Consumer watch

first_imgWhen it comes to shopping, I prefer to support the independent trader where possible.When I was a kid, you really had a choice of bakers. You were greeted with your name or asked what mum or nan had sent you there for – there was a real sense of community.But with the increase of supermarkets and chain stores, the marketing gurus trick us, the consumer, into thinking we have a choice!A glance in any supermarket will quickly reveal that one brand of tea bags is made by the same company as another leading brand or baked beans, soap powder, and so on.So I like to go into my local bakery and buy convenient goods – for example on my lunch break. I tend to go for prawn or smoked salmon in brown bread or a white roll with cheese pickle, tomato or onion.My first choice of hot savoury has got to be a Cornish pasty, but sometimes I go for sausage rolls; it is just based on how they look or what mood I’m in.I tend to buy fresh crusty rolls when we have soup or stew and supermarket, wrapped, sliced bread for toast or sandwiches.When it comes to cakes, the Danish pastry is probably my favourite of all, but I’ve not had good one in years. It seems as if they are mostly made in a factory type environment and lack freshness. I also like muffins – especially blueberry muffins – custard tarts and Bakewell tarts, and it would be great if bakers sold apple pie with custard or ice cream.Wayne Wheeler, Crawley, West Sussexlast_img read more

Slowdown for Starbucks as 600 stores are closed

first_imgStarbucks has reported a net loss of $6.7m (£3.4m) in the three months to the end of June, compared to a $158.3m (£79.9m) third-quarter profit last year, against a background of store closures and plans to cut 1,000 office jobs in the US.Total revenue rose by 9% to $2.6bn (£1.3bn), compared with $2.4bn (£1.2bn) for the third quarter of 2007. Its “lower-than-expected revenue growth” reflected a deterioration in the US, which contributed 76% of total net revenue.Meanwhile, international revenue grew by $103.6m (£52.3m) – 2% – to $535.6m. (£270.4m). But a company statement said: “International revenue growth was dampened somewhat by a slight decline in traffic in the UK, along with slower sales momentum in Canada.”The company has announced the closure of 600 “underperforming” stores in the US and 61 of its 84 outlets in Australia. Restructuring charges connected to the US closures amounted to $167.7m. (£84.7m)Howard Schultz, chairman, president and chief executive, said: “The store closures and organisational restructuring… resulted from rigorous evaluations of the entire business.”—-=== Consumer Tracking ===== Shopping habits ==Despite increasing fears of a recession, new research suggests a significant percentage of consumers say they will spend more on food and drink from specialist or local retailers. A poll conducted by GfK NOP on behalf of retail consultancy him! revealed that, of 1,000 adults asked, 19% expected to spend more in this area and 16% would spend less.According to the survey, 84% of the population were concerned the country would enter a recession, compared with 57% in March this year. It also showed that 27% of adults would spend less on food and drink from fast food outlets, with only 6% prepared to spend more.One trend in particular is the increasing number of people who said they would be spending more in discount supermarkets, such as Aldi and Lidl. Only 14% said they would spend more in March 2008, which rose to 22% in June.The findings of the poll also suggested consumers would be cutting down on restaurant meals, although the figures showed that they wouldn’t necessarily switch to take-away options, but would instead buy more food from supermarkets.last_img read more

Finsburys’ profit is hit hard

first_imgFinsbury Foods’ profit has taken a severe hit, with adjusted pre-tax profit down 45% to £1.8m for the six months to 31 December 2008. Pre-tax profit stood at £0.2m compared to £1.6m in 2008, despite increasing sales in its bread and free-from divisions.The cakes, breads and morning goods manufacturer saw revenue rise by 11% to £92.1m. But “significantly increased” investment in promotional support for customers and consumers as well as additional investment in the integration of its cake division have impacted profits. The company’s cake division experienced a 4% rise in sales on last year’s figures, and its breads and free-from divisions saw like-for-like sales up 16% and 23% respectively. Martin Lightbody, chief executive, said: “It is encouraging to see sales have remained resilient, despite the recessionary environment. We have focused our investment on further integration of our businesses and improving our facilities.”The firm also saw extra distribution and utility costs of £1.2m over the period.According to the statement released it had been an “extremely challenging period for Finsbury”, however Finsbury said trading for the first eight weeks from January has been in line with expectations. “Over these eight weeks, sales have increased by 4% in our Cake division, by 14% in our Free From businesses and by 6% in our Bread business.”last_img read more

