Nisbets’ (Bristol) selection of next-day catering equipment includes a new planetary mixer, a range of stainless steel prep tables and three sizes of Bistro aprons.The Benbo Planetary Mixer is a 20-litre bench model mixing machine with a 0.5hp motor and three-speed gearbox. It features a lever-operated bowl lift, a safety stop facility and an emergency stop button. The mixer comes complete with a bowl, whisk, dough hook and beater. The tables come in a choice of five widths, from 600mm to 1,800mm. They are height-adjustable and free-standing. Supplied with galvanised steel legs and available with or without up stand, they are delivered flat-packed.The Bistro Apron is available in short, regular and long versions and in a choice of five different colours. It is made from an easy-care blend of 65% polyester and 35% cotton and the short and regular aprons have a pocket pouch at the front.
Don’t despair if England’s football team falters in the World Cup. Its steak and ale pie is likely to prove an easy winner in the Pie World Cup, which pits 32 ‘national’ pies produced by the Square Pie company against each other.Square Pie’s last Pie World Cup saw the England entry — steak and kidney — romp home ahead of its rivals, which included runner-up France’s beef bourguignon, measured by sales. This time, Square Pie has assessed the steak and ale pie assigned to England as the four-to-one favourite, followed by the chorizo sausage pie of Spain at seven-to-one and Brazil’s feijoada at 12-to-one.The London-based Square Pie will sell the 32 national pies at its five London shops on the days on which the corresponding teams play their World Cup matches. At the end of the contest, the football Pie World Cup winner will be the pie which has sold in the greatest numbers throughout the tournament. Square Pie will still sell its usual pies on match days and says that it will simplify the logistics of producing 32 new and often exotic pies for such a short period by limiting the number of each pie it makes. The stress of the last Pie World Cup saw the exit of one working baker, says the company, which was formed in November 2001. Square Pie says that it makes its pies – and other products such as mashed potato – daily without artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives. Meanwhile, a recent online survey of more than 2,500 fans of the Barclays Premiership football league, found that UK football fans ate an estimated 225 million pies in and outside England’s football grounds last season. Fans ate an average 17.5 pies per season and had bought from the same outlet for an average 3.3 years, said Barclays.It also found that 20% of fans bought their half-time pie as “part of a superstitious ritual”. The most popular pies were those sold at Wigan Athletic, followed by those at Newcastle United and then Manchester United.Steak pies were the most popular pies, garnering 29% of fans’ votes, followed by meat and potato (24%), chicken and mushroom (15%), cheese and onion (4%) and vegetable (3%).The Pie World Cup results can be followed on Square Pie’s website at www.squarepie.com
With over 50 years’ experience in the baking and confectionery industries, Perrett and Kane Machine Services (Backwell, Bristol) has supplied the majority of celebration cake manufacturers with its machinery designs, including sheeters, horizontal cutters and shape stamping machines.Latest machine to join its range is the P&K 2D Shape Stamping, which has taken five years to develop and can produce a line of two-dimensional shapes in icing, pastry or marzipan every three seconds.Shape boards can be changed in minutes by an operator and are a fraction of the cost of conventional rotary machine change parts, claims the company. The 2D shape boards utilise a number of technologies in their design and are durable in everyday bakery use, adds the firm. All of the details in the customer’s original creation can be reproduced in the finished moulds.
