A range of branded cafe packaging will be on show from Planglow (stand J400). The range features a ‘Grab it’ bag, ‘Sip it’ ripple-wrap cup, and a ‘Munch it’ sandwich wedge. All items are produced in brown and cream colours to blend in with existing corporate colours or to help brand a product range.
Labelling, waste treatment, fortification and saturated fat are on the EU legislative agenda, as parliamentary officer Chris Dabner told the NA conference earlier this month.EU review of food labelling proposalsThe EU is proposing mandatory nutrition labelling on all pre-packed food; an extension of country-of-origin labelling; and improved label clarity.”This will present many challenges,” said parliamentary officer Chris Dabner. “The EU thinks that in order to make labels clearer, you need to make the print bigger. We’ll end up with A4 labels.”On loose food and food pre-packed for direct sale, the EU wants the declaration of allergens and a use-by date provided for certain foods – for example, pâté and cooked meats. “We initially hoped the EU review would result in the Food Labelling Directive being consolidated and simplified,” said Dabner. “In reality, it will become a Regulation not a Directive and additional requirements will result in a huge document.”There are also seven UK Food Labelling Regulations (National Provisions) which are not in the EU Food Labelling Directive, said Dabner. These include:? Regulation 4(3)(b)&(c): exemption from labelling for foods sold for the benefit of charities and food sold at fêtes, bazaars for the benefit of schools, etc? Regulation 18(1)(e): exemption from labelling for the mandatory fortificants in flour – calcium, iron, niacin, thiamine? Regulation 23(1)(b): Exemption from labelling for flour confectionery packed in crimp cases or wholly transparent packaging.The continued existence of these national provisions is also being challenged. The completion date is expected to be around 2009/10.Fortification of flour or bread with folic acidThe Food Standards Agency (FSA) Board held a meeting on 17 May, when its 12 members decided whether to recommend, to the Department of Health, whether folic acid should become a mandatory additive. Folic acid reduces the incidence of foetal neural tube defects, Dabner told delegates. He explained the various options which the FSA was weighing up and some of the issues raised.”Folic acid could be added to any of the following: all flour; all flour except wholemeal; bread-making flour; or to bread. The Republic of Ireland is probably going to fortify bread. Other issues include, whether the presence of folic acid should appear on labelling, in which case should the four other statutory fortifications – calcium, iron, niacin and thiamine – also be labelled?”Also, as flour is present in thousands of products, often in small amounts, does this mean that there should be a minimum flour content in products before labelling is required?”Landfill directive and pre-treatment of waste”In about nine years’ time it is predicted there will be no holes in the ground left for waste,” said Dabner. So, as of 30 October, 2007, waste must be pre-treated prior to landfill. Businesses will have to sort and recycle some of their waste, either by pre-treating their own waste or paying a contractor to do it for them. “Ultimately it is in our interest to recycle, because the less landfill space there is, the higher the landfill taxes will become.”consultation on energy intake and saturated fatThe intake of saturated fat and calories for large sections of the population are too high, resulting in obesity and concerns about cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and some cancers.”The FSA’s main target appears to be major food manufacturers and food retailers but it also wants to engage the catering sector,” added Dabner. The FSA is suggesting:? More front-of-pack labelling? A healthy balanced diet, with more bread and fewer crisps, biscuits, cakes and soft drinks? A reduction in portion sizes? Reformulation to lower levels of saturated fats and/or sugars? The removal of added trans fatty acids and hydrogenated vegetable oils, which the FSA says often occur in foods such as biscuits, cakes, fast food and pastry? Focusing reformulation on biscuits, buns, cakes, pastry, fruit pies pizzas and meat. n
The following ’shock freezing’ technique, which creates thin, flexible sheets of chocolate, is perfect for decorating Christmas logs. But be warned, this only works with real chocolate, not with baker’s coating.To master the technique it will be necessary to have a basic knowledge of chocolate tempering, which is also known as pre-crystallising.You can find everything you need to know chocolate tempering on the Barry Callebaut website: [http://www.callebaut.com]. Flexible chocolate sheets for finishing Christmas logs:When tempered chocolate is poured onto an ice-cold surface it gets a shock effect, which hardens the chocolate, but leaves it flexible enough to mould by hand.The technique may sound a bit complicated but give it a go and you will be amazed by the effects you can achieve.Try to get a piece of marble or granite from your local stone merchant (search on [http://www.yell.com] to find one in your local area). The stone does not need to be in perfect condition and the colour doesn’t matter. Try to get a long shaped piece measuring 60cm x 30cm.Put the stone in your freezer for at least two hours and take it out 10 minutes before you are ready to use it. Dry off any water that has condensed on the surface.Temper some dark chocolate couverture to 32-33?C and pour a small amount on to the marble. Spread it out as fast as possible with a pallet knife to a thickness of 2-3 mm. Immediately cut the chocolate to the desired length with your knife, then pass the knife underneath the chocolate to release it from the stone.Pick it up in your hands and fold it around your Christmas log or cakes. Repeat the process until the cake is covered with chocolate shards, then dust with cocoa powder followed by icing sugar. The effect is stunning.
