National Bakery School

The National Bakery School has secured almost £1.7m of investment to redevelop its facilities at London’s South Bank.

The school, part of London South Bank University, will use the funding to create specialist teaching spaces for baking, confectionery and chocolate, as well as a demonstration bakery suitable for industry and public presentations.

Following a £200,000 grant given by the Garfield Weston Foundation, a charitable trust set up by the founders of Associated British Foods, in February this year, a further £1m has been donated by the University, accompanied by £450,000 from “various personal donors and companies”, according to the University.

The school needs to raise another £500,000 to meet its target of £2.2m.

John Marchant, head of the National Bakery School, said: “As of 21 November 2013, London South Bank University has formally approved the plans and time-scale for the redevelopment – and the National Bakery School has now secured £1.7m from the University and donors towards the redevelopment. This means we have now raised almost 75% of the total redevelopment costs of £2.2m.”

Work on the school is due to take place during the summer of 2014, allowing the new facilities to open in September. Marking the 120th anniversary of the National Bakery School, the facilities will be available to students and the baking industry as a whole.

Marchant added that, between now and the launch, a further £500,000 needs to be raised to create “a new National Bakery School which fully meets the needs of today’s bakery students and of the baking industry”.

Founded in 1894, the school has places for 60 undergraduate students, who spend 50% of their time on practical learning.

Current facilities include two bakery rooms with proving ovens, baking ovens, mixers, work benches and a pastry brake, and a lecture theatre, as well as three practical study rooms for the production of fermented goods, chocolate-making and confectionery. 

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Future looks bright for wheat Plantings

By Georgi Gyton/British Baker

A new survey by the AHDB/HGCA has suggested the 2014 planted area for wheat could increase by as much as 22%, following the drop seen this season.

The Early Bird Survey of farmers’ planting intention revealed a sharp rise in the total area of wheat and winter barley for next year’s harvest, compared to the last.

A team of agronomists assessed 280,000 hectares of arable land across Great Britain and have estimated that the total wheat area, including spring wheat, will rise to approximately 1.98m hectares.

Jack Watts, lead analyst, AHDB/HGCA, said: “This autumn we’ve had good drilling conditions across the UK and, as a consequence, we are looking at a return to a more normal cropping mix for harvest 2014 following a large shift to spring cropping in 2013.

“The return of a more normal UK wheat area is the first step to the UK returning to the export market, although yields and quality remain weather-dependent. History shows that when farmers are able to turn intentions into reality, the Early Bird Survey gives a good indication of areas for key autumn sown crops in the UK.”

In March British Baker reported that the planted area for winter wheat was down 25% on December 2011 figures.

The results of the AHDB/HGCA’s December Planting Survey, issued on 1 December, will be published in February 2014.

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Top 10 foodservice trends to impact the US restaurant industry in 2014


Shaun Weston14 Nov 2013

Starches are staging a comeback, from ramen to buckwheat noodles, to pasta made with unusual ingredients.
Starches are staging a comeback, from ramen to buckwheat noodles, to pasta made with unusual ingredients. © Nemo’s great uncle

Foodservice research and consulting firm Technomic has identified trends that may ‘significantly impact the restaurant industry’.

Insights are based on site visits evaluating the restaurant scene in cities across the US, as well as interviews and surveys of operators, chefs and consumers, backed up by qualitative data from its extensive Digital Resource Library and quantitative data from its Menu Monitor database.

Some of these developments reflect larger societal trends, while others point to specific, emerging food preferences that may or may not take hold in restaurants across the US.