With regards to Jonathan Brace’s letter (British Baker, April 27, pg 6), my book Bread Matters presents recent scientific research, which suggests that modern bread is based on wheat of declining nutritive value, processed in ways that make it less digestible than it could be.This should be either refuted or confirmed by joint industry research into the effects of different baking ingredients and methods.Until then, the attempt to mask industrial bread’s declining value by selective additions of synthetic nutrients is, at best, disingenuous. It verges on cynical manipulation when the mendacious notion of ’clean label’ is used to describe bread in which declared additives have been replaced by undeclared enzymes.Legal it may be – for the time being – but ethical trading it most certainly is not to deny those most concerned with eating healthy food the truth about what is really in it.I don’t dispute the industry’s efficiency and, having run a bakery for 25 years, I am well aware of market forces. With per capita bread consumption in long-term decline, suggesting reasons why modern bread doesn’t agree with so many people could hardly be called “scaremongering”.It is not “the whole milling and baking industry” that I criticise – simply its reluctance to deal honestly with disturbing evidence about its materials and techniques. Those who have nothing to hide have no need to be scared.Andrew Whitley, Bread Matters, Cumbria
Bad habits – whether it’s smoking, drinking or over-eating – are the bane of society and a drain on the NHS. But who ever considered breathing through one’s mouth an outrageous habit? Yes, you guessed who. There appear to be one or two major health risks involved in Dr Allinson’s remedy, but what do we know, eh?On breathing properly: “Breathing through the mouth is a mistake. The mouth should be kept shut, unless we are eating, drinking, speaking, yawning or laughing. To learn to sleep with the mouth shut, use a piece of stamp paper, gum it over the mouth, and keep it on at night until you start breathing through the nose.”
As the economic downturn intensifies, small business groups are urging the government to do more to put a stop to late payments – a problem keenly felt by many bakeries.Earlier this month, the government introduced an emergency package of measures to support small businesses, including a pledge that public bodies would pay suppliers within 10 days.However, more needs to be done, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which has called for firms that fail to pay their suppliers on time to be ’named, shamed and fined’ by the government. “During an economic downturn, combined with current illiquidity, late payment will lead to business closures and job losses. It affects us all. Late payment costs jobs,” said the FSB.Gill Brooks-Lonican, chief executive of the National Association of Master Bakers (NA), said late payments were on the rise across the craft sector as businesses felt the credit crunch. Her husband’s craft bakery business, Lonican’s, has seen increasingly late payments, particularly from cafés and sandwich bars. “It has got worse in the past three months, with people running up debts they shouldn’t. They forget that we have to pay our suppliers as well. Around 5% of customers owe substantial amounts.”The supermarkets are also guilty of increasingly late payments. One supplier told British Baker that over the past 18 months the multiples were breaking 30-day payment terms by an average of two weeks.”Our largest customer told us recently that it would be taking an extra 15 days to pay invoices (from 30 to 45 days). This means we have to find another £150,000 to fund cashflow or pay our suppliers late,” said the source.In the Forum of Private Business’s latest quarterly survey of members, almost one in three respondents (31%) said they consider late payment to be a “significant” barrier to the growth of their businesses.
Morrisons is to expand its workforce by 5,000 in 2009, including new recruits in bakery.The additions form part of the supermarket’s continuing store space expansion plans. In December, the retailer announced that it will acquire 38 Co-operative Food and former Somerfield stores, increasing the number of its smaller-format shops.Around 4,000 staff will be housed in existing stores and the remaining 1,000 will be recruited for new store locations – shops that have been either refitted or built from scratch, said Rowena Cooper, retail resourcing consultant at Morrisons. It is unclear yet how many will work within the bakery area of Morrison’s ’Market Street’ concept, which will be rolled out, in part at least, across its additional stores, but the number will be “significant”.Morrisons is also working on refining its training scheme, said Cooper. The Fresh Food Academy promotes ’craft food skills’ and its programme will comprise a Retail Certificate, an NVQ Level 2 in retail, apprenticeships for bakers and further training options.At present, Morrisons has not given details on the specific locations and nature of the additional jobs, but vacancies will be posted on its dedicated website [http://www.iwantafreshstart.com].
