Baking the digital way

first_imgIngredients supplier Sonneveld’s European Bakery Innovation Centre (EBIC) is taking the baking industry into the 21st century. Digital cameras can record everything in iats test bakery and images they take are put on the internet so that they can be viewed anywhere in the world.Temperatures are monitored throughout the bread-making process and the end product analysed. Computers register every last statistic, from softness and crumb structure to the number of holes and cells in slices of bread, so that they can be used to create graphs and intricate diagrams.”Why? Because knowledge is power,” explains Sonneveld’s newly appointed managing director, Cees Hack.”We want to share the ambition and the passion, which is why we have opened up EBIC. We invite people from our industry – bakers, machine constructors, students and raw material suppliers – to use it as a meeting point. We believe that two heads are better than one. By sharing knowledge, we are encouraging innovation. It’s our desire to become known as the problem-solvers of the industry and we want others to share the wealth.”Geert Sonneveld, who owns the Sonneveld Group, opened the centre on 13 September, 2006, the day the group officially celebrated its 50th anniversary. Sonneveld supplies bread mixes, improvers and release agents to artisan and industrial bakeries worldwide.experiment to perfectAccording to the company, EBIC’s primary purpose is to involve its customers in new developments, allow experiments to be carried out on small production lines and to give artisan bakers an opportunity to refresh or enhance their knowledge.EBIC has a trained sensory panel that conducts a series of consumer tests on products. Members cast their votes on hand-held devices, similar to those used by the audience on the TV quiz Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Companies and bakers can use the test bakery at EBIC to try different methods of preparation and tweak recipes.”We’re very proud of the centre,” says Martin Churchill, technical sales manager for the UK and Ireland. “We think that British bakers and people in the industry can introduce more innovation into the market by using its facilities.”His European counterpart, Ruud Klasens, agrees: “EBIC is a very exciting centre and we welcome everyone from the industry to come and visit.”Sonneveld conducts research for customers and consumers and has contacts with international research institutes and technical bakery libraries across the world.”We believe that, for a baker to be successful, he must understand his consumer,” says Hack. “So one of our latest developments is researching what we believe are the four types of consumers: pure, indulgent, passionate and worldly.consumer profiles”The pure consumer will buy a product for one particular reason – for example, cost. This same category buys ’healthy’ bread for its health benefits.”Indulgent consumers have a sweet tooth. This category will stay in a bakery for an extra few minutes just to look at the cream cakes, whereas passionate consumers love the smell, the feel, the taste and want to know the origin of their bread.”They use all their senses, gathering as much information as possible. And the worldly consumer will travel miles to buy, for example, a naan bread because it tastes like those in Delhi.”But you also have to remember that consumers often switch between categories.” n—-=== Fact file ===? Sonneveld Group BV supplies an extensive range of bread improvers, bread mixes and release agents to both artisan and industrial bakeries? Major turnover comes from exports to countries in Europe, the Middle East, South America and south-east Asia? The company was set up in Sliedrecht, Holland, in 1956 by E J Sonneveld Snr and his eldest son, C G Sonneveld? In the 1980s and 1990s, Sonneveld expanded its range and introduced fruit and gelatine products, imitation chocolate, pastry mixes, almond paste, marzipan and yellow cream powders? In 1998, the company introduced liquid bread improvers for the industrial segment? Sonneveld’s most recent innovation is aimed at the artisan bakery segment: a block improver called Proson? On 6 September, 2005, Sonneveld opened its Palipro plant, the largest fully automated factory in Europe for the production of liquid, oil-based bread improvers? Cees Hack is Sonneveld’s new managing director. He took over from its owner, Geert Sonneveld, who opened EBIC on 13 September, 2006? Sonneveld conducts, and has access to, extensive market researchlast_img read more

