viewpoint

first_imgT he merger of RHM with Premier Foods (pgs 4,12) will create a massive new food company. It’s early days, but at the moment it looks a great fit with enhanced buying power. What if, perish the thought, milling and baking go a bit pear-shaped? Because they are the sectors feeling the pressure most from increased grain costs on the one hand and supermarket price pressures on the other.Well as milling and baking are going into one division, as expected, it will be easy to retain or, though unlikely, divest.Robert Schofield Premier’s chief executive told me: “Our plans are strong innovation and investment in products.” So it looks like the plant baking ’battle of the brands’ will really hot up in 2007 between Warburtons and Hovis, while Allied’s Kingsmill also has promised to come out fighting.The City reaction to the proposed merger sounds positive and you only have to look at the table on page 12 to see that as a brand Hovis is at the top of the acquisition tree. It fits in comfortably with Robert Schofield’s patriotic quote that “The acquisition brings Premier more great British brands.”For employees, takeovers can be both hugely motivating and deeply unsettling. The city’s leading analyst for bakery and milling, David Lang of Investec, tells us that Premier is likely to to strip distribution and administrative costs from the bakery division. It is also promising to extend the Hovis brand into categories more such as biscuits and cereals.Remember, Robert Schofield was the man who formerly headed up United Biscuits as MD and then joined Premier in 2001. He actually tried to buy UB two months ago and was trumped by private equity firms Blackstone and PAI. But breakfast cereals perhaps under the Hovis brand? That might be an interesting development! So we wish all at RHM well and look forward to tracking their progress.Elsewhere this week British Baker has been busy too. We have launched our own website with the latest news and links (pg 16). And our owners, William Reed, have launched a new ’Baking Industry Exhibition’ to take place in 2008 alongside the popular Convenience Retailing Show, Food & Drink show and Foodex Meatex (pg 4). Around 70,000 people including craft bakers and supermarket buyers attended the shows this year, so it should be a busy new event.last_img read more

Van view

first_imgVW Caddy VanBy David StokesOne has come to expect from VW that every vehicle they produce is a class act. The new Caddy does not disappoint: it’s car-like to drive and has great performance and good visibility. Plus, the excellent asymmetrical rear doors allow the driver to open the larger door with one hand and be able to place a bread tray without having to place it on the ground to open both doors.As standard, there is a sliding side door on the near side, but one on the other side is optional. A no-cost option is to not have glass in the rear doors, so they cannot be smashed to gain entry, keeping the contents safer.The cab and dash are typical VW, with easy-to-read dials, a nice chunky steering wheel and comfortable seats. All switches, levers and knobs are easy to reach, no stretching required. Recesses can house pens, papers and a clipboard.Basic ’on the road’ price £11,379.28 (ex VAT)Engine Type 4 in line dieselCapacity: 1896ccGearbox Transmission 5-speed manualPerformance top speed 103mphFuel consumption combined 55.4 mpgBrake discs all round + Abs, EDB & EBCSteering Power-assistedTurning circle 11.3 metresOverall length 4,405mmOverall width 1,802mmHeight 1,833mmWheelbase 2,682mmInternal height 1,257mmInternal Width 1,558mmMax Roof Load 100kgPayload 724kgFuel tank capacity 60 litreslast_img read more