On 28 July 2009, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) launched a consultation on its draft recommendations on saturated fat and added sugar reductions, and on portion size availability for biscuits, cakes, pastries and chocolate confectionery. The consultation addresses three different elements of the Saturated Fat and Energy Intake Programme: encouraging increased accessibility to smaller food portion sizes; encouraging more promotion and increased uptake of healthier options; and encouraging voluntary reformulation of mainstream products to reduce saturated fat and energy.It is important to note that changing recipes to improve the nutritional content of manufactured foods is only one aspect of the solution to a very complex issue and that biscuits, cakes and pastry can be part of a healthy and enjoyable diet if consumed in moderation. The baking industry provides its consumers with information about the food they enjoy, and there is widespread commitment across different sectors to continue to develop better information provision, including clear and reliable back-of-pack nutrition information and, where appropriate, front-of-pack GDA labelling which also includes information on calories and saturated fat.Variety is the spice of lifeConsumer demand for product variety is part of what drives industry. Consumers are aware that different products are appropriate for different eating occasions. The sheer variety of products on the market allows them to choose what they want, on occasions that are appropriate for them. For example, a thickly coated chocolate or rich cream-filled biscuit might be more appropriate to serve to guests at a dinner party, or to have as an occasional treat, than to have daily dunked in tea at elevenses.It is vital that regulators remember that although saturated fat reductions are possible, it is important to address the issue of reformulation in a more rounded way, ensuring consumer choice remains available. The implementation of recommendations that are too strict across the board would result in the undesirable cheapening of products and a move towards more uniform and less varied offers. An example of this is the 5% reduction recommendation for non-plain biscuits, which can only be achieved by reducing the amount of creams and/or coatings, as well as reformulating the dough.Despite the FSA’s recommendations, it will be up to individual companies to assess what is possible for each of their products. This will depend on the technical challenges and solutions available and, most importantly, on what is compatible with maintaining consumer satisfaction, brand integrity and remaining competitive.The calorie reduction challengeThe FSA consultation contains the following draft recommendation: “[Every saturated fat] reduction should be accompanied by a calorie reduction unless a technical case can be made that this is not achievable.” This recommendation fails to recognise that alternative fat blends used to reduce saturated fat content will still contain, gram for gram, the same calorific value as the original saturated fat used making this recommendation impossible to achieve. The reduction of calories, therefore, needs to be recognised by the FSA as an additional challenge to be tackled via a different approach to saturated fat reformulation.One way to reduce calories in fine bakery products is to use intense sweeteners and fat replacers. This means manufacturers would need additional time and resources to explore the availability, suitability and consumer acceptance of replacement ingredients an unrealistic task in the proposed timescale.In addition, the use of intense sweeteners, regulated by Directive 94/35/EC, is not permitted in fine bakery wares unless for special dietary purposes. Therefore, changes would need to be made to ensure that manufacturers have the flexibility to use intense sweeteners as part of their reformulation strategies, if they decide to do so. Recent engagement with FSA officials on a proposed extension of the use of sweeteners in bakery and confectionery did not result in the support required at EU level to modify the legislation (see BB, 28 August).Costs and timingThe costs associated with reformulation should not be underestimated, as companies have learnt through their experience with trans fat reductions. Some companies have already been able to deliver impressive saturated fat reductions for some of their lines, but this has only come about from considerable investments over a period of years rather than months, to allow for the technical challenges to be resolved and for the costs to be absorbed rather than passed on to consumers. The time-scale proposed by the FSA delivery of 10% reductions for plain biscuits and pastry and of 5% reductions for non-plain biscuits by 2012 does not appear to be realistic. Research and development, the implementation of new recipes, sourcing of new ingredients, changes in equipment and processes, all generate increases in production costs. Furthermore, there can be significant costs associated with the failure of some products with regard to consumer acceptance.Many of the companies manufacturing BCCC products are SMEs and will find it even more challenging than larger companies to invest in major equipment changes. Another consideration is that a large number of biscuits and cakes consumed in the UK are imported and so would not necessarily be required to comply with the FSA-proposed recommendations, which would clearly disadvantage UK firms.How would consumers know about the changes?The Health and Nutrition Claims Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 could also, unwittingly, reduce the incentive