RHM is a leading UK food manufacturer, with annual sales of over £1.5bn and over 15,000 employees at approximately 50 locations in the UK and France.For the year ended 29 April 2006, RHM reported sales of £1,559m and profit of £174m.The RHM Group is organised into four divisions:1. Bread Bakeries operates principally in the wrapped bread market, under brands such as Hovis, Granary, Mother’s Pride and Nimble. It has 15 bakeries and 11 mills, which supply around one third of the UK’s bread, delivering to 9,000 supermarkets and independents. It makes over 850 other varieties of goods, including crumpets, croissants and muffins. For the year ended 29 April 2006, the division reported sales of £786m and profit of £81.4m.2. Cakes division, the largest manufacturer of cakes by sales for UK and Irish markets. RHM’s cakes are sold under the Mr Kipling, Cadbury’s and Lyons brands. For the year ended 29 April 2006, the division reported sales of £241m and profit of £13.7m.3. Culinary Brands, such as Bisto, Paxo, Sharwoods, Saxa, McDougalls and Robertson’s. For the year ended 29 April 2006, the division reported sales of £271m and profit of £69.4m.4. The Customer Partnerships division maintains strategic partnerships with large customers requiring a bespoke service, including Marks & Spencer and Pizza Hut. It also operates specialist distribution businesses that supply a selected range of RHM’s products into the Irish markets and frozen products to the UK supermarket chains. For the year ended 29 April 2006, the division reported sales of £262m and profit of £29.4.Source: Investegate
A British Bakeries survey has found that more than 10.5 million crusts, weighing 209 tonnes, are thrown away each day in the UK.The findings show that a typical family household throws away the crusts from two slices of bread every day, with one in five (22%) throwing away the crusts from four slices daily, it says.Those polled had school-aged children and more than half of those questioned admitted that members of their family do not eat their crusts. Of the non-crust-eaters, 90% were children under the age of 16.Fussiness was the main reason children did not eat their crusts (46%). Some 42% of respondents used unwanted crusts to feed local birds and ducks.
We wish to make it clear that in the report in our issue of 4th Aprilabout the use by Hollands Craft Bakery of flour from Poland we did notmean to suggest that this flour was in any way inferior in quality tothat produced by UK mills and regret any inference to the contrary.
Well, what a year 2008 has been. Shops up and down the high street have been, and are being, shaken and shaken. If the high street were a tree, then you could say that the dead branches have broken off, the leaves have long blown away and as for the fruit and blossom… are we done pruning?Who will take the time to look and plan ahead and hold expectations up against business plans and strategies when things are changing so fast? I favour sowing the seeds of 100 ideas, using the quieter months of January and February to embrace those that appear to hold the best promise, then nurturing and watering the ones that bud, sticking with them until they blossom.For me, three of those 100 seeds are:1. Giving our confectionery department a seasonal vitamin shot in the butt. Having exposed the limitations of the centralised model of supplying a range of products to each shop, from now on, each of my shops will have a patissier/confectioner working in-house to meet the needs of that particular shop. This, I hope, will encourage creativity, give better work satisfaction by seeing the products made on-site being displayed and enjoyed, engender a better atmosphere for the shop with more productive activity, fresh baking smells, and further enhance the shops’ individual and unique selling points.2. Open a new bread shop. The flavour will be distinctly Old School Neighbourhood Bakery. Who wants to join the proliferation of coffee/café chains when decent bread, cakes and filled rolls are safe and so very post-credit-crunch? Think wholesome, filling and affordable bread with occasional handmade confectionery treats! I will be looking to present the lot in a fresh way, aiming to provide an enjoyable and informative environment in which to work and shop, backed up with modern systems, hot bread and shiny cakeage, to ensure irresistible quality throughout.3. As craft bakers we must now pick up the baton from the Hairy Bakers, Andrew Whitley and Dan Lepard et al, by communicating the differences in our breads, processes and ethics to our customers, so that we establish, beyond refute, that we belong to the solutions and the revalued spending patterns of the post-credit-crunch, timid and savvy consumer.And if we can learn anything from bakery newcomers Wallace & Gromit – whose latest adventure saw them tossing a too-soft loaf helplessly into the spokes of a bike hurtling towards a zoo’s crocodile pit – it is the need to get the bread right. As Wallace said: “We should have used the Granary!”[email protected]
Bakeries that employ migrant workers are beginning to plug employment gaps by recruiting closer to home, with one employment agency seeing a “dramatic drop” in the number of Eastern European bakers on its books.Fewer Eastern Europeans are registering to work in the UK, acccording to Home Office data; in the three months to December last year 29,000 people applied – down from 53,000 during the same period in 2007.Joanna Ozimek of job agency Employment Choice, which places bakery staff, said: “It’s definitely more difficult to source these people, who have experience and who speak English.”However, London craft bakery Flourish, which employs 80% Eastern European workers, said the recession meant recruitment was less of an issue. Operations manager Shuk Ng added: “There seems to be a lot of bakers out there looking for work, from all sorts of countries.”Fosters Bakery in Barnsley, whose workforce consists of 20% Eastern Europeans, is aiming to recruit local workers before immigration laws relax across Europe in 2011, when more migrants may choose to work in other countries such as Germany. Operations director Michael Taylor said: “We’ve got quite a stable workforce and some of our Eastern European workers are in managerial positions. However, we do recognise that we need to recruit locally and are focusing on this as well as upskilling our workforce and apprenticeship schemes.”Food and drink sector skills council Improve had hit out at the government’s decision to extend the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) to 2011 for Eastern Europeans entering the country to work. Chief executive Jack Matthews said the decision demonstrated a lack of empathy with food and drink companies including bakers, which rely on permanent and seasonal overseas labour.Under the WRS, migrants from Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Hungary must pay £90 and submit their passports before being allowed to work in the UK. However, Ozimek at Employment Choice said: “Extending the WRS scheme isn’t an issue, as it’s just like getting a driver’s licence and is not an obstacle to getting work.”
