The Soil Association revealed it was targeting a shake-up of the organic certification system, so that hundreds of small bakery companies currently missing out on organic certification could gain access to the scheme, reports Andrew Williams.Jim Twine, commercial director at the The Soil Association, stated the organic body’s aims at an IFE07 seminar, in reply to an audience member who said that many small companies were effectively priced out of organic accreditation due to the costs involved.He told British Baker that the Soil Association intends to press Defra and the EU – which sets the standards for organic accreditation – for graded levels of certification to allow small-scale firms a bite of the organic cherry.At present, in order to market or sell a product as organic within Europe, you need to be certified, which entails a mandatory annual inspection. Currently accreditation costs a minimum of £425, but the Association hopes to bring the cost down to around £200-250, if it succeeds in lobbying for a change in the current scheme. Ideally, he said accreditation for micro-sized firms would be free of charge.He emphasised that any change would be likely to take a number of years to make its way through the European administration, but that work was under way at the Association to put together a strong case to present to government.”I can assure you we’re not profiteering from people,” stated Twine. “But there are lots of people that are doing fantastic things at a grass roots level, where organic has its roots, that feel disenfranchised from the whole system. For them, the cost of certification would wipe out any benefit.”We would like to see a system developed that is more appropriate to people’s size and scale. This would potentially bring down the cost and include a lot more people within the certification system. That is something that we feel very strongly about in the organisation.”We are working on a number of projects that would – we hope – give us the evidence to put a really strong case to Defra and the European Commission. This would, hopefully, in time, lead to something appropriate for the size, scale and the level of risk that is associated with small businesses.”He added that the Association hopes to put a proposal in place within the next financial year.
Starbucks’ international sales rose 30% to $387m while profit increased by 9% to $21m in the second quarter of its financial year.The chain said the increase in revenue was due to product sales and royalty revenues from opening 456 stores in the last 12 months.Starbucks reported a 20% increase in overall net revenue to $2.26bn compared with $1.89bn last year.Jim Donald, president and chief executive, said: “We’re very pleased our business is right where our plans were and we were able to continue to deliver another solid quarter for our shareholders.”Donald added Starbucks was very comfortable with its performance both in the US and abroad. Starbucks plans to open at least 2,400 new stores around the world in the current financial year.
Sainsbury’s says it has struck a unique deal to supply its 360 in-store bakeries with traceable British flour, as part of an initiative to become what it calls “the best baker in town”.Sainsbury’s will source some 55,000 tons of wheat annually, from a farmer-owned cooperative called Camgrain, in a bid to create a short and efficient supply chain. Camgrain will supply the wheat, to be milled by Whitworth Brothers, through marketing agent Grainfarmers.”We feel it’s a strong story to tell UK customers,” said Sarah Mackenzie in-store bakery bread buyer at Sainsbury’s. “While we are supporting British farmers, the shorter supply chain will also mean that we are improving our efficiency.”By April 2008, Sainsbury’s will be pushing its in-store bakery and advertising the partnership to its customers through point-of-sale material, case studies of farmers and supporting media, she told British Baker. At the moment, 80% of the wheat that produces flour for Sainsbury’s in-store bread products is sourced from the partnership and 5% is from Canada. It aims to increase the wheat from the partnership to 85% by April 2008 and to 100% by 2009.”Sourcing with integrity is a priority for Sainsbury’s,” added Mackenzie. “We conducted several consumer focus groups and found that more people are wanting provenance and to know how and where ingredients are sourced.”Ninety per cent of the wheat collected from the 300 Camgrain farmers is being grown within a 30-mile radius in the East Anglia area. A two-year contract has been agreed, but there are options to extend it until 2011.The new agreement will also see the launch of the Sainsbury’s British Flour Development Group (SBFDG) in January. The group has been set up to share information and encourage best practice between retailer, miller and the 300 wheat farmers belonging to Camgrain.It will drive efficiency, discuss environmental issues, the use of pesticides and devise a farming code of practice.”This partnership will result in a homogenous, traceable and transparent farm-to-bakery supply chain,” said John Latham, chairman of Camgrain. “We believe that no other baker or manufacturer can boast this degree of traceability.”
