Minimum wage increases must be investigated, says FPB

first_imgThe Forum of Private Business (FPB) has called for a government investigation into the impact of minimum wage increases on smaller businesses. The national minimum wage is set to rise 30p to £5.35 an hour from 1 October for employees aged 22 and above. The rates for 18- to 21-year-olds and 16- to 17-year-olds rise to £4.45 and £3.30 an hour respectively.The FPB’s chief executive Nick Goulding said: “The 34% increase in a period of five years is well above earnings growth and the periods between increases are too short to allow for proper analysis of the impact. If a small business were to increase the price of their goods or services by the equivalent increase in the minimum wage of 34% they would be committing commercial suicide!”In an FPB survey of 2,000 smaller firms on the Minimum Wage, released in January 2005, 64% said an increase to £5.35 would have a bad or very bad effect on business.last_img read more

Fresh from the farm

first_imgWe bake our cakes with eggs fresh from the farm, which gives them a really good colour,” says Liz Hedges of Bryngwenyn Farm, who hand-collects eggs from her brood of hens daily. “We believe in proper free-range chickens, which can make it a bit harder to locate the eggs!” she adds. But despite the extra trouble tracking down the odd maverick chicken nest, the resulting cakes have proved a popular seller in her on-site shop. “I always baked cakes and, when we opened the shop, it seemed natural that there would be a cakes offering,” says Hedges.The Welsh farm where Liz Hedges sells her fresh cakes is just one of an increasing number of smallholdings where the owners have turned their hand to retail, as well as wholesale, and are pioneering their own cottage industries of fresh produce and baked goods. In fact, according to this year’s food retail report by The Grocer, farm shops were the biggest expanding category this year – surpassing the big supermarkets with 15% growth.For the Hedges, returning to the land was the result of them falling in love with a rundown sheep farm of 60 acres, perched on the top of a hill over-looking the Gwendraeth Valley and, as an ex-farmer and ex-miller, it was only fitting that part of their agricultural project involved bread and cake-making, using as many ingredients as possible from their own farm. So their small shop sells fresh cakes, artisan loaves and more direct farm produce, such as eggs, meat and vegetables.Although Simon is not currently milling, flour is carefully sourced from a local craft producer, and is combined with Liz’s free-range eggs to make her rich, flavourful cakes. Meanwhile, miller-turned-baker Simon has set up his own on-site bake-house, hiring the expertise of a local craft baker, and now runs bread-making classes on a weekly basis. He is also in the final stages of building his own flour mill.== Growing business ==But although this may seem like an idyllic story of a couple returning to the land, the Hedges, and farm-shop owners like them, also have plenty to teach other bakery retailers. While farm shops are, by their nature, based in rural locations, the growing desire among customers for locally-sourced products is increasingly prevalent. And although the Hedges turn out a tiny quantity of baked goods, they represent a trend that shows every sign of becoming big. “It’s usually assumed in retail that the big supermarkets are driving out the smaller producers and cottage industries,” says Richard Dodds of the British Retail Consortium. “But when small specialist outlets are able to offer something unique and different, they are the biggest growth areas.”According to Dodds, the key lies not in competing with the larger outlets, but in doing something they cannot do. “There’s no point in trying to compete with the supermarkets on price point, because you’ll never do it,” he explains. “But farm shops are proving that there’s a growing interest from certain types of consumer as to where their food comes from. Due to their size, supermarkets are less able to meet this need than a local farm shop.”== Farm shops in growth ==Smaller retailers are also better-placed to be able to source locally and convince customers that this is a passion rather than a cynical marketing ploy. So while farm shops may be able to simply point out of the window when a customer asks about the origin of ingredients, a baker supplying farm shops is also well-placed to explain that they use a particular supplier, because they are high-quality and local.Yet the key to learning from the success of farm shops is not simply to copy their techniques, but to understand the philosophy behind them. Running a smallholding with a farm shop is not a route to becoming rich, and most who go into the business do it because they have a passion for rearing animals properly and growing crops ethically. The fact that this leads to high-quality food is almost a by-product – but one no less popular for that.”Using good ingredients is a core part of what we do, and the effect is that what we sell is higher-quality than you’d find elsewhere,” says Martin Brown, of Redcliffe Farm in Yorkshire. “We make a steak pie, for example, which uses really good-quality steak, and we also fill the pie right to the top, so you get plenty of meat. Lots of people comment that they’ve never had a better pie.”The Redcliffe Farm shop began by selling mainly meat and cheese, but was able to branch out into baked goods by hiring the services of a local confectioner. It has also expanded into a coffee shop and tea room, where a regular rotation of farm-fresh cakes complements the selection of sandwiches and savouries. Local ingredients are a key aspect of the shop’s popularity, but local specialities also drive customers to the farm. “We have traditional products, particular to the region, such as Yorkshire curd tarts,” he says. “People like to see things that remind them of their childhood – or cakes based on local recipes.”== The extra mile ==But although using ingredients fresh from your own fields might seem like a baker’s dream, there are some real disadvantages to running a farm shop. Unlike a bakery retailer, based in a town or city, the footfall is less-than-assured and popular days might be teamed with times when no-one stops by at all. “It is very difficult to balance presenting a good offering for customers when they come, and not wasting food,” says Liz Hedges. “We’re still learning how to gauge how many people are going to show up, but it can be very difficult.”So it seems that, while customers might be looking to go back to basics, they also expect a wide range of locally produced products on offer. “You need to have a core stock of products, which people expect to see” says Redcliffe Farm’s Brown, “but you need to rotate things, so there’s something different for people when they come back.”For other bakery retailers, however, this also presents a valuable lesson – because, in order to balance their erratic footfall, successful outlets are genius at creating reasons for people to visit and buy their products. Bryngwenyn Farm offers bakery classes, for example, while others, such as Welbeck Farm in Nottinghamshire, offer sausage-making demonstrations teamed with competitions to win food hampers, and specially-made gift options for seasonal occasions.While there’s nothing like a severe location disadvantage to drive retailers to get creative with their offerings, this extra effort, teamed with high-quality products made with locally-sourced ingredients, should be a winning formula for any food outlet.last_img read more