Bakers from up and down the land flocked to Manchester for Bakers’ Fair, to glean some crucial tips in readiness for the run-up to Christmas. Machinery, ingredients, drinks, packaging and software systems suppliers were on hand to offer advice on the latest developments in the trade, while a line-up of industry experts took to the stage.Surviving the tough timesMike Holling, commercial director of bakery chain Birds of Derby, shared his insights with a crowd of onlookers on how to survive a recession on the high street. He said that despite the current climate being the most difficult he’s ever experienced, “there will always be a market to sell quality products”.A rethink on marketing, from placing products to best effect to image rebranding, is the first step to recognising your strengths and weaknesses, he said. “You should assess your business from your customers’ eyes,” he added. “Look for what you’re doing right as well as wrong. Make sure your shop’s external appearance is in good order this is the first impression your customer will see. “Do the contents of your window display catch your customers’ eyes?” he asked. “Are you fully utilising the space available? Are you portraying a bright, clean environment? And if you’re using point-of-sale, is it up to date? Identify your USPs and make sure your customers know them.”Holling also urged visitors to get involved with campaigns such as National Craft Bakers’ Week and National Cupcake Week.Paul Jenkinson, MD of Yorkshire Hemp, spoke of the many uses of hemp, which is rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9 and is high in protein, vitamin E, minerals and fibre. The seeds can be compressed to make an oil. Once the seeds are pressed, you’re left with a cake that can be used for many things such as hemp flour and gives a slightly nutty flavour. Shelled hempseeds could be used in flapjacks, muffins and salads, and the ingredient currently features in a spelt and hemp Ryvita. Hemp is an environmentally friendly product as it doesn’t need pesticides and fertilisers to be produced. Jenkinson added that, on price terms, it would be comparable to adding nuts to bakery.The National Association of Master Bakers’ (NAMB) salt specialist Anthony Kindred told visitors that current results from samples taken by Trading Standards on behalf of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) showed there was a wide variation in salt levels among craft bakers. The NAMB is now trialling recipes with bakers and is able to declare that 2012 targets are achievable. It is also undertaking a project with the FSA that will help bakers undertstand how much salt is in their bread.Current recipes use about 2% salt, and work out at around 1.4g per 100g baked loaf, so Kindred said bakers would have to revise their recipes to achieve FSA targets of 1.1g. “The best way to make changes without losing sales is by gradual change,” he advised, recommending a period of six months for bakers to reduce salt in bread, with a gradual reduction every two months. Other flavours, such as malt or olive oil, could be used to improve the flavour, he added.”Lower salt levels mean the yeast works faster. Cut salt and, after adding an improver, it’s ready even quicker and will go off quicker, especially in the summer months. If so, you could cut improvers to 0.5%.”Jane Tyler, MD of RedBlack Software, which was launching version 3 of its CyBake software, said it could help bakers keep control of credit during these tough trading times. “Everybody knows that cash is king, and cash is moving very slowly around the system at the moment it’s a pain for everybody,” she said. “Any system you’ve got should be helping you manage your cash and credit control. Our system has tools to reprint an invoice very quickly and send it via email. We’ve also included reminders if a cheque doesn’t arrive on the promised date. There is a full credit control function, so that you can see all invoices that are due or overdue. You can see any conversations you’ve had with suppliers. It’s all about helping you with that very important job of getting cash in.”Meanwhile, around the show, Elaine Hamey and Lisa Smith of Peter Herd of Wilmslow wowed the gathering visitors by winning the President’s Challenge Cup after being challenged on the day to make a circus-themed celebration cake as part of the Richemont Club competitions. And the Best in Show accolade went to Richard Griffiths of Glovers Bakery for his outstanding Multigrain Cob.
