Warburtons has closed its Westgate End bakery in Wakefield as it completes a move to its nearby Tuscany Park site. The last of the old bakery’s production – 400g loaves – shifted to the new £60 million site, five miles away on Monday January 23.The 12.9-acre Tuscany Park site on the M62/M1 junction in Wakefield star-ted producing rolls in May 2004, and bread in September 2005. The site is now close to completion.
Wholesale supplier European Bakeries called in administrators last Friday, blaming the col- lapse of the 47-shop sandwich chain Benjys.Administrator Lee Manning from Deloitte told British Baker that the company was still trading as a going concern, and potential buyers were being shown around. There were two or three strong contenders to buy the business, and offers were due in yesterday (Thursday). He said: “The company had suffered the collapse of Benjys in July 2006 and then again in February 2007. That drained it of £100,000 in cash.”European Bakeries, a £6m turnover company, based in London, supplies customers, including Aldi and Sodexho, with breads and morning goods, employing around 100 staff.
’The Tesco Approach to Baked Products’ and ’Managing Change in a Family Business’ will be among the topics addressed at the British Society of Baking conference in October.Speakers at the event, which takes place on 8 and 9 October, include Nigel Doughty, MD of bakery chain Paul UK, food broadcaster and writer Tom Bridge, Mathiesons Bakeries MD George Stevenson and Tesco category manager Neil Franklin.On a more technical note, ’Crumb Structure Formation in Burger Buns and Soft Rolls’ will be tackled by John Cottrell, technical manager of ADM Milling, while Bakels’ product development manager Gary Gibbs will look into the demands of healthy bakery products.The autumn conference will take place at Coombe Abbey Park Hotel, Binley, Coventry.
Bradford-based Harden Fine Foods, which supplies mini-bite flapjacks, brownies and cakes to in-store bakeries in supermarkets as well as restaurants and coffee shops, has been bought by CSM NV for £6.4 million. The Netherlands-based firm already owns BakeMark UK and Kate’s Cakes.
Thermo Fisher Scientific has launched a new checkweigher for use in the food industry. The Thermo Scientific Versa GP is suitable for high-speed weighing of small to large packages in dry or wet environments. The machine is capable of weighing, control and reject functions at line speeds of up to 350 packages per minute.It has an adjustable belt height and there is the option of fitting the infeed conveyor with a Thermo Scientific APEX metal detector in order to provide a complete weight control and contaminant inspection station.The Versa GP’s controller is based on the Microsoft Windows XP operating system and includes a colour, touchscreen interface.[http://www.thermofisher] .com
British Baker is now on Twitter – a social networking and micro-blogging website that allows people or companies to update their ‘followers’ on their latest news.Twitter has taken the internet by storm and is now being used by bakers as a method of communication with their customers.Companies can sign up and create a profile on the website, including information about the business, and can post short updates on what they’re up to – of 140 characters or less.Among those posting their latest updates are Greggs, Cooplands of Doncaster and Hummingbird Bakery in London. Follow us at http://twitter.com/BritishBaker
The National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB) has a raft of activities planned for its 122nd annual conference, taking place from 8-11 May at The Highcliff Marriott, Bournemouth.On Saturday 9 May, a golf tournament – The Neil Houliston Cup – will be played at the nearby Meyrick Park Golf Club. There is also a sightseeing boat trip around the coast for Association members. A Saturday night cocktail party will be followed by a four-course banquet meal, the presidential speech and music.Sunday morning kicks off with the AGM, followed by a panel of speakers: Kevin Kingsland, chartered psychologist, TSRi; Joe Hale, consultant, Dragon Brands; and David Powell, Master of the Worshipful Company. The afternoon will see the installation of president elect, Neil MacSymons, as well as a church service, presided over by Paul Jones of former 1960s rhythm and blues band Manfred Mann. And an evening cocktail party has The Wurzles as its theme, with music by tribute band The Mangled Wurzles.l For details, contact Karen Dear on 01920 860117.
