Following its purchase of David Powell Bakeries last year, Rich UK has been busy integrating the business. George Thomopoulous explains the firm’s strategy and ambitions to Anne BruceIt is nearly a year since Rich UK bought craft bakery David Powell Bakeries [in June 2005]. How is the integration going? Two great brands have come together and have formed a very exciting business. We have simplified and integrated all systems and processes and we are revitalising the product portfolio; there’s a bit of duplication but not much, as Rich and David Powell sell different types of products. Rich does a lot of in-store products and David Powell a lot of breads. We have probably got rid of 10% of the portfolio. The integration is still ongoing and we are looking at ways to give products more life – to exploit their potential in a new way.Could you give an example of lines which have been rationalised?We have looked at the total range and have rationalised lines that were not viable. For example, Eccles cakes have been part of the portfolio but, historically, the market has been flat. We were making them in small amounts and they were not viable. You have to be ruthless but fair to customers. Wherever we can, we help them to obtain suitable new suppliers.What plans are there for future invesment and innovation?We have spent £0.5m in Kidderminster and we are identifying where we need the plant here in Fareham. If we are going to be going for sheeters and freezing equipment, we need to make sure we do it in the correct manner. I am waiting for a proposal, that will start showing a return on investment in three years. We are likely to be spending between £1m and £2m, including maintenance.David Powell is innovation director. There is an understanding that he will be with us for the next three to five years. He can really start to look at niche products, which complement what we are already doing in areas such as batters, fermented doughs, muffins and cookies. Could you outline your longer-term strategy for the new enlarged business?Turnover is steady and strong; despite shedding stock-keeping units (SKUs), we are stable on where we were last year on both the Rich and David Powell sides of the business. At the end of the first quarter, we will be sitting down as a management team to do long-range planning for Rich UK. Our strategic intent in the UK is profitable growth in the business, by leveraging the combined expertise of Rich Products and David Powell Bakeries. This will be achieved through a focus on bakery and foodservice. We will be looking at indulgent, frozen and desserts and similar areas. We will use the David Powell brand in the early years, but if it starts to fade and Rich starts to dominate, we will review it.The Rich company ethos is to be lean, fast, flexible and entrepreneurial and we will maintain this with aggressive disciplined management. We want management focusing on critical areas to bolster long-range plans.How is Rich’s business different in the UK to the US?In America, Rich’s turnover is $1.5bn – led by foodservice bakery and premium frozen products. In the UK, there is an even balance between frozen and fresh daily. Turnover is £20m, up from £10m before the David Powell takeover. The UK is the most mature market in the world and very dynamic. Everyone is trying to jump on a bandwagon of what’s new. We want to exploit growth areas – such as speciality, ethnic, indulgence and convenience. I understand you have set out “pillars” of success for the UK business – would you share these with British Baker?There are five pillars of Rich Products’ business plan in the UK. The first is harnessing personnel expertise, globally and locally, to obtain the right skills and make sure we have the right people in the right job. This will give us a clear line of sight in meeting our overall objectives. The second is product leadership of the Rich and David Powell brands – this is really key. We need to engage customers with the physical products during the development stage and keep them involved to meet expectations and maintain differentiation.Third is customer intimacy, engaging with customers to find out the exact brief. We have to be at one with customers. Next is operational excellence so that we are able to streamline while maintaining an artisanal touch. There is overcapacity in the industry and flexibility is the single biggest component in maintaining efficiency. We have an operations director and have installed IT processes and systems from Rich in the US – covering areas such as processing and waste. Finally, finance and IT are key to strong revenue and profitability. We have spent £200,000 on systems for functions including planning and measuring, supported by Rich in the US.What is the future for UK bakery?The coffee culture has changed consumers’ perceptions of price points. Nowadays, consumers are not scared to pay £1.50 for a muffin. The price has risen, but you have to deliver value.I take my hat off to Greggs; high street bakers should take a page out of its book. It was a high street baker but now it’s more a lunchtime sandwich takeaway. It’s all very well to complain about high street rentals, and these are strangling the bakers, but in order to be a success, you need to steal primary customers. Your job as European president must involve quite a lot of travel?As European president, I travel around Europe and Russia and spend a fair amount of time attending regular meetings in China, South Africa and Mexico, as well as the USA. We are two or three years behind America in the UK, so it is good to keep an eye on what the trends are. I have lived my life on four continents, while working for Unilever, but I have been a UK resident for 12 years; I live in Surrey with my wife and son. We moved to Cobham from Japan, where I was with Unilever, because it had an American school for my son. What do you do outside work?I love to travel as much as possible. I have been a passionate surfer for 40 years, and I have travelled the world looking for the perfect wave. I love going to rock gigs, my son Sam is in the signed band The Ga Gas. My wife and I also love films.
