Setback for Northern Foods in its Melton Mowbray pork pie battle

first_imgNorthern Foods has had another setback in its battle to stop production of Melton Mow-bray pork pies being restricted to a 1,800 square mile zone around the Leicestershire town.The company has been battling for seven years against the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association’s (MMPPA) plans to gain “Protected Geographical Indication” (PGI) status for the pies. Foods which are awarded this status can only be produced in a specified area – for example, Champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France. A PGI zone would stop Northern Foods’ Palethorpes factory in Shropshire and Bowyers factory in Trowbridge from producing Melton Mowbray pies, which they have been making for over 100 years. Northern Foods had argued Melton Mowbray is a generic name for a style of product, the production of which had long moved away from Leicestershire. It said the application for a 1,800-square-mile Melton Mowbray catchment area was an artificial boundary. But on December 21, High Court judge Mr Justice Crane decreed the definition of a “geographical area” could include a zone rather than just a town. Northern Foods has also queried the MMPPA’s claim that Melton Mowbray pies must be grey and made from uncured pork. It says the Association’s dominant member, Samworth Brothers, produces both cured and uncured pies, branded as Melton Mowbray. Northern Foods started the High Court action last year, putting on hold deliberations on the case already under way at the European Commission. The company will decide by January 18 whether to apply to the High Court for permission to take the case to the Court of Appeal. Director of communications Hilary Baker told British Baker it believes the MMPPA is involved in a “cynical misuse of legislation”. One of the Association’s key members is Samworth Brothers, which controls 62% of the £51.7m Melton Mowbray pork pie market. Northern Foods has a 24% share, according to TNS figures, added Ms Baker. “We think it’s anti-competitive, The biggest producer is conveniently in this zone, and is trying to stop its rival from producing,” she said.Northern Foods could transfer production of its Melton Mowbray pork pies to its facility in the Melton Mowbray zone if the EU does award the pies PGI status, she suggested, but no decision has been taken. It would also seek five-year transitional arrangements to allow it to keep producing in its current facilities.If Northern Foods decides not to appeal, the application to restrict production of the pork pies, made by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs on behalf of the MMPPA, will continue through the EC approval process. Permission could be granted as soon as May this year.Matthew O’Callaghan, the MMPPA’s chairman, said: “It is important for the protection of traditional, regional foods that applications such as ours should not be defeated merely by the threat of legal action from large manufacturers. We are not a protectionist cartel. If other companies want to come to the Melton Mowbray area and make pies to a traditional recipe using traditional ingredients, they are very welcome.”The EU Protected Food Names Schemes came into force in 1993 and provides protection of food names on a geographical or traditional recipe basis.last_img read more