After supplying pies to Everton Football Club for several years, Clayton Park Bakery has cornered the football pie market in Merseyside, signing a contract to supply Liverpool Football Club.The Lancashire-based firm will supply Anfield with a wide range of products for both hospitality and concourse catering. The concourse pie range includes potato and meat; steak; and ‘scouse’ pie, which is made with lamb, potato and vegetables. The hospitality range includes unusual options such as the breakfast pie, made with gammon, sausage and beans, and a potato, meat and mushy pea pie. The company is also working with Liverpool’s head chef to develop mini pies and an exclusive Liverpool FC pie. “Football clubs account for around 15% of sales,” said MD Barry Thomas. “It’s a good market to be involved in because of the prestige and exposure for the company.” Clayton Park supplies pies to football clubs in all four English leagues in the north west, including Oldham Athletic, Rochdale, Preston North End and Accring-ton Stanley. It also supplies Lancashire County Cricket Club, Spar and Booths supermarkets.
Strong sandwich sales and consumer demand for meal deals has helped Greencore to raise its operating profit by 31.8% to E25.9m (£22m) for the half year ended 26 March 2010.Food to Go, its largest category business within its Convenience Foods division, has seen strong year-on-year sales as consumers “return to the food to go fixture”, with ’meal deals’ of increased importance, said the firm in its interim results statement. Its sandwich volumes grew ahead of the market, up 7.4% for the 52 weeks to 21 March, compared to a total market increase of 6.4%.The firm said its Cakes & Desserts business had a satisfactory first half in a difficult environment. “The market has been driven significantly by promotional activity which, although driving sales growth, has affected margins,” said Greencore, adding that consumers have generally been trading down in the category and reducing the purchase frequency of premium lines.Consultations regarding 100 potential job losses at Greencore Cakes & Desserts’ Hull plant are still in progress, following the loss of a major contract announced earlier this year.Its Foodservice Desserts business, Ministry of Cake, achieved a solid first-half performance in a market that has been flat year-on-year, with the Christmas period providing a sales boost.Group sales, from continuing operations, rose 2.1% to E434.5m, (£368.8m) with operating profit up 43% to E27. (£23.5m).
Jim (Shay) Humphries sadly died in Dublin, recently. He was a friendly and respected character, one of the best-known in Ireland’s baking industry.For much of his career, he was a sales manager, in bakery ingredients, for Cork-based firm Dowdall O’Mahony, now part of Kraft Foods. He was very committed to the Institute of Irish Bakers and was closely involved with the National Bakery School, a tradition that has been continued in the family, with one of his two sons, Robert, currently teaching there.Jim also had a lifelong passion for Home Farm FC in north Dublin, close to his home. He was pre-deceased by his wife Edith.
Workers at Tunnock’s biscuit factory in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, have officially rejected an unconditional offer of a back-dated 2% pay increase, after the results of a postal ballot were announced on Monday 4 October.Staff at the factory went on a 24-hour strike last month in a dispute over pay, and a continuous overtime ban and work-to-rule action were put in place.A spokesperson for Unite said last month that its members had been angered by “misleading information”, allegedly put out by Tunnock’s, which claimed the union had rejected its offer, when, at that point, no offer had been made. However Tunnock’s, which produces teacakes and caramel wafers, said: “Contrary to earlier reports, the offer of a full 2% backdated to 1 July 2010 was made on the 15 September, but it was conditional on the Union Negotiating Committee recommending their members to accept it. “The Union refused to recommend the offer, but as far as we understand from our workforce, the fact that a conditional offer was made at all, was poorly communicated to them. An unconditional offer of 2% was subsequently made to the workforce through ACAS on the morning of 21 September.”The firm said it was obviously disappointed with the outcome of the ballot as it believed its offer represented a fair pay award, particularly in the current climate.MD Boyd Tunnock commented: “As a family, we have demonstrated our commitment to our workforce and our community by providing long-term, secure and stable employment – reflected by the fact that the average length of service is 16 years – and our aim is to continue to do so.”“Our staff’s level of pay is in line with, or above, our local competitors and they also enjoy a generous benefits package,” he added. “We are currently considering our response to this disappointing result.”Speaking last month, Unite regional officer Derek Ormston said: “The members feel let down and angry and believe the 2% increase does not go far enough.”The firm has agreed to meet with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitra-tion Service on Friday 8 October to discuss the ongoing dispute.>>Tunnock’s staff walk out over pay dispute