Elisabeth the Chef reports significant growth in packaged cakes over the last year, with sales growth topping the 20% mark. The company states that almost all that growth stems from traditional product areas – choux buns, meringue-based products, doughnuts, éclairs, custards and sponges.The bulk of the company’s bakery work is done at its Broadheath (Worcester) site – now known as its Centre of Excellence for Bakery Products – which this year accounts for a £40 million turnover, £35m of which is in packaged products.Says chief executive Andrew Johnson: “The market has expanded, and we have responded by investing heavily in our production capacity at Broadheath. We have spent over £1m this year alone in upgrading and expanding our facilities, including doubling the capacity of our high-care cream room and bakery plant. We’ve put in new ovens, finishing equipment, pie makers, depositors and other ancillary equipment.”The firm supplies products in a wide range of packaging, from acetates for cream cakes, through sleeves for steam puddings to boxes for pies, custards and tarts. Character licensed products have significantly exceeded volume expectations,” he says. “Tatty Ted character products from our Me to You licence remain our best-seller, but this year has also been particularly hot for our Doctor Who cakes. We remain on track to be a £70m business by the turn of the year.”
As we enter 2007 the industry is facing up to major increases in costs. One local baker recently told me that he was experiencing the biggest increases in raw material prices in living memory. His tale is typical.The immediate problem is the announcement by the major flour millers of the second substantial increase in prices since the early autumn 2006. British Baker has already covered this story in depth.It’s not just flour. The Minimum Wage has been another body blow to many in the Industry. The 6% increase last October has proved to be brutally expensive, ripping through companies’ wage differentials. The Low Pay Commission got its sums wrong. An increase at double the rate of inflation was unjustifiable. It is no surprise that the Bank of England is now battling inflation.Like everyone else bakers have also been faced with massive increases in energy costs. One of my smaller members told me: “The biggest killer for me in the last year has been the increase in energy costs. My costs for gas and electric in 2005 were approximately £7,000. Last year I shelled out over £17,000. I made savings in other areas of my business, but I’m still £10,000 worse off.”A price increase is painful. No-one likes it. However, bakery products remain outstandingly good value. In Scotland, baking remains a sector where small family businesses can succeed. They need to remain viable if consumers are to have the choice and quality they are looking for.
