Name: BOB BUCKCompany: FWP MATTHEWS Job title: TECHNICAL SALES MANAGER Location: BEDFORD6amI’m naturally an early riser. I got into the habit as a 17-year-old school leaver when I first joined the baking industry. At 6am the alarm goes off, but I’m usually up already. I catch up on the news, have my first nicotine hit of the day and make sure I know the traffic news, as I’m out on the road pretty much all day. Breakfast is a strong coffee and scrambled eggs with a hand-baked baguette. The bread is the healthiest part of my morning! 6.50amI’m in the car and starting the first journey of the day from my home in Bedford with my new best friend, the Road Angel, which is a satellite navigation system that also tells me when I’m near a speed camera. Mid-mornings are always the best time to visit bakeries due to bakers’ early morning schedules. I cover the whole range of customers, from small retail bakers to large manufacturers, and I aim to have at least five appointments a day. Sometimes I’ll drive past a baker I’ve never come across, pull over, drop in a card and a brochure and get talking.I was in Newcastle earlier this week and opened a new account that way with someone interested in our imported French flours. It’s funny, but I’ve never had a situation where someone has said “not interested” – not once. In my experience bakers will usually give you time and, if they can’t, they’re happy to make a future appointment. 10amI’m visiting Earl’s Court Olympia in London for the Organic Products Europe exhibition, which is held every year, and where we are exhibiting our flours. Around 60% of our business is organic, so the show gives us a good opportunity to make new contacts with manufacturers that are interested in moving into organic production.10.40am I get a wonderful lead from one visitor – a muffins and cakes manufacturer, which supplies the multiples, based in London. He is looking for an organic muffin mix – something that is, as far I know, not yet available on the market. We are seeing demand for organic flours grow and there are definitely untapped niches in organic morning goods, cakes and muffins. I arrange a meeting again to discuss how to take this forwards, and start thinking about sourcing organic ingredients suppliers to develop the idea.12pm After my visits, I have lunch. Mostly I am lucky to be able to taste the bakeries’ wares; otherwise I have to get my wallet out! Like most people, I watched the calories after Christmas, but this was not helped by having to sample the wonderful products in the bakeries I visit. I have a soft spot for croissants, made with flour from French miller Moul-bie, which we supply. Moul-bie’s speciality French flours produce breads and pastries that even a Frenchman would die for! 1pm My afternoons pretty much follow the same pattern each day, unless I’m in our Cotswold office in Chipping Norton. Normally, I pop into the office once a week, although I’ve got my laptop up and running now – yeehah, at last! So it’s likely to be once or twice a month from now on. As bakers tend to work nights and early mornings, I spend afternoons making appointments for the following weeks. I also drop in to see potential customers or visit existing ones to see how they’re getting on. I’m fortunate as I’m an experienced baker myself, so I can help with any technical questions. 2pmI make a few calls to remind customers of the range of conventional, organic, French and Danish flours that FWP Matthews supplies. I like to be able to deliver the odd bag of flour, if a customer has a special requirement, and the afternoons are the best time to drop anything off.3pmThis is a good time to spot any retail opportunities for pre-packed flour. In the spring, we launched a new 7.5kg pack size for our Cotswold flours for breadmakers, so I need to make sure all customers know about this. While driving between customers, I’m reminded of the people back in the office. They tease me about my car and my Nigel Mansell tendencies (hence the Road Angel). My car has lots of fancy extras, including Bluetooth, but I must admit to being a bit of a technophobe. Now I’m used to it, the laptop is great and I keep all my contacts as well their notes on it. I’m even getting into sending emails!4.30pmTowards the end of the afternoon I have time to discuss other opportunities, such as bakery demonstration days and any free technical visits required to bakeries from the Moul-bie team of expert bakers. The French side of our business is on the up. It offers something different to the independent baker and something to fight back with on the high street. People go to France, they sample the authentic breads from a boulangerie, and they’re delighted if they can find those breads in a British bakery when they come back home. It’s something the supermarkets don’t do and speciality French breads offer good margins too.6pmAfter a busy day, I get back home to Bedford, update the database and reply to my emails. As it’s a family-run business, Paul and Graham Matthews like to have a daily report to keep them up to date on everything I’ve done that day. I also use this time to research new areas and customers, for which I’m a fan of Google and Yell.8pmAs well as baking, I enjoy all aspects of cookery and often entertain in the evenings. I’m a flight simulator addict and can spend a few hours on the computer recreating my childhood fantasy of being a pilot. Although I love the food industry, flying is a passion of mine and, on the longer summer evenings, I book flying lessons. I have busy days but I’m also going to squeeze in some extra gym sessions as the nature of my job means I’m sitting (and eating) for a lot of the day.11pmAfter catching up with friends and family, I turn in, ready for another early start.
