“Consumers are starting to follow the principles of low-glycaemic index (GI) eating, cutting high-GI food intake in favour of low-GI foods that raise blood glucose more slowly to maintain constant energy levels,” says BakeMark UK’s (Wirral, Merseyside) trade marketing manager David Astles. “The message that carbohydrates are good for you is finally hitting home.”In response, BakeMark UK is putting its bread mixes to the test. Independent trials conducted at Oxford Brookes University in December 2005 on its Arkady Combicorn multigrain bread base mix returned a low-GI rating of 49. BakeMark UK’s head of bakery supplies Derek Kemp says: “Bakers looking for innovative ways to create new and healthy products should not be afraid to experiment by using products in new ways. “For example, our Holstein mix, a combination of eight different seeds and grains, is traditionally used as a topping. But customers have found that it also lends a good flavour, rich seeded texture and healthy high-fibre proposition to bread when added to the dough.”
Bakers could be set for further yeast price increases in the coming months as reform of the EU Sugar Regime impacts on yeast manufacturers. Grumbling from the yeast industry over the price of molasses (a thick syrup produced from refining sugar and used in the production of yeast), which has almost doubled over the past 18 months, could soon lead to further yeast price hikes for craft and industrial bakers in the second half of this year. Bakers have already seen yeast price rises of between 50-60%, with demand for molasses outstripping supply in the first half of 2005 (British Baker, June 24, pg 6). Molasses is the key feedstock for growing yeast and accounts for some 50% of production costs. Supplies will get tighter still as an estimated one million tonnes of molasses is taken off the EU market. This is part of an expected six million tonne reduction in EU sugar availability, arising from the recent agreement to reform the EU Sugar Regime.The full extent of price changes will depend on individual customer-supplier relationships, but price rises are inevitable, says Marie Parnell, group product manager at Gb Ingredients (formerly DSM). Suppliers fight back“Cost pressures on yeast are already leading to price increases in the craft, industrial and in-store market segments,” she warns. “The pressure on costs is likely to continue and may lead to further price increases in the second half of 2006.”The UK Association of Manufacturers of Bakers’ Yeast (UKAMBY) represents suppliers such as AB Mauri, DCL, Gb Ingredients and Kerry Bio-Science. It has lobbied the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to limit the knock-on effects of Sugar Regime reforms on the costs of yeast. Meanwhile, it says it is actively seeking alternatives to molasses, such as glucose syrups, but these will only be available at a significantly higher price level.“Once relatively plentiful, molasses is rapidly becoming a scarce commodity,” says Bob Price, chief economist of the Food and Drink Federation. “Molasses is not necessarily the best sugar source – pure sugar syrups would be ideal – but the cost of these syrups would be excessive.”He adds that large-scale conversion of sugar into yeast biomass and the highly energy-intensive manufacturing process is also proving costly as energy prices continue to soar. “No one can have failed to experience the sustained cost pressure driven by the high price of oil,” says Price. “But the impact on companies varies according to their level of dependence. In the case of yeast, direct and indirect energy costs account for 30% of the cost of producing the ingredient. “So (including molasses price rises) some 80% of the cost of producing yeast has seen significant pressures – ones that are unlikely to go away. These increased costs will inevitably need to be recovered, if the UK yeast industry is to remain viable and sustainable.”The UK yeast industry needs to use some 100,000 tonnes of molasses a year. Only a third of that is available from domestic sources, from sugar beet processing. Significant quantities of molasses have to be imported and the principle sources of supply have traditionally been Eastern Europe, India, Pakistan and the Far East. But exports have been drying up as these countries utilise their own molasses stocks to meet the emerging market for alternative fuels.Bio-fuel demand“Demand for molasses in China has dramatically increased, as it has in Pakistan, where they produce bio-fuel from it,” explains Patrick Smyth, MD of Dublin-based Yeast Products. This, alongside Sugar Regime reforms puts a question mark over the future availability of molasses. “Everybody is waiting to see what that will mean down the road in terms of pricing.” The growing focus on bio-ethanol production and backing from governments across Europe will turn the screw on the availability of molasses. In light of this, the UKAMBY has urged the government to retain the facility for non-quota sugar (EU sugar produced outside the quota restraints of the Sugar Regime) to be made available to the yeast industry for fermentation.Under the reforms, any quota surplus has to be disposed of outside the EU at the producer’s own cost, and without the aid of the usual export subsidies. But some of this non-quota sugar should be made available for use within the EU for restricted purposes such as yeast fermentation, says Bob Price. “This will become critical to the future of yeast manufacture.”Britons tempted by ‘tangy’ sourdoughsThe fashion for sourdoughs has seen these ‘tangy’ breads embraced by food writers, bakeries, delis and, increasingly, restaurants. Creating a sourdough ‘starter’ – which involves developing your own yeast culture rather than adding yeast to the mix – entails mixing flour, water, and other ingredients that have been colonised by wild airborne bacteria. A sourdough starter contains a strain of yeast that is tolerant of the lactic and acetic acids produced by the lactobacilli, giving the bread its unique tang.The issue of bread flavour is a very personal one and the role of yeast and other micro-organisms in developing that flavour raises passionate debate, says bakery expert Stan Cauvain of consultants BakeTran. Using a particular yeast strain for a sourdough or ‘mother dough’ will help create a distinctive bread flavour to differentiate one baker’s loaf from another.For bakers considering developing their own starter, the best tip for a successful sourdough, he advises, is to reduce the risk of microbial contamination from other sources as much as possible.