NVQ and SVQ qualifications for the food and drink industry are being replaced by an umbrella title: N/SVQ Food Manufacture.The change follows a two-year consultation period by Improve, the food & drink sector skills council, and will become effective in the spring of 2007. At Levels 2 and 3, the qualification can be extended to recognise achievement in a sub-sector, such as bakery.Improve said the qualification will benefit employers because it works with all sectors of the food and drink industry, giving individuals an industry-wide qualification but enabling specialisation.
Zimbabwe’s Grain Marketing Board ran out of wheat last week, with the impact likely to be felt by bakers this week.Reports from Zimbabwe suggest the Board had not supplied millers with wheat for the whole of last week, the result of which was that millers could not supply bakers with flour.Last week the government increased the official price of a loaf of bread from Z$22,000 to Z$30,000 in a bid to slow consumption.Inflation in Zimbabwe is currently running at around 4,500%, with a loaf of bread costing around 50 times more – in cash terms – than it did a year ago.On June 26, authorities ordered price cuts, often of more than 50%, on goods and services, which led to panic buying.Bread has disappeared from most outlets with long queues forming in supermarkets, which are baking limited quantities.The price of some other basics has also been hiked up, including the staple maize meal. Maize-meal, which has become scarce, is now sold at Z$50,000 for a 10kg packet, up from Z$41,500.
You may be surprised to know that research carried out as part of the Cereals Industry Forum (CIF) has shown that the cereals industry in the UK has a weakness when it comes to new product development (NPD) and innovation. After all, those companies closest to the consumer, such as the breakfast cereal manufacturers and bakers, quite rightly have an excellent reputation for NPD. However, the work, conducted by Comparison International Limited (CIL), using a technique developed by the CBI and known as Probe, looked at companies right across the cereals supply chain.While the research is completely confidential as far as individual companies are concerned, the overall trend is clear: many companies did not take part in the NPD part of the research (only 15 out of 48), and only four out of the 15 were doing well in this area. CIL was happy to point out that these four companies were those further up the chain and closer to the consumer.Many people would see this as ’fair enough’, believing that the companies whose products appear on the supermarket shelves are the ones who should be innovating, dragging the rest of the industry along behind them. The Home Grown Cereals Authority’s (HGCA) new initiative, the Supply Chain Partnership, is about precisely the opposite approach to issues that affect the industry. It is about trying to share good practice and encouraging all parts of the chain to talk to each other.the benefit of debateThe whole chain will benefit from discussing each of the five themes that have been chosen for the campaign – communication and collaboration goes without saying, but cost and price, duplicate materials testing, transport and NPD all need to be debated and addressed right across the chain. Some of these themes may seem to be less relevant to the higher end of the chain, but ultimately they affect costs and efficiency across the board.HGCA’s Supply Chain Partnership is a follow-on to work conducted by the Cereals Industry Forum (CIF) such as the Value Chain Analyses (VCAs), which looked at the whole supply chain for products such as flour, and Masterclasses, that address practical issues at individual com- panies. Those who participated in the VCAs invariably found that they benefited simply by talking to each other and developing a better understanding of each others’ businesses.successful outcomeOne of the outstanding success stories of CIF concerns a feed company that identified problems relating to stockholding. It decided it needed a better system to work out the optimum stock required and a better way of allocating space to it. As a matter of routine in this particular exercise – a CIF Masterclass – it talked to its customer about what it was doing. The customer suggested a totally different solution to the problem, and saved the company money in the process.Issues across the chain are everyone’s responsibility. New ideas and innovations can apply just as much to growers and processors as they do to food manufacturers. Everyone in the cereals industry should learn from the innovators and examine how they can benefit in their own businesses, services and products.You can find out more about HGCA’s Supply Chain Partnership at [http://www.hgca.com/supplychain]. Visit today and get involved! n
== Premier’s debt talks ==Hovis owner Premier Foods has confirmed reports in the national press that it has hired advisors to help push through a speedy reduction in its debt burden. The company’s principal bankers – Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland – have appointed accountancy firm Deloitte to act on behalf of Premier’s 35-strong lending syndicate.== Buoyant Sainsbury’s ==Sainsbury’s interim results for the 28 weeks to 4 October 2008 have revealed profit before tax is up 11% to £258m (2007/08: £232m). Total sales are up 7.6% to £10,756m. In its retailing division (supermarkets and convenience) profit before tax stands at £289m compared to £234m for the same 2007 period.== Have you seen him? ==Hackney Police are appealing for information about a missing person, who may have been working casually in bakeries around London. Torstien Boekhoff, known also as Daniel Boekhoff, is described as 190cm tall, with blue eyes. He was last known to be living at Cambridge Court, N16, London earlier in 2008. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Missing Persons Unit on 0207 275 3402.== Amendment ==In the Product News pages of British Baker’s 31 October issue, we incorrectly printed Cuisinewine’s website address. It is in fact cuisinewine.com.