…the extra cost consumers pay for healthy foods such as wholemeal bread and brown rice compared with less healthy options; this has gone up from 18% in 1988, according to a survey published in Food Magazine
“Cuisine de France was extremely proud to have won the Customer Focus Award. Being customer-focused is key to our business and it’s great to be able to share our partnership approach with the industry through the Baking Industry Awards. We would recommend everyone in the industry to enter the awards. It is a great accolade to use across your business and with your customers. The awards ceremony is well-organised and a great night was had by all!”
Costa Coffee is to source its entire coffee supply from sustainable farms.From September 2008, at least 30% of the coffee used in Costa’s Mocha Italia blend – which forms the base of its coffee drinks – will come from Rainforest Alliance certified sources. It will then gradually work towards a 100% sustainable sourcing policy.Costa’s marketing director David Hutchinson said: “We know it will take time to convert our supply base to certified sustainable sources, but we believe it’s an investment that is right for our business, right for the coffee industry as a whole and a journey our customers will want to be part of.”Farms must meet rigorous standards to gain Rainforest Alliance accreditation, including reducing pesticide use, improving worker safety and protecting forests and soil.The Rainforest Alliance is a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation that works to ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behaviour.
l Memory Lane CakesWe visit the UK’s biggest premium own-label cakes supplier and find out what Finsbury Foods’ MD Dave Brooks has planned for the rest of the groupl Druckers’ expansion plansManaging director Paul May explains his ambitious plans to expand the Patisserie Valerie brand, and his overall retailing strategyl Cakes, traybakes and slicesThis sector of the market gets our full attention as we analyse the latest trends
Speciality vegetable oil manufacturer AAK has announced a fall in profits for the second quarter. But the company said the trend for less expensive vegetable oil solutions fits well with its strategy for growth.The Swedish firm, which has its UK base in Hull, revealed falling operating profit of SEK25m (£2.15m) in the second quarter, with a marginal drop in sales to SEK4,045m (£348.62m) from SEK4,067m (£350.52m) last year.Its food ingredients business saw operating profit rise by 22% to SEK74m (£6.37m). However, its chocolate and confectionery fats business has been hit heavily by the recession, with operating profit falling to SEK55m (£4.74m) (2008: SEK105m/£9.05m). The firm announced that additional preliminary insurance compensation of SEK70m (£6.03m) had been received, in relation to “business interruption” in 2008 and 2009.AAK said that, within food ingredients, it has experienced a marked trend towards the substitution of more expensive products with less expensive value-added vegetable oil solutions. “This aligns very well with AAK’s Group strategy and enhances growth,” said the firm, which added that the trend for health-improving solutions continues to be strong.
The latest TNS figures on the UK grocery market cast a positive light on trading over the Christmas period. For the 12 weeks to 27 December 2009, the major multiples achieved higher sales than the comparable figures in 2007. Waitrose, in particular, saw a large sales rise – up 16.5%, while the Co-operative’s were up 13.1%, Morrisons rose 10.3% and Sainsbury’s sales increased 6.9%.According to TNS, Waitrose’ sales hike was the highest recorded growth for the supermarket in both market share and turnover since August 2005.Edward Garner, communications director at TNS Worldpanel, said that in 2008 the recession put a stop to consumers prioritising the quality of food over its value. “But we are now seeing signs of a return to more traditional Christmas purchasing habits with a growth in Premium ranges, particularly Tesco Finest, over the festive period,” said Garner.
Wood Stone has added another oven to its Bistro range.The Bistro 4355 joins the 3030 and 4343, and is constructed from the same materials as the larger Wood Stone commercial stone hearth ovens. They can be used to make products such as pizza.The new model has a larger cooking surface with a compact footprint. It has an extra 12 inches added to the depth of the footprint compared to the Bistro 4343, which increases the cooking surface by 2sq ft. The stainless steel exterior can be finished to match your decor.