium sandwiches, made-to-order salads, soups and cakes.== Bakers go to market ==Artisan bakeries Flour Power City and the Flour Station will run stalls at a new fresh produce market due to open next month at St Pancras train station. Sourced Market will be open seven days a week and includes small artisan producers, including Brindisa, Monmouth Coffee and Neal’s Yard.== Ad celebrates bakers ==Bakers are to be the focus of a new television advert for Strongbow, in order to celebrate their “hard graft”. The cider firm will air a 10-second advertisement from mid-August continuing its ’Final Push’ theme. The ad features the workers’ leader from the ’Final Push’ advert addressing flour-dusted bakers who are surrounded by other tradesmen. He pays tributes to their efforts for “toiling in furnaces so families can have white, brown, five seed and multigrain bread”.
West Midlands bakery firm Firkins Foods has been bought out of administration by MD and sole director Ian Bolderston for the third time in three years, saving all 200 jobs. Bolderston called in the administrators on 11 November 2009 after the firm, which operates a bakery and 27 shops, came under pressure from utility creditors.Administrator Mark Bowen of MB Insolvency said the company, which will continue to trade as Firkins, “fell foul of non-contract rates”. When the business, formerly known as Firkins Bakery, was bought out of administration in November 2008, it failed to agree contract rates with two specific utility companies, said Bowen, who added that the bills were “significantly more than the company had provided for”. “Bolderston has bought the assets of the business,” explained Bowen. “The shops and bakery are leasehold properties so it is now up to him to enter into negotiations with the individual landlords to see whether they’re prepared to allow him to trade from those sites. I believe the majority of these approaches have been met positively.”Bolderston also saved the West Bromwich-based firm from administration in 2006.
Starbucks has announced plans to open 30 new stores in the UK by September 2010, following an “exceptionally busy Christ-mas period”.The new stores, which will be a mixture of company-owned and franchised outlets, are planned to open by the end of Starbucks’ fiscal year in September. The chain has also opened four concessions in New Look clothing stores, with a fifth planned to open in February, following the closure of its 36 Starbucks concessions in Borders, which went into administration before Christmas.A spokesperson for Starbucks told British Baker that Starbucks had been looking at which businesses took over the leases from Borders, to see if Starbucks’ concessions could re-open within them “and New Look was one of them”.Christmas sales helped the coffee chain record its sixth straight month of like-for-like growth in the UK. Comparative store sales rose by 3.9% in the first quarter to 27 December 2009, with sales in December alone up 6%.Starbucks UK reported strong sales for its Christmas drinks, with 20% more Gingerbread and Toffee Nut Lattes sold than in 2008. The coffee chain noted that average customer spend was also on the increase.Starbucks Corporation’s total net revenue was up 4% to $2.7bn
By Max Jenvey of Oxxygen Marketing Partnership, a strategic business agency, specialising in the bakery, foodservice and convenience retail sectorsThis year’s Café+ [email protected], Birmingham NEC 21-24 March was the best ever. Oxxygen was there to unite top brands such as Costa, Café Torelli, Market Fresh, Greencore, PepsiCo., him! and many others, not only to give independent retailers, bakers and café owners the latest industry trends and insights, but also to demonstrate successful selling strategies. Café+ Live’s goal is to make all the presentations interactive and demonstrate practical best practice in partnership with William Reed Business Media. It was definitely the most successful feature area both in terms of visitor numbers and guest speakers.Our colleagues from him! presented the most up-to-date sandwich customer insights and told us that almost 60% of sandwich customers are male, have an average age of 38 and 68% of them work full-time. Women still enjoy their sandwiches too; however think healthier, softer and smaller bread carriers with lighter fillings, as him! suggests this will attract more females.The food-to-go sandwich shopper spends on average £6.05, which is almost £1 more than the average shopper (him!). This also means that our sandwich shoppers are buying more than just sandwiches. With the sandwich customer’s 2.7 (average) visits per week they buy 3.5 items on average, such as freshly baked products, chocolate bars, crisps, and cold drinks (him!). One of him!’s top tips is to make sure that these categories are merchandised close to the sandwiches in-store to increase impulse opportunities. Moreover, good value for money, fast and friendly service and availability are key to bakery and convenience sandwich shoppers and remember that 28% rate the most important factor for deciding where to buy lunch is the choice of sandwich fillings available in-store.In our next article we will review more facts, insights and selling strategies in the bakery, coffee shop and convenience market.
Leading food manufacturers Greencore and Northern Foods have agreed on the terms of a recommended merger, which would see the creation of one of the largest convenience food businesses in the UK and Ireland.The combined group, to be known as Essenta Foods, would have annual sales of around £1.7bn, and expected cost synergies of around £40m. Greencore and Northern Foods shareholders would each hold approximately 50% of the shares.According to the boards at both firms, the benefits of the merger include the combining of their significant positions in the manufacture of products such as pizzas, pies, selected cakes and desserts, as well as a combined portfolio of strong brands. The Board of Directors of Essenta Foods will be drawn equally from the boards of Greencore and Northern Foods. Anthony Hobson, current chairman of Northern Foods, will become chairman of Essenta Foods and Ned Sullivan, current chairman of Greencore, will become deputy chairman.Patrick Coveney, current chief executive officer of Greencore, will become chief executive officer of Essenta Foods and Simon Herrick, currently chief financial officer of Northern Foods, will become chief financial officer.Since the announcement this morning, Greencore’s share price has increased 28.85%, while Northern Foods’ has risen 24.31%.The merger is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2011.