A beautiful time

first_imgT he French are renowned – or reviled – for having the most relaxed working hours in Europe. But someone must have forgotten to tell the slavishly hardworking Eric Rousseau, baker, patissier and chocolatier at north London’s Belle Époque. He puts the ’work’ into ’work ethic’.”I get up at midnight and I finish at 3.30pm,” he says, with a battle-worn expression. “On a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I’ll start at 10pm the night before and finish around 4-5pm the next day. Sometimes I don’t even sleep on a weekend. I just work through the day and through the night. And people want to work 35-hour weeks in France…”Everything is made by hand on-site, including the 1,300 croissants sold on a Saturday alone. This is one of Belle Époque’s ’calling card’ products, where the price is kept down, along with the baguette, the pain de campagne and the organic bread. Rousseau swears by using French Moul-bie flours and Beurre d’Isigny (butter).holding the french cardSporting a beret and an outrageously thick French accent, Rousseau admits the French card plays a big part in the success of the business, which has gone from two employees to 13, plus a £500,000 turnover, in five years. “But you don’t see French flags outside my shop,” he notes. “At the end of the day, it’s the product that matters.”Set in residential Newington Green, Belle Époque – literally ’beautiful time’ – is part of the Ronde des Pains ’Artisan Boulanger’ group. But Rousseau’s skills are stamped all over the impressive offering. His eponymous cake, Belle Époque, made with 70% cocoa Cuban chocolate, an orange crème brûlée centre using Grand Marnier, Florentines, and decorated with a marble-effect icing, is a best-seller. Croquembouche – French wedding cakes made with choux profiteroles, nougatine, caramel, almonds and blown sugar – are a cash cow in the wedding season.Rousseau learned these skills at a number of Parisian patissiers, including chocolatier Monsieur Valadon, and has since taken the ’travelling baker’ concept to heart, working in Miami, Jamaica, Namibia, South Africa and, for the last eight years, the UK. Following a period as a pastry chef, including a stint at Gallic celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli’s Clerkenwell restaurant, feeling “fed up”, he opened his own bakery.It cost £80,000 to gut the place and rebuild the ex-betting shop. “In France, it would have cost me £200,000,” he says. “It took me two years to find the right site, put my money together and sort out my business plan. In the end, it paid off.”The bakery supplies 40% wholesale to local delis and restaurants and incorporates its own deli plus seating for 150 covers. “It’s not a restaurant, it’s a café-patisserie. We call it salon de thé in France,” he says. Salads du jour, quiches made using seasonal ingredients, and sandwiches on speciality bread, such as a Campaillou sourdough with baby spinach, pears and Brie, are in demand with the mixed local clientele. “From the minute we open the door on a Saturday we have people pouring in. We have not one minute to rest,” he says. The plan is to open a second bakery nearby. nl Visit Belle Époque, 37 Newington Green, London N16 9PRlast_img read more

Atkins diet is back

first_imgThe low-carbohydrate Atkins diet, which encourages followers to virtually give up eating bread, has been relaunched, with a new book outlining a revised version of the diet and a £200,000 campaign in national newspapers promoting Atkins food products.Sales of bread in the UK suffered at the height of the Atkins craze in 2003, when it was estimated that up to three million Brits were following the diet, which advises people to cut carbohydrates and increase protein intake. Interest subsided after health warnings about the diet surfaced in the media, but a new book, entitled New Atkins, New You, aims to revive its popularity by revising the rules of the original Atkins diet to make it more flexible and easier to follow. To coincide with the book, Atkins Nutritionals has launched a £200,000 marketing campaign to promote its range of low-carb products. Adverts have been placed in national newspapers, including The Times, The Daily Mail and The Observer and PR company Tangerine has been hired to promote the range.However, the Flour Advisory Bureau criticised the diet. “The New Atkins diet is an attempt to resuscitate a damaged brand; it would appear that ‘new’ Atkins is very similar to ‘old’ Atkins, with the same requirement to avoid carbohydrate in the initial phase,” said a spokesperson. “Although the new Atkins diet addresses some of the problems associated with the original diet, there is no scientific evidence to support the exclusion of white bread from the diet or to suggest that eating white bread is more likely to be linked with weight problems.” Earlier this year the British Dietetic Association listed the Atkins diet in their top 10 fad diets to avoid.last_img read more

In Short

first_imgGreggs’ relief appealGreggs branches around the country have set up cash collection points for staff and customers to make donations towards the relief effort following the flood disaster in Pakistan, while the firm is also making a £10,000 donation.Cupcake concession Jellytots & Dollymixtures Cupcake Company opened a concession in Selfridges Exchange Square, Manchester and Selfridges Trafford Centre, Manchester, earlier this month. Since opening a year ago, Jellytots has gone from making the basic vanilla cupcake to offering flavours of the month and weekend specials.Best-in adds cakes Best-in, the Bestway cash and carry group’s own-label brand has launched a new range of 15 fancy cakes, including traditional favourites such as Victoria sponge and iced sponge cakes. All the cakes are handmade to traditional Scottish recipes and will be sold in branches of Bestway, Batley and Bellevue.Seasonal showcase Bako North Western is holding a seasonal showcase to help bakers’ festive products stand out. The event, on 22-23 September, at its premises in Preston, Lancashire, aims to give visitors ideas for Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. At least 30 key suppliers will be on hand over the two days, suggesting innovative recipes and holding hands-on product-making demonstrations.Icing championMillie’s Cookies has crowned employee Vicky Pullen as its Creative Cookie Designer of the Year, in the first global Millie’s Cookies’ Ice-Off Championships, held in London on Friday 13 August 2010. The contest was created to recognise the icing skills of its employees.last_img read more