What can you do that’s new with a panini? Good question. Speed up the delivery, perhaps? Experiment with flavours? Or how about selling one that doesn’t dislodge your fillings?For such a well-established product, too many operators continue to get it wrong. “What tends to happen is the bread gets over-cooked, it goes really hard and, inevitably, you end up biting through a hot brick,” says ex-Pret A Manger food consultant Nellie Nichols. This is not helped if it has spent days in the cabinet staling.While some chains have gleefully charged £3.95 or £4.25 for eat-in, getting the product right in times of recession becomes more important. “It’s about not ripping people off,” says Sean Coughlan of Munch/Coughlans, former winner of the sandwich awards’ (Sammies’) Bakery Sandwich Maker of the Year. “I’m amazed at how much some people get away with. You see so many poor breads. Nowadays, you have to give value for money if you want a daily sale.” Coughlan insists freshness of ingredients is often neglected among his high street competitors, although they are cottoning on to the importance of seasonality. For example, for Christmas, Costa Coffee launched a Brie and Cranberry panini.Seasonality is not just about event peaks. “We’re looking at more fish fillings this month, as people are fed up with meat after Christmas,” adds Coughlan.The problem innovating with paninis is they take so long to grill to a core temperature, and law dictates that high-risk products, such as fish and meat have to exceed 70?C. “People think of exciting things to put in paninis, but the more you put in, the worse it is,” says Nichols. “Cheese, as it is so dense, slows the whole process down, so you’re slowing your average transaction time.”While speed is not necessarily a barrier to sale, especially if they are pre-made in the bakery – Coughlans’ customers will happily wait up to four minutes for a take-away panini – is it possible to speed up the process? Wholesaler Brakes has targeted cafés in particular with ready-filled pre-grilled paninis (below), such as a three cheese and red onion variety. The trick is that they can be microwaved while giving the perception that they have been grilled due to the grill markings.Another possible tack is super-sizing the bread with a rustic-looking ciabatta. Ooze, an Italian risotto restaurant in the new Westfield shopping centre in London, does a nice line in paninis by sourcing a traditionally baked mammoth sourdough ciabatta from London’s Ticino bakery. This sells for £4.50. “The breads are airy, and though they look rather overpowering on display, a good panini should be impacted and moist and these breads make nice paninis,” says owner Will Gregg. The bread is pre-filled, grilled to order and drizzled with olive oil. The fillings are simple but authentic – for example, Panino Caprese (mozzarella, tomato and basil) or Toscano (Parma ham and mozzarella).But creativity need not mean blowing the budget on top-end ingredients. Starbucks’ Cheese and Marmite breakfast panini strikes a chord of homely familiarity and could be a winner – so long as it doesn’t taste like a Marmite-smeared brick.
Meat product manufacturer Parkam Food Group has acquired sandwich and chilled filling manufacturer Freshway Foods after the West Midlands-based company went into administration.Parkam has announced that Freshway Foods will now trade as Freshway Chilled Foods and combined group turnover will stand at around £140m.Family business Freshway, run by Alan and Graham Wright, was reportedly acquired just hours after being placed into the hands of the administrator, BDO Stoy Hayward. The acquisition will bring a sandwich and sandwich filling facility, as well as a 250-strong workforce, to the Parkam Food Group.
Bakers and manufacturers are being warned of possible egg shortages when new EU legislation takes effect. From January 2012, it will be illegal in EU countries to produce eggs from traditional battery cages. Instead, producers must convert to new enriched cages, which have more space, perches, a scratching area and nest boxes.While British producers are on target, there are serious concerns that other European countries might not meet the deadline.A British Lion egg products spokesman said: “Some 100 million laying hens across Europe will still be in conventional cages when the legislation comes into force.” He said this meant some manufacturers would need to find new, compliant suppliers and there might be a time-lag, which could mean shortages. Caged eggs still account for more than 75% of eggs used in processed products. The change in legislation is likely to have the biggest impact in the egg products sector, where about one-third of eggs are imported. Martin Turton, head of the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Group (BCCC), said: “UK food manufacturers are fully aware of their legal requirements around food production. They understand the importance of compliance and the need to put in place the appropriate measures to achieve this.”