European producer of fruit juices and soft drinks, Refresco, and independent family brewery, Bavaria NV, have signed an agreement on the intended sale of Bavaria’s soft drinks production site to Refresco.The acquisition of the site in Hoensbroek, known as Schiffers Food BV, will enable Refresco to join forces with a similar company focused on the soft drinks market.”Our goal is to form a European platform of fruit juices and soft drinks manufacturers,” said Hans Roelofs, chief executive officer of Refresco. “It gives us the opportunity to broaden our portfolio and to better serve the market.”Refresco make fruit juices and soft drinks for retail private label, and in March 2007, acquired Durham-based Histogram, a UK soft drinks business.The acquisition of the Hoensbroek site is expected to be finalised in the coming months.[http://www.refresco.nl]
TasteTech: you could assume the name stands for taste technology and you’d be spot on. But aren’t tastes, or ’flavourings’ as they are called, those artificial things that we really don’t need?That is up to you, the baker, confectioner, or NPD specialist, but consumers certainly enjoy the flavours of baked products. And flavour is key to repeat purchase.Flavourings can be artificial, they can be synthetic or they can be natural or organic. It all depends on how much you are willing to spend on the taste of your products.Take cinnamon, for example. Bun spice for hot cross buns, for example, contains cinnamon. You can buy it derived from cinnamon leaves, cinnamon bark, or create it from flavouring ingredients – synthetic or natural – wait for it… in 165 different versions! Yes, that is the quantity that TasteTech’s senior flavourist Danny Kite keeps in bottles in his lab.The next step, Kite explains, is to encapsulate your chosen cinnamon in a water-soluble coating or fat. Other popular flavourings include chocolate, strawberry, various jam flavours and also encapsulates including sugar.A next-day doughnut, where the sugar has all-but- disappeared and melted into the product, might not affect flavour, but it will certainly affect its appearance and texture and no supermarket or café can afford to display soggy-looking goods. If they don’t make the product fresh each day, like the craft baker, they could have a problem. But encapsulated sugar coating looks as fresh and natural on the product as the day it was made. Kite says: “You would be amazed at how many different perceptions there are of strawberry flavour. It is very much up to the NPD person or team to decide. We can work with anyone to achieve just the result they need on flavour and price.”We are strong on brown flavours, chocolate (including white), golden syrup, cream, butter and vanilla. All are popular in muffins, cookies and cakes. Savoury products, such as pasties and pies, may need boosting with paprika, turmeric, basil, black pepper – or any number of herb or spice flavours that may be lost in processing.”== Accreditation ==TasteTech’s accreditations include BRC A grade, ISO9001 and the Soil Association. That is down to the leadership provided by MD Janis Sinton, who started the company in Bristol with her husband, Roger. But tragedy struck when Roger died a couple of years ago. He and Janis had started the company in their garage in 1992, using the knowledge he had gained as managing director of an American-owned flavourings company. He then decided to develop the encapsulation technology.Following his death, Janis took a deep breath and decided to fulfil their joint ambition on her own, surrounded, as she says, by excellent employees and her son, Robert, who is learning the ropes. Her two daughters have chosen the paths of sports teaching and sports physiotherapy. Janis says: “We specialise in bakery and confectionery and work very closely with companies’ technical and NPD staff. Our overall message is one of versatility: problem-solving, taste, processing, cost, reaction between ingredients and maintaining their integrity where required”.Commercial assistant Rob McCarthy mentions time-sensitive products, which include bicarbonate of soda or baking powder, for example, in a scone or batter mix. He says: “If the ingredients are encapsulated, then the last batch made will be the same as the first. This is because they are only released when baking reaches a certain temperature.” As well as McCarthy, UK accounts manager Joe Morris, a chef by trade who studied bakery, confectionery and pastry-making, also meets customers, helps solve problems and