Dublin’s McCambridge Group has tabled a formal offer for rival company Cooke’s Bakery, currently in examinership, the Irish equivalent of receivership.Accountant Neil Hughes, who was appointed examiner of Cooke’s in early February, will ask the bakery’s creditors and shareholders to approve the sale at a series of meetings this month. Under the arrangement, they will receive a percentage of what they were owed, and the company’s debt will be restructured. If the deal is sanctioned by the creditors, it will be put to the High Court for final approval over the coming weeks.Cooke’s Bakery, a wholesale baker that supplies firms inclu-ding Tesco, is owned by Dublin restaurateur Johnny Cooke.
Lancashire-based BNW Bakery Services says its BW5 machine can be used for wrapping bread, cake and flour confectionery.When sliced bread is to be wrapped, the use of a BNW LB90 or B51 Slicer machine, linked to the wrapper by an indexer unit to transfer the sliced loaves into the BW5 machine, provides a complete plant that will slice and wrap in one continuous operation.BNW has recently supplied Warburtons’ new Tuscany park site with the new Overhead Paddle Wrapper. The wrapper is fitted with an HMI screen allowing the operator to adjust the print registration and the wrapper running rate. The HMI screen also displays alarms to aid the operator with the wrapping process.The BW5 Wrapper is still a popular machine with both major bread manufacturers and the small independent bakers, claims the company. The wrapper can be adjusted to suit all different sizes of products, and can wrap with either wax paper or cellophane.
Once again, I have had a brilliant idea, which will make all our fortunes! It came to me when I bought a new telephone with two handsets. All the parts were loose in the box and you had to put them together. This reminded me of cheap furniture – and some not so cheap – which comes in a box and for which you have to turn your home into a furniture factory or electronic assembly plant before it will work.So why waste time baking bread? All we have to do is put the ingredients in a bag, display a few loaves in our shops and, when a customer orders a loaf, just hand him or her the bag with the ingredients and a 100-page book of instructions he or she will never understand.Think of all the time we’d save, not to mention labour. And we’d only need a small bakery as we’d only need to make a few products. Strange, isn’t it, how we so often miss the obvious? When all these great ideas come to fruition, we will all be rich.Many times I have thought we bakers, who are principally retailers, probably tie up far too much cash and time in our bakeries. Wouldn’t we do better spending more time improving our retail shops?When you look at our businesses, we really fall between two stools – producers and retailers. And the hard fact of life is that it is much easier to make the product than to sell it.We probably spend more time on the production side than we do on the retail side; how many bakers do you know who leave the shops to their wives or, as they get larger, hire a sales manager to deal with the shops? They tend to think they are bakers and spend their time with their head in the trough and their bottoms in the air.Yes, bakery is a wonderful craft and, in my experience, the people in it are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be just as nice spending more time on their core business of selling bakery products. More and more bakers are now buying in their savouries, frozen doughnuts, Danish and a whole multitude of lines and yet, quite rightly, still consider themselves bakers.When you think of it, most – if not all – of the most successful retailers do not make the goods they sell. They buy them in at the best price and quality they can find. Wal-Mart and Marks & Spencer, to name but two, appear to make a lot of money concentrating on the selling and they leave the hassle of production to others.Yet we, with our limited resources think we can be successful at both. As I have so often said, we must be geniuses to succeed as well as we do. The problem is that we all have a great deal of money tied up in the bakery. There is no such thing as a low-priced decent piece of equipment. And, once you have bought whatever it is, you find you have to spend even more because it makes so much that you need extra deep freeze space and more baskets to store the finished product in.Then there is the delivery problem; vans have to be kept clean and looking good. Yet van drivers appear to think you have given them a dodgem car, which just has to hit other vans or knock down walls, fences or anything standing. Then, with a look of total innocence, the van driver always tell you it happened while he or she was away from the van.
