Marks & Spencer is boosting its Simply Food top up and takeaway chain, with the £38 million purchase of 28 Iceland stores. The acquisition, is due to complete in March, with stores rebranded by August, giving M&S 171 Simply Food shops.
Rank Hovis (stand J201) will feature a working bakery producing a range of samples throughout the four-day show. A team of bakers will be showcasing the versatility and quality of the company’s branded flours through demonstrations in the open bakery, says the company.These will include mini breakfast bacon rolls made from Granary, White Granary, Best of Both and Hovis Wheatgerm, served from 9.30am to 11am, and complemented with a Rombouts coffee. At lunchtime, the bakery will serve bread fresh from the oven and, in the afternoon, there will be mini cream tea scones, made from the newly formulated Polar scone mix, available between 2pm and 3.30pm. Rank Hovis will exhibit a range of mixes including its latest limited edition mix – Honey and White Chocolate Bliss – as well as information about new limited edition mixes for 2006/07.
Belcolade, the real Belgian chocolate supplied by Puratos, now includes natural vanilla in all of its recipes. Comprising over 200 different compounds, natural vanilla delivers a sweet, fresh flavour that carries to the finished product,” says Matt Crumpton, marketing director of Puratos UK. “Being natural it offers a premium image that’s in step with consumer demand and also permits cleaner label declarations.”
Spicers Bakery in Navan, Co Meath, Ireland, is to move its L’Artisan division to a new bakery at the end of January to meet increased demand.MD John Spicer founded the L’Artisan company three years ago to make and distribute artisan-style bread, confectionery and dessert products for caterers.The new bakery is on the large Mullaghboy industrial estate just outside Navan and will have 650 sq m of production space.L’Artisan currently employs around 25 people and is likely to add to those numbers.About half the staff are non-Irish, including 10 pastry bakers from France – French croissants are a speciality.The firm’s existing bakery in Navan is to be retained for traditional Irish breads.Spicers also has a retail outlet, Cooper’s Fine Foods, in the Navan shopping centre.
n Starbucks’ US chairman and former chief executive, Howard Schultz will immediately replace chief executive Jim Donald. Starbucks said the leadership shuffle is part of a series of initiatives to help improve its performance.n What has been described as Britain’s first Polish supermarket has opened in Sunderland. The Polskie Food Company in Holmeside stocks a wide range of Polish bakery items and breads.n A new website, [http://www.foodanddrinkforum.co.uk], has been launched by The Food & Drink Forum. The aim is to help keep the industry up to date with support, training and development opportunities.n Bakers should consider capitalising on the growing trend for online shopping. Retail specialist, Actinic, found in a survey that respondents reported a 27% rise in the number of customers buying online at Christmas, compared to the same period in 2006. They also reported an increase in internet revenues of 46%.n Northern Foods announced on Friday 11 January, that its acquisition of a soup plant from Baxters Food Group would improve its production footprint in the UK.n Police have been investigating inapropriate, religious graffiti at Pentland Bakery in Herts. Pentland owner Mr Munir said the graffiti referred to Islam in an offensive way.
Greggs chief executive Ken McMeikan has said his top priority is to “simplify the business” in order to better prepare it for expansion. The announcement follows his initial review of the business since he took over in August. The bakery retailer also released its latest trading update, which shows total sales for the 25 weeks to 6 December 2008 are up 6.6%, with like-for-like sales up 3.8%.The company will also continue rebranding its Bakers Oven shops as Greggs, in order to move to a single fascia throughout the UK.McMeikan said he is confident in the business’ potential for future growth across the UK, particularly in the south of England and the north west. “As a cash generative business with no debt we are in a strong position not only to weather the current downturn but also to exploit the opportunities for future growth,” he said. Greggs will also continue its move into locations away from the high street in order to “serve its customers at work and as they travel”.However, he announced that the company will be beginning consultations with employees at its 10 outlets in Belgium, with the intention of withdrawing from the country altogether, as the shops are currently making a loss. “Over the coming year, our priority will be to simplify the business and strengthen its capabilities to ensure that we are ready for accelerated growth and expansion,” said McMeikan. The review also highlighted opportunities for extending the chain’s product range, following the results of customer research.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has approved a six-tier Scores on the Doors hygiene rating scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Under the scheme, the hygiene standards of all food retailers and foodservice operators will be rated from fail to a top-score of five. Scores will be published on the internet and retail bakeries and foodservice operators encouraged to voluntarily display them on the premises. Scotland is to continue with a two-tier system of ‘pass’ or ‘improvement required’ – a scheme that many industry groups should have been rolled out nationally. Thomas Adams, MD of Northampton bakery chain Oliver Adams told British Baker, that he thought a six-tier scheme gave greater for inconsistencies in how businesses are scored. “Each EHO interprets the rules differently. If it were simply pass or fail, there would be less room for inconsistency.”
A week is a long time in cupcakes. Two weeks, an age. Here are our top cupcake trends spotted in the build-up to National Cupcake Week and our UK Cupcake-off competition (deadline 16 July).1. That perennial poser ’coffee and doughnut or coffee and cupcake’ is rendered redundant by the coffee donut cupcake2. Surf bums get their own VW camper van cakes, from La Crème Cupcakes3. An ingenious tear and share World Cup Cake from National Cupcake Week sponsors Renshaw (best replace the England flag…)4. Cupcakes evolve into Cake Pops, by Molly Bakes in Selfridgeswww.nationalcupcakeweek.co.uk
The new government looks set to simplify the planning system and encourage coffee shops to open stores in high streets.Its Coalition Agreement has set out proposals first announced in the Tories’ green paper, Open Source Planning, which includes a pledge to tackle deliberate breaches of planning control and limit the scope for retrospective planning applications.It also suggests amending the Use Classes Order used in planning law to distinguish between eat-in cafés and takeaway shops. This follows numerous cases of coffee shop chains opening new stores with A1 (retail) permission and then applying retrospectively for A3 (café) use (see feature, pg 20).Councils generally try to limit the number of A3 shops within the primary shopping frontage but there is local variation. The government plans to amend the Use Classes Order so that people can freely (without planning permission) change the use of buildings within a range allowed by the local community in its local plan.A spokeswoman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said: “The planning system does not encourage retrospective planning applications, but once they have been submitted, they cannot be ignored. It is for local planning authorities to decide whether to grant consent in the light of all the circumstances.”She said the government did not condone the practice of opening a shop with A1 permission and then applying for A3 retrospectively. “It is clearly unsatisfactory to carry out development without first obtaining the required permission.”
Waitrose is expecting a scramble in the aisles after sending more of its Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding out to stores.The Heston Blumenthal creation has proved such a monster hit that it quickly sold out and has since been fetching exorbitant prices on eBay. Enterpreneurial shoppers have posted dozens of the puddings on the site, with many selling for about £50 in the last two days, although two have fetched £1,000 and many others have sold for hundreds of pounds. On Thursday, there were 178 puddings on the internet sale site.“We’ve made as many as we can, but cannot produce any more because the candied orange takes weeks to candy,” said a Waitrose spokeswoman. The surprise Christmas hit retails at £13.99 each and contains a whole orange inside, which is revealed when the pudding is cut open. The chain has sold “tens of thousands”, according to the spokeswoman, who added: “A few hundred have been sent out to stores. We expect them to sell out straight away – they certainly won’t last until Christmas.”Enterprising home bakers are also offering a recipe for the orange puddings on eBay for 99p.