Crazy option for Christmas

first_imgCrazy Bags, distributor and stockist of promotional bags in the UK, is adding a laminate canvas shopping bag to its range in time for the Christmas season, and says bakers can use them as a great promotional platform.Andy Steavenson, director for Crazy Bags, says they are a way of generating great brand awareness. The bags are available in natural canvas or black and can be printed with a shop’s logo or other designs.The 10oz smooth-finish laminate bag is tough and durable and offers an alternative to the more common Jute bag, while retaining environmental credentials. The bags also have the option of a soft-feel loop, rope or canvas handles.last_img

Allied faces potential redundancies

first_imgAllied Bakeries could make up to 40 workers redundant at its Liverpool site after failing to boost its morning goods business.The firm is looking to restructure the bakery, which makes crumpets and pancakes, by the end of October, following a strategic review of UK operations. Back in March, workers feared for their jobs after Tesco reduced its business with the firm.Allied has started a consultation with its 144 employees, which it said could result in about 40 redundancies.The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union is in talks with Allied although regional officer Roy Streeter said it was not particularly hopeful that it could reduce the number of job losses.Tim Bright, site manager for the Liverpool bakery, said that while Allied’s snacks business was growing, projected volumes were not sufficient to prevent it from having to restructure the operation.last_img read more

In my world

first_imgFond as I am of jaunty ribbon, there’s only one kind I want to see in my business the blue stuff, prettily embossed with our Judges Bakery logo, rather than the giant rolls of red tape, which everyone from the local council to Brussels via the Food Standards Agency (FSA) wants to macramé around us, making trading ever more challenging.Because now, we’re told, the ’food police’ aka the FSA want to limit the amount of salt and saturated fat in foods (including bread): yet more ways to make it harder for us to do what we do, in an already challenging trading climate. I don’t know if you’ve tried salt-free bread lately, but on the incredibly rare occasion our bakers have accidentally produced a batch without this vital ingredient, a) it doesn’t rise properly and b) you wouldn’t want to eat it anyway, because it’s basically tasteless. In addition, except in the case of some people with high blood pressure, there’s no evidence that salt is harmful; indeed, sodium allows the body to take in fresh fluids, eliminate fluid waste and stay in balance, maintaining blood pressure, avoiding dehydration and keeping the kidneys healthy.When it comes to fat, I have more mixed feelings being against the use of hydrogenated fats (which contain trans-fats, with their negative implications for health) and worried about the environmental impact of trade in palm oil, which is the practical alternative ingredient. We get around this at Judges by using a small amount of organic palm fat, which must to comply with organic regulation come from sustainable plantations, rather than rainforest areas that have been destroyed in favour of a palm monoculture. But at the end of the day, I’m against a ’nanny state’ that imposes yet more rules on the people. My own theory is that it’s all a clever distraction from the disastrous way the government handles the big stuff such as the economy and wars, or the spread of MRSA in hospitals, which kills more people than a little extra salt or even hydrogenated fat ever will.It’s unlikely that the FSA guidelines will become mandatory. But if they do, we’ll all have to reformulate our recipes, to comply with all of the extra man hours and expense that entails. Just as we’re all forced to splash out on ’Spills’ signs and don’t-trip-over-the-step yellow-and-black tape and super-sensitive thermometers to take the temperature of our chiller cabinets in order to tick an EHO box three times a day. There surely cannot be an employer in the UK who hasn’t sworn at the layer upon layer of red tape we already have to comply with, muttering under their breath while perusing a 600-page Seton Health & Safety catalogue of equipment full of ludicrously expensive ’Danger’ placards, stickers, protective clothing and illuminated signs.So, am I the only one who sees red about all the extra tape that we’re faced with, when all we want to do is bake good bread just like bakers have been doing for millennia long before anyone had invented the word bureaucracy?last_img read more

