Healthy eating is a key driver of innovation in baking, but new product developers have tended to cut salt, sugar and fat, rather than add ‘functional’ ingredients that deliver specific health benefits. This stands in contrast to other sectors of the food industry, where functional foods are well established. In the dairy sector, milk, yoghurts and spreads with ingredients to improve gut health or lower cholesterol are commonplace, while in confectionery, cough sweets and plaque-reducing gum have been on the market for decades.The baking industry’s forays into the functional arena have so far been relatively unsuccessful with newly launched products often quickly withdrawn due to poor sales. Yet plant bakers have not given up on discovering a breakthrough functional bakery product. Warburtons unveiled its prebiotic Healthy Inside loaf in July 2005, which is still performing well.Meanwhile, Allied will relaunch the Burgen brand this month with new packaging. A new addition to the Burgen range – Wholegrain & Cranberry – also joins the existing Soya & Linseed and Hi-Bran loaves. “Wholegrain has seen increased dominance in other sectors especially in the cereals market in the last year,” says Allied marketing manager Steve Thompson. “Consumers are increasingly aware of its link to heart health and that wholegrains can easily be incorporated into their diet. It’s a trend that is definitely set to continue. Burgen’s positioning is about harnessing the power of nature and delivering health benefits through nature’s functional benefits.”While wholegrains, seeds and fruit are undoubtedly healthy, they have long been used in baking and can hardly be called new functional ingredients. But according to Mr Thompson, consumers are less open to truly functional ingredients in bread for a reason.“Bread is already regarded as being a good-for-you product compared to many packaged goods. Consumers don’t necessarily see the need to take the next step to products with ‘harder’ health benefits,” he says. “This doesn’t mean that functional health isn’t working in bakery – Burgen has seen 85% year-on-year growth on Soya & Linseed. But (in general) health has been driven at a ‘softer’ level as some people switch away from white breads to wholemeal or half-way solutions such as Kingsmill Wholegrain & White.”Prebiotic pushOne company that is attempting to deliver ‘hard’ health benefits is Warburtons with its prebiotic Healthy Inside bread. This contains inulin, which helps promote friendly bacteria in the gut. Three slices provides over a third of the 5g recommended daily amount.Category manager Claire Simpson says sales have been “really positive” since its launch last year. “We have supported Healthy Inside with advertising in women’s consumer magazines because focus group research we carried out showed that young women were most interested in digestive health,” she says. “There is good awareness of digestive health now. Dairy products have introduced the concept, but also TV programmes about nutrition.”It’s a different story with the company’s omega 3-enriched Good Health Loaf for Women, which launched in 2003, but was later withdrawn. “It didn’t reach its sales potential,” admits Ms Simpson. “Good Health was a strong product concept. We’re not going to rule out omega 3 breads at a later date.”The secret to any successful functional food is conveying the health message to consumers in a clear way – a lesson that is demonstrated by Allied’s Burgen Cholessterol. Launched in 2004, it included a soya protein called Abacor, developed by Norwegian company Nutri-Pharma, which helps reduce cholesterol. The bread was withdrawn in 2005. According to Mike Clenshaw, development director at Nutri-Pharma, Cholessterol bread failed to get the right marketing support. “It was a depressing time. Allied never really supported Cholessterol, which was immensely frustrating because both parties had put a lot of time into it. “I’d go into my local Tesco and it would be sitting at the bottom of the shelf, with no explanation, just looking sad. Compare that to the money that goes into marketing products like Actimel and Yakult.”According to Allied, Cholessterol was an effective product that got listings. But while cholesterol reduction is well accepted by consumers in yoghurts and spreads, it proved a step too far in baked goods. The company agrees that greater education was needed.At Orafti, a supplier of inulin and oligofructose to functional foods companies, marketing and communications manager Christine Nicolay agrees that marketing plays an important role in the success of functional baked goods. The company has worked closely with bakery companies on the continent in recent years, developing a range of added-fibre and prebiotic products, but she says UK companies have failed to keep pace. “Bakery is a traditional industry. If you compare the new products launched by the dairy sector (to those launched by the bakery sector) it has been slower,” she says. “It has also been concentrating on other issues, such as convenience and price. But I think the UK industry realises it has to do something more about health now. Bread is a fantastic carrier for functional