Marching into the limelight

first_imgLast year, Bolton-based Greenhalgh’s set in motion ambitious plans to rebrand and expand its retail estate. Production director, David Smart explains that traditional bakeries like Greenhalgh’s are facing increasingly tough competition from modern fast food chains and cafés, such as Starbucks and Caffè Nero, making modernisation and product innovation essential.”The fast food or ’food-on-the-hoof’ sector of the market is extremely competitive today,” says Smart. “We have seen the rise of many new chains and brands.” A major element of their strong branding has been the format of their outlets, with strong distinctive styling and modern, contemporary fittings. This has meant that those food outlets that have not updated, or have been around for a while, have dated rather quickly. Through its rebranding, Greenhalgh’s is attempting to bring the concept of a craft bakery into the 21st century. This is fitting for two reasons, he says. “Firstly, we have always strived to produce food that is made not in the cheapest or fastest way, but in the right way – for goodness and taste. Our use of natural ingredients is suddenly finding itself in favour again and today’s consumer is looking for quality and value rather than low cost. Secondly, our new brand and shop format is our way of simplifying the presentation of products to our customers. In a way, we are simply saying: ’We are Greenhalgh’s and this is our food: natural quality and good honest value’.”The company enlisted a professional design consultant to create the new Greenhalgh’s identity, with a brief to ’create an image that appealed to the modern shopper and as broad a customer base as possible’. The consultant was asked to come up with a design to suit the existing typical shop size – a single- or double-fronted shop – while also ensuring the design incorporated the original elements of all Greenhalgh’s shops: freshly baked and chilled serving counters, display shelving for breads, open-fronted pick-up chillers as well as a new illuminated savoury display window, plus a colour scheme and shop banner that reflected the new corporate rebranding. The budget was set at around £70,000 per store, where a complete overhaul was required, Smart reveals.The results include a new corporate logo, which shows the company’s commitment towards modernisation, says Smart. The old green backdrop has been axed in favour of a deep, warm, more refined green to highlight the ’irresistibly better baking’ catchphrase and contemporary logo design. Elsewhere in the store, other catchphrases, such as ’…love at first bite’ and ’…good honest food’, are used.The colour scheme was chosen from a number of frontage images produced and shown to the company directors and members of staff for comment and discussion. “The interior finishes were then selected to complement the external design and internal layout. The objective was to select a stylish, modern scheme to complement the quality products that the company produces and to attract today’s shoppers,” says Greenhalgh’s chief engineer John Hurst.New shops are showcasing the new branding, which incorporates several elements (see panel, above right), including a 15-20% increase in chiller space. So far, five new-look shops have launched. Three older stores have had a £70,000 “blitz”, including new tiles and flooring, according to Smart, and a further two dated stores have been refreshed.Smart says customers have been enthusiastic about the transformation. “Our first shop to be overhauled was in Bolton and people have reacted positively and with surprise to the new image,” he says. “Although recognition is not instantaneous, it still happens quickly, and I would surmise that this is because of the Greenhalgh’s name taking up a greater portion of the banner.”The contemporary image has already caught the attention of younger customers. “A promotional campaign during Oldham’s opening week helped to establish buoyant sales, which have settled slightly but nevertheless have established Greenhalgh’s in a new territory,” says Smart. “Our Newport Street shop, which is our fifth in Bolton’s town centre, is expected to fit in quickly because Bolton is a heartland territory for Greenhalgh’s. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of 12-25-year-olds in our new shops.”Meanwhile, the work goes on. Greenhalgh’s plans to overhaul at least four more shops in the first quarter of this year, and around five acquisitions are planned for 2007. As Smart says: “We have to get on with it, we have a lot to get through!”last_img read more


first_imgn Warburtons has appointed Richard Hayes, formerly of Allied Domecq, as marketing director. Category marketing controller Sarah Miskell has been promoted to category director.n The European Commission wants input from the food industry on its draft proposal on the review of the Animal By-products Regulation No 1774/2002. It has launched an online questionnaire at, where users can add their opinions on topics such as the scope of the regulation and clarifying the approvals/registrations and controls.The deadline for responses is 18 June 2007. Please copy your responses to: [email protected] A report in The Sunday Times of 6 May says the typical amount of sugar in wholemeal bread rose from 2.1g per 100g in 1978 to 2.8g per 100g in 2002. The newspaper based its findings on figures logged in annual editions of McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods between 1978 and 2002. And a loaf of Hovis wholemeal now has 3.7g sugar per 100g and Sainsbury’s wholemeal 3.5g per 100g, it reports.n Food decorating firm Squires Kitchen has launched a catalogue of ideas and equipment for food decoration, from bakeware to piping equipment to chocolate thermometers. It is called Inspired by Food and is priced at £5.95.n McDonald’s is to offer Innocent Drinks with its Happy Meals in 80 of its stores across the north of England. It will test out the smoothies for the next six months.n And finally…check out our rear view! See pg 35 for a lighthearted look at the week that was.last_img read more