Here’s to the perfect toast

first_imgCarrying out far more worthwhile scientific research is Dr Dom Lane, a consultant food researcher, who has been working on behalf of bread brand Vogel’s to nail down the method of making perfect toast.The results, as reported in The Mail, are in:l take a pale seeded loaf from the fridge at 3C temperaturel set the toaster dial to ’five out of six’ on a typical 900-watt appliance (typically 154C)l It must toast for 3 minutes and 36 secondsl the optimum thickness is 14mml this results in the outside being 12 times crunchier than the middlel the ideal amount of butter is 0.44g per square inchl serve on a plate warmed to 45C to minimise condensation beneath the toast.Dr Lane, who reportedly tested 2,000 slices of toast over one week (hmm, really?), told the paper: “Taking the most popular mid-point toast tone and the complicated maths, we derived the formula for the perfect slice of toast. It’s then relatively straightforward to develop a five-step process, allowing toast-lovers to replicate our laboratory method in their own kitchens.”Yet one vital element missing from the methodology is the infuriating unpredictability of the domestic toaster rarely beholden to any conventional scientific models of thermodynamics.last_img read more

UK pretzel roll-out for Auntie Anne’s

first_imgAuntie Anne’s has opened five new stores in the past two months and is looking to continue its expansion in the UK next year.The international pretzel food-to-go chain now has 18 stores nationwide, with the latest opening in Gateshead, Reading, Cardiff, Basingstoke and Guildford during October and November. Robert Burton, Auntie Anne’s managing director and owner of the Master Franchise in the UK & Ireland, said: “Despite the climate of austerity in the UK, demand for our pretzels remains strong and we see no reason to divert from our ambitious expansion plans. We have some equally ambitious franchisees who are doing a fantastic job creating local jobs, some of which are now multiple franchise owners. “We believe Auntie Anne’s makes the best hand-rolled soft pretzels in the world and this shows in our strong business performance, so 2012 will be a very exciting year for us.”The company’s stores operate in many formats, including kiosks and small shops in shopping centres, as well as outlets in airports and major transportation hubs that it will be looking to target in the New Year.Auntie Anne’s has more than 1,200 stores worldwide in the USA, China, Thailand, Philippines and the Middle East, which make and bake fresh sweet and savoury pretzels. Its worldwide system turnover was around £228m ($356m) in 2010.last_img read more

Elkhart County reports second death; State death toll up to 65

first_imgCoronavirusIndianaLocalNewsSouth Bend Market More than 400 cases have been added to the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Indiana.Indiana’s death toll has also jumped up to 65. Locally, Elkhart County reported a second death on Wednesday, April 1. St. Joseph County had 53 confirmed cases and Elkhart County reported 23.The latest update also puts Marion County and Indianapolis at more than 1,000 cases. A total of 14,375 test results have now been reported.Below is the full release from the ISDH:INDIANAPOLIS —The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) today announced that 409 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories. That brings to 2,565 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s total                                                                              Sixty-five Hoosiers have died to date. Deaths have occurred over multiple days and are reported based on when data are received by ISDH.To date, 14,375 tests have been reported to ISDH, up from 13,373 on Tuesday.Marion County had the most new cases, at 159. Other counties with more than 10 new cases were Hamilton (49), Hendricks (21), Johnson (17) and Lake (25). The complete list of counties with cases is included in the ISDH COVID-19 dashboard at coronavirus.in.gov, which will be updated daily at 10 a.m. Cases are listed by county of residence. Private lab reporting may be delayed and will be reflected in the map and count when results are received at ISDH.The dashboard also has been updated to make corrections based on updated information provided to ISDH.Additional updates on the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak may be provided later today. Google+ Pinterest WhatsApp Google+ Facebook Pinterest Facebook Twitter Elkhart County reports second death; State death toll up to 65 By Carl Stutsman – April 1, 2020 1 436 WhatsApp Twitter Previous articleKroger offering a bonus to employeesNext articleHoly Cross graduation postponed to September Carl Stutsmanlast_img read more

