Richard ThomasUnifine Food & Bake Ingredients UKPromotion has come for Richard Thomas, who now takes on the role of regional sales manager at Unifine Food & Bake Ingredients UK. His responsibilities include technical sales and marketing support for south Wales, south-west England and the west Midlands. He will also be involved in new product development and tailor-made lines for new and existing customers.Thomas originally joined the firm, then known as Dohler, in 1991 as a technical sales representative, later becoming area sales manager for Dohler UK, subsequently renamed.Philippe LeveauSAI Global/EFSISFood inspection and certification organisation SAI Global/EFSIS has appointed Philippe Leveau as its new European operations general manager.Leveau has spent four years as general manager at SAI Global/ EFSIS France.In his new European-wide role, he aims to apply the success achieved in France, where the organisation claims it now has a 35% share of the French market for inspections under the International Food Standard, to other mainland countries in Europe.Claire Blake, Ben TomkinsonImproveTwo new appointments have been made at food and drink sector skills council Improve. Claire Blake has been named senior marketing executive, with responsibility for the development and implementation of Improve’s marketing strategy.Ben Tomkinson fills the newly created role of research executive, supporting the research team and helping in the analysis of labour market information.Stacey HamptonFood InsightsWest Midlands Food Partnership has appointed Stacey Hampton to manage its free online market research service for food and drink companies in the West Midlands, called Food Insights. The site is located at the recently revamped Heart of England fine foods business website.The service is designed to give businesses in the region up-to-the-minute industry reports, analysis and statistics and Hampton says it will include Mintel marketing report summaries, consumer insights and news and data on the latest scientific and technical issues, including updates from the Campden and Chorleywood Research Group. She aims to have a fully populated site complete by 17 May.Colin KellyWarburtonsColin Kelly has joined branded bakery supplier Warburtons as technical services director. Kelly joins the firm with 15 years’ experience in the food industry, having previously worked for Heinz as the East and Western Europe technical manager.In his new role, he will continue Warburtons’ technical development, while focusing on food safety and quality systems.John ScatchardMuntons Malted IngredientsThe position of technical manager, milling, at Muntons Malted Ingredients has been filled by John Scatchard, who is returning to Muntons in this new role. Scatchard has been involved in the milling industry since 1981 and has held various production and technical roles, both in the UK and overseas. He previously worked for Muntons as production manager, milling.brian edgezeelandiaSpecialist ingredients supplier Zeelandia (Essex) will be looking to add to its technical and development team following the retirement of bakery technologist Brian Edge last month. Edge had worked at the company for 16 years.—-=== Write to: ===British Baker, Wm Reed Publishing, Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex, RH11 9RT or send an email to [email protected]
Alistair Darling delivered his first Pre-Budget Report (PBR) on 9 October, 2007. One of the related press notices begins with the sentence: “The government recognises the contribution that small businesses make to the economy and that business owners should profit from the success of their business.” After reading that, small business owners might have looked forward to the rest of the PBR, to see how the government was going to recognise the contribution they had made, and help them to profit from the success of their business. Sadly, they will have been very disappointed.hitting small businessesThe Chancellor announced several measures that will hit small businesses, including:l the abolition of capital gains tax taper reliefl plans to prevent ’income shifting’ in family businessesl an increase of more than 17% in the company car fuel benefit-in-kind chargel the ending of national insurance exemption for holiday pay schemesl a new ’business rates sup- plement’.These proposals will be a blow to hard-working entrepreneurs, coming on top of the increases in the corporation tax small companies rate from 19% last year to 22% in 2009.For small businesses, the abolition of capital gains tax taper relief was definitely the worst of the Chancellor’s announcements. The government had previously announced that it intended to change the tax rules for ’private equity’ businesses, but the removal of taper relief will strike far beyond that and seriously affect small companies, shareholders and the self-employed.At present, taper relief reduces the capital gains tax charge when an individual or trust sells or transfers an asset. The relief is particularly generous for business assets, such as shares in a trading company, or an asset that is used in a trade – for example, a property or goodwill. Gains on such assets are halved where the asset has been owned for at least a year, and reduced by 75% if the asset has been held for two or more years. This is a very valuable relief, which means that the effective tax rate for a higher-rate taxpayer is only 10% (25% x 40%), where a business asset had been owned for at least two years.From 6 April 2008, however, there will be no taper relief at all. Capital gains tax will be charged at a flat 18% rate, irrespective of the type of asset, or whether the individual is a higher-rate taxpayer. For someone who had hoped to pay only 10% tax, this represents a massive 80% increase.If that was not bad enough, the abolition of the indexation allowance for inflation between 1982 and 1998 – also from 6 April, 2008 – will make matters worse for individuals or trusts who hold assets that were acquired before 1998.Anyone thinking of selling or transferring a business, a business asset or indeed a non-business asset in the near future will need to work out whether there will be a