“The conditions in a mother dough need to be controlled to ensure the continued reproduction of yeast cells,” says Mr Cauvain. “If the dough becomes contaminated with other micro-organisms – yeasts, moulds and bacteria – and the storage conditions favour those micro-organisms rather than the yeast (all micro-organisms have their own favoured food and growth conditions controlled by temperature and pH), then development of ‘off flavours’ and loss of performance can become a real problem.”If bakers do choose to use such techniques, he says it is worth noting first that the characteristic sour flavour may not be to everybody’s taste. “Not all consumers want the acidic bite that often comes with sourdoughs,” cautions Mr Cauvain. “It is worth remembering that bread flavour comes from other ingredients and the baking process, especially the crust.” The advantage of modern commercial yeast is that the risks of contamination, and therefore the loss of the performance of the dough through baking, is considerably minimised, he adds.
The average person ate 0.8% more bread at home in 2005-06 than the previous year, according to Defra’s Family Food 2005-06 survey, released last week.The annual report on food and drink purchases in the UK says that the average person bought 701g of bread per week to eat at home, bucking what had been a downward trend. Spending was also up 4.4%, to 97p per person per week.In 2005-06, compared with 2004-05, UK purchased quantities of wholemeal bread rose by 21%, while white bread fell by 4.9%. Brown bread purchases declined by 8.8%, while purchased quantities of wholemeal bread rose by 21% to 145g per person per week.Household purchases of confectionery were down by 6% to 123g per person, or 78p, a 7.7% decline from 84p year-on-year. Eating outside sandwich consumption declined by 1.8% to 80g a week.The Defra report, based on the Expenditure and Food Survey shows total expenditure on all food and drink rose by 1.7% in the year.
US-based bakery brand Dunkin’ Donuts said that it has developed a new oil in order to create donuts free from trans fats.The donuts have been served in approximately 400 restaurants throughout the US, as part of a nationwide blind test over a period of four months, said Dunkin’ Donuts in a statement.The Massachusetts-based company developed the trans- free oil, which can be used as an alternative cooking oil, with the criteria that it works without sacrificing the quality, flavour and taste.According to the US Food and Drug Administration definition, “zero trans fat” means an oil that contains less than 0.5g of trans fat per serving.Dunkin’ Donuts tested more than 28 alternative oils and blends and conducted 80 independent tests to find a suitable alternative.”We are proud to be the first major quick-service outlet to introduce a donut that has zero grams trans fat,” said Joe Scafido, chief creative and innovation officer at Dunkin’ Brands.”We applaud the Dunkin’ Brands research and development and supply chain teams, who have worked behind the scenes for nearly four years to move towards an entirely zero grams trans fat menu.”Dunkin’ Donuts has more than 13,000 franchises in 50 countries worldwide. It said that, by mid-October, all of its bakery products would be trans fat-free, including croissants, muffins, bagels and other bakery products.The announcement comes as bakery producers are under mounting pressure to help tackle obesity.
Walkers is aiming to boost the profile of its SunBites brand with a new flavour and on-pack promotion in the New Year.The Sun Ripened Sweet Chilli flavour has been picked in response to consumer trials and will be available in standard 28g packs. Launched in September 2007, the brand is now worth over £17m.Walkers is launching a ’Little Rays of Sunshine’ on-pack promotion, to be run across all packs including Sun Ripened Sweet Chilli. It offers consumers a one in five chance of winning one of a range of prizes, from manicures to weekends in Tuscany.Kirk Tanner, Walkers VP Impulse UK & Ireland, said: “Crisps, snacks and nuts are critical to the impulse trade and, as part of our continued commitment to supporting impulse retailers and growing the category, we have developed this exciting activity on one of our leading better-for-you brands.”A new 18-count single-serve SRP (shelf-ready packaging) case of the leading flavour, Sour Cream and Cracked Black Pepper has also been developed for impulse retailers.[http://www.sunbites.co.uk]
Finsbury Foods’ subsidiary, Nicholas & Harris, has acquired the entire issued share capital of Goswell Enterprises for £2.2 million in cash. Goswell supplies branded licensed speciality breads, such as Vogel and Cranks, to a number of major supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. Sales for the year to October 2008 stood at £5.4m and pro forma EBIT for the comparable period was £0.4m.An initial payment of £0.5m has been paid, with the remaining £1.7m to be paid in instalments over the next four years.Finsbury chief executive Martin Lightbody said the acquisition would enable the firm to expand its speciality bread offering.“Although the current economic climate remains challenging, we are committed to making appropriate investment in our business and are delighted to be able to take advantage of opportunities such as this one,” said Lightbody.Colin Lyons, MD of Goswell, commented: “We are pleased that Nicholas & Harris is taking over control of the Vogel’s, Cranks, Doves Farm and Caribbean Cuisine brands and we are certain that these brands will grow in strength under their stewardship.”Nicholas & Harris produces premium, organic and speciality breads.