News story: First businesses to benefit from DVSA transport scheme announced

first_imgJohn Lewis, Sainsbury’s and a district council are among 30 organisations to start benefiting from a new way of recognising safe and responsible vehicle operators.DVSA earned recognition for vehicle operators is a new way for organisations with lorries, buses and coaches to prove they meet driver and vehicle standards.They’ll regularly share performance information with DVSA, such as their MOT initial pass rates and if their drivers have broken drivers’ hours rules.In return, their vehicles are less likely to be stopped for roadside inspections. DVSA will still stop vehicles if they’re in an obviously dangerous condition.Targeting those likely to be a danger to your safetyFrom today (31 January 2018), vehicle operators taking part in a pilot of the scheme will no longer have their vehicles routinely stopped at the roadside by DVSA.This will let DVSA target its inspections and roadside checks at drivers and vehicles most likely to be a danger to your safety.Household names, local businesses and a local councilThe 30 private and public sector organisations on the pilot are responsible for over 6,000 lorries, buses or coaches.The organisations include: DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles. This pilot is allowing the best operators to go about their business unhindered, so we can target our activity at those most likely to be a danger to all road users. I would like to thank everyone who has helped us develop the pilot to the point where operators are starting to feel the benefits. Their vehicles will continue to be less likely to be stopped at the roadside for checks.Protecting you from unsafe drivers and vehiclesDVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: They’re all different sizes – the smallest having 2 vehicles, with the largest having more than 3,500 vehicles.Helping responsible businessesThe scheme is being designed to help safe and responsible businesses go about their business unhindered, which will save them time and money.It also means DVSA can spend more time taking unsafe drivers and vehicles off our roads.There’s still time for operators to join the pilotVehicle operators can apply to join the DVSA earned recognition pilot until 28 February 2018. Those applying to join the pilot will get extra help through the application process.All the benefits of the full schemeThe full scheme is expected to launch later in 2018.When it’s launched, vehicle operators who have joined will be able to:center_img British Telecommunications the City of Wakefield metropolitan district council CT Plus – a social enterprise DPD Group John Lewis Sainsbury’s prove they’re an exemplary operator, which can help when they bid for contracts, and raise their profile with potential customers use the DVSA earned recognition marque in their marketing and publicity, showing they’re serious about road safety have their details shown on GOV.UK, so people know they’ve achieved the high standards needed to join the scheme get access to a dedicated DVSA earned recognition team to discuss issues and ideas to help their businesslast_img read more

News story: Vocational and other qualifications quarterly: October to December 2017 statistics

first_imgMain trends for quarter 4 2017 Nearly 1 million certificates were awarded in 2017 Q4, a decrease of 1.6% on the same quarter of 2016. The decline is mostly due to a decrease in the number of certificates in QCF and functional skills. This decrease has been offset by the large increase in the number of certificates in vocationally-related qualifications and occupational qualifications. The general decline in the number of certificates may be caused by a tightening in the availability of funding. This is notable at level 2 qualifications. Some of this decline has been offset by the large increase in the number of certificates in level 3 qualifications. This change could be driven by changes in the performance tables as Applied General qualifications (Level 3) grow in popularity. The decline in the number of certificates in functional skills is likely due to the changes in funding rules by the Education and Skills Funding Agency and revised guidance from the Department for Education that post-16 students who have a grade D or grade 3 in English or maths must now be entered for GCSE resits rather than Functional Skills. In addition, colleges are also incentivised to enter students with grade E for GCSE as they gain more credit for distance travelled by improving a GCSE grade than for functional skills attainment. Large increases in the number of certificates were seen in occupational qualifications (224%) and vocationally-related qualifications (168%). This is likely caused by awarding organisations re-assigning the qualification type of QCF qualifications to occupational qualifications or vocationally-related qualification. Following the closure of the QCF unit bank and introduction of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), Ofqual decided that inclusion of the term ‘QCF’ in qualification titles after 31 December 2017 would be an indicator of non-compliance with Ofqual’s titling rules. As well as amending qualification titles, awarding organisations are therefore likely to be re-assigning the qualification type. A concession to the inclusion of the term ‘QCF’ has been given to Applied General qualifications that have similar titles but differing assessment (pre-existing and newly introduced with 40% assessment) allowing differentiation between them. The sector subject areas with notable increase in the number of certificates were health, public services and care, and construction, planning and the built environment. The sector subject areas with notable decrease in the number of certificates were information and communication technology, and retail and commercial enterprise. The qualification with the highest number of certificates this quarter was ‘QA Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work (RQF)’, followed by ‘TCL Entry Level Certificate in ESOL International – Speaking and Listening (Entry 3)’ and ‘FAA Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work’. Read the whole bulletinlast_img read more