liaises with the laboratory technicians.So what is TasteTech’s biggest-selling bakery product? “It’s actually encapsulated sorbic acid,” responds Janis. “It’s a mould inhibitor used by plant bakers and mix manufacturers. We have four different versions and we make a particularly good product. In its natural form it inhibits yeast growth. By encapsulating it for use in a bread mix, it is not released until the yeast has ceased activity, which is when it reaches a baking temperature above 60°C. During recent trials at Campden BRI food research, it maintained loaves mould-free for 14 days.”Encapsulated sorbic acid also eliminates the need to spray with potassium sorbate, a technique used in the manufacture of long-life bread requiring specialist production lines.Some bakers prefer to use calcium propionate, also a mould inhibitor, but bakers need to use 30% more yeast, because a percentage is killed. So although you have to buy the encapsulated sorbic acid, you can use less yeast to recoup the cost.== Opening doors ==Two exhibitions helped open the door for Janis and TasteTech – the Food Ingredients Exhibition (FiEurope) and ISM (Ingredients Manufacturing), which introduced the company to new international clients. Says Janis: “As a result we are now working with six plant bakeries in Europe.”The company has come a long way since its garage beginnings. It now occupies three units in an industrial estate and Janis has her eye on another unit: “We are a company that wants steady, controlled growth. In 2007, we said we wanted to double turnover in five years. We’ve grown by 25% in one year, but we are really focused on the customer and the business. There are a huge number of growth opportunities in the UK.”This combination of friendliness and determination is something her late husband would be proud of. His black and white photo sits above the stairwell. It’s a lovely picture and you can’t help feel that it keeps her focused on their shared goal.—-=== TasteTech Processes ===CR100 Encapsulation Systeml Fat encapsulation of liquids and powdersl Vegetable fat-based system, which releases at 60°C (typically)l Contains up to 60% of the active ingredientl Ideal for food acids, intense sweeteners, flavourings and key ingredients such as sorbic acidl Presented as a fine powder, ideal for uniform incorporation into powder blends, doughs, batters, sauces, tablets and gumsCR300 Encapsulation Systeml Fat encapsulation of larger crystals/particlesl Vegetable fat base system, which releases at 60°C (typically)l “Rain-coat” process, typically contains 80-97% of the active ingredientl Ideal for granular materials such as food acids and sugarsFlavouringsl Available as a liquid, spray-dry powder or fat encapsulated powder depending on applicationl Natural and synthetic options available—-=== What is encapsulation? ===Microencapsulation is the process by which tiny particles of flavour or active ingredients are surrounded by a shell or coating of a protective material, allowing them to pass through processing, storage, baking/cooking and even digestion, and deliver their properties when the coating is broken down. Microencapsulation can therefore enable the delayed release of ingredients and flavours, which allows manufacturers to achieve longer-lasting taste.—-=== Popular encapsulated bakery products ===l Sorbic Acidl Sodium Bicarbonatel Citric Acidl Ascorbic Acidl Baking Powderl Flavourings – butter, vanilla, chocolate, golden syrup, ginger, bun spice, cinnamon, butterscotch, brown sugar
Engineers at Manor Bakeries’ Barnsley site have vowed to repeat strike action if demands for a pay rise are not met.Unite union members at Carlton walked out for 48 hours earlier this week and are set to man the picket line next Monday and Tuesday. The union said 54 workers were excluded from a pay rise that the company’s 800 staff were given in 2009.However, Premier Foods said Unite workers at other Premier Foods factories had accepted a similar deal and that bakers at Barnsley were crossing the picket line to get to work.A spokesman added: “We are really disappointed at the action of 35 engineers, which undermines the future of the factory and that of our 800 permanent employees. The offer they have rejected mirrors the offers accepted by the Unite union at many other Premier Foods sites and will not be improved.”Union representative Pat Pepper said that because there was no offer on the table, members planned to continue striking until there was some serious attempt at negotiation.