higher tax bill if it is sold after 5 April, 2008. If the answer is yes, every effort should be made to complete a sale before then, although care should be taken not to sell before an anniversary date, which would increase taper relief. If an outright sale to a third party is not possible, some thought should be given to engineering a ’disposal’, which will trigger the taper relief and, if applicable, indexation relief, which will otherwise be lost.The ways in which this could be done depend on several factors, including the type of asset, whether the trade in question is carried on by a company, and family circumstances. For example, the asset could be transferred to another person or a trust or, in the case of a self-employed person, to a new company he or she has set up to continue carrying on the trade.A recent House of Lords ruling declared that the payment of family company dividends to the low-earning wife of a husband who earned most of the company’s income was effective for tax purposes. As a result, the government intends to change the rules with effect from 6 April, 2008, so that it will not be possible to transfer income in this way by means of dividends or a share of profits.Exactly how this will be done is not yet known, although it has been stated that things to be taken into account may include the actual work done by each individual, and the risks to which they are subject through the business. Draft rules will soon be published, and HMRC will then consult with advisers on how to make these as easy as possible to understand and operate. But the end result will be a higher overall tax bill for owners of some family businesses.Where an employer provides a company car to an employee and pays for fuel for private use, the standard amount on which the annual fuel benefit-in-kind charge is based, depending on the car’s CO2 emission rating, will rise from £14,400 to £16,900 from 6 April, 2008 – an increase of over 17%.This will increase the emp-loyee’s income tax bill and will also increase the national insurance cost for employers.There are two things which employers can do to minimise costs. First, they need to look at whether it will still be worth paying for fuel for private use. An employee who does not use a company car on private journeys to a great extent, including home to office, will probably be better off paying for his own private fuel. It is important to note that the fuel benefit-in-kind charge is an ’all or nothing’ charge, which will not be avoided by the employee making a contribution towards the cost – he must pay for the cost of all private fuel.Secondly, if a company car and private fuel are still to be provided, the choice of car is very important. As benefit in kind charges are based on the vehicle’s CO2 emissions, there can be an enormous difference in the tax and national insurance costs for cars of an identical price and standard, but with different CO2 emission ratings. Car manufacturers have responded to the changed environmental and tax climate, and a wide range of low-emission cars is now available.For many years, holiday pay for employees has been exempt from national insurance contributions, where a third party operated a holiday pay scheme on behalf of the employer. This type of scheme was traditionally used in the construction industry, but other businesses have recently started to use it, purely for national insurance savings.As a result, the exemption will be removed for all businesses, but the construction industry will be allowed to phase out the scheme over the next five years. Other businesses will have to revert to paying holiday pay in the same way as normal salary, and account for national insurance on it, from 30 October, 2007.business ratesIt is proposed that local authorities will be allowed to charge a business rates supplement of up to 2p per £1 of rateable value, in order to fund local development projects. The extra charge will apply to all business properties with a rateable value of more than £50,000.This is effectively a new local tax.The PBR also contained some minor proposals to help small businesses, mainly by promising to simplify some income tax and VAT compliance procedures, but this will be of little comfort to those facing real tax increases. Far from recognising the contribution that small businesses make to the economy, this PBR will impose extra burdens and make it harder for business owners to profit from their success. nl Paula Tallon is a tax specia-list at Chiltern, part of BDO Stoy Hayward LLP
Tesco said it would have to make “customer-led decisions” this year, following plans to slim down its product range and launch fewer products than in 2007, in a bid to drive availa- bility and quality.In-store bakery (ISB) buyer Simon Holt told British Baker that Tesco’s ISB contained too many products and the range would undergo “editing” over the next 12 months. The aim is to make it simpler for stores to bake products in-store, maintain quality and increase availability, he said. “We only have so much shelf space, so we’re focusing on editing the range. We cannot keep filling the stores with more and more product,” said Holt.”This will involve making some decisions based on customer needs – we’re going to have to be very focused. That will be a massive project this year.” Currently, around 80% of ISB sales come from half of Tesco’s products, he added.Despite a successful year for the category, Holt revealed that the ISB launched too many products in 2007. Future launches would have to be backed up by market data and a strong customer rationale from suppliers, he said. “We’ll launch fewer products – around 40 a year – but more successful ones, so we can focus on what customers want.”Holt also called for more NPD on non-premium lines. “Everybody is going hell for leather after Finest,” he said. “But the vast majority of our customers are middle-of-the-road and middle-income; we’ve got to provide great quality and great value-for-money for those customers.”ACNielsen figures for the last 52 weeks to this week show Tesco is outperforming the market by 3.5%. “We’re also reporting some of the strongest numbers within food at Tesco,” added Holt.