Confectionery company Thorntons said sales for the 52 weeks to 24 June 2006 were down 5.9% to £176.6m compared with £187.7m last year, in a trading update this week.Retail sales were down by 5.3% to £127m after the closure of two stores and like-for-like sales for the full year were down by 3.7%, it said. The group, which has 30 coffee shops and sells to supermarkets, said commercial sales into other retailers decreased by 10.7% to £31.2m in 2005/06. Thorntons’ chairman John von Spreckelsen said of the figures: “Thorntons sells excellent chocolates and ice cream. We need to focus on convincing more customers to buy these quality products.”Thorntons will report its results for the year on 12 September.
Kluman & Balter (Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire) has launched a range of speciality bread mixes, which include dark rye, light rye, sunflower and cereal grain breads, as well as continental styles such as a Pia Do mix for tomato bread and a ciabatta mix. The Kaybee range uses bread dressings from caraway to sunflower, sesame and blue poppy seeds.The firm also reports an increase in demand for its ethnic breads, tortillas and wraps, as well as wholegrain breads packed with nuts and seeds. “At Kluman & Balter we aim to make sure the bakers won’t be left behind when the demand shifts from sweet honey and sunflower seed bread to savoury olive ciabatta or any other recent fad,” says MD Danny Kluman.Kaybee also offers bread plant ingredients from divider oil to all-vegetable bread fat, plus a range of seeds and dressings.
Barry Callebaut has reported a 5.3% increase in full-year opera-ting profit to 31 August 2008 and said it had continued to see good growth in the first two months of the current fiscal year. Profit rose to SFr341.1m (£184.7m), as sales increased by 17.3% to SFr4.8bn (£2.6bn).According to the company, sales growth was “mostly due to higher volumes and higher raw material prices”. Chief executive Patrick De Maeseneire said he was “satisfied” with the growth, which was in line with expectations. “These achievements, especially in the face of a challenging market environment, underline the effectiveness of our growth strategy,” he said.
Northern Foods’ bakery division has seen solid seasonal demand over Christmas, according to its interim statement for the 13 weeks ended 27 December 2008. Underlying revenue was up 1.9%, with average prices increasing by 2%. Its Fox’s brand is still benefiting from the ‘Vinnie’ advertising campaign and the firm also noted a good performance for its own-label and Matthew Walker puddings. The third quarter also saw the launch of the firm’s branded ‘Scrummie’ range of puddings. In bakery, year to date underlying revenue grew by 4.6%.Within its chilled division, Northern Foods has responded to the current financial climate with new value ranges, including chilled pizza, value sandwiches and salads launched during the third quarter. Underlying revenue rose 5.3%.Stefan Barden, Chief Executive of Northern Foods, said: “Our key Christmas trading period has been delivered effectively and we continue to respond to the recessionary environment with new value ranges alongside our traditional premium products.”Group underlying sales for the third quarter rose 3%.
Walkers has become the first food company to retain its Carbon Reduction label, after reducing its carbon footprint by 7%. The snacks brand was also the first to display the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label in March 2007 when it committed to cut its carbon footprint by 3% by 2009. Companies have to reapply for the label after two years. Walkers has introduced a number of energy-saving schemes which helped save 4,800 tonnes of CO2 emissions including: new high efficiency gas burners and low energy lighting; light-weighting packaging; switching to 100% British potatoes to lower food miles; and running delivery trucks on biodiesel containing 5% used cooking oil. This has saved Walkers more than £400,000 over the past two years, which it reinvested in future energy-saving projects. Last year, Mey Selections also signed up to pilot the scheme and now the Highlands-based producer, which makes oatcakes and shortcake, is working to reduce its carbon footprint. Initially, Mey Selections’ Luxury All Butter Shortbread, Heather Honey and Blossom Honey will feature the new label on-pack.