== Online trade show ==The US baking industry’s first online trade show, eBakery-Show International 2009, will run from 16 September to 14 November 2009. The free show will serve as a launchpad for new products and ideas. On its opening day, six web seminars will be available on its website, covering topics such as future trends, marketing ideas and cake decorating tips. Details at: www.ebakeryshowinfo.com.== Tracing the Venns ==Do you remember Alexander Venn, a master baker who lived and worked in Combe Martin, North Devon, from the 1920s onwards or his two sons, Francis Gerald Venn and Charles Alexander Gordon Venn, also master bakers? If so, Alexander’s grandson Barry Venn, who is tracing his family tree, would like to hear from you. Email [email protected] or call 01342 311 794.== Crantock’s bonanza ==Crantock Bakery has announced it has been doing a roaring trade on Cornish pasties during the recession, with sales up 30% on last year. With turnover currently at £15m, chairman and managing director Nick Ringer said the company has had its best year.== Square Pie architect ==Cada Design worked as the architect on Square Pie’s new store in Spitalfields, not as a shopfitter, as incorrectly described in our article A Bridge Too Far, published on 3 July.== Cost reduction guide ==MCP Consulting and Training, currently maintenance and engineering sector champion for the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacturing, has launched a new guide to reducing operational costs. For details contact Sarah James on 0121 506 9034 or email [email protected]
Greg WoodheadBakehouseContinental pastries, savouries and bread producer Bakehouse has appointed Greg Woodhead as NPD project manager, effective this month. Woodhead has moved across from his role as food technologist in the firm’s technical team and will continue to be responsible for technical research, developing the company’s nutritional policy and identifying areas for product improvement in addition to his new NPD projects.Lauren HakesDawn FoodsSweet bakery and ingredients firm Dawn Foods has appointed Lauren Hakes as a new quality manager to work across two sites in Europe.Her role will include overseeing all aspects of quality management at the company’s Evesham site in the UK and the Steenbergen site in the Netherlands. Hakes joins Dawn Foods from Wellpak UK and previously worked as technical director at Organic Food Farms.Robert WhittlePidyBelgian pastry specialist Pidy has appointed Robert Whittle as UK general manager for the firm. His brief is to double the company’s growth in the UK over a two-year period, via research and development and introducing several new products to the market. Whittle joins the firm following the sale of his own business, Foodafayre, which he formed in 1996 to sell filo pastry cups, tortilla baskets and associated products.Tony Nagra, Neil WoodsIreksTony Nagra has been appointed national sales manager for the UK at improvers, mixes and brewing malt supplier Ireks, as of June. He will hold responsibility for all operational business within the UK market.Following a steep climb in sales and subsequent administration in the market, said the company, Neil Woods has moved to the role of administration manager for the UK, dealing with orders, quality certificates and other administrative duties.
Schweppes is to launch a new 500ml lemonade pack in March, which will be the first time the brand has been available in a handy takeaway format.The new pack will be launched in multiples and high-street retailers across the UK and will be supported by a national ’Try Me Free’ promotion across 10 million packs of Schweppes’ two-litre bottles of lemonade.Schweppes’ lemonade variant will also be available as a ’mixer’ later this year, in a one-litre format.www.coca-cola.co.uk
Thomas the Baker is launching a range of authentic Italian breads The Rustica using Italian flour imported from Rome.Rustica Classico combines fine Italian flour, extra virgin olive oil and malt flour; Rustica Formaggio uses Italian flour and fresh grated cheese; and Rustica Pomodoro is a blend of Italian flour and sun-dried tomatoes marinated in white wine vinegar, with oregano, capers and basil.The Helmsley-based company, which has a chain of 30 shops in Yorkshire, is also selling a range of Rustica loaves for home-baking, which are heated in the oven for just under six minutes.