Panary organises French bakery tour

first_imgBakers can pick up techniques from across the Channel on a week-long French breadmaking tour.Panary is organising the trip, from 1-8 October, offering the chance to observe four different artisan bakers at work in their bakeries, watch their dough handling techniques and their management of sourdoughs, their table skills, and how they fire masonry ovens.The trip also includes visits to flour mills, local markets, the factory that makes the masonry ovens imported by Panary, and a wood-firing pizza baker in Tain l’Hermitage. Contact: [email protected]last_img read more

Support charity in kart racing fixture

first_imgA limited number of places are left on the grid for this year’s Kart Racing Grand Prix, an annual charity event to benefit the Bakers’ Benevolent Society (BBS).Experienced and novice drivers are equally welcome, either as teams or individuals. British Baker will be sending a group of three, including features editor Andrew “black flag” Williams, to the annual event, which raised over £2,250 for the BBS last time round.Prizes up for grabs include first, second and third overall and first, second and third in class, as well as an individual drivers’ prize for the driver with the fastest lap. The event, sponsored by Rank Hovis/ Premier Foods, is on 27 September at the Daytona Raceway, Milton Keynes, from 10.30am to 4pm.To take part, contact andrea.lewis; tel: 01494 428505.last_img read more

Understanding is all

first_imgKnowledge is power was the message from Tesco’s in-store bakery category manager at the autumn British Society of Baking (BSB) conference. Neil Franklin, who probably has more of both these commodities at his fingertips than many others in the baking industry, said suppliers are not employing supermarket sales data enough.Franklin, formerly of British Bakeries, gave a frank assessment of the supply chain’s shortcomings. His message was: when it comes to understanding consumers and making future plans, many in-store bakery suppliers are off the pace.But while suppliers are already gritting their teeth over massive ingredient price hikes, sweating over how to pass those costs on to the multiples, delegates were told there is plenty of opportunity to grow their business in partnership with Tesco, as long as they question their approach to future strategy. Too often, buyers’ questions about long-term plans are being met with a mute response, he said.”It always comes back to ’what’s the plan?’ I don’t think all our suppliers could articulate that right now. There’s nothing greater for us than someone saying, ’Actually, you should be going after this area because we’ve researched it and you’d be the first to market on it’. We’ll build those plans up together in the partnership,” said Franklin.Suppliers were not taking advantage of Tesco Link – a free web-based tool that contains store-specific electronic point-of-sale information as well as stock level data. This offers data on what products are being sold, volume, values and how they compare to the key KPIs within the in-store bakery.”The worrying thing is that not all of our suppliers are using it,” he said. “As a business, we will look at our numbers daily – probably even more frequently; I’m not sure how any business can get by without actually understanding the sales through the till.”Furthermore, Tesco’s Clubcard data system, by Dunnhumby, also available to suppliers, is not being checked by them regularly enough, he said. “It gives us the insight into how our promotions are working, what level of loyalty it has, what potential there is for a product’s growth and where it’s ranked in its category. From that you can draw out the broader trends, and it’s available to all our suppliers.”Franklin urged suppliers to ditch the mindset that a product’s life story ends when it reaches the Tesco depot. “The more you understand your customer, the greater the opportunity to grow your business. If it’s getting through the depots, but not through the till, then what fundamentally is going wrong? Is there something within our systems that we need to be challenged on?” he asked. “Sharing your objectives in terms of what volumes you’re trying to gain and the value you’re hoping to deliver is perfectly achievable.”Meanwhile, Franklin gave a broad hint that scratch-baking will play a bigger role in the future of Tesco’s in-store bakeries and would not be squeezed out by bake-off. A new training regime is being implemented in Tesco’s 500 scratch-bake and 200 part-bake bakeries to address admitted failures in its bakery training programmes. Training of coaches is under way and the programme will be rolling out across the entire estate over the next year.”We didn’t feel we had the right level of capability in our training programmes,” he said. “One of the core things you’d expect of an in-store bakery training programme is how to make a loaf of bread. Rather embarrassingly, ours didn’t. So we’ve revisited the whole programme, putting in four levels from bronze to masterclass and it’s a bit of a Jedi programme. If we don’t address the fundamental issues – the capability and understanding of how to make the product – then we’re throwing away good money after bad.”Despite the rise of bake-off, Franklin would like to promote more scratch-baking of core breads. “It’s vitally important that we seek to move to more scratch solutions, but, where we can, also have the right level of bake-off operation. Customers’ quality perceptions for bakery are second only to fresh produce, so it’s an important department. Some stores may wish to do bake-off because it’s simpler, but we feel the customer prefers scratch over bake-off any day.”While premium lines have dri-ven NPD in the category, it has yet to be seen whether rising mortgage rates and food inflation will destabilise premium-bound consumer purchasing habits. Premium sectors are driving growth, but innovation should not revolve around this, he insisted.”In bakery, we have a lot of indulgent products. If the belt is tightening, what are you going to sacrifice – the £800 plasma screen TV or the £1 packet of doughnuts? We’re looking ahead and as soon as the answer pops out, we’ll adjust our trends accordingly. For me, innovation has to orientate around all our pillar brands. That’s an approach I would seek from all our suppliers. We’re a broad church and customer trends are changing.” n—-=== Conference notes ===Suppliers could do more to improve availability – only 15% of shoppers say they get everything they want from a visit to any supermarketNPD should be focused across the whole spectrum of bakery – not just premiumTesco has begun a new in-store bakery training programme to strengthen its scratch bakery offeringSuppliers need to monitor product sales data daily and have a more comprehensive depot-to-till approach, alongside long-term sales strategieslast_img read more