Leeds-based firm Bagel Nash is expanding its wholesale range after a successful trial of a number of new products in its retail outlets.The company, which produces 36 different varieties of bagels, has branched out into the sweet baked goods market with a new range of muffins and chocolate brownies.It has trialled the products, which were on show at IFE09, in its 12 retail shops and is now rolling them out in its wholesale business. The company has also been working on additional products within its bagel melts range, which currently includes cheese, tomato, jalapeno and olives, for example, and is offering them in mini versions as well as a standard size, said bakery and technical manager, Laurie King. He added that the business is also looking at the possibility of canape bagels.The new muffin range includes: wild blueberry, cranberry & white chocolate, double chocolate and yoghurt & mixed seed, which are available in catering or retail packs.
According to Key Note’s latest Bread & Bakery Products report, household expenditure on bread is expected to see a steady rise from 2009 to 2013.In 2008, consumer expenditure grew by 6.2%, to £3.8bn, and with the population expected to hit 63 million by 2012, by definition more people will be buying bread.Currently, 99% of the population rate it as a staple item in their shopping basket and Key Note expects total household expenditure on bread and bakery products to rise by 5% this year. Thereafter, it expects the amount to rise at a slower rate, with total expenditure hitting the £4.59bn mark in 2013 – a 2.9% increase that year.Looking to future trends, Key Note predicts the potential impact of the Food Standards Agency’s proposed salt reduction targets. “Plant bakers are likely to be faced with the need to invest in new machinery to cope with the stickier doughs that will result from the salt reduction,” reads the report.In terms of other issues the industry may face, in addition to the rising skills gap, the weak pound is likely to result in more Eastern European bakers returning home. “The situation is likely to get worse in 2011, when Germany relaxes its immigration laws and is expected to attract more Polish workers.”The Key Note report, published in March this year, covers all breads and bakery products, such as rolls, and scones, but does not include cakes and pastries.l Key Note is offering readers of British Baker the chance to purchase the report, normally priced at £460, at a special discount price of £368 – 20% off. Call Key Note on 020 8481 8750, or email [email protected], quoting British Baker Offer.—-=== Forecast: UK household expenditure on bread and bakery products at current prices (£m), 2009-2013 ===2009 2010 2011 2012 2013Expenditure (£m) 3,991 4,162 4,329 4,459 4,588% change year-on-year 5.0 4.3 4.0 3.0 2.9Source: Key Note
McCambridge has sold off five bakeries in its ’niche’ division to D&G Food Group – a company newly created by former Roberts Bakery chairman Graham March.The five bakeries, which were acquired when Irish bakery group McCambridge bought cake firm Inter Link from administration in 2007, make breads, cakes, pies and pasties for retail and foodservice markets. They are: Aldreds the Baker (Ilkeston, Derbyshire); Queen of Hearts (Oxford); Husseys (Thatcham, Berkshire); Tredinnick Fine Foods (Newton Abbott, Devon); and West of England Bakeries (Plympton, Devon). “The decision to sell the companies is part of our strategy to dispose of non-core businesses,” said McCambridge’s director of finance and strategy Mark Devine.McCambridge was recently restructured into four divisions: own-label, Ireland, Soreen and niche. The sale of the five bake-ries leaves the niche division with a bakery in Poland and Creative Cakes in Salisbury.D&G managing director Graham March has set up the company with operations director David Fearnley-Brown. March told British Baker that he planned to close the Husseys bakery, while Queen of Hearts, Aldreds and Tredinnick would be turned into “centres of excellence” for cakes, breads, and pies and pasties, respectively. West of England Bakeries would operate as a standalone business. The five bakeries employ around 250 workers, with 40 at the Husseys site.”The greater focus that can be achieved within a smaller group will bring benefits to all,” he said.l In other news, the Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union said that, following consultation, McCambridge would close its Thornton Road bakery in Bradford on 17 June, with the loss of around 85 jobs, while 35 employees will transfer to its nearby City Road site.
Baking cases producer Chevler has installed a specially designed reel-fed machine capable of producing over 250,000 muffin and cupcake cases an hour.It forms part of an on-going investment programme for the recently formed South Wales-based firm, enabling it to cope with increased demand from bakers and food manufacturers. Managing director Stuart Whelan commented: “It has taken three years to develop during which time we have continuously improved every aspect of our production process.” He added that developing bespoke machinery was vital to meet its customers’ demand for new products.Chevler was formed in February this year after a management buy-out by four senior executives of Chevler Packaging, who consolidated all operations onto a single site in South Wales, and established a new production facility next to the existing plant.* Chevler is a sponsor of National Cupcake Week and a sample pack of the company’s coloured cupcake range is available free to all bakers. Call 01844 344231 for details.