Délifrance UK (Leicester) has launched a sweet-tasting, round flatbread inspired by a 19th century recipe from Lapland.The Polar Bread is of Swedish origin, but French bakers have adopted the ‘pain polaire’, as it is known across the channel, and its popularity as a sandwich carrier has boomed. The bread enables bakers to offer a new sandwich concept that can be open-topped like a pizza or toasted for a hot sandwich option.
The New Covent Garden (London) range comprises a choice of nine 2kg soups, available from selected wholesalers and chilled food distributors. In addition to traditional favourites such as carrot & coriander and leek & potato, the company provides seasonal varieties including winter vegetable. New Covent Garden also supports bakeries with a range of point-of-sale material, such as posters and other branded communication materials. Now the company is planning to go one step further by making its first ever five-litre New Covent Garden branded soup kettle available to bakeries. The kettle is currently on trial in dozens of outlets with a national motorway service station chain and the initial results, according to New Covent Garden, are “very encouraging”, with significant sales increases reported.
Coffee Republic has signed a franchise deal that will see it launch in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.The company has reached an agreement with CR Coffee Houses to develop its coffee and deli bar concept in the two countries.The group said a first site was set to open in the Abbeycentre, Belfast, in the coming weeks.Steven Bartlett, Coffee Republic’s chief executive, said: “Ireland is a crucial market for Coffee Republic and we look forward to introducing the brand in this dynamic economy.”The company has also signed a regional development franchise with East Coast Traders, covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.
Job history: Young joined BB’s in 2005, during which time the number of cafés has grown from 90 to 179. Prior to that, she spent 12 years working in foodservice and retail marketing and international brand development, 10 as marketing manager (Europe and the Middle East) for Burger King, and, latterly, two as marketing director for Greggs.Top tip to new suppliers: “Samples? We get plenty and, frankly, we just don’t need them.”Favourite product: Sticky Toffee Muffin, washed down with a skinniccino.Outside interests: A foodie at heart, Young spends her free time looking around local food fairs in the Chilterns and regularly eating out at restaurants.Email: [email protected]
== Pudding Lane: ==Australian company, Pudding Lane, will be promoting its new Chocolate & Orange Log and Chocolate Rum & Raisin Pudding Log at the event. It hopes to attract people looking for indulgence.Handmade in New South Wales, the range is distributed in the UK by Porter Foods. The puddings were created following customer demand for new flavours of dark chocolate puddings in a convenient and easy-to-portion shape.== Quai Sud ==Speciality sugar will be on offer from French ’flavour designer’ Quai Sud, which produces more than 1,000 lines, including cocoa beans, salts and spice mixes. One of its most innovative products is organic blueberry hibiscus sugar, made using non-refined sugar from Brazil. It will be launching a new range of ’fleur de sel’, available in four different flavours: truffle, saffron, Espellette chilli (French soft chilli), and green tea. All of their products are available in bulk – 1, 2 or 5kg.== Key’s of Lincolnshire ==Family-run farm Key’s of Lincolnshire is to launch ’the pink onion’ at the show this year. The business has been around for the last century, and specialises in growing, preparing and supplying a wide range of fruit and vegetables. The pink onion hasn’t previously been grown commercially in the UK and is sweet-tasting, so useful in salads.== Passion Shed ==Passion Shed, based in Liverpool, specialises in creating sweet and savoury treats, such as NuttySwiss (pictured) and will be launching its new range of products inspired by tastes from some of the culinary capitals of the world – Spain, Italy, Morocco and Switzerland. Passion Shed’s Brian Cardy and friends Sarah James, Lily Barlow and Richard Millington scoured Europe to source ingredients for the five flavours, using premium extra virgin olive oils, Modena balsamic vinegars, nuts and Swiss chocolate.== BlueConcept ==BlueConcept will be unveiling a new juice – ’Wild Blueberries 100%’ – at the event. The berry drink has been produced by a small family business in Sweden, and is made from 100% wild Swedish blueberries. The juice is presented in glass bottles, delivered in wooden cases and has a shelf-life of three years, without the need for refrigeration.== Sympathy Teas ==Sympathy Teas is a family-run business that creates herbal teas. It will unveil a new tea at the show as a result of a competition being held within its tasting club. Members were given the opportunity to come up with new tea ideas, before the suggestions are put to a vote. The top three will then be blended for tasting, and the winning tea will be available to sample and purchase at the show.== Ecobags ==Family-run company Ecobags will be launching a new range of totally biodegradable Jute bags, which can be used as an eco-friendly alternative to carrier bags. The company, founded in 2003, specialises in the design and supply of high-quality, custom-made reusable bags.
