A biodegradable material that looks and performs like standard OPP film has been launched into the UK by NATIONAL FLEXIBLE (Bradford). Now being trialled by several bakery/sandwich firms, early indications show that it provides a lightweight, competitively-priced clear film for flowrapping retail products. Tests show that it breaks down to carbon dioxide, water and biomass, leaving no toxins.
I am absolutely thrilled for Martin Lightbody! The celebration cake maker who also makes bakery snacks has agreed to sell the company to Finsbury Foods for £37.5m (see pg 4). Martin led the sale of Lightbody’s 26 retail shops in 1995 to set up a wholesale company. In that time he and his team have driven turnover from zero to £50m.While one may lament that the proposed acquisition by Finsbury means the end of a 100-year-old independent family company, you also have to look at the benefits it will bring. Martin tells me he is looking forward to driving innovation in other parts of Finsbury Food, where he will shortly be the major shareholder with almost 30% of the overall shares. He is relishing the thought of his new role as strategic development director and entering the Baking Industry Awards, where his past trophies are testament to Lightbody’s success.The proposed deal also means more opportunities in cross-selling because while Lightbody has Marks & Spencer and Carrefour as customers, Finsbury has the Co-op, Tesco and Waitrose, for example. Group turnover will now shoot up to £140m a year and group staffing to 2,500.Finsbury Food, which owns several premium cake companies and two bakeries, is run by chief executive Dave Brooks, who, like Martin Lightbody has boundless enthusiasm, tempered by commercial and common sense. The chartered management accountant was appointed chief executive of Finsbury in November 2002 and has led growth of the group by acquisition. Lightbody is the best buy yet.Also this week, a new supermarket is coming to town in the shape of Whole Foods Market (pgs 6,24). I have always been struck by the fact that there have been no words to bridge the gap between organic and standard foods. All that may be about to change. The debut of Whole Foods in this country in June, with its emphasis on the word ’natural’ (no artificial additives, colours, flavours or preservatives) may mean we see a lot more ’natural’ breads and cakes.But across the whole bakery sector, the problem would be one of policing. Organic, which we focus on this week and next, means you have to have accreditation from a specific body. ’Natural’ would be nigh impossible to monitor.
Bakery companies will be showcasing the best of British at this year’s Anuga trade show in Cologne, Germany.More than 60 UK food and drink producers have so far signed up to be at the show which runs from 13-17 October 2007 at Köln Messe, Cologne. UK exhibitors include Artisan Biscuits, The Handmade Cake Company, Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association, Honeytop Specia- lity Foods, Linwoods Bakery and Walkers Shortbread.The show is divided into 11 themed halls, including bread bakery and hot beverages, drinks, chilled food, fine food and organic. Hall 9 is also dedicated to technology and services to the retail trade.A Food from Britain Pavilion will be situated in Hall 11.2, stand number E-008A.Anuga takes place once every two years and is targeted at manufacturers, importers and whole-salers of food and drinks. Last time round, it attracted 158,817 visitors from 108 countries.
approachCourvoisier: ’The Brandy of Napoleon’, it says on the bottle. Perhaps it should add underneath: ’And Helen Colley’s Bread and Butter Pudding’.But there’s not really room for her Farmhouse Fare logo beneath the distinctive black outline of France’s favourite emperor. And besides, I’m not really sure that our most British of puddings would be as popular if it were associated with the French emperor.But it’s certainly true that the Courvoisier brand, with its distinctive taste, turns a standard mince pie into a luxury version, attracting a premium price; it’s more than flavour that provides the sales opportunity, it’s also the brand.Just look at recent research, where children fed exactly the same chips in plain bags, plus one branded bag, thought the ’branded’ chips tasted much better! The same applies for craft bakers and supermarkets. Consumers pay much more for branded products and a name such as Courvoisier conjures up quality.Cognac visitRecently I set off with Victor Griffiths, from alcohol suppler Thomas Lowndes, based in Horsham, Sussex, and four bakery specialists, to the Cognac area of France to learn about the famous brand.On the trip was Helen Colley, managing director of Farmhouse Fare, Clitheroe, Lancashire, which she established just six years ago. It makes around 24 puddings under the brand name and over 30 own-label lines for the major multiples. “We carry out a lot of NPD including products with liqueurs. All puddings take alcohol very easily,” she says.”We made the Bread and Butter Pudding with Courvoisier earlier this year. Brandy-based products do well at Christmas; and so do other puddings in our range, such as Whisky and Marmalade.”For summer this year, we produced two summer fruit puddings – one containing Champagne, the other cassis. On this trip, I have learned a lot more about Courvoisier and the different strengths and flavours; some have a sharp, zingy flavour, others are more smooth and mellow. It has opened my eyes to new opportunities.”Colley started making desserts in her own kitchen and now employs 120 people. She added to her success by winning Bakery Supplier of the Year, sponsored by Sainsbury’s, two years ago at the Baking Industry Awards.”As a