“Heidi Klum has given Victoria Beckham a year’s supply of cupcakes as a birthday present”. Seeing that headline in a national newspaper, you would be forgiven for thinking that maybe the scale of world events that week (Afghanistan, Burma, food crises) didn’t quite live up to their potential. Or at least not enough to edge this story off The Daily Mail’s agenda. Model Klum, it said, spent £1,000 on a year’s supply of cupcakes for Posh’s 34th birthday. “Ms Klum has arranged for a dozen of the confections to be delivered to the Beckhams’ Los Angeles home at 3pm every Friday,” droned the Mail. “She eats one a day throughout the week – the other five going to her husband and children.” We could go on, but there’s already enough misery in the world.
Potatoes are a very popular vegetable in Europe and were first cultivated by the Incas, in Peru, 6,000 years ago. They were brought to Europe by the Spanish Conquistadors to impress Royalty in around 1570.Although they started out as an expensive and exotic food, they became part of the British staple diet in the 18th century. The effects of the potato blight in 1840s Ireland are well-known, as the population dropped dramatically. It is thought that more than a million people died and another million emigrated.For culinary uses, potatoes are placed into two groups, waxy and floury. The floury potatoes are better for mashing, baking, roasting and frying and the waxy potatoes are better served as boiled potatoes, grated in rosti and sliced in gratins or put in stews. Choose potatoes that have a smooth skin and are firm. They should also not be bruised, green-tinged or sprouting. Mashed potato can be used to make Irish potato cakes, added to pastry for savoury pies, used in a very moist chocolate cake or mixed into bread dough. Uncooked grated potato can be put into cakes such as ginger cake or used instead of carrots or parsnips in a loaf cake.For more information on which type of potatoes to use see [http://www.britishpotatoes.co.uk]In season; main-crop potatoes are harvested September/October, but are available most of the year.Fiona Burrell, co-author of Leiths Baking Bible, from the world-famous Leiths School of Food and Wine—-=== In my world: the craft baker ===So here it is! The shock waves that were first reported earlier in the year have rippled out from the American Sub-Prime epicentre and are, right now, shaking the Cotswolds. Many people have battened down the hatches and are not venturing out. In an instant, we find footfall is the main problem, as are wastage, labour costs and knowing what to do first.So here is what I’ve done. The shop, with a café, has been most affected, so I have seized the reins, made the manager redundant and not replaced the outgoing summer staff, making immediate labour cost savings. This has only been made sustainable by reducing the opening times and changing everyone’s contract, so we now have only one very focused shift. I have also dramatically altered our café offering, so there is nothing made to order, installed a self-service dresser that makes tempting treats more accessible, complete with travelling toaster, which has been popular and encourages customers to try our breads. I have encouraged take-out loyalty, by introducing a little sandwich card, which we stamp each time a sandwich is bought – and the 10th one is on us. This sits alongside our well-used Coffee Loyalty Card. One team member has been tasked with monitoring orders/sales/wastage, so that we can be on top of these things on a daily basis.Across the shops, I have relaunched the humble 800g split tin and standard wholemeal as ’Budget Bread’ and put posters up outside, reading, “Hobbs House Quality for only £1.45”. This has been a great way of challenging the general perception that our offering is only top-end and has had the effect of increasing the sales of our premium loaf.The economic situation demands that we look at our business in a sharper way, find the things that aren’t working well enough and deal with them. If we survive, our businesses will be keener and fitter than before. How cathartic – a forced and early spring clean!I can report that bread sales are still strong, including the organic bread, and there has been growth in premium patisserie – I assume for customers who want to eat well at home instead of a meal out. The leaner team at the bakery/café has made for a better atmosphere, so service is better than ever. Anyone can sell when times are good, but during a downturn, sales staff training needs to be comprehensive. So, to avoid complacency, customer service training is my next focus.If only I knew if any of these actions will be enough to weather the storm. If you have any storm-proof