Leicester-based Geary’s Bakeries blamed rising fuel costs, as it made 18 redundancies last week, and restructured to boost profitability.Joint MD Tony Marriott said rising fuel costs had a major impact on Geary’s supply costs to certain sectors of its market. It was no longer cost-effective to maintain small deliveries to customers such as schools, he said. It has withdrawn from around 150 customers, which amounts to 700 deliveries a week. Product range has also been rationalised, “to ensure every Geary’s product is made just in time to guarantee freshness and best quality”, said Mr Marriott.Geary’s had originally feared 26 posts would be made redundant, but has just won a new order with a major national sandwich retailer, which redu-ced the impact, he added. Some of the 18 workers affected took the voluntary option but others suffered compulsory redundancy.The 26 workers potentially affected had been given notice of a 30-day consultation a month ago. Mr Marriott told British Baker the 100-year-old company plans to focus on its core and more profitable customers following the restructure. “We celebrate our centenary in the new year and we are confident that the restructure will not only safeguard the future of the business, but also provide us with a platform for strategic growth, with products that have won over 4,000 national awards available on a national basis.”
Month: April 2021
Products currently on retailers’ shelves, which claim to be low fat, can actually be anything up to 17% fat and consumers can feel misled, says ingredients manufacturer Cereform (Northampton). The company’s Choice products, which include cake mixes, concentrates, and icings, contain less than 3% fat. “These will become the benchmark against which other low-fat offerings are set,” says a spokesperson.
A new guide from CCFRA, Crisis prevention through incident management: being prepared and responding effec-tively, aims to help food and drink firms prevent incidents, such as accidental contamination, from becoming crises that could damage or destroy their business. Tel: 01386 842225 or email: [email protected] Bakeries has appointed Mortimer Whittaker O’Sullivan as its new advertising agency to handle TV sponsorship, radio, press and outdoor activity across the Allinson and Burgen bread brands.Carmarthen cake baker Etta Richardson hopes to get the royal crest on her speciality fruit cake packaging after Prince Charles ordered 25 of them for his wedding reception last year.ÜNSOY UK says it will become the first company in the country to coat all its dried fruit in non-hydrogenated oil from the beginning of July, following work to complete the change- over at its facility in Turkey.
Texas-based equipment manufacturer Stewart Systems has acquired Manchester’s Spooner Vicars.The acquisition was announced on 21 May. Stewart Systems’ headquarters will remain in Texas, and the Spooner Vicars office, in Manchester, will continue to focus on bakery equipment technology.Wayne Poteet, previous owner of Spooner Vicars, will be MD of the Manchester company.He said: “The combining of both companies will be much stronger than the sum of the parts, and we are looking forward to the future with great confidence.”Spooner Vicars, will “be able to expand its product portfolio”, which includes recently founded Robotics and Tortilla divisions.Spooner Vicars manufactures bakery equipment for items ranging from bread to crackers to pies.
