I’m on a full-time NVQ Level 2 in bakery course at Brooklands College, in Weybridge, Surrey. We make all sorts of products, such as white loaves, brown loaves, puff pastry, lemon cake, doughnuts, ginger cake, scones – anything really. My favourite is bread, because I find it easy and more fun to make. You don’t have to think too hard when you’re doing it and you tend to make a lot more bread than other products.When I finish this year, I could go straight into work, but I’m thinking of doing a Level 3 NVQ, because I enjoy the course so much and because I have fun with my friends. I also have the option of taking an additional sugarcraft course, which involves icing and decorating cakes.In the future, I hope to become an experienced baker and, one day, I may open my own shop.There’s nothing else I’d rather do than be a baker. Baking bread would be perfect – but I’d have to get up very early in the mornings and work long days.Early startsThe hardest part of college is getting up at 7.30am. We have to be in the bakery by 9.15am and we don’t finish baking until around 12.30pm. I don’t really find any of the products hard to make; if we get stuck at any point, there are a lot of people around to advise us and we all help each other out. I really enjoy making bakery products and love being around other people who enjoy the same thing. The lessons are not too strict, so we can have fun, both with each other and with the tutors. Our tutors – Jane Hatton and Sue Haskell – are really good. They are also very helpful and friendly.We do practical work everyday, followed by a session of written work in which we fill in our folders, explaining what we have done and answering questionnaires, which test what we have learned. This is very useful and helps us to gain an NVQ at the end of the course.original ambitionOriginally, I wanted to be a chef and did a course in which I had one lesson of bakery. I really enjoyed it, so I decided to change to bakery, as I found it much more interesting. There always seemed to be a new challenge. I have always wanted to be in the food industry because I saw my mum cooking and wished I could do it myself.Now, some-times, I show her how to bake things. I like cookery programmes and alwaystry to make sure that I see Gordon Ramsay’s shows. I think that anyone who wants to get into bakery should work hard and try their hardest, but have fun while they are doing it.I have already recommended the baking industry to a couple of my friends. n
Northern Foods has said that revenue from its bakery division declined by 2.6% in the fourth quarter and 4.6% in the year to date.The trading update, for the 13 weeks ending 31 March 2007, revealed that its market share of the biscuits business continues to be ’relatively stable’.Northern Foods’ bakery division comprises biscuits and puddings, while pizzas and frozen products are part of its frozen division. Sandwiches and salads are part of its chilled division. It also makes ready meals. Underlying revenue in the frozen division grew by 2.4% in the fourth quarter and by 2.6% in the year to date.Full year results, for the 52 weeks ending 31 March 2007, will be announced on 30 May.
n 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 http://tinyurl.com/3aznt9, 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.
A significant price rise on flour is being tipped as “inevitable” as rising wheat prices on the world market hit the baking industry.The rise could be £40 per tonne on breadmaking wheat, industry sources suggest, which could lead to bread price increases of up to 10p per 800g loaf.National Association of British and Irish Millers’ director general Alex Waugh explained that the forward price for wheat in November 2008 was currently £142 per tonne delivered to the north west (Manchester/Liverpool).When the milling industry last put through a price increase of £29 per tonne in early September 2006, November wheat was trading at £108 per tonne – so cost prices are up £34/tonne since then. Waugh said: “It is inevitable that there will be a price rise on wheat.”Miller Rank Hovis’ sales and marketing director Jon Tanner said a price increase before the harvest couldn’t be ruled out. “Prices have risen relentlessly since last September and it is unlikely that millers will be able to absorb these costs for much longer. If the wheat market maintains its strength, then a flour cost price rise is inevitable.”ADM Milling said it was monitoring the situation on a daily basis, but it was too early to comment on possible price rises.Meanwhile, French millers this week announced they would be putting up prices by 54 euros (around £38) a tonne as of 1 July.Waugh said world wheat and other grain prices were under pressure for a variety of reasons, particularly rapid increase in demand for biofuels and low world stocks. “There is no real indication on the UK harvest yet; we are expecting quite reasonable quantities. The problem is that wheat prices are up around the world and markets are very volatile,” he said. “There have also been scares – crops from Eastern Europe have been 10 million tonnes less than expected and the US has been hit by bad weather for the second year in a row.”ADM Milling wheat and flour manager Lewis Wright added that the weather was “conspiring against us in all areas”, with world stocks at a 30-year low. Heavy rains in the past week had damaged crops in parts of the UK.Meanwhile, plant bakers are also awaiting developments, according to Federation of Bakers director Gordon Polson.Warburtons’ purchasing director Bob Beard said Warburtons was watching the markets “with alarm”. Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme this week, Beard said figures over the past few days suggested “potential for a cost price increase of between 6p and 10p per loaf”. The trade was also being hit by price increases on wheat, milk and molasses, which are used to make yeast, he added.John Tjaardstra, assistant executive director of the International Grains Council, said interest in ethanol was a major factor in market volatility, and consumption was slightly ahead of production for the third year running.