Wrong end of the stick

first_imgStop the Week is always ready to doff its cap when it meets like-minded crusaders on a mission to document the bizarre in bakery. Which brings us to Cake Wrecks – a blog dedicated to “When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong”.A classic example, which is surely too good to be true, is this cake (below right) fashioned to look like a USB memory stick. The story goes that the customer handed the stick over to the cake maker with a picture saved on it, to be printed on the cake. Confused staff instead made a cake that looked like the memory stick itself. Surely you can’t make this stuff up?While many of the posts pay tribute to disastrous misspellings and laughable handiwork, most are a celebration of oddness in cake-making. Monday’s post was about foot fetish cakes, featuring broken toes, fungal feet and toe-tag corpse cakes.But one of the most strange of all is an apparently cack-handed attempt at an American football cake, seemingly fashioned out of chocolate swirls.cakewrecks.blogspot.comlast_img read more

Learning goes online

first_imgFears that decades of baking expertise could be lost to the next gene-ration of bakers, because of a lack of training provision, have prompted the creation of a new online bakery school.Due to be launched at the Baking Industry Exhibition (BIE) on 6-9 April and go live in May, [] is the brainchild of Jean Grieves, a former bakery tutor and conference chairman of the British Society of Baking (BSB), and prominent craft baker Albert Waterfield of Waterfields of Leigh, Lancashire.The website will feature in excess of 50 modules, covering all aspects of baking, including bread, confectionery and raw materials, which students can work through at their own pace. They will feature three main areas: ingredients; methods; and processes/problem-solving. Each module will feature a short online assessment, and should be backed up by practical training in the bakery. The modules do not count towards official qualifications, such as NVQs.”A man might be working on the buses one week, get a job in a bakery the next, and be able to use the online modules to pick up fundamentals of the job under the guidance of his employer the next. They will help him understand the underpinning knowledge of the processes he is working on in the bakery. This is about passing on knowledge to people who haven’t had the benefit of a bakery college education,” says Albert Waterfield.The modules will naturally appeal to the craft sector, but plant bakers could also be interested, he says. “When things go wrong in a plant bakery, staff still need to understand why it went wrong and how to put it right.”== Move to online ==Originally, the modules were to be put on to discs that could be sent out to bakeries, but Jean says they quickly realised the web would be a better medium; it can be easily updated, is available 24 hours a day and can be developed to include video demonstrations and photographs. Many of the modules have already been sent out by disc to several well-known craft bakers to trial, including Birds of Derby, Wienholts and Mathiesons. The website will go live in May and is expected to cost £250 for a year’s access to all modules.Jean and Albert have been working on the project for two years, investing considerable amounts of their own time and money, in an effort to safeguard the bakery expertise in the industry for future generations. They also received around £4,000 worth of support from Association of Bakery Ingredients Manufacturers, the BSB and the north west region of the National Association of Master Bakers. The British Confectioners’ Association has also since become a major supporter of the project.While skills sector council Improve is also looking to set up a National Skills Academy for bakery – a project that will be discussed at a meeting at the BIE – Jean says there is no conflict of interest between the two schemes. “We think the Bakery School will complement Improve’s work and we would be happy to work with them later down the line,” she says. “But we felt we had to do something now to safeguard the skills and knowledge in our industry before they are lost forever. Government-led initiatives can take a long time to happen. We were both really concerned about colleges closing and what is happening with the next generation of bakers. We felt we had to act immediately.”last_img read more

