Billington’s (Peterborough) has been selling organic cane sugar in the UK since 1992, as an extension to its range of natural unrefined cane sugars. The firm now supplies the food manufacturing, retail and foodservice sector with the widest range of organic cane sugars, it says. The range includes: Organic Unrefined Granulated Sugar, an organic alternative to white refined sugar; Organic Unrefined Caster Sugar, a light, free-flowing sugar with a buttery taste; and Organic Unrefined Demerara Sugar, with a coarser crystal.
Baking ingredients supplier Zeelandia (Billericay, Essex) has recently launched a new version of its Zedamols Liquid product, which does not contain hydrogenated fats.Zedamols Liquid is an enzyme-based functional product used to enhance the qualities of baked fermented products, including adding moisture and softness. It is used in conjunction with bread improvers. With growing concerns in the marketplace about hydrogenated fats, Zeelandia is removing them from products; a recent example was the launch of Exakt Ciabatta, a mix concentrate free of any hydrogenated fats.According to the company, Zeelandia was one of the first in the market to start removing hydrogenated fats from its portfolio of products.”The removal of hydrogenated fats from our products is a key and important issue for us,” says Dominic Ranger, national sales and marketing manager for the company.
Growth in consumer spending in the grocery market is slowing, according to figures compiled by TNS Worldpanel.Market growth dipped to 3% in the 12 weeks ending 12 August, down from the three-year peak of 6% for the period ending 20 May. The downturn, says TNS, reflects renewed concentration on price competition, as embodied by the latest Tesco Swingometer adverts.In contrast, the bread market was up 8.62% in value in the year to 15 July compared with the same period of 2006. The volume, however, was down 2.04%.Despite the fall in overall growth, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco all exceeded the total market growth rate, so that they now account for nearly 65% of the grocery market. Independents also outperformed the market, their share rising from 2.7% to 2.8%.Somerfield was the main loser, an 8% sales decline bringing its share down to 3.9% from 4.4% a year ago. Its own ers have recently announced refinancing and store acquisition plans.
A team from Roberts Bakery has completed the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for a children’s charity.The team, composed of Rob Newton, Dave Clark, Gary Chrimes and Ray Agnew of Roberts, helped raise £2,500 for Hope House Children’s hospice. Chester-based Roberts Bakery matched this donation, bringing the total to £5,000.The group climbed Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in Cumbria and Snowdon in Wales.Hope House Children’s Hospices provides free care and terminal nursing for children.
California Raisins has launched a new competition – the California Raisin Bread Competition – whereby craft bakers can win a trip to Las Vegas for producing the best-looking and tasting raisin bread. First prize is a trip to IBIE – a comprehensive baking expo in Las Vegas, held in 2010, combined with a study trip to California. You will also receive PR for the product and your business. Second and third place will both receive free PR and advertising for the company and winning product.The final judging and award ceremony will be held at the National Association of Master Bakers’ annual conference in Bournemouth in May. If you are a craft baker, retail shop owner or manager, part of a commercial bakery or a bakery technician, then you’re eligible to enter. For more information please contact The California Raisin Administrative Committee on 020 8741 8513 or email [email protected] The deadline for entries is 19 March 2009.
Hovis has continued to build its market share according to Premier Foods’ interim results for the 16 weeks to 25 April 2009. In its Hovis division, sales in its baking business were up 6% on the comparable period in 2008, due to strong branded sales growth offsetting lower volumes of own-label bread.However, bulk flour sales fell, primarily due to its exit from a low-margin flour contract during 2008, said the firm. This meant overall sales for the division were 4% lower than the same period last year.Chief executive Robert Schofield said Hovis – its biggest brand – continued to make excellent progress following its relaunch last year: “It is now the clear number two in the wrapped bread market, with a market share of over 25%.” He added that further activity and innovation was planned for the brand throughout 2009.Premier also confirmed the sales of Le Pain Croustillant, Sofrapain SAS and Martine Spécialités SAS have now been completed.Total group sales were up 3%, although a decrease in the bulk sale of flour pushed down overall sales, which rose 6% excluding flour.In terms of business restructuring, Premier transferred its Charnwood Foods frozen pizza base business from its Chilled division to the Hovis division.