Hovis to drive white bread as sales surge

first_imgPremier Foods has announced strong growth for Hovis’ branded bakery, and plans to push for further sales of white bread.In the firm’s preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2009, it announced that branded bakery sales for Hovis grew by 13.5% to £370m, though it explained the increase in volume sales was partly offset by pricing with the proportion of bread sold on promotion higher than in 2008.Retailer brand bakery fell by 15.6% to £179m, but Premier noted that the loss in non-branded sales was “more than offset” by increased volumes of branded bread. Regarding future opportunities, Premier said growth was still available from “expanding in segments of the market in which Hovis is under-represented, such as white bread”.Total bakery sales in the Hovis division were up 2% to £549m. Milling sales fell by 16.8% to £193m, as raw material costs had a significant effect, according to the firm. This resulted in a fall in total sales for Hovis of 3.6% to £742m. However, trading profit for the division was up 75% from £24m in 2008 to £42m in 2009.last_img read more

Funded Irish bakery folds

first_imgA Belfast bakery has closed down less than two years after moving to a new 16,000sq ft factory, which was part-funded with government money.Co Antrim-based Miller’s Bakery, which supplied retailers with speciality breads, was forced to close earlier this month with the loss of 42 jobs. In a statement, owners Anne and Martin Millar blamed the failure on “difficult trading conditions”.The company, which made hand-griddled soda farls, crusty Belfast baps and focaccia, moved to purpose-built premises in 2008 with almost £240,000 of support from Invest NI. Around £180,000 of this had been paid to the firm.last_img

Greggs set to roll out delivery software

first_imgGreggs will roll out transportation routing software throughout the UK following a successful trial at its Manchester depot.Paragon’s software will help the national bakery chain to optimise its delivery routes and logistics throughout the UK. This will be achieved by producing realistic routes for drivers, in addition to informing stores of arrival times and the products being delivered.Paul Duggan, national logistics project manager for Greggs, said: “The annual savings clearly show that by using the routing software to produce the best routes and to improve vehicle use, we can make reductions in certain operational costs while doing more with existing resources – and without stretching them.“Logistics is an important part of our business, as we must be able to deliver fresh products to each store on time to keep our customers happy. Therefore, efficient deliveries help us to be successful retailers too. The software allows us to use a temperature-controlled delivery concept that we call shop windows.”Greggs has implemented its shop window delivery scheme to three of its depots, with plans to implement it nationwide by the end of summer 2012.The company now has more than 1,540 UK shops throughout the UK, with 10 regional bakeries and plans to open over 500 new shops in the coming years.last_img read more

Coronavirus sickens Indiana mayor’s wife, kills her mother

first_img Pinterest Google+ Coronavirus sickens Indiana mayor’s wife, kills her mother WhatsApp Pinterest Facebook This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Dozens of research groups around the world are racing to create a vaccine as COVID-19 cases continue to grow. (NIAID-RML via AP) BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — The wife of a southern Indiana mayor has been hospitalized for more than a week with a coronavirus infection and her mother died last week from the illness.Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton’s wife, Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen, wrote in a Facebook post Monday that she was in her ninth day in the hospital and was hopeful of returning home soon.Johnsen wrote that her 79-year-old mother died Thursday in the Philadelphia area, where she became ill with COVID-19 while visiting another relative.The mayor’s office says test results Monday showed Hamilton doesn’t have a coronavirus infection. Facebook Twitter CoronavirusIndianaLocalNews Google+ Twitter By Associated Press – April 20, 2020 0 349 WhatsApp Previous articleSchererville man charged in the death of girlfriend’s son, 5Next articleGovernor Holcomb officially extends Stay-At-Home order Associated PressNews from the Associated Press and its network of reporters and publications.last_img read more