tips or ideas. please let me [email protected]—-=== Culture corner: book review ===== Baking and Bakeries (£4.99) by HG Muller ==Anyone ordering a complete history of Baking and Bakeries off Amazon and expecting a letterbox-challenging brick of a book will be relieved to learn that your postie won’t be risking a hernia by having to lug an undelivered package back to depot. Weighing in at a mere 32 pages (including lots of pictures), this re-issue as part of the Shire Classics series, originally published in 1986, impressively races through 5,000 years of bread baking. This is little surprise, given that not much changed in baking technology between Roman times and the 1800s, when the back-breaking labour of mixing was finally done away with by mechanical mixers and “perpetual ovens”, and industrialised baking and moulders came into use for the first time.Tracing baking’s origins, Muller throws up a few intriguing facts: the typical ancient Egyptian was no carb-dodger, munching through an average 500g of bread per day. Nor were Egyptian bakers too hung up about clean labels, adding moth-repelling chemical camphor to bread, to delay staling. By the Middle Ages, the baker had developed the reputation of being unscrupulous, often accused of selling underweight bread, with grim punishment for those caught, including being burned to death in one’s own oven.The concluding potted history of 20th century industrial advances is particularly accessible to industry newcomers, or for anyone with a short attention span.
Three years ago, sandwich chain Baguette Express would not have even featured on British Baker’s definitive list of Britain’s top 75 bakery retailers. But today the East Lothian-based company is the fastest grower at number 20, with 62 outlets across the country, and is eyeing a top-10 place; it has ambitious plans to take on Subway and Greggs as it grows its retail estate to 300 stores over the next five years.Like Subway, franchising has been at the heart of Baguette Express’ rapid ascent, with the pace of growth set to increase following deals last year to sign up three master franchisees in Manchester, Newcastle and London. In the long term, the company aims to build up a network of 10 master franchisees across the UK.”When you go to a master structure you change the whole way the business operates,” explains Jim Stewart, business development manager. “As a head office, we support the master franchisees to recruit franchisees in their areas. My time is spent with the masters in their territories, raising their profiles. With shops opening under the three master franchises, it will help me sell more master areas, because I’m able to prove the model. I’m particularly interested in the Midlands and we’ve had discussions with an interested party in Northern Ireland.”First set up as a single outlet in 1999, Baguette Express was taken over by entrepreneurial brothers Robin and Billy Stenhouse in 2004, who moved it to a franchise model and grew the business initially in Scotland. Turnover stands at around £15m.”Four years ago we started off with a core of seven shops in Scotland, but 80-90% of enquiries are now from England,” says Stewart. “There has really been a dramatic flip over the past six months and we fully expect the growth we had in Scotland to replicate itself in England.”Baguette Express shops sell made-to-order baguettes, paninis, wraps and rolls, supplied by wholesaler Lomond Foods, as well as salads, baked potatoes, snacks and traybakes. Bread is delivered frozen and baked-off in-store. Store location is vital, says Stewart, particularly as the Baguette Express experience is targeted at key consumer groups.”We know the type of people who enjoy Baguette Express office workers, students and shoppers. We spend a lot of time in the early days with a franchisee, visiting sites. It’s that famous phrase, ’location, location, location’. It’s about going to sites at different times of the day and different days of the week, even when it’s raining or sunny,” says Stewart. “We want to be where lunch is happening. If everyone is at one end of the street offering lunch, that’s where we want to be. We don’t want to drag people 100 yards up the street, because people won’t do it they like familiarity and convenience.”Finding the right person to run the business is also key, says Stewart. But what makes a good Baguette franchisee? “You’ve asked the best question ever. It’s the very essence of what is going to make an outlet successful,” he says. “Everything is in place the quality of the food, the image of the brand and the business process has been tried and tested 62 times, but you need an individual who can make these three elements work together