ingredients because you eat it every day.”Craft opportunitiesUntil recently, the complexity and cost of functional ingredients have deterred the majority of craft bakers from entering the market. But ingredients suppliers are beginning to develop pre-mixes that make life easier for them. Zeelandia is finding success with its new O’mega Bread mix, which contains omega 3 from fish oils. Similarly, Moul-bie, part of French miller Grands Moulins de Paris, has recently developed Omega Mix for omega-3-enriched bread, and Cult Mix for loaves with healthy bacteria. Commercial director Michel Nguyen says both mixes represent a tiny fraction of overall sales, with Cult Mix the most popular. “We have launched these mixes across Europe. They didn’t do so well in France and Italy, but are very popular in Germany and Nordic countries,” he says. “We can’t say yet whether they are a success or failure in the UK – consumers don’t understand functional breads yet. We need a leading retailer or company to launch these types of products to help educate the consumers. Just putting functional breads on the shelf is not enough. You need to explain the science.”Point-of-sales backingOne company that is doing just that is British Bakels with strong backing in 2006 for its low-GI Multiseed Bread Concentrate for craft and in-store bakeries. Multiseed has been so successful since its January 2005 launch that the company is rolling out new point-of-sale (POS) material and will launch a campaign advertising the benefits of seeds in bread in consumer magazines. The 50% mix contains linseeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, 0.7% salt, and has a GI rating of 54, which means energy is released slowly during digestion, making you feel fuller for longer and less likely to snack.“Low-GI is not going to be another Atkins – it’s here to stay,” says MD Paul Morrow. “Multiseed has been the most successful product we have ever launched because it’s healthy, but also tastes really good.”The new craft bakery POS materials comes under the ‘Great Taste, Great Waist’ catchline and include leaflets explaining Multiseed’s benefits. The second stage of the marketing push in the spring will see advertising and publicity in consumer health and women’s magazines.“We will be promoting the benefits of seeded bread in general because Multiseed is not a branded bread,” says Mr Morrow. “It’s a risk because we could end up promoting other people’s products, but we will be using the Bakels’ blue and yellow, which will tie in with the POS materials. As the leading supplier of this kind of mix, we think it’s worth the risk.” A telephone helpline will also be set up to explain the benefits of the bread and tell consumers where they can buy it. One craft baker who is doing good business with Multiseed is Gordon Nicholson of Asa Nicholson in Keelham, near Bradford. He sells some 1.2 tonnes a week of baked goods using Multiseed Bread Mix.But the success of Multiseed, with its traditional funtional bakery ingredients, shows that new functional inclusions are still the exception rather than the rule.UK bakery companies lag behind their counterparts in mainland Europe, the US and Australia when it comes to functional bakery products. Below are a few examples:EuropeIn the Netherlands, BakeFive’s VitWit (above) is a white bread enriched with fibre, vitamins and minerals. It contains Orafti’s Beneo inulin ingredient for a healthy digestive system. DSM’s Fibra Vital Bread in Spain and Italy is another white bread made with Beneo, which has a prebiotic effect. Meanwhile, French craft chain Paul launched Lin-dispensable bread with linseeds last year, highlighting its omega 3 content. Kampffmeyer in Germany says its best-selling Omega-3 Bread provides 25% of the daily dose of omega 3.Australia This is one of the most mature markets for functional bakery with George Weston Bakeries (which owns Allied Bakeries) counting Tip Top Up Omega 3 bread, made with fish oils, as one of its largest brands. The company also has a wide Burgen range, including Oatbran & Honey for heart health, Rye for digestive balance and Fruit & Muesli, which is claimed to be naturally rich in antioxidants.North AmericaIn Canada, Cali-Wraps omega 3-enriched tortilla wraps are made with Ocean Nutrition’s encapsulated Meg-3 fish oils. In the US, French Meadow’s Woman’s Bread and Men’s Bread feature AdvantaSoy soya isoflavones from Cargill. The bakery company flags up the heart health benefits of the soya in both breads. Three omega 3 breads, made with fish oils, also launched in the US last year, including a range from retailer Wegmans.
Koenig, a specialist manufacturer of automatic roll plants, has introduced the new Koenig Rex Industry plant, supplied, installed and supported by European Process Plant (Epsom, Surrey). It produces a full range of traditional products, such as round rolls, baps, finger rolls, bridge rolls, teacakes, fruited buns, Swiss buns and ball doughnuts as well as stamped rolls, cut rolls and mini baguettes. A special moulding belt enables oval products to be made on the plant and a cutting station allows diagonal or longitudinal cuts to be made on the tops of the dough pieces.