Fast-growing sandwich chain EAT is confident of doubling store numbers in the next three to five years. Recent openingsainclude Glasgow airport and three in London during the last month (EC4, EC3 and Holborn), taking the total to 98. EAT will reach the big 100 in September.”We have more in the pipeline that we are yet to sign on, and we aim to have 200 shops within the next three to five years,” said MD Niall MacArthur, who added that the credit crunch also created more available properties. “The EAT format fits well anywhere in the country where there is high footfall and an appreciation of good food.”The company was thriving, said MacArthur, despite the difficult economic climate: “It’s tough but we’re in a good part of the sector – we focus on quality food and make it all ourselves. We also have great service and lovely shops – we’re a strong brand that’s very recognisable and we have high customer loyalty.”He said constant innovation was another point of difference from other sandwich chains and that EAT would continue to regularly launch new products. Soups change seasonally and there is a range of 40 to choose from during any four-week menu; the most recent launch is Pho soup in prawn, beef or chicken varieties, picked up from the chiller and filled with broth by counter staff.Sandwiches of the week are, for example: ham, Cheddar and real ale pickle; prawn cocktail; Thai citrus chicken; and tuna, ginger and wasabi.Other interesting initiatives are pies served in a hot box which opens at the corners to make a plate, and a breakfast range, including three toasted muffins: eggs benedict, egg, cheese and mushroom and a bacon butty.Niall and wife Faith abandoned plans to sell the chain last year after they failed to find suitors matching their reported £150m valuation for the company, founded in 1996.
Bakeries have been among the Cumbrian businesses forced to cope with the severe flooding that recently hit parts of Workington and Cockermouth.Michael Bell, MD of Bells of Lazonby, based in Penrith, said: “It has been a big inconvenience, but we’ve just got to get on with things.” The bakery has only been affected in terms of distribution, he explained, adding that one of the biggest problems in Workington has been the closure of the bridges, with people having to travel miles out of their way. For Bells: “It’s been business as usual, with a few little hurdles thrown in.”However, he said that a company-owned site, which is leased out and run by a local couple as a sandwich shop, has been left in a bad way. “The bakery counters in the shop have just been lifted up and tipped over,” said Bell. He added that Cockermouth is home to many independent shops that do not have the resources of the larger retail chains to get themselves back on their feet. “It’s going to take a sublime effort to get them trading again for the next summer season.”Peter Byrom, proprietor of retail business The Bakery, based in Main Street, Great Broughton, Cockermouth, said that although his business is located three and a half miles from the flood hit area of Cockermouth, it has been experiencing problems travel-wise. “A trip to the cash and carry would normally take 20 minutes it’s now taking two and a half hours.”
Rory BowmanBowmansThe UK’s largest independent flour miller and coatings business Bowmans has appointed Rory Bowman to the role of chief executive.Rory Bowman has headed Bowman Ingredients, the company’s coating divison, for the past 20 years. He replaces his brother Guy Bowman, who has retired after 45 years with the firm, 26 of them as chief executive.Kevin Hodge, John CartyCereformTwo new managers have joined Cereform with the aim of expanding the confectionery ingredients business.Kevin Hodge is appointed confectionery development manager, focusing on new product development for confectionery ingredients. John Carty is appointed technical support manager, Ireland. He will provide support for confectionery and bread manufacturers.Steve BlazyeCenFRAThe Centre for Food Robotics and Automation (CenFRA) has appointed a new managing director to spearhead its drive to boost the uptake of robotics and automation within the food and drink manufacturing industry. Steve Blazye has experience in industrial engineering, specialist heat treatment and robotic integration systems. His main role will be to ensure CenFRA continues to strengthen its status as a leading centre of excellence for automation in food and drink.Steven DoddRoberts BakeryFamily baking firm Roberts Bakery has expanded its new product development team with the appointment of Steven Dodd as product development technologist. The appointment will support the company’s plans for growth in its foodservice division.Dodd has worked for several major firms in the food industry, including Premier Foods and Patak’s. He will be heavily involved in NPD for the division.