Despite wails of protest from the bakery trade over the past few months, it is now clear that van mileage is being taxed in a dramatic new way.HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have introduced changes to the benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax rules for vans. As of 6 April, 2007, the charge for unlimited private use of company vans escalated from £500 to a massive £3,000. To add ’fuel’ to the flames, an additional £500 is now charged for those who use employer-provided fuel for private use.For basic rate taxpayers, this equates to a total of £770 BIK tax and use of company-funded fuel – a huge difference from the £110 per year previously being paid. For van drivers charged at 40%, the joint cost of BIK van tax and fuel charge has risen to £1,400.The industry’s view is that these increases are an overreaction by the Chancellor, who has sought to close a loophole in the tax law, but has placed a significant burden on thousands of van drivers and their employers. So why such a drastic measure? It appears to be down to the classification of a van.Many double-cab pick-up vehicles, such as Mitsubishi Warriors, are actually classed as vans because they have a one-tonne carrying capacity. The increasing popularity of these vehicles as a status symbol of affluence, coupled with the benefits – until now – of relatively unchanged £500 BIK van tax, has resulted in a growth in executives choosing them as company ’cars’. Often featuring alloy wheels, darkened windows, leather trim and air conditioning, the only significant load many of these vehicles will carry is the family’s suitcases to the airport and they are therefore taking advantage of minimal private-use tax. It is this sector that appears to be the government’s main target for the hike in BIK van tax.Many ’legitimate’ double-cab pick-up vehicles do exist. For many of our bakery trade clients, such a vehicle is vital. So what can the legitimate van driver do to avoid such a hefty blow to his pay packet? There are four key ways in which firms and their employees can react.The first is for drivers to keep a detailed mileage record of business and personal miles. The government has said that personal miles ’within reason’ are allowed. Travelling to and from work to home is deemed acceptable. However, a trip to the shops once a week will incur a private-use tax charge.Secondly, employers should ask staff to sign a declaration stating that they will only undertake ’acceptable’ private miles, as the responsibility is with the driver rather than the company. But it would be wise for fleet managers to support drivers, where possible, to avoid staff simply deciding that they would rather leave their vans at the works depot or premises, which is the third option.Some companies’ fleets include thousands of vans. Finding suitable parking for this number of vehicles overnight is not something many fleet managers have the capacity to do. Being able to take vans home is therefore as handy for drivers as it is for the companies they work for. In some cases, it is thought that companies may find they have to supplement annual salaries to help compensate drivers for the new BIK charges – and this is obviously the least popular option to employers.In introducing the new tax, the government has failed to recognise that the private mileage undertaken by the average van is negligible anyway. Most vans only feature two seats, are often sign-written, are usually large and therefore not easy vehicles to park and probably contain equipment or work gear. In most cases, these vans are not likely to be the primary family vehicle.So it seems unfair that the government should take such a ’sledgehammer to crack a nut’ approach, penalising all van drivers, when only a small proportion flout the regulations. A more sensible idea would be to approach pick-up vehicles via number plate listings, rather than casting the increased tax net across all vans. Or perhaps the classification of a ’van’ needs to be re-examined.Employers have two major choices in front of them; either take the hit on BIK and consider adjusting drivers’ pay to take this change into account or completely review their van policy. Neither option is attractive, but requires careful consideration as poor handling of such a potentially emotive issue can cause huge damage to morale and business efficiency. * Dave Freeman is commercial vehicle sales manager at Appleyard Vehicle Contracts, part of ING Car Lease.
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Finsbury Food Group has seen group revenue rise by 12%, according to its latest trading update. However, it still predicts operating margins will be 1-2% lower than last year.Within its largest division, the bakery manufacturer has seen cake sales increase by 4% in absolute terms, but like-for-like growth has been “flat”. According to the statement released: “Growth in this part of the business has been impacted by a reduction in sales of seasonal products in our range.”Sales in its smaller Bread and Free From divisions experienced like-for-like growth of 16% and 23% respectively. The figures include an additional week’s sales, due to the current financial year covering 53, rather than 52 weeks. The additional sales in this week accounted for a further 3% growth in group sales. The bread, cake and morning goods manufacturer said it is continuing to invest heavily in promotional activity and has experienced an increase in demand for products under its licensed brands, notably Thorntons and WeightWatchers.