Politicians are putting the finishing touches to the various parties’ manifestos for the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May.The experts predict that the election result will be too close to call. We are told that the priority battleground will be on who has the right strategy to develop the Scottish economy. The focus on our economic performance is good news. Scotland has lagged behind most other parts of the UK in recent years. Recent surveys of business concerns tell us that top of the list for businesses, including most bakers, is the burden of over-regulation, followed closely by skills shortages. Most of us would not seriously argue with those conclusions.If we know that these are the concerns of business, let us see the political parties step forward with some creative and meaningful proposals to help us. I despair of any politician getting to grips with over-regulation, but skills are different.Real progress for us would be adequate funding of that Cinderella sector – skills and vocational training. In Scotland, particularly in the bakery sector, we have been well-supported by grants from the European Social Fund for many years. Those Funds are about to dry up in 2008 putting all that good work at risk. We have also seen chronic under-funding of Skillseeker programmes for young people and a lack of attention to funding training for older workers. If politicians really want to make a difference in 2007, help bakers to succeed by investing in our skills base.
Allied Bakeries has revamped its trade website for convenience stores in an attempt to boost returns for the sector.The interactive site at www. localkingsmill.co.uk includes point-of-sale kits and a profit calculator as well as category management tips and downloadable planograms. Details of Allied’s product range for convenience stores, developed as part of the company’s £40 million relaunch, are also available to view.
For employees in bakery retail, foodservice or food processing industries, choices made about handwashing affect not only the employee, but also other people: consumers, diners and the general public. Handwashing among food workers is crucial to prevent the spread of germs that can lead to food-borne illnesses and food poisoning. Efficient hand hygiene needs to become automatic.According to World Health Organisation guidelines, hand washing should not be limited just to the hands; it should also include wrists. The whole area should be washed with soap and running water for a minimum of 10-15 seconds. In the healthcare and food industries hands should then be decontaminated with an alcohol-based waterless hand gel or rub for 15-30 seconds. This stage must be carried out on physically clean hands, as it may be ineffective if the hands are soiled with protein or fat.drain the soapSoap, if in the form of a bar, should be left on a soap rack so it has the chance to drain. It should not be allowed to sit in a pool of water as this encourages micro-organisms to grow, such as pseudomonas, an opportunistic pathogen, meaning that it exploits the break in the host defences to initiate an infection. Liquid dispensers of soap should be cleaned thoroughly every day, and, when empty, the cartridge should be discarded not refilled. Disposable towels should be used for drying hands, ideally with a non-touch dispenser. If there is not a clean, dry towel available, then air drying hands is best and communal towels should be avoided. It is important to dry hands thoroughly because, if wet, they will spread bacteria easily.microbial cautionCaution should be taken when dealing with food with a high microbial loading, such as uncooked meats. Dangerous micro-organisms, including bacteria, viruses, mould and parasites can be transferred between surfaces, hands and other foodstuffs by cross-contamination. This happens directly through contact between hands, cutting boards, towels, clothes, utensils and work surfaces. Raw meat in particular contains harmful bacteria and it is important to keep it away from ready-to-eat foods, such as salad, cooked meats, fruit and bread.l Bekie McCloud is EMA marketing/ technical director, Johnson Diversey
Meeting and answering the demands of its customers has seen continuous investment in plant, equipment and people at Birds (Derby)’s central bakery. The bakery company has always had one simple aim – to make a product that is as fresh as possible. It is a philosophy that bakery manager Gary Entwistle recalls nearly caught him out, back in Christmas 2005. “All had gone to plan until the final shift,” he says. “In order to achieve the freshness we promise and deliver to our customers, we left the production of cobs as late as possible in that final shift. Seven hours before the shift was due to end, we had a problem with the roll plant, which took two hours to remedy.”Cobs (or bread rolls) account for around 18% of the Birds’ turnover. Entwistle spoke to managing director Patrick Bird about possible solutions and returned from the Christmas break to find that the MD