MD Paul Smith calls Hayden’s Bakeries a “bit of a Cinderella business” presumably not in sufferance at domestic abuse from its siblings, but rather, one that was badly in need of a makeover. Now it’s had its missing shoe slipped back on, Hayden’s is fit again to grace the premium retail ball, having emerged from what Smith refers to as “years of under-achievement”.Two years ago, the bakery found itself in a perilous position, with its production and NPD struggling to keep pace with rapid growth, and was losing the confidence of customers. While it produces over 100 sweet products daily, from croissants to yum yums, pastries and tarts, broadly divided into two families bakery counters and chilled cabinets in the likes of Waitrose and Marks & Spencer the scale of its offer became increasingly difficult to manage.At the time of its acquisition by the Real Good Food Company (owner of Renshaw and Napier Brown) from RHM in 2003, it was turning over £10m, but losing £1m. The group spent the first few years getting the business back to profitability. In 2004-5, it made £0.5m profit on a turn-over of £12m. But the business stalled when it looked to kick on; while it was turning over £18m in 2008, it was beset by a “broken model”, says Smith. “When I joined the business 18 months ago, there was a tremendous amount of what I call non-value-added activity; it was hand-crafted to the extreme I mean, utterly labour-intensive. Every pound of sales would add a disproportionate amount of cost. To break away from that, we had to find ways to semi-automate. We need to modernise within the facility; we will always retain a very strong hand-crafted element, but to do that we need space for growth.”The crammed premises in Devizes recently took on an additional 50% of space, around 30,000sq ft. To do this, it has engaged equipment partners to look for the quickest return on investment on new kit, to go online in 2011. A new IT solution is being introduced over the next two years, at a cost of £250,000 to bring Wi-Fi communications throughout the business. Almost no part of the company will be unaffected.”Our business model couldn’t cope with the rapid expansion,” he admits. “If people are moving racks around from one area to another, clearly that’s something we can automate. That’s very exciting, because it does not represent a threat to the existing workforce. We clearly need a lot of skilled people as we move forward.”Involvement and trainingIn fact, one of the key planks in its new three-year strategy is investment in staff training and greater staff involvement. “I would never suggest that the previous management team were doing things wrong,” says Smith. “But what we have got is a very simple joined-up strategy. Unless the whole team in the business endorses the strategy it’s very difficult to take anything forward, and I think that was lacking in previous years. We’ve taken that strategy down to every single individual in the company and given them the opportunity to comment and critique it. They understand what we now need to do and they’re getting on with it,” he states.Hayden’s is on track to hit £23m turnover this year, with double-digit growth predicted for each of the next five years. Last year it launched 40 new products for Waitrose in two frantic weeks of NPD in October, including 14 premium ’Seriously’ products a vote of confidence in an out-of-form business. “I’ve never known so many products launched in such a short space of time. I’m not saying we want to do that every year! It was exceptional,” recalls Smith.”When I joined, there had been a loss of customer confidence. Particularly Waitrose had lost the confidence that Hayden’s would be able to deliver the growth they needed and the NPD they expected. There was a lack of strategic direction from the business it wasn’t clear how we wanted to turn the business into profitability. And the business was losing money.”Those areas needed urgent rectification. “In 2009, we put some very basic principles into place to restore customer confidence; that was a relatively simple thing to do. We talked continuously to the customer and established what they wanted, and delivered at the times that we promised. We were able to launch 40 new products purely because confidence had returned with us.”In fact, M&S has been holding up its yums yums as an exemplar product. “Several sectors in food have not been performing well for them, as you’ll know. But M&S uses the yum yum as an example in internal presentations of sustained, continual growth over and above the market in bakery. In fact, they describe it as an iconic product.” Christmas was a boom time too, with Hayden’s having to supply M&S with an additional 25,000 mince pies in the final few days before Christmas.”In terms of our ambition, 2010 will show something like a 30% growth over 2008, but most significantly, the area we’ll be concentrating on within Hayden’s is to increase the EBITDA over the coming years,” he says “We see no reason at all why our ambitions shouldn’t be around those levels; there are other examples in the industry, among our peers, where that sort of return can be achieved, and we do not think that we are in any way inferior to the competition.”Areas where he thinks it’s better include a fresh fruit preparation facility on-site that “is absolutely unique”, says Smith. “We will never move away from the hand-crafting and finishing, because that is our USP. With fresh fruit tarts we can really exploit the hand-crafting skills that we have at the bakery. We will continue to add to those ranges, but we will stick pretty much to our core competencies.” Elsewhere, it claims to have made big improvements to its Danish pastry range. “We think we’re world-beaters and intend to exploit that opportunity.”Foodservice in sightNew families of products are being developed, Boots has joined its customer base and the company has “very strong aspirations” to build in foodservice, having signed up Costa Coffee.”We do see a huge synergy with the types of products that we manufacture for retailers. If you look at our retail customer base of Waitrose and M&S, there are comparable quality operators in foodservice, and we’re going to target them as well as our retail customer base.”Thankfully for Smith, it’s a confidence shared by his chairman. “We always knew there was potential for a £25m production opportunity in the factory as it was,” explains Pieter Totté. “Really, we needed to make a step in growth and I think we failed to recognise for two years what the business needed. A lot of businesses go from 100 products to 10, the products are re-engineered and they take cost out. We’ve gone the other route because we’re producing 100-125 different products in 19 different categories. That’s attractive to the retailer, but it’s much more difficult to run. We’re going into the upper end of the marketplace, which is not easy to manufacture for. But if we can tackle that, we’ll have a unique business in the sector.”