company I believe we must be really aware of everything that goes into our products and understand the ingredients we work with,” she says. “Another opportunity we are looking at is soaking fruit in alcohol. We are totally about quality not compromise; Courvoisier’s heritage and values mirror what we do.”The brand storySarah Russell, development controller of Park Cake Bakeries (Vision Capital), supplies cakes and desserts to Marks & Spencer and all major retailers. She says: “We use alcohols such as Courvoisier, Grand Marnier and others. This trip has helped me understand how we might use both the brand and the story. It raises the issue of whether we should be challenging ourselves to use more information about provenance and history. Courvoisier is a good story.”She continues: “I’ve picked up some good ideas about applications: balancing and matching different flavours and texture in desserts.”Russell sometimes invites Victor Griffiths and Sharon Riddick of Thomas Lowndes to assist with development. Both are highly trained chefs with particular experience of cakes and desserts.She says: “At the moment, we add Courvoisier to mince pies and celebration products. We are highly innovative and have a team of chefs dedicated to bringing newness to the marketplace.”serious about puddingsCharlotte Marriott is development chef in the 50-strong desserts section at Serious Food Co, Llantrisant, near Cardiff. Customers include Selfridges, Waitrose and Whole Foods Market, among others. “We are very innovative and do things a little differently,” says Marriott.At the moment her range of desserts includes: crème brûlée, served in three compartments comprising vanilla, raspberry and cinnamon; and a hot chocolate fondant, sold in a ceramic espresso cup, with a baked chocolate fudge layer, topped with Belgian chocolate sauce.Marriott likes to use ingredients that are as fresh and natural as possible. She says: “I am looking at adding Courvoisier to make a more indulgent and luxury version of this crème brûlée for Christmas. Next year, we are looking at using alcohols more in other luxury brands in our range.”Year-round opportunityThe association of cognac and Christmas is long-established, so are there really opportunities all year round?Simon Turrell, NPD manager of specialist Christmas pudding maker Matthew Walker, certainly thinks so. He learned bakery and confectionery under renowned tutor Jean Grieves and, last September, he joined Matthew Walker, “the oldest Christmas pudding maker in the world”, which is part of Northern Foods”Matthew Walker makes very traditional steamed puddings all year round,” he says, pointing to a revival in traditional products.”We currently have over 250 different recipes and the puddings range from Matthew Walker’s own-brand to retailers’ own-label. We make a complete range of puddings using traditional ingredients ranging from basic puddings to a Supreme version, nut-free and even gluten-free. Courvoisier is currently an ingredient in the Marks &Spencer Christmas pudding.”We use quality ingredients in our Christmas puddings,” adds Turrell. “I am very interested in learning as much as possible about them and visiting Courvoisier has been hugely beneficial. Cognac is a very traditional ingredient in Christmas puddings and I am looking forward to seeing how I can use my learning here to further develop our range.”The Thomas Lowndes connectionThis must be music to the ears of Victor Griffiths, national account manager of Courvoisier culinary liquor supplier Thomas Lowndes, based in Horsham, SussexGriffiths trained and practised as a chef in France, Germany and the UK. Next he moved into management, where one of his responsibilities was compiling menus. Then he gained sales experience at PepsiCo before moving to Thomas Lowndes.Griffiths works with NPD managers and company directors. “We are more than a supplier, we are a support package. We say come and see the raw ingredients, learn about their character, discover what they add to your range and let us suggest new recipes and work with you to achieve what you want. The knowledge will help you enhance development in your own bakery kitchens and will help you talk to your customers about the quality of ingredients and a product’s taste and appeal.”And he stresses: “As Courvoisier is a naturally grown and aged product, it fits the bill on clean label specification.”Thomas Lowndes supplies Courvoisier as high-strength, culinary liquor, 60% alcohol by volume, delivered in plastic. Personally, I prefer it delivered straight into the glass after dinner! But in France I discovered it makes a delightful aperitif too. Courvoisier and tonic? Sounds unusual, tastes delicious! nl Look out for special recipes containing Courvoisier in an upcoming issueof British Baker.
Hovis Best of Both is beefing up its nutritional claims by telling shoppers that two slices contain as much calcium as a glass of milk.On-pack flashes alert consumers to the newly substantiated claim, which will be supported by radio and print advertising. Hovis hopes that parents will be encouraged to buy the product as a way of ensuring children get their recommended daily amount of calcium.Hovis marketing director Jon Goldstone said: “We’re really pleased to announce our new calcium claim and communicate this on pack. We know that Best of Both is already the parent’s secret weapon to smuggle goodness into kids, and now the calcium adds to the goodness they are getting.”Best of Both is the leading half-and-half bread brand with a 64% market share (IRI grocery outlets TYD data to 24 January 2009), and Hovis hopes the latest claim will drive further market growth and incremental sales. No other Hovis products make this new claim.