Three-quarters of the places for the One Voice conference on the future of bakery training and qualifications have already been snapped up.Bakery trainers and employers are invited to contact Improve on 0845 644 0448 if they would like to attend the conference at Baker’s Hall on 30 October from 9.30am to 12.30pm.Improve is one of 25 sector skills council, established by government. Its specific remit is to drive learning skills in the food manufacturing sector of which bakery is a key part.Anyone who employs bakers in a craft, plant or supermarket is invited to attend the free conference. Those who train bakers are also encouraged to attend and make their views known.Improve’s Paula Widdowson said: “Delegates must help ensure that government listens and acts on their concerns. They need to voice their views from the floor.”
Northern Ireland bakery Irwin’s has broken new commercial ground by securing contracts to supply its Nutty Krust batch bread to retailers in the Irish Republic.The bread went on sale in Tesco Ireland at the beginning of June and will be on the shelves of the Musgrave Group and Dunnes Stores towards the end of June and early July.The County Armagh-based company said the separate deals represent a combined 300,000 additional Nutty Krust loaves each year, at a potential retail value of £400,000.Launched more than 40 years ago, this is the first time Nutty Krust will be available outside Northern Ireland. It was voted ’Product of the Year’ by Tesco NI customers in 2002 and 2007.Irwin’s launched three new Nutty Krust varieties earlier this year: Nutty Krust Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed, Malted Grain and Half Loaf – the traditional loaf in a half-size pack. Tesco Ireland and Dunnes will list all three, while the Musgrave Group will stock the Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed and Malted Grain versions. The company said slow baking on the sole of the oven gives the loaf its nutty crust and soft centre and, from mixing to slicing, the whole baking process takes six hours.Brendan Lappin, Irwin’s business development manager, said: “These new listings represent an enormous boost to our Irish business and we are delighted that our retail customers are extending their business with us to help bring Nutty Krust to this important market for the first time.”He added: “A key strand of Irwin’s growth and sustainability strategy as an indigenous, family-owned operation has been to use our product innovation and supply chain capabilities to create real export strength, delivering new products to new markets at the right time.”Irwin’s already distributes a number of key product lines to multiples and independents in the Irish Republic, including its award-winning Irish breads range, which it makes in conjunction with celebrity chef Paul Rankin, as well as its branded items such as muffins and Low GI White Rolls.
BB’s Coffee and Muffins is hoping to draw in increasingly price-conscious customers by promoting its special meal deals as Credit Crunch Lunches. “The majority of our cafés offer several ranges of value meal deals every day, as well as lower-priced coffees,” said Michele Young, retail & brands director of BB’s. “By highlighting our standard meal deals under the special ‘Credit Crunch Lunch’ banner and by emphasising the amount our customer saves with these meal combinations – from 89p saving for a pizza baguette and Coke up to £1.30 for a sandwich and coffee combination – we believe we will also attract in new customers to try our brand for the first time.”BB’s Credit Crunch Lunches also include soup and sandwich, soup and sausage roll and baguette and coffee deals, which will be advertised through posters placed inside and outside the cafés.
Press reports claiming that enzymes used in industrial breadmaking were “not fit for vegetarians” have been refuted as “confused” and “unfounded” by the industry.The stories, prompted by the Real Bread Campaign, were based on the accusation that enzymes used to make bread may be derived from animal sources, such as pig gut, as part of its campaign for clear labelling of processing aids on bread.Brands including Warburtons, Hovis, Kingsmill, Allinson, Burgen and Sunblest, as well as supermarkets Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and Co-op, have since declared that they do not use non-vegetarian ingredients/processing aids in their breads.Chris Morrant, chair of the technical committee of the Asso-ciation of Baking Ingredient Manufacturers, said enzymes used in the UK baking industry were produced by fermentation technology and had no animal origin. “No ABIM member uses enzymes derived from animal sources,” he said.While a few enzymes derived from animal sources are used in UK manufacturing of non-cereal foods, none of these – proteases (breakdown proteins), lipases and phospholipases (break down fats) – are used by industrial bakers, it is claimed. “The baking industry does not use enzymes from these sources, as it is well aware of the concerns of vegetarians,” said Stan Cauvain of consultancy firm BakeTran.The Federation of Bakers stated that all wrapped bread produced in the UK was clearly labelled if products were not suitable for vegetarians and strictly adhered to EU legislation.Meanwhile, the Vegetarian Society moved to quell consumers’ fears. A spokes-person said: “We asked every manufacturer we contacted if they used any non-vegetarian ingredients or processing aids, and every one of them assured us they did not.”Real Bread Campaign founder Andrew Whitley said: “The key question is trust. A particular non-vegetarian enzyme or enzyme source may not be used in much bread, or any bread made today. But how would we be sure? We have no way of knowing what is going into our food.”