London luxury food store Fortnum & Mason’s spring window display, titled Urban Craft, is a celebration of craft baking in the capital. The store linked up with various livery companies, of which the Worshipful Company of Bakers was one, to illustrate, in its side windows, skills that have been plied in London for centuries.”It’s all about celebrating skills and ancient crafts that still exist,” said retail marketing manager Yvonne Isherwood. “When we visited the livery halls, stained glass windows were a feature and we’ve used that as a graphic symbol in all the livery company windows, with various props from the halls to illustrate those crafts.” The window was composed with the help of the Worshipful Company, Brooklands College tutor Jane Hatton and bakery consultant Andrea Mifsud.Mifsud says: “We received the brief and put together some display bread, including cottage loaves. Let’s hope it catches people’s eye, because a lot of people today think bread only comes in a packet, sliced. So it’s trying to make them aware that there are different types of bread in the marketplace now.”—-=== The window is due to run until early May and Fortnum’s will be running a series of in-store events, including: ===Thursday 2 AprilWell Bread or Better Bread?One of Fortnum’s bakery suppliers demonstrates how to make better bread, from sourdough to ciabatta.Monday 6 AprilThe Art of the Hot Cross BunFortnum’s in-house baker Andrew Grainger reveals the secrets of these spicy delights.Both events will take place 1-3pm in the demonstration kitchen, first floor
Foodservice sales in Europe are unlikely to pick up to 2007/08 levels until 2013, according to a new report by Rabobank. However, as consumers continue to trade down on products, the report suggests the active promotion of meal deals or discounts can help reach out to consumers, who are keeping a tight hold on their purse strings.Future trends in the market could include increased consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, and stronger growth for chain operators at the expense of the independents. According to the author of the report, Elke Maas of Rabobank’s food & agribusiness research and advisory, “the stronger branded players are likely to reinforce their position” in the current downturn.The report noted that although the UK has a more heavily embedded culture of eating out-of-home (45% compared to 33% in the rest of Europe), in-home consumption was rising throughout Europe. Away-from-home expen-diture was expected to drop by 0.5% to 33.1% by the end of 2010, according to Rabobank.In 2008, the size of the UK foodservice market stood at E54bn (£47.3bn).
Rumours of a bread price war in the national press were slightly exaggerated as two of the four big supermarket chains have already put up prices again.Amid rising flour prices, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons all cut the price of their value own-brand loaves to 30p. However, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have now increased the price of their basic white loaves to 47p after a short-term promotional burst.A Tesco spokesman insisted it was not a price war, and said: “This is just one of our many promotions as we are always looking to help customers save money.”Gordon Polson, director of the Federation of Bakers, said it was a marketing strategy that was not related to bread or wheat prices. “Supermarkets cut prices to entice customers in and they’ve chosen bread this time,” he said.Morrisons’ value loaves are still 30p, while Asda’s Smart Price white and brown loaves will stay at 30p for the foreseeable future, said a spokeswoman.