In the market for… savoury muffins

first_imgby bakery consultant Wayne CaddyDelicious served warm or cold, these savoury muffins are perfect for mid-morning sales (see pgs 29-30 for more ideas on retailing savoury muffins)Edam, Bacon and Sun-dried Tomato MuffinsMakes 10 muffins (scale up to suit)IngredientsSmoked back bacon rashers 100gFlour 275gBaking powder 15ml (1tbsp)Caster sugar 5ml (1tsp)Salt 5ml (1tsp)Edam cheese, grated 125gChopped sun-dried tomatoes 75gFreshly snipped chives 30ml (2tbsp)Eggs 2Semi-skimmed milk 200mlMelted butter 75gMethod1. Grill the bacon until crispy, chop into pieces2. Stir the sugar, salt, three quarters of the cheese, bacon, sun-dried tomatoes and chives into the flour and baking powder and mix3. Add the eggs, milk and melted butter and mix to a batter. Fill muffin cases and sprinkle the tops with the reserved Edam. Bake for 20-25 mins at 190?CTop tipsl You can replace the bacon with cooked diced ham if requiredl For a completely different take on a breakfast muffin, try combining carrots, bran, mixed spice and raisinslast_img read more

Bidwells highlights gap for ’local’ bread in capital

first_imgSupplies of local and regional bread cannot keep pace with demand in London due to the lack of an effective distribution network, according to a new report, which recommends setting up a regional hub to tackle the problem.Outside caterers, gastropubs, work canteens and coffee shops ranked bread as the number one local product they most wanted to buy, but hurdles in the supply chain mean this demand is not being met, said the report from Bidwells Agribusiness, which was commissioned by the South East Food Group Partnership. In total, 53% of London’s foodservice and retail buyers would like to buy more local bread and two in three London consumers currently buy or would like to buy more local food. But there is not enough supply in the capital because producers are scared off by distribution challenges, such as the Congestion Charge, parking and heavy traffic. Buyers and producers also find it hard to connect with each other to do business, said the report.”Many of these are perceived barriers suppliers think that it is difficult to supply into the capital so look elsewhere, but there are solutions to distribution, which are available or could be introduced,” said Bidwells’ head of food marketing Richard Walters. A key recommendation of the report is to set up a regional distribution hub for local food, which would incorporate a virtual business-to-business e-marketplace to enable producers, suppliers, buyers and retailers to engage more directly. The report also recommends the development of 10 to 20 street markets as local food beacons across Greater London.”Our research shows the sheer scale of the opportunity for producers and suppliers in the south east and, by implication, across the UK,” said Walters. “Nearly all food buyers and retailers surveyed want greater links to producers, easier sourcing, less hassle, and a one-stop shop.”last_img read more