While having trained baristas is no doubt a sexy addition to a high street set-up, it’s not every operator’s cup of tea. For those that can’t afford the time to drill their staff in distinguishing their single estate Guatemalan roast from their Kopi Luwak coffee bean (that’s the ultra-premium semi-digested bean that comes from cat poo worth knowing), let alone cost in the training, there are a range of entry-level and mid-market options available.Easy to use automatic espresso machines start at around £3,000-£6,000, so if you were seeking a lower entry price, your first stop would be to consider semi-automatics. A one-group espresso/cappuccino machine would typically cost £1,200- £2,000. A small one-group system will make one or two drinks at the same time, and you could expect up to seven to 10 years’ life out of it. But the machine is only one part of the story, when it comes to overcoming the scourge of the high street: inconsistent coffee. Grinders are equally important and are becoming easier to operate, with automated and digital versions growing in popularity. Good-quality ’grind on demand’ models cost around £900, on top of your espresso machine cost, which may put some people off.”Where bakery retailers might get consistency issues, which is quite prevalent on the high street, it’s usually down to the coffee grinder,” insists David Cooper of coffee machine supplier Cooper’s. “With grind on demand, no matter who uses the grinder machine, even a member of staff who only works on a Saturday, they cannot get the strength or freshness wrong because the grinder automatically doses at preset measures to order. So the outlet will be getting perfect portion control, 125 coffee sales out of every kilo of coffee and no waste. We’re finding that even small outlets who are only doing 30-50 coffees a day and don’t need a big machine are investing in a grinder because they need that consistency.”He argues that staff training is minimalised because you don’t have to teach them to adjust the grinder every day. Consistency is also improved by espresso machines with preset doses and strength. You can even get automatic milk foamers on them. How well the milk is textured is as important as the quality of the coffee in customers’ perceptions, which is where some cheaper machines fall flat. New models on the market now claim to offer barista-quality milk texturing through integrated milk foaming technology.”It is the air supply that regulates the quality of the milk froth and we have developed a sophisticated system that delivers a choice of three qualities of milk froth, in the steam milk and dual milk versions,” says Florian Lehmann, MD of coffee machine supplier WMF, which has just launched its 2000 S coffee machine.For example, the ’standard’ setting on its machine delivers 50% volume to milk to easily make a latte macchiato; ’fine’ gives 40% volume, for the creamy topping on a cappuccino; and ’superfine’ gives an extremely dense 30% volume, with a shiny, creamy consistency, ideal for latte art creations. It also has a small footprint, a simple ’plug and clean’ system and can make up to 200 coffees an hour.Size, speed and ease of cleaning are crucial areas for bakeries to explore when taking a serious step into the coffee market. “Table-top machines are a simple and cost-effective way for high street bakers to take advantage of the lucrative coffee market,” says Simon Edwards, general manager of Krogab UK, which supplies the Concerto Bean to Cup machine. “Using an automatic espresso machine enables you to provide a traditional coffee offering with all the benefits of a contemporary coffee system. Unlike a traditional coffee machine, table-top machines require significantly less space, less hassle and, most importantly, less training to use making them perfect for busy bakers who want to profit from a quality coffee offering without the hassle.” Dispensing up to 120 cups a day, its Concerto machine is compact and energy-efficient, providing up to 12 drink choices. A bonus is a self-cleaning system.Of course, the market is changing and it’s not just about espresso-based drinks any more. Making a huge revival on the high street at a lower entry point is fresh ground filter coffee. Historically, this used to be made in a jug on a hot plate, and left to stew. Now, there are some sophisticated systems that brew the coffee at perfect temperatures for