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viewpoint

first_img“The biggest challenge in 2007 by far, was prices.” Not my words but those of Peter Williams, bakery director of that excellent business Simmons of Hatfield (pg 13). And they are words that continue to be echoed across this issue and the whole industry.Despite the challenges, Simmons aims to open its 30th shop in March. How come it is among those thriving, not merely surviving? It put its prices up twice last year! And if your company did not, please take stock.I was rather alarmed last week when Carrs Milling put out a statement saying “further price increases would be dictated by whether bakers were successful in getting further bread price increases”. Frankly, there is no choice. If flour and commodities go up, then those who pass on the rises survive, others get taken over or go under.If you are not your company’s best negotiator, please delegate to someone who is. We all have different talents. You might be a brilliant MD, bakery owner or financial wizard. But if you are not a trained negotiator who can talk to the multiples and bakers about price rises in one breath and new products in the other, backed up with plenty of market information, it will prove nigh impossible to get the increases through. The supermarkets in particular are tough negotiators and trained to drive down prices.Most high street bakers I have come across have achieved the price rises with no problems. I popped into De Gustibus bakery the other day by London Bridge and there was a notice in the window explaining why prices had risen again. But business is doing very well, just like Simmons.Our lead story this week on world bread prices, with data provided exclusively to British Baker by the Economist Intelligence Unit, shows that although UK prices are creeping up, helped enormously in my opinion by the popularity of ’artisan’ breads as well as price increases, London is still number 70 in the world and Manchester 93rd.Travel has introduced us to wraps and rye-based breads, which can only benefit the category. But if you want imaginative sandwich fillings, check out our feature on page 16. And do read the controversial comment on folic acid by the Soil Association (pg 8) and let us have your views.last_img read more

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Fact file

first_imgl Sveba-Dahlen makes rack ovens, deck ovens, pizza ovens, tunnel ovens and provers of all sizesl The company is privately-owned , employing 125 people. It has 50 distributors. Annual turnover is E28ml It is one of the biggest suppliers to the in-store sector across Europel It exports worldwide and has subsidiaries in Estonia, Spain and Hong Kong. It is active all over Europe, including the UKl Every oven is custom-made, so height and width can be tailored to the clientl If required Sveba-Dahlen can combine a prover, deck oven and rack in one modell Every component is made to fit through standard doors.last_img

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Finsbury sees investments hit profit line

first_imgFinsbury Foods’ profit has taken a severe hit, with adjusted pre-tax profit down 45% to £1.8m for the six months to 31 December 2008. Pre-tax profit stood at £0.2m compared to £1.6m in 2008, despite increasing sales in its bread and free-from divisions.The cakes, breads and morning goods manufacturer saw revenue rise by 11% to £92.1m. But “significantly increased” investment in promotional support for customers and consumers as well as additional investment in the integration of its cake division have impacted profits.The company’s cake division experienced a 4% rise in sales on last year’s figures, and its breads and free-from divisions saw like-for-like sales up 16% and 23% respectively. Martin Lightbody, chief executive, said: “It is encouraging to see sales have remained resilient, despite the recessionary environment. We have focused our investment on further integration of our businesses and impro- ving our facilities.”The firm also saw extra distribution and utility costs of £1.2m over the period.last_img read more

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Northern Foods reveals strong bakery rise

first_imgNorthern Foods has reported strong underlying growth in its bakery division, with revenue up by 3.9% for the 26 weeks to 26 September 2009.Brand investment in Fox’s biscuits helped it achieve its highest brand share since 2006, and the firm also announced that a new marketing campaign for its Matthew Walker puddings brand will be launched ahead of the Christmas trading period. According to Northern Foods, new discount lines in sandwiches and salads helped drive revenue in its chilled division, up 8.8%. However, its “rationalisation programme” and the closure of a pizza manufacturing site at Poldys in Ireland last year contributed to the 7.5% drop in revenue within its frozen arm. The firm also relinquished a number of marginal own-label contracts and terminated its Birds Eye co-pack agreement to supply individual frozen pies, thus enabling its McDougall’s brand to compete in this segment.last_img read more

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Vote called on baking by numbers

first_imgThe European Parliament is to vote on the inclusion of a provision in the Food Information Regulation (FIR) directive, which would see UK bakers selling wrapped products by numbers allowed to continue doing so.“Under the existing EU directive, there was a provision for member states to decide to sell some products by number, and the UK has legislation that allows wrapped bakery products to be sold by number,” explained Federation of Bakers (FoB) director Gordon Polson. “That provision was unfortunately omitted when they transferred other directives across into the new FIR and we’ve been lobbying to make sure the provision from the existing directive is transferred into this new regulation.” The provision covers all food products sold by numbers, not just bakery products. Polson said that, as far as bakery products were concerned, it only applied to wrapped products such as rolls, muffins and crumpets, so it wouldn’t affect high street bakers.Polson said he wasn’t prepared to call the vote, but from speaking to UK MEPs, he was confident they all understood and supported the FoB’s position.He added that even if the European Parliament did not vote in favour this time, it was not the “last chance saloon”, as it was only the equivalent of a first reading in Parliament. “We have also been lobbying the Commission to make sure they know the situation,” he said.The vote is due to take place tomorrow (16 June).last_img read more