Concentrate on the positives

first_imgBakery is an industry full of challenges, but also of immense importance to customers, and everyone has an opinion and an emotional response to the category. I’m a customer, former manufacturer – I worked from 2004-2007 for RHM – and current retailer, a blend that I hope allows me a different perspective and a valuable opinion. I will let you judge that.At Tesco, we are committed to this industry and the importance it has in our overall store offer. We have a history of challenging norms and taking brave decisions, such as the roll-out of the industry basket. While our strategic intent broadens to expand globally, in non-food and retailing services, we are still a grocer with a passion for giving the customer what they want, and we know that they want great quality bakery products for a fair price that are always available.My challenge in this coming year is two-fold. Firstly, it is to continue to keep product availability at the heart of my customer focus, and our suppliers have a significant role to play in this. We must continue to challenge the norms that exist to drive cost out for the customer and improve efficiency.Secondly, I need to reflect the need to be more flexible in the way that I range, so that the broad church of Tesco customers can always get the product they want in our bakeries. A more sophisticated view of what customers want, dependent upon their life-stage and demography, will make our ranges more efficient and effective, without reducing choice.Customer at heart of industryI truly believe that the customer is at the heart of maintaining a vibrant and sustainable industry in the face of the current economic climate. I won’t say that retailers and suppliers will not have robust and challenging discussions about our respective positions, but I will say that we need to work as an industry to persuade people to eat more of our products – and more often. Customer understanding is even more important when economic times are tougher and value for money becomes a greater choice denominator.So, what are customers telling us at the moment? In a recent Nielsen report, 86% of people polled said that they felt negative about job prospects in the next 12 months and 66% thought that their finances would be ’not so good’ or ’bad’ in the coming months. This backs up Tesco research, which suggests that food pricing is now the number one priority for consumers when making choices about where to shop and what to buy when in store. It is also impossible to open a newspaper or turn on the television without some reference to the global world financial crisis. A combination of consumer sentiment, real economic tightening and significant global raw material price increases are all materially affecting behaviour in our industry.IGD conducted some research in 2008 to look at the changes in shopper trends as a result of the economic situation. Twenty-seven per cent of customers reported that they are shopping around more, 25% said they are spending more time shopping and 21% said they were walking to the shops more (which is supported by growth levels we are seeing in the Express format). The most significant change is that 40% of respondents said that they were buying more promotions. In the 12 weeks leading to mid-April this year, some 40% of plant bread volume was sold on deal in the multiples, compared with 26% the prior year, indicating that customers are looking for increased value in our industry.We must also be aware that customers are becoming more concerned with food waste and the government has been vocal with its campaign to reduce food waste this year. I have seen research suggesting that customers are looking to freeze more bread and throw less away. I applaud this initiative to reduce waste and preserve natural resources at a time when global demand is rising, but there is a spectre of significant volume decline for all of us if we don’t work to help customers in the wake of bread deregulation and give the right solutions to those customers who might otherwise leave the market or shop less frequently.However, there are some potential benefits for our category from the recession. Customers are reporting that they are eating out less and having