origins or blends, and they lock the coffee tight into an insulated flask, which means the coffee can be brewed and kept fresh for up to three hours, without any loss of temperature or quality. A commercial system can cost as little as £150, which could allow you to pre-brew a 10-20 cup capacity so you can shift queues quickly. The one drawback is that you cannot make cappuccino or a latte, but it’s a way of making a very high-quality arabica coffee available at little cost and no training.Consider a cafetièreIn a café environment, this approach can be extended to under-used cafetières. “We have no axe to grind here. We sell across the board. Our portfolio includes espresso and bulk brew, as well as cafetière systems. My point is that, in the clamour for speciality coffees, some establishments are ignoring cafetières, when for many that would be a more apt coffee solution,” says Café du Monde sales director Mike Osborne.There’s also little point having an espresso machine if staff don’t know how to use it. Ease of use and cleaning can be a big benefit. Family-run chain Jenkins, with 25 confectionery and bread bakeries in South Wales, recently reassessed its coffee offering, after giving its stores a younger look. One of its outlets had been using a small, unreliable barista-style machine, which they have since ditched for a mixture of Kenco’s FreshSeal system of a boiler and sealed, instant drinks, Kenco Singles and one Nescafé machine across its stores. Since installing the FreshSeal boiler, sales have increased by 166% (June ’08-09 with the old barista machine vs June ’09-10 with the new machine FreshSeal).Because of the initially hot summer, they said they “wouldn’t have expected that percentage increase”. The rise was attributed to it being faster for staff, because no preparation is needed, it’s easy to fill and clean and the quality of the coffee was improved. They had used an unbranded coffee since the first café opened, which was discontinued. Five of the sites have café areas serving Kenco Roast and Ground with the Kenco Sustainable Development (KSD) badge offering an entry into the sustainable coffee arena.While its previous on-the-go coffee offer was slightly cheaper, FreshSeal still comes in under the £1 mark, which retail manager Pat Hazard noted was a “magical thing” for enticing customers. When introducing the system in a new site, they run a link deal to generate more sales, such as a free muffin with a hot drink. Describing the FreshSeal machine, Hazard said it was “good for the price, fits into small spaces and requires little cleaning and maintenance, and there’s not much that can go wrong with it”.So there are a number of low-cost options that can help you get a consistent coffee to customers and encourage repeat purchases.
Genius Foods is taking to the small screen for the first time as part of a £3m advertising campaign for the gluten-free brand.The television advert – a first for a UK gluten-free brand, according to the firm – features a recreation of “genius” Albert Einstein.Launching on 17 October, the ad will be broadcast across the Channel 4 network, among other channels, and is scheduled to run until early 2011. It will be supported by an online advertising campaign.“We are delighted with our new campaign and to be first to market,” commented Gemma Lawrie, Genius brand manager.“We are passionate about developing the gluten-free category by providing great tasting products for consumers and the new campaign will help communicate this passion and our ongoing commitment to category development.”Genius gluten-free white and brown bread is available in all major UK supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose, as well as other independent and specialist stockists.>>A touch of Genius
Belfast-based Neill’s flour mill has invested £200,000 in innovative new Fawema packaging machinery, which puts bulk flour into retail packs.David Spence, sales manager, said the investment was part of the company’s commitment to ensure consumers get the highest possible product quality. The move is also part of its drive to identify new market opportunities in Northern Ireland and further afield.Neill’s dates back over 150 years and is Northern Ireland’s leading flour mill, with a 46% market share there. As part of Associated British Foods, it supplies its traditional Irish flours to its group bakeries among others.