Bakery products supplier CSM’s profits have been hit due to pressure to reduce selling prices, according to its first-quarter trading update.Netherlands-based CSM, which owns BakeMark UK, saw volumes in bakery supplies down 3.8% compared to Q1 of 2008, with “the more luxury pastry items particularly affected”.Sales in its Bakery Supplies Europe division stood at €249.2m compared to €264.6m for the comparable 2008 period. EBITDA before exceptionals was €6.3m compared to €12.8m in 2008.The statement released from the company noted that the pressure to reduce selling prices in bakery supplies led to a decrease in return on sales.The company saw overall sales growth of 2.9% for its bakery supplies and lactic acid businesses. Profit before deductions stood at €20.1m, impacted by a decline in volumes of 4.2%.Gerard Hoetmer, chief executive officer at CSM, said the firm is focused on generating cash, which has resulted in a number of cost-cutting initiatives, including the temporary suspension of a number of production lines.
Despite stemming from an Australian concept, BB’s Coffee & Muffins appears British in every sense, and certainly caters for our love of tea and cake. But that’s not all it offers. Producing freshly baked goods on a daily basis and the ability to understand its customers’ needs are just some of the reasons it won The Customer Focus Award, sponsored by BakeMark UK, at last year’s Baking Industry Awards.The BB’s concept came to the UK in 1997, when the first shop opened in Maidenhead, Berkshire. Since then, another 186 have opened. Around 28 are company-operated in the UK and 12 in Ireland, and the firm has around 80 franchise partners, which make up around 80% of its stores. Its main office is in Limerick, Ireland and it has an administration base in Hemel Hempstead. By this summer, it will also have a UK office base in London.BB’s was originally focused on operating in the shopping centre sector, explains retail and brands director Michele Young, who has been with the company for over four years. “But, in the last four years, we’ve expanded out of the traditional shopping centre environment and into areas such as DIY stores, petrol forecourts and exhibition centres. We also do external catering for sporting and music events.”The focus of the business is not simply to stock products and try to persuade customers to buy them, but to provide bakery products that the company is confident customers want. Young says the business is pitched at the mass market in order to appeal to all tastes and ages. Of course, different regions bring variations in customer demographics, but Young says they tailor the ranges in each store, as well as having a core range sold by all stores. “Ultimately, it’s about making sure you understand local audiences,” says Young. “We don’t push the stores to stock items if they are simply not selling.”The outlets offer a lot of choice, and the product ranges are continually scrutinised for development or additions. Young says BB’s has a library of around 70 muffin recipes, and the range is alternated throughout the year, allowing for seasonal variations. “The heavy chocolate flavours don’t do so well in the summer as in the autumn and winter, and the fruitier ones tend to go well in the summer months,” she explains. “Then you get the regional preferences – for example, cherry & coconut muffins are big up north and the sticky toffee pudding variety is popular everywhere, especially with women.”There are also polka dot muffins and mini muffins aimed at kids, as Young says the outlets often get a high percentage of parents coming in with their children.Young says the company has certainly grown its food sales considerably over the last few years. “We’re not out there to claim the coffee guru title; we want to be recognised for high-quality affordable food,” she says. Before the recession hit, Young says they had a track record of between 20-25 new store openings a year. However, she admits that this year the figure will be more like 10. “We’re focusing on the existing portfolio in terms of how we can enhance or improve trading potential,” she says. “We have also taken the company outside the shopping centre environment and we have some proven success there as well.”Young explains it is not due to market saturation that BB’s has moved out of its shopping centre home . “There is still plenty of scope to develop in shopping centres, but there are also opportunities elsewhere.” She says BB’s has been the only shopping centre outlet of its kind for the past 10 years, but now other food businesses are looking at it as an option, so consequently, BB’s is looking to put its muffins in more than one basket.Use of researchAs to why BB’s won the award, the judges were impressed with the range of methods used to research customers’ requirements and the way the findings were used to adapt the product range. Young says the company get thousands of hits on its website and tries to involve its customers, using competitions such as ’How do you eat your muffin?’ or asking what their idea of muffin heaven is. Consumers then have the chance to win a month’s supply of muffins.”Because we were looking at The Customer Focus Award, we really pinned it back to what we had learned over the previous 12-18 months and how we’d applied that to our thinking for new product development and improvements, as well as making sure what we do is relevant,” explains Young. “We get a lot of flavour ideas from customers, which all get put into the melting pot, and we use feedback from our franchisees as well as looking at what’s happening in the wider marketplace.”She put forward the application to the awards because BB’s operates 187 mini bakeries, and she wanted to reinforce what’s different about them as a concept, and to be recognised by the industry for baking fresh products in-store, every day. The staff arrive at around 6.30am, and prepare the muffin mixes before the first batch goes in the oven at around 8.15am. The oven itself is situated behind the counter and acts as a focal point, says Young.”It felt right for us to go for that kind of industry award, because we’d done so much work, together with our supply partners and our stores and franchisees, on developing different areas of the product range and capitalising on what was happening in the wider market and how that applied to us in terms of baking,” explains Young. “We thought we had an opportunity and certainly came across some big competition; winning was a great achievement for all the staff.” She believes it was the time and effort spent finding out about customers’ needs and implementing them in the BB’s Coffee & Muffins plan, that swung it for them.Capitalising on their winThe individual stores displayed a counter message after the company had won, and BB’s used the win as an endorsement and on marketing and press materials. “With some of the new opportunities coming our way, it’s very much an advantage for us to say that we’re an award-winner. We’ve also got a couple of university concessions off the back of the award.”Since winning the award, BB’s has been developing some new products and has worked with its suppliers to create a range of four different wholegrain muffins, due to customer demand for healthier products, which are working their way into stores now, says Young. “We’ve been doing a lot more segmentation work, both on the products and customer understanding to make sure, especially in this climate, that the stores have the right products in the right stores at the right time.” It appears that what customers of BB’s want, they get.—-=== View on the night ===”It was great – very glamorous and lovely to meet Kate Thornton. We also won a bottle of Champagne on one of the tables. It’s nice to meet people from the industry and to network as well. The way it was hosted was also good – in that the other finalists also went up on stage to collect a certificate. It was an excellent way of acknowledging all the award nominees.”—-=== Reaction to winning ===”It was one of those ’oh my god’ moments. Everyone was really pleased. It was an achievement for all the team and the stores more than anything, as they’re the ones that make the products every day and can be proud of what they do. The win was very well received by all.”
Puddings & Pies has launched a range of 13 individually wrapped slices aimed at the snack market.The range includes the company’s best-selling Almond Slice, as well as a Triple Chocolate Chip Brownie, new Muesli Bar and a Yoghurt-Topped Raspberry Oaty.The slices come in boxes of 16, either mixed or a single flavour, and are presented in a yellow point of sale box.Puddings & Pies is a family owned and run bakery based in Sherborne, Dorset.www.puddingsandpies.com
Supermarket in-store bakeries have bucked the recession with sales up by nearly 5% in the past year, as shoppers search out fresh affordable products.According to IRI research, commissioned by Bakehouse, sales of core ISB categories grew by 4.8% in the 52 weeks ending 5 September, compared to the previous year, to reach £1bn. Star performers in the sector included: rolls, with sales growth of 9% to reach £239m; muffins, up 21% to over £52.5m; and Danish pastries, up 10% to £45m.The only categories in the sector that didn’t see an increase in sales were: bagels (-8%); cookies (-3%); and traybakes (-6%).”People still want to treat themselves during the tough economic times and the in-store bakery is a nice way of doing that,” said Bakehouse brand manager Claire Warren.”You get that sweet shop experience with loose products and the aroma of baking bread. Shoppers are looking for fresh, affordable, handmade products and ISBs tick all these boxes.”
Finsbury Foods has announced falling sales in its cake business has resulted in a 2% drop in revenue for the 17 weeks to the end of October.The firm, which manufactures cake, bread and morning goods, revealed that group revenue was 2% less than the comparable period last year, and 4% behind on a like-for-like basis, excluding the recently acquired Goswell business.Its bread and free-from businesses continued to achieve double digit growth, with its acquisition of Goswell contributing to an 11% growth in sales. Like-for-like sales increased 8%.Commenting on the performance of its cake business, the firm said it has increased promotional investment and exited “some low margin products” as it has integrated its cake business.“Consumer behaviour is still being affected by the recession and premium range sales have been impacted in the short term,” commented chief executive John Duffy. “The economic environment remains challenging and uncertainty around input price inflation remains high. We continue to focus on integrating our businesses to improve efficiency and operating margins whilst gaining an improved understanding of our consumers.”