I got a phone call this morning, congra-tulating me on being shortlisted for the Young Male of the Year at the Scottish Achievements Awards 2009 and asking me to prepare a speech, should I be the winner on Thursday, 25 June.I am, of course, very pleased, excited and honoured to have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award and as I think about all the things I want to say in that speech and all the people I want to thank, one question constantly comes to mind: Why is it that I do what I do?I think many of us who run our own businesses sometimes ponder over the same thought and I suppose we don’t all share the same answers. Some do it for the buzz, some for the money, and some for the freedom. I share all of the above, but most importantly of all, I love doing what I’m doing and I will continue to do it at the pace I’m doing it, if not faster, until I stop enjoying what I’m doing. At that point it will be time to stop and move on.This brings me to the next question, which is the exit strategy. Do we all have one in place? Do we all know what route we will take when thinking of either retiring, moving on or simply selling our business? A recent survey in the Financial Times showed that the vast majority of entrepreneurs (74%) in the UK were risking long-term business success by not giving proper thought to their exit strategies.If we actually think about it, an entrepreneur’s first objective tends to be to create a business upon which to build value. We often only consider selling that business when first approached by a potential buyer. This can leave us unprepared and at a disadvantage. Having a clear exit strategy in place from the outset may sound counter-intuitive but is, in fact, essential.It is vital to plan for the future, growing the value and attractiveness of the business by implementing a clear development strategy from the beginning, including putting in place a strong management team to lead the business following the eventual departure of the entrepreneur.Unfortunately, many do not have such plans and processes in place and that lack of planning can result in difficulty agreeing a price, with owners reluctant to give potential investors access to vital financial information. This ultimately results in not achieving the best value for the business.My view is that we should all sit down and reflect on what we have done so far, what we’re currently doing, and where we want to be in five years. If this means not being in the same business, it’s vital to start thinking about a strategy.Here are two questions for you: what do you want to achieve or avoid? The answer you give to this question provides your objectives. How will you go about achieving your desired results? The answer to this question you can call strategy.
Finsbury Food’s Cake division has returned to growth following declining revenues last year. It has seen “organic growth” of 2.5% year-on-year, reported the firm in its latest trading update for the first 17 weeks of the year to 30 June 2011.At the cake, bread and gluten-free bakery manufacturer’s annual general meeting on 30 November, it said the growth within Cake was particularly significant in light of the increased promotional activity it had invested in, as the wider cake market remained flat.Its Bread and Free-From division has grown 12.3% yoy, driven by the introduction of new gluten-free bread ranges, while group revenue has increased year-on-year, with like-for-like sales for the 17-week period up 4.9% on the comparable period last year.The firm added that recent cost-saving initiatives have enabled Finsbury to take advantage of growth opportunities.>>Sales fall at Finsbury as premium cakes struggle
Edinburgh-based ingredients supplier Fleming Howden is offering Scottish bakers the chance to save money on a range of products used for cupcake baking.As part of the run-up to National Cupcake Week (12-18 September), the firm, part of Premier Foods, is offering a package deal of a bag of Crème Cake Mix 12.5kg, a tub of Light & Fluffy Vanilla Fondant Icing 8kg and a sleeve of brightly coloured, polka dot cupcake cases for £43.Stocks are limited, according to Fleming Howden, so call 0131 333 6666, or visit www.fleminghowden.co.uk.
CoronavirusIndianaLocalNews As anticipated RV shipments took a big hit in April Twitter Twitter Previous articleThree arrests in two separate incidents for LaPorte County Sheriff bookends holiday weekendNext articleMore than 100,000 Americans have now died of COVID-19 Carl Stutsman Google+ Pinterest Pinterest WhatsApp Facebook FILE – In this Dec. 2, 2014 file photo, Craig Steinmetz checks out new recreational vehicles at United RV Center store in Haltom City, Texas. Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for January on Tuesday, March 10, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero, FIle) The new isn’t unexpected, but still not great to hear as RV Shipments were down again in April. In fact, it was huge dip from 2019 of about 82%. By the numbers less than 7,200 units were shipped this past month compared to more than 40,000 in April of last year.If there is any good news it’s that RV manufacturing has since largely resumed and rental companies are reporting a significant increase in interest. The Elkhart Truth says that one company, El Monte RV, in California reported a 400% spike in individuals that wanted to rent an RV during the pandemic.It’s also expected that demand will increase again with the reopening of parks and campgrounds in some states.You can read more here with The Elkhart Truth By Carl Stutsman – May 27, 2020 1 379 Google+ WhatsApp Facebook
(Photo supplied/Cass County Sheriff’s Office) A Niles woman was injured in a crash in Milton Township.Cass County Sheriff’s deputies were called around 2:20 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, to Bertrand Street and Ironwood Road, Milton Township, Cass County Michigan. A vehicle driven by a 55-year-old of Elkhart man was traveling eastbound on Bertrand Street and disregarded a stop sign at the intersection of Bertrand and Ironwood Road. The second driver, a 57-year-old woman from Niles, was proceeding through the intersection after stopping. The man did not see the stop sign and struck the side of the woman’s vehicle, according to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.The woman was transported by EMS to South Bend Memorial Hospital for her injuries. Seat belts were worn. Factors into the crash are still being determined. Google+ Niles woman, 57, injured in crash in Milton Township By Jon Zimney – June 13, 2020 0 374 Pinterest WhatsApp Google+ Twitter Facebook Facebook Twitter Pinterest WhatsApp Previous articleCar jacking pursuit ends with trooper shot, suspect dead, search for second suspectNext articleConstantine woman, 39, injured in crash in Porter Township Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. IndianaLocalMichiganNews