With the help of a leading environmental food waste-to-energy company, ingredients and convenience foods producer Greencore Group claims to have found an answer to the challenge of food waste disposal – particularly that of raw animal by-products – in an environmentally sustainable way.Greencore is working with Innovative Environment Technologies (Inetec) and other partners to convert organic waste and packaging contaminated with food residues into bio-fuel. Operations will commence in around 12 months.Patented technologyInetec is a private venture-capital-based company located in south Wales that has patented technology to convert mixed food and packaging waste into dry and stable bio-fuel for the production of steam, hot water and electricity. Its waste-processing equipment produces a stable bio-fuel from the waste as a high-value energy source. This is converted into gas, which, in turn, is converted into 10 to 12 megawatts of renewable electricity for the National Grid (equivalent to power for 15,000 homes) by another partner in the project – NEL Power, an engineering firm based in north Yorkshire. Heat is recovered in the process to assist in processing the waste or, alternatively, steam can be produced for use at adjacent facilities. The result, says Greencore, is a reduction in waste to landfill, a reduction in CO2 emissions and the production of residual ash (around 10% of the original weight), which can be used in the building industry.Several government agencies have been helping to advance the project, including the Carbon Trust, the Welsh Development Agency, the North West Development Agency and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Reduce and recycleGreencore chief operating officer Tony Hynes says: “Over recent years we have redoubled our efforts to reduce waste and recycle materials wherever possible. This is an exciting opportunity to transform the way other difficult food wastes are handled. “It provides an economic and environmentally sustainable method that fits government initiatives to promote privately funded disposal schemes.”Commenting on the project, Inetec MD Phil Nicholas says: “This project provides an effective food solution that contributes towards a more sustainable environment.”
Most employers are keenly aware of their obligations to consult with workforce representatives in the context of “mass” redundancies. In broad terms, these apply to the redundancies of 20 or more employees at one site within a period of 90 days. Employers will usually have in mind the statutory minimum periods for such consultation: 30 days where fewer than 100 employees are affected or 90 days otherwise. However, reliance on the statutory minimum can act as a distraction, with employers falling disastrously short of what the law requires. Cranwick’s caseThe case of Cranwick Country Food is a case in point. The firm operated two sausage-making factories. However, from the middle of 2003, Cranwick’s chief executive wanted to create one new super-site, which would result in mass redundancies. By January 5, 2004, Cranwick’s bid for the new site had been accepted. Yet despite having reasonably firm proposals for the move, Cranwick decided to wait before beginning consultation with the workforce at one of the factories. On February 18, 2004 the company began consultation with employee representatives and unions about a reduction in the workforce. An employment tribunal found that this consultation exercise was “minimal”, although it satisfied the minimum consultation periods. The tribunal agreed with the GMB that Cranwick had failed in its statutory consultation duties and made an award against the company of 70 days’ pay per employee. Meaningful consultationDiscussions with employee representatives over 30 or 90 days prior to dismissal is a minimum starting point, but may not be adequate.Consultation has to be meaningful. Serving notice of dismissal during the minimum consultation period, for example, makes such consultation meaningless. Most importantly, the obligation is to consult affected employees “in good time” from when the employer “proposes” to make the employees redundant. This rather vague definition sub-divides into three distinct duties to consult regarding (a) ways of avoiding, (b) ways of reducing and (c) ways of mitigating the consequences of the proposed dismissals. A failure to carry out any one of these three individual duties will constitute a breach of the statutory obligation to consult. Comparing these obligations to Cranwick’s approach, the tribunal found that the company had deliberately delayed consultation until the redundancies were a fait accompli. So how do employers identify the trigger point for collective consultation? Legally this is when they are “proposing to dismiss” the employees; “proposing” means more than “contemplating” collective redundancies and appears to lie at the point that detailed plans crystallise, but before they are irrevocable.
A man has been stabbed to death after two employees got into a fight in the car park of Fine Lady Bakeries in Banbury.Police were called to the bakery at 2.34am on Monday morning following reports of a serious injury.The 23-year-old victim, Imran Shah, was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. A second man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.The incident took place outside the main bakery in the parking area. Police cordoned off areas of the yard along with the locker room while the investigation took place, causing limited disruption to distribution.A spokesman for Fine Lady Bakeries said: “Our thoughts go to those families directly involved with this terrible incident. “Our thanks to all our staff who despite this devastating incident are working hard to minimise any disruption to customers and maintain continuity of supply.”