Supermarket campaigns to encourage cash-strapped shoppers to abandon brands in favour of own-label products are failing in the packaged bakery category. Branded products are outstripping retailer ranges.Value sales of branded pro-ducts in packaged bakery, which includes plant bread, morning goods and ambient cakes, but excludes in-store bakery, grew 8.3% in the 12 weeks to 22 March, according to TNS, compared to a 1.9% fall in private-label sales. Branded bread grew in value by 8.7%, compared to just 2.7% in own-label.This performance by branded bakery products bucks a wider trend that has seen shoppers ditching brands for cheaper own-label products. Sainsbury’s recently announced that its Switch and Save campaign had helped grow year-on-year sales of its Basics products by 60% in the last quarter, while Tesco also promotes own-label alternatives to branded products online.Sainsbury’s bakery development manager Matt Pizzey told BB: “The market has traditionally been dominated by Warburtons, Allied and Hovis – brands people trust. Bread is a comfort food, so people naturally look for products they have confidence in.”Edward Milner, head of category management for Hovis, said that plant bread sales had also been helped by more people making sandwiches at home. “Shoppers are buying branded because they want the best quality they can have from a homemade sandwich,” he said.Sara Reid, marketing manager at Rank Hovis, added: “People are going back to trusted brands because they know what they’re getting. It’s not just about price, it’s about value for money.”
== Illegal workers found ==Nine men and one woman were identified as working illegally at the Anglo-Austrian Patisserie in Wimbledon on 15 April, in an operation by The UK Borders Agency. The bakery’s owner has been served a notice of potential liability for employing someone without the right to work, which could result in a £10,000 fine per employee arrested.== The Panda returns ==Fox’s character Vinnie the Panda will be back on TV screens in May for a new advert to highlight the launch of the biscuit brand’s Chunkie Fruit & Nut Extremely Chocolatey Cookies. The four-week TV campaign will be supported by a wider advertising campaign, which Fox’s hope will continue the Vinnie campaign’s previous success, boosting the brand.== Robinsons suppor ==tBritvic is launching an on-pack promotion on its drinks-to-go ranges from May to support Robinsons’ association with the Wimbledon tennis championships. Prizes include tickets and chances for families to play at the iconic All England Lawn Tennis Club.== Starbucks goes Wi-Fi ==BT is to provide Wi-Fi in more than 650 Starbucks coffee shops across the UK and Ireland in a new partnership deal. The service is to be installed in the first stores this week and will be rolled out for completion by the end of the summer.== NSA trainers added ==Four new training providers have joined the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacturing, taking the number in the network to 32. They are: The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (Cafre) in Northern Ireland; Bishop Burton College, Yorkshire; Derby College; and Newcastle University.
By Georgi GytonBakers across the country are up in arms over the new Food Standards Agency (FSA) campaign, which aims to educate consumers on the ’hidden salt’ in foods such as bread, sandwiches and pizza and urges them to choose products with the lowest salt levels.The thrust of the campaign, which went live on Monday 5 October, is based on FSA survey results, which reveal that 77% of consumers are unaware that bread and breakfast cereals are among the top salt-contributing foods in people’s diet.Speaking at Bakers’ Fair, Anthony Kindred, a director of the National Association of Master Bakers and owner of Kindred’s Bakery in London, said that after all the work carried out to achieve lower salt levels, this new campaign is “kicking bakers where it hurts”.However, the FSA insists it is not suggesting consumers eat less bread. “We want to encourage people to eat bread; we just want people to choose bread with lower salt,” said a spokesperson for the FSA.”We really appreciate all the work the industry has done so far, but the fact they’ve met the 2010 target doesn’t mean they cannot reach levels that are even lower.”The campaign literature could also be seen to suggest consumers switch from buying branded loaves, stating that “supermarket own-label versions of some foods, including bread, are often lower in salt than the branded versions”.Gordon Polson, director of the Federation of Bakers (FoB) said one of the main problems with the campaign is that it does not tell consumers the whole story. “It seems unfair to differentiate between different types of bread when all our members are on target to meet the 2010 targets.”He said the FoB was disappointed that all the work that had gone on to reduce salt had not been recognised. “We have responded to what the FSA has asked us to do and we have done it. I don’t see what else we can do,” he added.Jan Thomson, co-owner of Thomsons Bakery in Newcastle Upon Tyne, said the key issue for craft bakers is that the FSA has suggested that supermarket own-label is the lowest in salt. “In a craft baker’s shop, we don’t have labels for customers to check,” she said. As a result she plans to promote the fact the bakery meets FSA targets with signs in the shop window.