The hotchpotch of fire safety regulations that bakeries must abide by are to be replaced by an easier-to-understand standard later this year. Originally due to come into effect in April, The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order has been delayed until October 1 to allow for the publication of essential guidance documents. The new order is intended to consolidate the previous legislation, which dates back over many decades. The simplified legislation will be less formal and bureaucratic to implement.Bakers are advised to review their fire safety provisions and take this legislative delay as an opportunity to prepare for the introduction of the new regulations. It is vital to ensure that your fire safety strategy addresses the risks within your business. You should also maintain records, which, when scrutinised, can provide evidence of the systems you have in place to minimise and control the risk.Main changes The role of the Fire Service under the Regulatory Reform Order will change to one of monitoring and enforcement. For example, fire safety officers will carry out audits of businesses to determine their level of risk and to highlight any non-compliance issues that require addressing. At the same time, the old Fire Certificates system will be abolished.Fire brigades will implement a risk-based inspection programme. This will involve drawing up a risk rating for premises that considers the safety of its personnel, as well as potential loss or risk to the community in the event of a fire. In determining the risk a business presents, the following factors will be considered:- Structure of the building- Use of the premises (manufacturing, office, shop, etc)- Processes carried out- Potential fire spread- Structural fire protection- Standard of fire safety management- Environmental impact- Access and water supplies- Building Regulations compliance (B1-B5).Also under consideration will be the safety of firefighters. Businesses are not only responsible for the safety of people who work for them or visit the premises. They are also accountable for the safety of those who may be affected by business operations and the safety of firefighters who may have to respond to an emergency on the premises.An initial estimate of the level of risk can be made by the Fire Service by considering:- The provision of active and/or passive fire safety systems- The level of fire safety management- The size of the premises.The level of risk (relative to fire safety) of a particular business premise could be rated as:Active and/or passive safety systemsSevere under-provision – VERY HIGH RISKUnder-provision – HIGH RISKNormal provision – MEDIUM RISKOver-provision – LOW RISKSignificant over-provision – VERY LOW RISKWho is responsible?The new regulation requires that the “responsible person” must ensure that all reasonable measures have been taken and that a “suitable and sufficient” fire risk assessment has been carried out and documented.Bakers should note that a tick box questionnaire without narrative to support the findings would not be considered adequate. Also, the person carrying out the fire risk assessment must be suitably qualified and experienced in the field of fire safety.But who is the “responsible person” within your company? Within the draft Fire Safety Policy Directive, the responsible person, in order of preference, is:- Employer- General manager- Health and safety manager- A nominated agent of the employer or other person having control- Owner.The level of enforcement to be taken following a negative risk assessment follows the principles, expectations and methodology of the Enforcement Management Model. This is produced by the Health and Safety Executive.ChecklistSo what should bakers do to prepare for the regulatory reforms?Initially you should arrange for a qualified professional to carry out a fully-compliant fire risk assessment. You should then be given a document that prioritises the required actions to be taken and allows practical timescales for implementation.During 25 years’ experience as a fire safety adviser, I have found that the majority of businesses are not fire safety compliant in the following areas:l Provision of annual fire awareness training l Inadequate fire alarm/detection systems; fire fighting equipment; emergency lighting; and fire safety signage.You should be aware that the issues of structural compartmentalisation and adequate means of escape require a greater degree of understanding; as does the reduction of risk relative to manufacturing processes and storage.Following the identification of the risks and the prioritising of the deficiencies, it is extremely important to share the findings with company personnel and others who may be affected. Sharing of these findings can be integrated into the annual fire training programme. This is an effective method of sharing the responsibility for the implementation of required actions throughout the company.A business protection plan should then be prepared alongside detailed emergency fire plans that identify the layout of the building and highlight risk areas, hazards, structural issues, isolation of services and so on.Preparation of an emergency fire plan can substantially reduce:- The risk to personnel in the event of an emergency- The risk to responding operational fire crews- The risk of fire spread and business losses.It is important to remember that an emergency fire plan is a protective measure which is viewed as a positive initiative by the insurers. – Alan Gill owns AWG Fire Health & Safety, tel: 01642 714585; website: www.awgfire.co.uk