The price of bread is a topic that’s been hitting the news headlines for some time now and it’s a subject that is likely to continue to gain column inches.Wheat is the main issue, with low stocks and weather problems leading to rising prices which are impacting bakers. Rising energy costs for electricity, gas and road fuel are also contributing to the necessity for bakers to recover some of the growing production costs they face.World wheat production has lagged behind consumption for five out of the last six years. Poor wheat harvests in the US, the EU, Australia and Canada have increased the cost of wheat and the recent flooding in the UK may also have an impact.At the end of the year world cereal stocks are forecast to fall to just nine weeks, which means it would not take much increase in demand or shortage of production to use up that buffer. With world corn stocks also falling the situation is being exacerbated.Biofuels add an interesting dimension to the issue. To reach the government’s target of at least 5% of the UK’s vehicle fuel coming from biofuels by 2010, there will be a significant impact on demand for grain.Meanwhile demand for farm commodities such as wheat is increasing from countries such as India and China.The combined result of the current situation is that bakers are facing greatly increased production costs, which will have to be recovered somehow.
Lees Foods has reached a settlement with the former directors and shareholders of Patisserie UK, which will see the Coatbridge-based firm receive approximately £225,000.In June this year Lees announced it would be taking legal action against the people from whom it bought Patisserie UK – a specialist bakery business that went into administration in March 2009 under Lees’ ownership. Lees, which owns the Lees of Scotland and Waverley Bakery businesses, purchased Patisserie UK’s holding company Rock Cake in December 2007 from its directors, who had set up the company in a management buy-out from Enterprise Foods in February 2006. However, anticipated sales did not materialise as forecast, leading to a dispute between Lees and Patisserie UK’s former directors and shareholders.Patisserie UK was later placed in administration after its major customer Costa Coffee, which accounted for 75% of its sales, switched to another supplier.Following a “constructive process of discussion” a settlement was reached, with no admission of liability on either side, announced Lees. The £225,000 sum will be made up of £125,000 in cash and all of the 65,000 Lees ordinary shares issued to the shareholders of Patisserie UK as part of the consideration for the acquisition. The shares have a market value of approximately £100,000.
Got your head around the difference between a latte and a cappuccino yet? No? Well, you’ve got a whole new coffee option to worry about now: the flat white.The flat white is the biggest coffee drink in Australia and New Zealand commonly cited as the centre of cutting-edge coffee culture. Industry analysts have murmered for a while that it would become the next big thing in the UK, following a spate of independent cafés opening in London by expats the likes of Flat White and Sacred.Now it has arrived, big time, with the UK’s biggest coffee chain Costa launching the drink across its 1,000-plus estate, amid talk that it will become as popular as the latte and the cappuccino. Starbucks has also launched the drink in a handful of stores. With Costa ploughing big money into this over £1m customers could soon be coming up to speed and requesting this drink on the high street.So what is a flat white? It is best described as a rich, full-flavoured coffee with a velvety texture, made by adding steamed, textured milk (see glossary for the jargon). It sits somewhere between a latte and a cappuccino, with less froth. Textured milk is used, so the drink has a ’micro-foam’ or tiny bubbles, giving it a creamy taste. The drink should not be frothy like a cappuccino.”Flat white is what I’d probably call a properly made cappuccino in Italy,” says Paul Meikle-Janney, MD of trainers Coffee Community. “How you define a cappuccino, a latte and a flat white are very subtle points. There is no generic definition and they will vary wherever you go to.” However, it generally consists of an espresso-based drink, with a double ristretto (shorter, more sweet and intense version of espresso), textured milk and a small 6-8oz size. “We’ve gone so large with drink sizes, I think what people want is a cup size that they were used to 10 years ago with a strong, sweet coffee flavour. That’s why flat white has found a home.”The flat white often has a design on top. The texture of the milk is thick and smooth and so makes the perfect canvas for creating pieces of latte art a good way to add value to your coffee offer.Costa has devised its own method of making a flat white, named ’Cortissimo’. Cortissimo is a very short espresso prepared by extracting less than a ristretto and using more coffee: 21g instead of the usual 14g for a standard two-shot espresso-based cappuccino or latte (Costa uses a deeper portafilter for this drink). They use a bigger 10oz cup larger than the size that typically passes for a flat white.”There is an element of cannibalisation of our latte and cappuccino drinkers,” says Costa’s core skills trainer Tim Douglas. “It will attract some of our latte drinkers who are looking for a milky drink with a broad strength of flavour, and cappuccino drinkers who want a milkier drink with a much richer coffee flavour. It’s very much about mouthfeel, like an indulgent hot chocolate it’s a third dimension that you don’t get with latte or a cappuccino.”How then can the indies benefit from Costa’s lead in introducing the drink nationwide? “I would challenge anyone who is looking to add a new drink to their menu to ask, ’Can your staff produce and explain the difference between each one?’” says Meikle-Janney. “Whatever you call it, as coffee drinks have got larger and larger and relatively weaker in coffee flavour, a market has opened up for a small, strong, well-made milk-based coffee. The independents are seizing on this and adding more definition to the drink, because it requires the skill of texturing and latte art.” Glossary Extraction: hot water passes through the ground coffee beans, typically 20 seconds through 14g of coffee for a double espressoRistretto: half an espresso i.e. the coffeeis extracted for a shorter time; or pack lots of coffee into the handle so the water passes through more slowly, giving a rich, intense flavourCortissimo: Costa’s own variation on ristretto for making flat whites, which involves 21g coffee extracted for 15 secondsPortafilter: the handle in which you put the ground coffee, which attaches to the machine before water is sent throughTexturing: steamed milk (see opposite)Latte: 75-80% milk with a head of froth and double shot of espressoCappuccino: 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk, 1/3 froth