Dr Susan Jebb, head of human nutrition research at the Medical Research Council, looked at health and what is in store for the population.She told FoB conference delegates that one in three men and women have high blood pressure (hypertension) and one in four die from cancer. She then stated: “Six out of 10 risk factors are diet-related!”She commended the government’s “Change 4 Life’ campaign, because diet has such a strong impact on health, and ill health impacts on business too (not just family and the NHS), she said.In stressing the importance that good food plays in health, she said she thought the baking industry could still do more to lower salt levels in bread.
An increasing number of Waitrose bakery products look set to hit the market as the supermarket announces plans to increase its presence in the UK convenience market.Through a development of new formats and channels, Waitrose aims to make its stores “accessible to more customers”. It plans to ramp up its convenience store openings, and has announced plans to trial smaller 2-4k sq ft convenience shops, with the potential for 300 outlets in total. So far it has opened two 5-7k sq ft branches, in Trinity Square, Nottingham and Clifton, Bristol, with two more planned to open this year.It also plans to open a further nine motorway service station sites as part of its franchise partnership with Welcome Break, following the successful trial of two outlets on the M40 at Oxford and the A1-M25 at South Mimms. Its convenience stores currently offer a range of bakery products and a patisserie counter which sells freshly made sandwiches and baguettes, for example. Its service station outlets do not have counter facilities but offer a range of sandwiches, said a spokesperson for the supermarket.Managing director Mark Price added that the supermarket has already broadened the appeal of its brand with innovations such as Essential Waitrose, the ‘Seriously’ range of indulgent cakes and desserts and Duchy Originals from Waitrose.
Warburtons revampWarburtons has been in talks with brand agencies ahead of an identity overhaul, according to marketingmagazine.co.uk. The brand is to refresh its identity and packaging, and will be the first major revamp in more than 10 years, it reported.McVitie’s sat fat cutUnited Biscuits has cut a further 50% saturated fat in three of its leading McVitie’s biscuit brands, following an additional £5m investment. From November 2009, McVitie’s Digestives, HobNobs and Rich Tea biscuits will be reduced in saturated fat by a further 50% following a similar reduction 12 months ago. An updated on-pack flash will promote the change.Illegal seed in breadAccording to The Daily Mail, genetically modified ’Triffid’ flax seed, which is illegal in this country, has been found in bread sold by Marks & Spencer. Flax seed oil, also known as linseed, contains high levels of beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids, but contaminated crops from north America and Canada have slipped through the net in recent months.CPI on the riseThe Consumer Price Index’s annual inflation stood at 1.5% in October, up from 1.1% in September, according to the Office for National Statistics. Within food and drink, the most significant upward effect came from meat (particularly pork products) with the next most significant contributions coming from bread, cereals and vegetables.Byron Bay wins prizeByron Bay’s Triple Choc Fudge Cookies were crowned winners of the Best Vegsoc Approved Snack/Confectionery category at the Vegetarian Society Awards 2009, recently held at the Magic Circle Headquarters in London.
Matthew GoodmanPolicy representative, Forum of Private Business (FPB)Here in the waning months of 2009, many business owners are ramping up for the holidays, stocking their shelves, preparing for the change in the rate of VAT and trying to find the right turkey for Christmas dinner! So, I hate to dump some snow on the holiday fire, but I have to ask, have you thought about your business rates?The Valuation Office Agency has just finished its revaluation for 2010-2015, which will set each business premises’ rateable value for the next five years. You should have received your new valuation by post in October. For most businesses, the fall in property prices over the last year will mean a fall in their rateable value and a lower rates bill, but for some, there will be an increase in their valuation. For those businesses that will see a rise or substantial decrease in rates, the government has announced the transitional arrangements and the provisional multipliers to help you calculate your rate bill for 2010/2011.With the holiday season on the way, you might be tempted to leave your rates bill until after the New Year, but I think it is important you make sure that your rateable value is correct as soon as possible. Log on to www.voa.gov.uk/2010 and make sure that the value of your property is generally correct with regard to the others in your neighbourhood or on your street. After all, that valuation will determine your rates bill for the first half of the next decade.If you’re having problems understanding your bill or you think there’s a problem with your valuation, give us a call at the FPB, or talk to a surveyor or advisor you can trust and find out your options.When that’s done, you can get back to the really important things mince pies, mulled wine and, of course, friends and family.