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Neighbourhood baker fights demolition plans

first_imgBaker Lynda Miles is fighting a planning application which could see her forced to leave the shop she has built up for 17 years.Miles Bakery Shop has been in Unsworth, Bury, since 1993, but its lease is up and North Hold Group in Prestwich has applied for permission to demolish the building and build a retail unit served by 16 parking spaces. Miles said she feared it could become a Tesco store and has won the support of more than 500 customers, who have signed a petition opposing the plan, while another 60 have sent letters to the council.  “It has come as a big shock,” she said. “I didn’t think the landlord could do that to us – it has hit us all very hard. We cannot relocate, because it took us five years to find these premises and it’s not easy to get somewhere that will accommodate all the equipment and ovens.”The shop employs a full-time baker and 10 part-time staff whose jobs would be at risk if the plan went ahead, she said. The bakery supplies Miles’ other bakery in Holcombe Brook, Bury. Miles added that she could not face thinking about a back-up plan. “We’re just going to wait and see – and hope – but it has been nice to get so much local support.”  Bury Council’s planning committee is meeting to discuss the plan in November, said a spokesman.last_img read more

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Thorntons to tackle chilled bakery market

first_imgThorntons has made the move into the branded chilled bakery and desserts sector with the launch of a nine-strong range into the grocery channel this month.Alongside the dessert range, manufactured for Thorntons by Elisabeth the Chef, the confectionery firm, which already has a successful ambient cakes and bites range, has also introduced a range of four cookies, produced for them by Northumbrian Fine Foods.Thorntons’ sales and operations director Barry Bloomer said that, with the firm’s turnover in the grocery retail division currently at £53m and growing at over 40%, it was a “natural progression” to branch out into the chilled desserts category.“We chose to work with Elisabeth the Chef as they have a strong reputation for innovative and high-quality products across both chilled bakery and pot desserts,” said Bloomer.Jonathan Burr, sales and marketing director at Elisabeth the Chef added that the range provides an accessible indulgence that doesn’t currently exist in the category.The dessert range features: Chocolate Secret Centre and Double Toffee & Vanilla pot desserts; Sticky Toffee Pudding; Chocolate & Toffee Tart; Sticky Toffee Tart; Sticky Double Chocolate Pudding; and Treacle Tart.The cookie range comprises: Triple Chocolate Chunk; Ginger & Dark Chocolate; Praline & Milk Chocolate; and Sicilian Lemon Meringue. It is currently listed in Morrisons and Thorntons stores, with a selection of skus to launch in Asda and Sainsbury’s this month.last_img read more

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Maidaid evolves washers

first_imgMaidaid has made a number of changes to its dishwasher range. Firstly its new Evolution 2025ws pass-through dishwasher features the Salt ’n’ Go water softening system. The machine will operate continually, with no break while the softener is regenerating. The wash tank is 20 litres instead of the industry-standard 39 litres, meaning it is more ecological in terms of water usage.The firm also claims to have improved water quality with a new and patented water filtration system. “Soiled wash water is forced to the bottom of the tank as clean water is introduced unlike many conventional machines, which mix the two. Cleaner wash water means more efficient rinsing,” explained Maidaid.The firm’s portfolio also now includes the new Evolution 500ws under-counter dishwasher, which is 100mm shorter than conventional full-size models, according to Maidaid.last_img read more

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Dryers use radio frequency

first_imgA series of post-baking dryers that can be custom-engineered for cookie, cracker, and snack food production to increase oven band speed has been launched by US firm Radio Frequency Co.Macrowave Post-Baking Dryers use radio frequency energy, which preferentially heats and dries the moist areas of cookies, crackers, and snack foods. Capable of increasing productivity by 30% or more, these dryers remove the drying requirement from ovens to let bakers maintain their oven settings to achieve the right product colour in the last third of an oven line.Developed for high-volume cookie production, the dryers quickly and efficiently remove residual moisture trapped within the centre of the product, allowing conventional ovens to run at the maximum speed that a product can be produced with the correct crumb structure and colour. The radio frequency dryers are available in band widths up to 64 inches.last_img read more

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