  1. Convince me it’s real. Consumers want assurances that what they’re eating is real, in every sense of the word. Today’s menus describe items far more thoroughly, listing not only the ingredients but also where they came from and how they were prepared. Local sourcing is more important than ever, but beyond that is the idea of being true to place. If the restaurant positions itself as authentically Italian, for instance, it must use ingredients sourced from Italy and/or prepared using authentic Italian methods.
  2. Pushing the parameters of proteins. Rising commodity costs for beef mean (of course) that chicken will be big again in 2014. However, the latest protein star is pork, appearing in regional barbecue items, in Hispanic and other ethnic fare, in charcuterie and as pulled pork sandwiches. Also getting time in the spotlight are lamb and game meats, from duck to bison. Beyond meat, look for creative centre-of-the-plate egg dishes as well as vegetarian alternatives, from mushrooms to beans to soy-based products such as Gardein and Chipotle’s Sofritas.
  3. Return of the carbs. Starches are staging a comeback, from ramen to buckwheat noodles, to pasta made with unusual ingredients. Rice bowls (and jasmine rice, basmati rice, brown rice) will be big, in part because of continued fascination with Asian cuisine and in part because of an association with healthfulness. Look for more in the way of flatbreads, wraps and all kinds of artisan breads, including healthy, whole grain varieties. Waffles as a base or side make traditional savoury items such as chicken seem edgy.
  4. Creamy, cheesy, high-fat goodness. The demand for healthier eating is real, but so is the backlash. We’ll see even more cheese melts, pasta with creamy sauces, fried appetisers and sides, and oddities such as doughnut-based sandwiches. Don’t take super-indulgent items too seriously, though. Outrageous limited time offers such as Wendy’s nine-patty burger are crafted more for social media buzz than for eating.
  5. Pucker up. Forays into less familiar ethnic cuisines, from Korean to Scandinavian, are partly responsible for growing interest in pickled, fermented and sour foods. Korean kimchi, as well as pickled onion, jalapeño, ginger, radish and more, are showing up everywhere, from ethnic eateries to burger joints. On the beverage menu, the trend is seen in sour cocktails as well as new flavour combinations with sour notes – a reaction to last year’s candy-sweet drinks.
  6. Day for night. Consumers are less likely to eat according to a three-square-meals schedule; they nosh, skip meals, eat breakfast for dinner and vice versa. More restaurants are introducing innovative breakfast items such as chicken, turkey or steak breakfast sandwiches, or super-spicy wraps with chipotle or Sriracha (often available all day). And while breakfast-and-lunch-only concepts are building a niche, other operators are promoting late-night breakfast menus, often in conjunction with 24-hour drive-thru service.
  7. Every daypart is a snack daypart. As the snacking lifestyle goes mainstream, diners are paradoxically less interested in snack menus per se. Millennials see dollar and dollar-plus menus as the snack menu. Limited service restaurants (LSRs) are paying more attention to snack-size handhelds and car-friendly packaging. They’re also stepping up their game with grab-and-go or market-style offerings. As full-service restaurant (FSR) customers move away from meat-and-potato meals, operators are catering to the snacking-and-sharing ethos with pairings, trios and flights from all parts of the menu, from soup trios to beer samplers to retro popsicle-flight desserts.
  8. On tap. Tap technology is revolutionising the beverage world: barrel-stored cold-brewed coffee that can be sent through repurposed beer taps, facilitating a new kind of coffee bar; soda-water taps that allow chefs to create their own fruity soft drinks; wine-on-tap tasting stations in high-end supermarkets; keg-wine bar concepts and retrofits; RFID-card-controlled self-serve beer-tap walls at high-tech pubs.
  9. For fast service, bring your own device. The fast-casual service model has hit a hiccup: customers specifying every ingredient in their burrito or sandwich make for a slow service line. Operators in every segment are finding new ways to use technology for faster, more accurate ordering. iPad orders placed table-side will be a point of differentiation for a few tech leaders, but we’ll primarily see a bring-your-own-device system of advance and inside-the-restaurant ordering, as well as more customer feedback and interactive conversations. In the back of the house, increased use of iPad communication will make new menu items easier to roll out.
  10. Everything is political. Deliberately or inadvertently, restaurant operators got caught up in political controversy as never before in 2013. Some suffered customer backlash after expressing views related to ‘Obamacare’, ‘family values’ or other topics, but others saw increased traffic. Consumers are increasingly aware that the personal is political; that their choices and those of the restaurants they patronise regarding food, treatment of employees and suppliers, sustainability and the environment, have real consequences. Consciously or unconsciously, they will gravitate to concepts that share their worldview and some restaurants will promote this cultural identification.

Bread sales continue to fall at Premier


31 October, 2013
By Georgi Gyton

Sales in Premier Foods’ Bread business are down 1.5% year-on-year, for the three months to 30 September 2013.

In the group’s latest interim management statement, announced today (31 October), the drop in sales, which excludes milling and the exit of a ‘high cost to serve’ contract in April 2013, “reflected a slower start to the quarter as a result of the hotter July weather”.

However, Premier said performance picked up over the quarter, with the bread business starting to benefit from “substantial increases in space and distribution” across the larger supermarket and convenience formats of its major customers.

This year has seen the business undergo a major restructuring programme, which has involved the closure of three of its bakeries, two mills and a significantly reconfigured logistics network, said Premier.

The Greenford bakery closed in the third quarter and production at the Barry Mill finished in October. Restructuring costs are due to come in at £28m for the full year.

Sales within its milling division increased 15.1% in the quarter, which the firm said was largely reflective of the higher pricing compared to the same period last year.

Total underlying sales for the group were down 3.2% to £283m, with its Grocery Power Brands seeing a 2% uplift in sales in the third quarter – an increase of 3.3% for the year-to-date.

Gavin Darby, chief executive, Premier Foods, said: “We continue to make good progress against our strategic priorities supporting our category-based approach. We have grown our Grocery Power Brands for a further quarter, completed a major restructuring of our bread supply chain and our plans to reduce complexity across the business remain on track.”

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