to reformulate by restricting opportunities to make claims on-pack. This is particularly pertinent in relation to the legality of ’X% reduced’ claims. Manufacturers under-taking reformulation often cannot achieve reductions of 25-30% the current minimum conditions to make a claim on certain nutrients for technical or consumer acceptability reasons. The Food and Drink Federation is working closely with the FSA to ensure that such claims are included in the annexe, as a failure to do so would mean that claims such as “10% less saturated fat” would become illegal on 20 January 2010.In conclusionAlthough the FSA has stayed well away from calling its voluntary recommendations “targets”, we believe they have taken an approach that is too prescriptive. We do welcome the initiative to address saturated fat reductions as a means of helping consumers stick to healthier diets, and we certainly want, as an industry, to be part of the solution to the state of the nation’s health. However, much more flexibility is needed to ensure that companies can move at different paces towards healthier products and also to ensure that the variety of products enjoyed by consumers is preserved.Clear commitments by individual companies and technical support to smaller businesses are more likely to work than any list of percentages.l Comments should be sent to the FSA by 3 November 2009
Savouries manufacturers, take note: The Times devoted its front page on October 27 to a story headlined ’Give up meat to save the planet’, based on an interview with influential climate change expert Lord Stern. Stern predicted that a successful deal at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases. “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better,” he said.Meanwhile The Daily Express reported that a diet of so called ’junk food’, such as doughnuts and cakes, is “almost as addictive as heroin”. The story was based on research from neuro-scientist Paul Kenny, which found that foods high in fat and sugar are addictive. In other news, The Daily Mail reported that eating high-fat foods causes significant short-term problems, reducing physical endurance and your ability to think clearly in just a few days. Research from Oxford University found that rats fed a high-fat diet showed signs of cognitive impairment in a matter of days.Finally, The Independent reported on new research linking high fructose corn syrup to high blood pressure.
New Covent Garden has made a break away from fresh soups and has launched its first range of chilled quiches. The firm, which also offers a range of risottos, has made the decision to diversify in order to strengthen its brand’s all-year-round appeal.Group marketing manager Andrew Ovens told British Baker that the move into quiches came after feedback from existing consumers revealed they also liked to buy quiches, but found that the category lacked innovation.The quiches will be manufactured under licence by Meadowbrook Bakery, part of Thomas Food Group based in Milton Keynes. The range currently consists of three 400g quiches in carrot and coriander, broccoli and stilton, and smoked salmon varieties. A twin-pack of pea and ham and asparagus and vintage Cheddar is also being developed, and Ovens said the company intended to keep updating the range as part of its brand proposition to offer “fresh new flavours”.Listings have already been secured in Asda and Waitrose. “We are exploring other retail channels too,” he added.
The high salt content of coffee shop cakes has been highlighted in the latest research by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), but it admitted that some products had seen big cuts in salt levels.Despite the high level of salt in some products, CASH said that “notable improvements” had been made in the salt content of coffee shop treats since its report in 2008. “For instance, the average salt content of muffins and pastries has been reduced by a quarter (a 0.92g to 0.68g reduction for muffins and 0.79g to 0.59g for pastries),” revealed the research.The campaigning group surveyed 159 “bakery treats” and 28 popular hot beverages from six major high-street coffee outlets: Caffè Nero, Pret A Manger, EAT, Starbucks, Costa and McDonald’s. The bakery items in the survey included: pastries, croissants, traybakes, biscuits, muffins, cakes, cupcakes, cheese cakes, tarts and pies.The results revealed that, in some instances, a hot drink and a piece of cake could contain nearly as much salt as five packets of crisps (a 34.5g bag of Walker’s Ready Salted Crisps), and amount to more than a third of your maximum recommended daily salt intake.Muffins were found to contain, on average, double the amount of salt found in cupcakes, with 85% containing more than a packet of crisps, found CASH.The saltiest bakery products were found to be: Caffè Nero’s Luxury Fruit Scone (2.1g of salt per portion); McDonald’s Low Fat Blueberry Muffin (1.7g); EAT’s Chocolate and Muesli Cookies (1.575g salt each); and a Pret A Manger Choc Bar (1.582g).“Going out for a coffee and a muffin is a popular calorie-laden treat, but many people don’t realise sweet foods can also contain unnecessary salt,” commented Katharine Jenner, CASH campaign manager.Topping the table with the lowest salt content were: Starbucks’ Dolcetto al Cacao (0.03g salt per portion); Costa’s Mini Muffin Choc (0.048g); Starbucks’ Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Fairtrade (0.05g) and Belgian Chocolate Brownie Gluten-free Fairtrade (0.07g); and a Maple Pecan Plait from EAT (0.07g).The report also suggested that the lack of nutritional information on pack and in-store meant it was difficult for consumers to make healthier choices.