With two months to go until the big event, it’s time to reveal the theme of this year’s Baking Industry Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel…James Bond!There’s a distinctly Bond-like slant to this year’s entertainments. Race Aston Martins around a Scalextric Racing track, sponsored by Sonneveld, for the chance to win a real one for the weekend. There will be a balloon for every guest, sponsored by Kluman & Balter, with five surprise packages of hi-tech gadgetry. And the bread rolls will be provided by The Cotswold Food Partnership, which is offering a prize of Champagne, canapés and a balloon ride over The Cotswolds.As well as a Warburtons-sponsored drinks reception, guests can take part in the ’funny money’ casino, sponsored by Cereform, which is offering a trip to Monaco for the winners. Barry Callebaut will provide the chocolates and chocolate fountain.The awards will be hosted by Joanna Lumley, who played a supporting role in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service! Book now for a top-class evening.
The quality and yield for the rest of the UK wheat harvest now depends on the weather during the next two to three weeks, says the Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA).The improved weather since the July downpours has meant that 13% of the UK’s harvest is now complete, although it is still too early to tell its quality, said Mike Mendelsohn, an economist at the HGCA. This includes areas in the North West, East Anglia and Essex.British Baker reported that in July bread making wheat prices had hit £174 per tonne. Mendelsohn said that prices had gone up again since then and a bread making wheat delivery to Liverpool last week reached £182 per tonne.”Prices are still going up due to growing concerns and uncertainty. International activity is also taking its toll, as heavy rain in France and Germany has aggravated prices in the UK,” he added.
== Polish opportunity ==According to the British Polish Chamber of Commerce (BPCC), Poland imports food and drink worth around £5.3bn, but only 2% comes from the UK (around £93m). Opportunities for Britain to export to Poland will be discussed at the British Polish Agrifood Forum, held by the BPCC, in Warsaw on 13 November. More details are at [http://www.bpcc.org.pl/agrifood].== Eastern promise ==The Middle East and South Africa have been ranked by market watchers as second globally, in terms of volume and value of bakery sales last year. Several economic and social factors, such as high incomes, growth in population and increasing availability of international products, have been cited as possible reasons.== Melamine worry ==A Taiwanese Department of Health official has said more than 200 tonnes of a melamine-tainted leavening agent, for use in bakery products and imported from China, had been sold in the domestic market. A total of 469 tonnes of ammonium bicarbonate, found to contain melamine, is reported to have been imported from two Chinese companies, around 200 tonnes of which has been sold to local distributors.== Slovenian harvest ==This year’s harvest in Slovenia has yielded 160,000 tonnes of wheat and spelt, according to The Statistics Office. This is a 20% rise on the previous year, although crops other than wheat and spelt increased by just 10%.== Panera success ==The US Panera Bread company, based in Missouri, has shown a 23% rise in total revenue for the 39 weeks ended 23 September 2008, and a 22% rise in operating profit for the same period.