A record number of golfers played one of the country’s most difficult courses at the British Society of Baking’s (BSB) Golden Jubilee Golf day, last month.Moved to the Belfry from its traditional Aspley Guise and Woburn Sands Golf Club venue, 110 BSB members and guests braved blustery conditions and a torrential late afternoon downpour in their battle to tame the demanding Brabazon cham-pionship course.The event, hailed by BSB members as the most successful golf day yet, finished with prize-giving dinner in the evening. It was organised by Keith Houliston of British Bakels. The prizes were presented by Cereform’s Andy Pollard.Winners Individual Stableford 1st Richard Westaway 37 2nd Peter Smith 37 3rd Rodger Stone 354th Andrew Wilder 34=5th Allen Hitchborne 33=5th Phil Hodder 33Scratch 1st Andrew Wilder 762nd Richard Westaway 77 Team competition Roger StoneMichael StoneColin Lomax Nearest the pin 7th Simon Shepherd Nearest the pin 12thAndrew Matlow Longest drive 16th John Sandford
The amount of money and effort behind the new launch of Kingsmill is the biggest I can remember (pg 4). But it needs to be. When you have lost market share against big brands such as Hovis and Warburtons you need an enormous comeback, and you need it nationally.It has been a huge challenge to get the new Kingsmill breads targeted precisely, packaged dramatically, advertised memorably. There have been slogans to think of – in this case: Love Bread, Love Kingsmill, fleet vehicles to re-brand, retailers to be kept informed. Plus, of course, a £14 million consumer marketing campaign.This is Kingsmill’s chance to get it right – it’s dog eat dog in the battle for shelf space. Allied Bakeries has revamped the recipes, improved the wheat, reduced the salt, taken out the artificial preservatives.So is it set for success? Supermarket directors and category managers tell me they are keen to support the relaunch. But so much hinges on the advertising campaign and consumer reaction.Success at the cinema is measured by ’bums on seats’. Success at the check-out will be measured not by initial purchase but by repeat purchase. So it is an exciting but tense time as Project 180 – the three year plan put in place by Allied’s Australian CEO Brian Robinson – takes off.”It’s time to turn the business on its head,” he says. Hence the 180-degree turn. Marketing director Jon Wilson reveals that ’family, fun and liveliness’ were the attributes most mentioned in consumer research for the relaunch and we can look forward to seeing them reflected in the ad campaign. Further ahead relaunches are afoot with Burgen and Allinson. With so much talk about ’healthy’ the timing could be most apt.Supplying the supermarkets needs more than the right products. Helen Colley’s attitude is a key to Farmhouse Fare’s success. Acknowledging how hard the buyers work she says: “I don’t do jargon, I don’t do PowerPoint presentations. I explain what we do and prepare immaculately” (See pg 16). On the craft side, bakers in Devon are due to be visited by EHO’s to learn more about asthma prevention (pg 6). And debate rages about the NA closing its training arm (pg 13). Would you run any part of your business at a loss?
n Starbucks’ US chairman and former chief executive, Howard Schultz will immediately replace chief executive Jim Donald. Starbucks said the leadership shuffle is part of a series of initiatives to help improve its performance.n What has been described as Britain’s first Polish supermarket has opened in Sunderland. The Polskie Food Company in Holmeside stocks a wide range of Polish bakery items and breads.n A new website, [http://www.foodanddrinkforum.co.uk], has been launched by The Food & Drink Forum. The aim is to help keep the industry up to date with support, training and development opportunities.n Bakers should consider capitalising on the growing trend for online shopping. Retail specialist, Actinic, found in a survey that respondents reported a 27% rise in the number of customers buying online at Christmas, compared to the same period in 2006. They also reported an increase in internet revenues of 46%.n Northern Foods announced on Friday 11 January, that its acquisition of a soup plant from Baxters Food Group would improve its production footprint in the UK.n Police have been investigating inapropriate, religious graffiti at Pentland Bakery in Herts. Pentland owner Mr Munir said the graffiti referred to Islam in an offensive way.
Bakehouse has announced the launch of a new Chocolate Praline Croissant for the foodservice industry. The product has a chocolate and hazelnut filling and is topped with chocolate and nibbed hazelnut.It has been developed to extend consumer choice and capitalise on the popular Viennoiserie market, which accounts for 5% of bakery sales according to IRI Total Retailers (w/e 14 June 2008).According to Bakehouse: “The new variety is suitable for a wide range of occasions, adding to the breakfast market whilst also appealing to consumers looking for a tasty Viennoiserie mid-morning snack or teatime treat.”The croissants are supplied in cases of 36 and need to be baked-off for 20 minutes.[http://www.bakehouse.co.uk]
The rapid growth of the UK branded coffee chain market of recent years is expected to slow only slightly in 2009 and will break through 5,000 outlets by 2012, according to new data published by Allegra Strategies. Its UK Coffee Shop Market report, published December 2008, claimed that the current economic downturn had only a limited effect on trading performance this year, with only 19% of consumers questioned saying they visited outlets less frequently.The market currently has an estimated 3,721 outlets. However, growth is expected to decelerate in 2009 to 7.7%, compared to 12.6% in 2008, when 417 new branded outlets opened. This year the UK branded coffee shop market achieved a £1.53bn turnover, and this figure is expected to rise to more than £2bn by 2012.Allegra’s research also revealed that the most important consumer trend currently affecting the industry was the growth of speciality coffee/coffee culture (13%), followed by convenience (10%). Latte remains the most purchased drink, followed by cappuccino, tea and hot chocolate. Starbucks came top of the coffee shop charts as the UK’s favourite coffee brand, followed by Costa Coffee and Caffè Nero, while Monmouth Coffee Company was the top independent shop.