had ordered a completely new industrial roll plant from Konig’s UK distributor European Process Plant (EPP). The senior team at Birds scours Europe, attending all the major European exhibitions to look at machinery, and insists on visiting Continental craft businesses to see it working in the heat of the bakery.Entwistle explains: “Of all the roll plant we saw, Konig’s build quality and robustness caught our eye and it is certainly fit-for-purpose.”Entwistle admits that, for a 49-shop retail craft bakery business the size of Birds, having £500,000 invested in roll plant is a “bit of a luxury”. The new roll plant was delivered on 11 December last year and commissioning began just three days later. “We immediately commissioned four major products with the minimum of fuss and this gave us a major boost to efficiency and effectiveness going into Christmas week 2006. The remainder of our products were then commissioned early in January this year,” says Entwistle.In choosing the new roll plant, Birds took its health and safety manager, engineering manager and two operatives to Konig’s factory in Austria. As a result, an additional guard was fitted and the Austrian company improved accessibility on the machine, making it much easier to clean.”What we have found most useful are measurement guides on the spreader bands and that Konig has taken into account the manual loading and unloading of trays, making the working height slightly higher at the depanning stage on the new machine.”Based in Epsom, Surrey, EPP has installed and maintained several pieces of equipment at Birds, including mixers, a pie and tart line and a large doughnut fryer. The new six-pocket head roll plant has 800mm-wide pockets in the resting chamber. The weight range on the new Konig is 35-135g and, as the machine can handle very different doughs, a wide range of bakery goods can be produced on the new plant.At 50 strokes per minute, six products across, the new Konig produces dinner rolls with a scale weight of 35g at a rate of 18,000 units an hour. The firm is looking to develop an XXL long moulded sandwich roll with a scale weight of 110g and, at 35 strokes a minute, three across, the new Konig roll plant can produce 6,300 units an hour. n
According to Mintel’s latest report, Ethical and Green Retailing, June 2007, released this month, as many as two-thirds of consumers believe retailers should do more to reduce the amount of packaging they use.Over half (55%) say that retailers and producers, including bakery, should only use packaging materials that can easily be recycled. “The finding that nearly three-quarters of adults claim to be active recyclers makes it all the more irritating that the recycling infrastructure is not better developed than it is. Although retailers and manufacturers have been active in reducing packaging for some time, consumers are still not satisfied and clearly feel that there is more to be done,” said senior retail analyst Neil Mason.In July, bakery chain Greggs, announced that it had saved £12,000 in three months through recycling waste plastic from its Yorkshire stores, after teaming up with Leeds-based Cromwell Polythene. After Greggs’ vehicles have delivered to the shops, the drivers load waste plastics, such as waste packaging, and take them back to a central Yorkshire depot. From there, Cromwell Polythene’s Recycling Division collects the plastic and converts it into sacks and bags, some of which are returned to Greggs for general waste and segregation of waste plastic.As a result of the scheme, Greggs received a commendation at this year’s Business Commitment to the Environment Awards, which was presented by former environment secretary, David Miliband. The commendation recognised Greggs’ commitment to reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfill.
Marks & Spencer says it is on target to remove 99% of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives from its bakery products by January 2008, as the retailer steps up its commitment to its Plan A corporate social responsibility strategy.Bakery category manager Gail Richards also told British Baker that 400g loaves are now outperforming 800g varieties at its stores as demographics shift towards single and double-occupier households.She said: “Generally, 60% of our customers will only pick up one bakery item in the shop. What we’re now doing is having smaller sizes of products. That way, customers are more inclined to put it in the basket.”Read the full interview with Gail Richards on pgs 20-21.
London flour miller GR Wright & Sons has appointed Julian Woodgate to its board.Woodgate has been technical sales manager with Wright’s for five years and will take over from Chris Wyle, who retires as technical director after 14 years. Wyle will continue working on a part-time basis.Woodgate’s responsibilities will continue to include quality control, new product development and value-added sales.MD David Wright said: “I am sure Julian will do a great job following in the footsteps of Chris and wish him every success.”