The qualifying and selection rounds for the 2011 UK SIGEP Bread Cup Team will take place at the Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees (ABST) annual conference on 12 June.The conference, which will be held at Alton Towers Conference Centre from 11-13 June, will host four competition classes for the SIGEP Bread Cup: Artisan Bread; Innovative Bread; Cake; and Artistic Bread Centrepiece. The winner of each class will then go forward to compete as part of the UK team in the four-day live SIGEP Bread Cup in Rimini, Italy, in January 2011.On this occasion the selection will not be a live competition but the judging of pre-made products at the selected venue. Two of the five expert judges for the selection of the UK team will be from Club Arti e Mestieri, including head international judge, Fausto Rivola.The UK team will be expected to meet, train, refine and build upon each others skills and experiences in order to attain the bond required at this exceptional level of competition.Competitors may enter one of more of the four classes and entry forms must be in by Friday 14 May.For more details and an entry form please contact Graham Duckworth: [email protected]
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is in the process of carrying out a review of its high workplace temperatures policy, with a view to drawing up sector-specific guidance for bakery workers, and is looking for craft bakers to voice their views.The HSE has already had input from a number of large industrial bakeries, but would like to hear from craft bakers on, for example, whether they are aware of the risks that heat can cause in the workplace, and if they have effective systems in place to manage process-generated heat?“It really is important to us that our guidance is effective and worthwhile and it is vital that any recommendations we might make are not overly burdensome to smaller independent bakers,” said policy advisor Helen Rowlands. If you would like to find out more about how your input can help, please contact Helen Rowlands on 0151 951 4517 or [email protected]
Waitrose has restructured all of its buying teams, with food-to-go and bakery merged under one head of department.The shake-up, which took place last week, will allow Waitrose to achieve its ambition of doubling the size of its business, British Baker was told. The new framework is headed by Mark Williamson, who becomes commercial director; he was previously Waitrose’s supply chain director.Former commercial director Richard Hodgson, meanwhile, has left to join Morrisons as its new group commercial director. Under the new structure, the food-to-go and bakery buying departments now share a head of department Jane Hills.Each division also has a buying manager, reporting to Hills. Adrian Gash joins the bakery team as buying manager for bakery, as well as holding the role of sliced bread buyer. James Dickson remains as bread buyer and Sam Witherington as buyer for pre-packed and seasonal goods, with a vacancy for a buyer of morning goods and patisserie yet to be filled.Former central buyer for bakery Teresa Lindley has become Waitrose’s buying manager for canned goods and ingredients.James Dickson told British Baker that putting the bakery and food-to-go departments together would allow Waitrose to exploit synergies between the two areas of the business and push ahead with its expansion plans, including opening Waitrose concessions in Boots outlets.In March, Waitrose CEO Mark Price announced that the company planned to expand in the UK and overseas, doubling the size of the business. At the time, he said that the retailer wanted to make its products available to as many people as possible by selling in other stores, including an initial deal to sell its goods in potentially more than 700 Boots outlets, with Boots products sold in Waitrose in return.
Greggs is to launch a new format store, its take on a local baker, British Baker can reveal.The development will be the retailer’s second new concept store in as many months and will become the third store format for Greggs, concentrating on the firm’s bakery heritage. The move follows the recent launch into the coffee shop market, with Greggs Moment in Newcastle.The as yet-unnamed concept will, according to the company’s chief executive Ken McMeikan, have a greater emphasis on bread and products to take home, while still stocking some of the savouries that its food-to-go stores have become famous for. However, it is not known at this stage whether the new-format sites will feature in-store bakeries or be supplied by Greggs’ chain of central bakeries.In an exclusive interview with the boss of the bakery chain (page 18), McMeikan, who is HRH Prince of Wales Ambassador for the North told British Baker: “We are going to be looking next at a local bakery format. And that would look at the traditional product range you would expect to get from a baker, so there will be a much greater emphasis on bread and rolls and a much greater emphasis on sweet and confectionery, while still having some of the savouries and the sandwiches you would expect from food-on-the-go.”He added: “We really wanted to ask what is the range today that customers would want. Without giving away what that would be, we will be launching somewhere around the country next year.”Greggs delivered a resilient performance in the third quarter of 2011, with total sales growth of 5.4% and like-for-like sales growth of 0.8% for the 13 weeks to 1 October 2011.