Jo 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 SamsFor bakers, books about baking are a conundrum. Surely, we might think, anything that encourages home bakers to recreate tangy sourdoughs, crusty cottage loaves or hearty wholemeal buns at home is going to steal our business away never mind all those books now devoted, heretically, to the art of making bread using a bread-maker!But I believe books about bread are a good thing even a business-booster for all of us. What fabulous volumes such as Richard Bertinet’s Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread, its sister volume Crust: Bread to Get Your Teeth Into, The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard or Andrew Whitley’s Bread Matters actually do is stimulate an appreciation of bread or even a passion for it. I’d go so far as to say that Andrew Whitley’s book is a must-read for anyone in the bread world, being subtitled: ’The Sorry State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own’.Certainly for those of us in the artisan bread business, anything that highlights the differences between painstakingly hand-crafted loaves, using the highest-quality flours, and their mass-produced, even industrialised counterparts, has to be A Very Good Thing Indeed, because it adds an element of connoisseurship to the whole area of baking. There are wine aficionados, so why not bread connoisseurs?The world of publishing seems to agree and is doing its best to nurture them, bringing out informative and often very beautiful, coffee-table-worthy books on the subject of baking, which while ostensibly showing you how to DIY on the bread-making front also serve to emphasise the huge amount of skill that goes into baking, as demonstrated (in lavish colour) by some of the bread world’s greatest doughmeisters.Certainly, the reader may be inspired by these tomes to throw some flour, water and yeast around, have some fun, and may even create something tasty at the end of it although my husband, who opened the UK’s first organic bakery in 1972, has always maintained that you can’t make a truly great loaf from a batch of less than 50kg. But in reality, what they’ll really learn is how much hard work goes into baking and how much patience, compared to a stir-fry or even a soup.As the better guidebooks turn people into travellers, rather than tourists, great bread books help create a new, more appreciative type of bread-seeker, happy to pay a little more for quality when he or she sees it and excited by filling their shopping basket (and maybe their freezer) wherever they encounter interesting, carefully-crafted, quality breads.And we shouldn’t overlook the opportunities the publishing world’s new-found interest in baking offers us in the bread world: a way for an artisan bakery to raise its profile, without too much investment. The publisher actually foots the bill and almost certainly pays you an advance against royalties, into the bargain. Mind you, as someone who’s written a dozen books none, as yet, about bread I can tell you, there’s another price to be paid in the blood, sweat and invariable tears that go into the process of turning an idea into 256 turnable pages.As a result, we’ll probably be seeing more glossy, mouthwatering baking books on the bookshop shelves in years to come. And if they help create a world full of bread-heads, I, for one, couldn’t be more pleased.