Bakers can find advice on moving from additive-assisted production to baking all-natural bread and how to market it successfully in a new guide from the Real Bread Campaign.Knead to Know: the Real Bread starter, the introductory guide to bringing Real Bread back to the heart of a local community, will be available to order from www.realbreadcampaign.org from 17 January.Published in print and as a PDF download, Knead to Know includes information on business models, relevant legislation, money matters, equipment, ingredients, basic recipes, techniques, voluntary apprenticeships, equipment and ingredient suppliers. It also includes advice from master bakers Paul Barker, Troels Bendix, Aidan Chapman, Paul Merry, and Andrew Whitley, as well as UK Community Supported Bakery pioneer Dan McTiernan, of The Handmade Bakery.Campaign project Chris Young said: “Knead to Know is for anyone who has watched someone else choosing between industrial loaves by squeezing them the same way that they test loo rolls, and thought: “I wish there was a way that I could help to bring Real Bread back into my local community’.”
Widespread innovation is keeping the muffin category very much alive, as Andrew Williams discoversIt has been a good year for muffins. So much so, that they may even provide an answer to world peace and not many bakery products can claim that. The US military is reportedly tempting captured Taliban insurgents into talking with chocolate nut muffins (true story).This year saw one in 10 more households buying muffins and by that, we mean the UK, not Afghanistan. Spend on in-store bakery muffins has been a runaway success in 2010 and volumes have shot up by a quarter. While much of this is down to price discounts and promotions on packs, a 15% value rise is nonetheless impressive. Plant-manufactured muffins also posted steady growth.Retail is winning the war with foodservice. Figures supplied by NPD Group, which tracks the foodservice market, showed a strong decrease in the number of out-of-home servings of muffins, down 12.2% (52 w/e September 10, 2010). However, it should be noted that much of that decline is accounted for by fewer muffins supplied into education and the workplace; the share of the market supplying into quick service retail outlets actually increased by 2.9% over this time. More people are eating muffins as a late snack, while afternoon consumption, which by far dominates out-of-home consumption of muffins, declined.So where next for market innovation? “I have started catering for the non-sweet-toothed person and found that my range of savoury muffins has really taken off and sells out very quickly everywhere I go,” says National Cupcake Week finalist Angie Townsend of The Tiny Cake Company. “They are proving very popular with our male customers, who tend to shy away from the girlie buttercream swirls and glitter.” Savoury muffins lend themselves to creative flavour combinations such as farmhouse cheddar & bacon, savoury Italian and asparagus and cheese, she adds.For those of us sick of the sight of blueberry and chocolate muffins, there is thankfully some innovation emerging in the category. “We’ve seen a move away from chocolatey options seen in so many cafés,” says Charlotte Pike, MD of free-from specialists Go Free Foods. “Our streusel toppings and simple icings are popular, as are fruity, nutty options. One other thing is the size of the muffin. We have found our smaller-sized muffins a good choice, rather than the huge, bulging muffins sold in many coffee shops.”Inclusions and toppings are very much a trend, believes Jacqui Passmore of Dawn Foods. “For example, our Victoria sponge muffin, which has a jammy, creamy taste sensation, is something that is increasing in sales, as well as flavours like treacle coffee or toffee chocolate crumble topping.”The boundaries between cake-type products and muffins are set to blur further, says Adrian Apodace, marketing director of Honeyrose Bakery. “With muffins we are seeing customers experiment more, asking for more bold flavours, including superfoods, exotic fruits, and hybrids between a muffin and cupcake: a muffcake. But you may not be allowed to print that name due to decency laws.” Press Complaints Commission, do your worst.l Puratos has relaunched its Satin Muffin Mix to meet 2010 salt reduction targets; it has no azo dyes or trans fats and gives improved flavour and appearancel If you’re strapped for time, Macphie is now offering thaw-and-serve muffins in four flavours: blueberry, lemon, double chocolate, and raspberry and white chocolatel CSM has a Chocolate Creme Cake Mix, characterised by a rich chocolate flavour and dark colour that can be customised with chocolate chips, fruit, nuts or dark cherry pieces; there is also Plain Creme Cake Mixl Mitchell & Cooper is supplying a range of Silikomart Professional moulds in shapes from traditional muffin cases through to hearts, pyramids and volcanoes
Allied Mills, the flour producer that is part of Associated British Foods, is celebrating after two of its mills were recognised by the American Institute of Baking (AIB).The producer is now in the unique position of having two mills that have achieved the new higher-rated superior bracket from the AIB.The AIB audit awarded outstanding ratings to both the Tilbury and Manchester mills, with Tilbury being given a 935 points award, an increase from its previous ‘excellent’ status. In addition, James Neill Mill in Belfast has recently been audited for the first time and has also achieved a rating of ‘excellent’.Steve Barton, managing director, Allied Mills, said: “We are really proud of our achievement. It shows that all our efforts and commitment to excellence have been and continue to be worth it.”