someone who is business-orientated. We look for people with energy and marketing flair, who understand local promotion and buying in customer loyalty. They don’t necessarily need retail experience, but they must be able to prove marketing, business and entrepreneurial experience.” Number crunching The cost of a Baguette Express franchiseA typical Baguette Express outlet will have a minimum of 400sq ft up to a maximum of 1,000sq ft of retail space. This would cost:Initial licence fee: £15,000Shopfitting and signage (depending on shop size): £56,000 to £100,000Tills: £2,500Legal/property fees: (approx) £5,000 to £10,000Initial working capital requirements: £2,000Approximate total investment: £81,000 to £130,000All figures are exclusive of VAT. In addition to the initial licence fee, a management charge of 7% of gross income is payable.What a franchisee could earnTurnover: £240,000; Gross profit: £144,000; Running costs: £81,000; Management charge: £16,800; Approximate net annual profit: £46,200
Open Date Equipment has launched a new thermal transfer printer the Thermocode iQ. The firm claimed it offers higher print quality, as well as a high level of sustainable performance.The company said bakery and confectionery companies would find the iQ’s suitability with intermittent machines particularly useful, while the gentler touch of the print head, due to more accurate stepper motor control, reduces the potential for damage to fragile products, such as pastries and decorated items.The iQ has a print speed of 600mm per second and a maximum print area of 53 x 110mm. Operation is controlled via a 7-inch touchscreen from which stored print images can be edited and print settings adjusted during use. It has a 1,000-metre ribbon capacity and is capable of printing text, graphics, dates, barcodes and 2D codes.
Welsh independent bakery Brace’s will help 50 royal wedding parties go with a swing by donating food and decorations.The family-run firm is inviting party organisers across south and west Wales and the south west of England to write in, detailing their plans.Party organisers can choose from Welsh cakes, fruit loaves and sandwich breads, while Brace’s party packs with bunting and balloons will be supplied to the selected groups.Scott Richardson, director of sales and marketing, said: “We owe much of our success to the loyalty of local communities who have been buying our products in local shops and supermarkets for the last 109 years. Therefore, supporting local street parties, which are a real community effort, gives us the opportunity to give something back and thank our customers.” The family bakery – which celebrates its 109th anniversary this year – is also inviting grassroots groups, schools and charities in the region to apply for cash from its Bread for the Community Birthday Fund, which awards £109 towards each project.
Containing savoury pies, pasties and puddings from around the British Isles, the book offers a combination of recipes, historical information, and celebrity contributions.Chef and author Tom Bridge has had a long-term passion for pies, and has worked on product development for companies such as Peter Hunts, Ginsters and Pukka Pies.Split into sections, the book covers pastry with no less than 16 different pastry recipes as well as stocks and sauces, from a basic poultry giblet stock to a bechamel sauce, and the fillings: pork and ham; beef; lamb and mutton; poultry and game; fish and seafood.Regional recipes in the book include the Denby Dale Pie and the Aylesbury Game Pie. There is also a section on ’silly pies’, which references a meaty Wedding Pie, and a ’hand-raised gold leaf game pie’ which, incidentally, costs £1,700 to produce.
Plans to modernise Fletchers’ Claywheels Lane bakery have been approved by Sheffield City Council.However, the plans still hinge on the approval of another planning application. Fletchers Group of Bakeries hopes to sell part of its site in Wadsley Bridge, which is currently being used as a carpark, to Sainsbury’s. This would give the business the injection of cash it needs to push ahead with its improvement plans. Sainsbury’s and Fletchers jointly submitted a planning application for a new Sainsbury’s store, adjacent to the bakery, which is due to be determined at the end of June.MD Stephen Holding said if the planning application for a new Sainsbury’s is turned down, the consented proposals for the bakery would, regretfully, come to nothing. “This investment in our business would enable us to compete more strongly in an increasingly demanding market place. It would also mean that we can protect the jobs of the 350 people who currently work at Claywheels Lane,” he added.>>Sheffield bakery invites into site