Avocado meat replaces butter as the fat in this frosting. The cake is rich and moist with a hint of espresso.The frosting balances perfectly with it sweet with a hint of citrus and a definite avocado flavour. When topped with toasted walnut and dark chocolate shavings, this cake has a beautiful, slightly unusual flavour and texture and is rich in healthy fats.For the Chocolate CakeMakes 12IngredientsCaster sugar155gButter60gLarge egg (room temperature)1Vanilla extract½ tspSalt¼ tspMarriages Plain Organic flour105gCocoa powder25gBaking soda¼ tspSour cream95gStrong espresso (cooled)¼ cupFresh ground coffee (optional)½ tspToasted walnutsDark chocolate shavingsMethod1. Sift all the dry ingredients together (flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt) and set aside.2. Cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy around 5 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until thoroughly incorporated.3. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the sour cream. Then slowly add the cooled coffee and espresso powder (if you’re using it).4. Use an ice cream scoop to transfer to a lined baking pan, filling the cups ¾ full.5. Bake in the middle rack of a 180C oven for 15 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.6. When the cupcakes are cooled completely, top with a spoon of the avocado frosting (recipe below), a toasted walnut and some dark chocolate shavings.For the avocado frostingIngredientsFlesh of 2 large very ripe avocados or 4 medium avocados use the ripest you can find, and cut out any brown bits if necessaryConfectioner’s (icing) sugar 190gLemon juice1½ tspMethod1. Beat the avocado in a mixer with the lemon juice until you achieve a smooth consistency, beating out all the lumps.2. Slowly blend in the icing sugar, increasing the speed of the mixer as you go. Add more sugar if needed to achieve a consistency and taste that you like.l For more creative cake ideas, recipes and baking tips visit lily-vanilli.blogspot.com
Craft bakers are gearing up for National Craft Bakers’ Week by planning events and promotions designed to raise their profile in the local community.Organised by the NAMB and taking place from 19-24 September, this year’s event is being run under the strapline ’Baking for the local community’ and aims to communicate the important commercial and social role that craft bakers play in their local areas.Teresa Grant of bakery supplier CSM United Kingdom is planning to visit Watton School in Norfolk to run a cupcake project. Children will be asked to decorate cupcakes with an Olympics theme and design their own brand and packaging. They will then have to work out how much their products cost to produce and how much profit they can make by selling them in the school. The project is being run in conjunction with local craft bakery The Bakehouse.Grant said: “Whether it’s working with local schools, developing new products or running tastings, it’s important that craft bakers take part and help promote the high street.”At Greenhalgh’s in Bolton, Sandra Ogden, head of retail operations, said it would be using tables outside its 50-plus shops for tastings. “I would suggest other bakers take part; it is a chance for them to showcase the quality and freshness of their products and to attract more new customers from the local community,” she said.Noel Hardy of Hardy’s Bakery in Norwich also aims to catch customers’ eyes with a window display celebrating the Olympics, including biscuits decorated to look like gold medals.For further details on National Craft Bakers’ Week contact: Gill Brooks Lonican or Karen Dear on tel: 01920 468061.
This year’s wheat harvest has not been as bad as first feared, despite this year’s extremely dry weather, according to results of an NFU members’ survey.Preliminary results from the NFU’s 2011 harvest survey has revealed yields are below average, despite a cropping area up around 3% to 1.822 million hectares. English wheat production for this year is estimated at around 13.636 million tonnes, down on the five-year average by 1.5 %, said the NFU.Full UK yield results for wheat, barley and oil seed rape crops are still being gathered by the economics team and will be made available when harvest has progressed further in the north and after the results of UK government planting surveys are published at the end of September. Ian Backhouse, NFU combinable crops chairman, said: “I believe this year’s yield decrease was largely due to tough growing conditions last spring, including one of the lowest ever rainfall levels recorded for the first half of the year across the majority of England. “Despite higher plantings, production this year is expected to be lower compared to last year, due to lower yields. Production will be down on the five-year average by around 189,000 tonnes. “Survey responses have pointed to a large variability in yields often linked to soil type and capacity to hold water where a fortunate few benefited from showers of rain this spring. Where sufficient rain fell in June and July onto later-maturing crops, yields have been exceptional. “However, towards the latter part of harvest there was more variability in quality, with summer rains preventing many farmers keeping up with ripening crops. Fortunately, much of the quality milling crop was already harvested and dried before exposure to prolonged rainfall.” He also acknowledged the importance of investment in the sector, saying farmers had invested “millions” to preserve grain quality. Backhouse added: “Farmers have invested millions in drying to preserve grain quality. The Home Grown Cereals Authority reports that wheat quality is very good this year, with a higher proportion expected to achieve full milling specification than for a number of years. Many report crops weighing heavier and high bushel weights are partly compensating for lower volume harvested. “Following a very dry spring and rains disrupting the summer harvest in 2011, farmers invested in grain drying to protect quality and overcame a challenging season.”>> Outlook good for quality of wheat harvest