Sandwich chain Baguette Express is set to expand rapidly next year after awarding master franchises in Greater London and Greater Manchester, and signing 20 franchisees in locations including Cardiff, Birmingham and Blackpool.The firm currently operates 57 stores in Scotland and England, but hopes to double this number in the next year, as its new master franchisees in Manchester and London, appointed in September and October respectively, begin to open new stores. The company’s third master franchisee in the north east, who was appointed last July, has already opened three outlets in Newcastle, while negotiations are under way to award a fourth master franchise in another region of England.Baguette Express is also recruiting franchisees directly, with deposits taken for 20 locations, including two sites in Birmingham, Cardiff, Preston and Blackpool. These are expected to open within the next six months.”With the master franchises in place, we are confident we will see rapid growth in those areas next year. Our first store in Greater London in Harlow is already up and running and we will open a second in Camden in January,” said business development manager Jim Stewart. “Hopefully by the end of next year we will have 120-130 outlets.”Based in East Lothian, Baguette Express plans to rival Subway and Greggs on UK high streets by building an empire of more than 300 franchised stores over the next five years via a network of 11 regional master franchisees. Turnover stands at around £15m. The stores, which sell baguettes, rolls, paninis, wraps, sandwiches, salads and baked potatoes, are supplied by two large foodservice distributors and are targeted at young professionals, students and office workers.
Ireland’s only dedicated kosher bagel bakery, Rosie’s Broadway Bagels, has teamed up with the country’s third-largest plant baker, Pat the Baker, to dual-brand three existing varieties.Rosie’s founders, Rosie and Des Sheenan said they had been looking to formulate a deal with a plant bakery in order to extend the distribution of their products as a fresh rather than frozen option. There are also plans to introduce a third daily production shift at the bagel factory.The three dual-branded varieties on offer are: plain, poppy seed and The Works – a bagel topped with poppy, sesame, toasted garlic and fresh minced onions. “We’re aiming at mums and dads who want to give their family healthy options; young urban professionals; people who’ve travelled to the US and want real bagels; and consumers who support Irish brands,” said Rosie.The bakery was established in Dungarvan, Co Waterford in 2001.
Council and union bosses hope to convince Burton’s Foods to keep its Moreton factory open.A planned meeting this week with the biscuit manufacturer aims to challenge Burton’s decision to close the Wirral site, with the loss of 342 jobs.The factory which makes Cadbury’s chocolate biscuits under licence, Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels was saved from closure for at least five years in 2007 after owner Duke Street Capital agreed a rescue plan with the Unite union. However, it was recently taken over by its bank, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.Said Unite national officer for food and drink Jennie Formby: “We were given a commitment in 2007 that there would be no further restructuring they have reneged on that and we are now considering our options.”Burton’s has started a 90-day consultation with staff, but Unite has vowed to present the company with alternatives to compulsory redundancies.Burton’s blamed, “an increasingly challenging and competitive environment with industry over-capacity and high commodity cost inflation,” for its decision, which it said formed part of a new £25m three-year capital spending programme to build production capabilities at its manufacturing sites in Edinburgh and Llantarnam, South Wales.It will also consolidate its Knowlsey multi-site distribution operations in a single location.>>GreenPalm first for Burton’s Foods
Almonds: The weather during the critical “bloom” in California will determine the short- to medium-term direction on pricing. Last year’s crop was the largest on record, so it is likely to be smaller this year.Walnuts: Huge demand from China, a short crop in India and only an average crop in Eastern Europe and the US as well as the huge increase in sales from all three of inshell has completely changed the face of walnut availability as well as pricing.Pistachios: Prices seem to have settled into a range unrecognisably higher than the historical ’norm’.Cashews: There have been disappointments on the supply side from Brazil, issues with West African seed crops, and a shorter crop reported from India. Although the Vietnamese crop may be OK, we can expect to see prices remaining firm up to May/June.Pecans: Unless there is an unprecendented drop in global demand this year, prices will most likely remain firm up to the point of the next harvests in the US and Mexico at the end of 2011.Brazil nuts: Short supply and increasing demand for what is a relatively well-priced nut, mean the normally predictable forward decline from a very high current crop price range, may not materialise, this year.Hazels: Exports from Turkey since the start of the new season are around 40,000mts ahead of last year. Prices are expected to remain firm.l Based on information provided by RM Curtis