Warrens has seen orders for its Christmas puddings rocket, as the value of the pound against the euro has dropped further still. The Cornish firm which only exported around 500-600 Christmas puddings in 2008 has seen this figure leap to an estimated 4,000-5,000 for 2009.Its seasonal export of puddings includes an order for more than 2,000 from a Dutch company Taartje met een Hartje that Warrens made contact with at the recent Iba show in November, resulting in a deal worth £6,000.Product development manager Jason Jobling said the increasingly weak pound is a key factor in the recent rise in orders from abroad. Warrens exports its puddings to several countries, including Australia and America. Jobling said that orders often come from areas that house large numbers of ex-pats. He explained that a lot of UK miners emigrated to countries such as Australia and South Africa, when the tin mines closed in Cornwall. As well as Christmas puddings, Warrens exports its pasties to Ireland and Battenburg cake to America.Simon Waring, MD of export consultancy group Green Seed, explained that bakery export figures are very healthy overall. “In the last six months, figures have been the most positive we’ve ever seen,” he said. In October this year, the Food and Drink Federation announced that exports of sweet biscuits were up 12.4% to £95.2m in the first six months of 2009. “Generally the environment is very positive and a lot of that has been fuelled by currency rates, but also, UK businesses are seeking more international customers,” said Waring. “Bakery has always been an area that has under-exploited its strength internationally, so there are still big opportunities for biscuits and cakes, for example.”
The latest figures on plant bread sales suggest that branded bread is continuing to grow at the expense of private-label.The data, from Kantar Worldpanel (formerly know as TNS Worldpanel), has shown that the total value of branded plant bread increased by 5.9% year-on-year (YOY) for the 52 w/e 29 November 2009. Private-label, on the other hand, fell by 6% in the same period.The increase in branded sales has mainly been seen in white bread, up 7.5%, with branded brown plant bread up only 0.9%. In terms of volume, the same pattern can be seen, with slightly lower branded growth, and higher private-label volume decline. The figures echo Hovis’ most recent trading figures. Hovis marketing director Jon Goldstone told British Baker he believes the continuing trend is down to a combination of three factors, one of which is value. “The price of private-label loaves has gone up slightly over the past year, whereas the brands have slightly come down, so the gap between them has closed,” he said. “Another reason is quality. I think the brands have all invested in quality – we certainly have done so significantly at Hovis. And the third factor is brand investment in communications. When you put those three things together, it could explain why brands are growing at the expense of private-label.” Joe Street, managing director of Fine Lady Bakeries, which supplies private-label bread and rolls to some of the leading supermarket chains, said he believed the fall in private-label sales was due to “all the promotional activities on branded loaves”. He said that, within Fine Lady, the basic own-label products had not been doing so well, whereas the more premium breads, such as seeded loaves, had held up. “I think there will always be a market for both branded and private-label,” added Federation of Bakers director Gordon Polson, who said it was likely there would continue to be a trend towards the premium end of both sectors.
Don’t forget to register for free for Bakers’ Fair Spring.Taking place on Sunday 10 April, at Newbury Racecourse, the show will feature exhibitors from machinery to ingredients and finished goods.Professional bakers will be battling it out in The National Association of Master Bakers’ Bakery Compe-titions, with celebrity Linda Lusardi awarding the prizes.The Stage will play host to a series of talks and demonstrations, including a ‘Taste and texture’ talk from Baking Industry Awards Confectioner of the Year Mark Legg, of Dunns (Crouch End).Sara Reid, marketing manager, Rank Hovis will speak on ‘How to add sales and value to craft bakery businesses’, while BIA Celebration Cake Maker of the Year Amelia Nutting, will give a sugarcraft masterclass.Register online at www.bakersfair.co.uk