Bakers looking to negotiate new sugar contracts are being told by suppliers that they have nothing to sell them, as Europe faces massive shortages of white sugar. The lack of availability, coupled with the impact of bad weather in cane-growing countries, such as Thailand and Brazil, has pushed global sugar prices up to 30-year highs.One bakery manufacturer, which supplies the major multiples, told British Baker he’d spoken with a number of major suppliers, including Tate & Lyle and British Sugar, as he had hoped to negotiate a new contract for the New Year. “All of them have indicated that they have no extra sugar to sell me,” he said. Fortunately, he said, he has sugar left from his current contract, but he believes other bakers will have problems when it comes to arranging new contracts. “The EU needs to raise the quota for domestic sugar production, to alleviate the situation,” he said.British Baker understands that British Sugar is not in a selling position at the moment, but the company declined to comment on the current market situation.Last month, Tate & Lyle announced it would be putting up its prices by €176 per tonne from 3 January 2011, as it concluded that, to secure supply, it had no choice but to pay higher prices. The firm said white sugar prices across the globe were trading at 50-100% higher than those reported in the EU, so importers and their customers outside the EU were all paying higher prices and attracting sugar to their markets ahead of the EU.There is a global supply/demand deficit, said Ben Eastick, director at speciality sugar company Ragus. “EU consumption is well above the current EU beet production quota, with the shortfall to be met by imported cane sugar. But due to the current world market price, cane sugar is not being offered to the lower-priced EU market.”Richard Shepherdson, MD at sugar merchant and marzipan confectionery manufacturer Shepcote, said the firm is not currently having difficulty supplying its bakery customers, but it believes the situation will be very tight from June/July onwards next year. “There will be a lack of availability in the market. It’s primarily white sugar that’s affected, but it will have a knock-on effect to brown sugar – which is refined from white sugar – as well.”Gill Brooks-Lonican CEO, National Association of Master Bakers said it would be writing to the Government on behalf of its members.>>Analysis: why is sugar supply under threat?
BB’s Coffee and Muffins has unveiled the first of its UK outlets to be rebranded in what will be a makeover of its full 70-plus shop estate.At the outlet, in Watford’s Harlequin Shopping Centre, the old white-on-red logo has been ditched in favour of a more contemporary pink, white and black colour scheme.The chain’s owner, Kapelad, has also improved product presentation, with new tulip cases for the muffins. Kapelad MD Andrew Moyes told British Baker: “We’ve reduced the size of the muffins, after research results revealed consumers would prefer them a bit smaller. We also have a new premium bloomer sandwich range, and have worked to improve our fillings.”Kapelad took over the business in October 2009, after the existing company went into administration. Moyes said that, previously, the chain had only appealed to a certain demographic, and he was keen to broaden this to the key 18-35 age range, while retaining its coffee and muffin focus.Moyes said the business would also be looking to break out of its historical shopping centre locations, moving to more premium sites on the high street.>>BB’s retail estate shrinks following administration
Coconut: The pricing situation has changed little, with strong coconut oil prices, buyers seemingly prepared to pay historically high prices to cope with demand, very light stocks in the UK and across Europe, and a long lead from origin to destination all of which looks set to continue for some time.Raisins: If weather conditions result in Turkey failing to produce an optimal supply, then California and Turkey both might settle around present levels. If Turkey delivers a good new crop, prices must fall from September onwards; if Turkey weakens, then California would have to re-consider its export options.Sultanas: The weather over the next two months will be critical in deciding the Turkish crop results. Recent storms may have reduced it to around 280,000mts, but it will probably be larger than the current crop.Currants: With the current crop sold out, supply will remain tight until September. The new crop looks set to be larger, but do not expect to see any downward impact on prices at first.Apricots: After this season’s very poor crop of 55-75,000mts, the new crop is forecast to be around 130,000-150,000mts, which must affect pricing.l Based on information provided by RM Curtis