fewer takeaways. TNS has recently conducted research which states that 28m people consumed 4.2 billion lunchboxes in the last year – a 5.7% rise in a market worth £4.7bn to the UK grocery market. At £1.30, the average lunchbox costs significantly less than a bought lunch and baked goods have a significant opportunity to take a share of this growth.Plant bread sales riseIt is also heartening to see the sales of plant bread increasing in the most recent periods to back up the customer feedback on packing more lunches and eating in. In many ways this is driven by better value through promotions and, certainly in Tesco, our continued commitment to retailer brands. However, we cannot rest on our laurels and assume this is the start of an unstoppable regeneration. It is a moment in time when the tide is in our favour and consumers are recognising the relevance of our products and an opportunity to keep this momentum by finding our voice as an industry and prove that the ’customer matters’.I am firmly of the belief that growing the category is more sustainable for all of us than share-stealing. I believe we can all take a more active role in promoting bakery for its health, great taste and ultimate practicality.I would hold up the cereal industry as a potent example of trying to drive consumption. Recently, an article in The Daily Mail caught my eye. The headline was ’Forget your costly sports drink, try a bowl of Corn Flakes instead’. Who cannot remember the Wholegrain Nation ads and green band on Nestlé breakfast cereals?Are we proactive enough in this industry in talking about the positive aspects of our products? I applaud the recent editorial in British Baker, which highlighted the need to concentrate on the positives. I tire of the quarterly scare stories about salt – not because I don’t think we should act responsibly, but because I am sad that we appear on the back foot in positively promoting our fantastic products. In April, we had the ’vegetarian’ scare and, only two weeks ago, an article in the Sunday Times linked the destruction of the habitat of the Orang Utan to the growth in palm oil plantations. Guess what? Some of your members were highlighted as using this in their products and contributing to the demise of this endangered species.Can we stop the flow of poor publicity? The answer is probably not. Can we do more to accentuate the positives of our products and our industry to consumers? Absolutely. The customer matters and they need to be enticed, reassured and delighted every time they buy and use one of our products. I also hope we will also see a return to customers craving increased quality and new and exciting NPD. Let’s do what we can to ensure that all of the customers who are re-appraising bakery now, continue to do so once we are out of the recession.l Scott Clarke was speaking at the Federation of Bakers’ annual conference—-=== Action points ===l Product availability and more flexible ranging based on customer affluence are the top two priorities for bakery at Tescol Potential volume decline in bread, based on campaigns to cut food waste, must be met with more options based on deregulated bread weightsl More needs to be done to promote bakery for its health, great taste and practicalitylast_img read more

Carr’s tackles salt reduction

first_imgCarr’s Flour Mills has launched a new Maltster flour to help bakers meet the Food Standards Agency’s sodium guidelines.While some manufacturers have added fermented wheat flour or dried sours to improve the taste of reduced-sodium bread, Carr’s wanted to produce a tastier loaf, using only natural ingredients.John Kennedy, area sales manager, said: “We now have an exclusive flake, which has been germinated longer and kilned slowly in small batches, giving a softer eating, maltier tasting wholegrain flake.”Maltster is packed in 16kg bags, which yields 27 800g loaves, costing approx 37p each.last_img read more


first_imgAndrew UnderwoodMacphie of GlenbervieThe new sales and marketing director at Scottish food ingredients company Macphie is Andrew Underwood.He brings 27 years of food industry experience, having held a number of senior roles, most recently with Authentic Foods. He has also worked at Brakes, Schwan’s Consumer Brands and Coca-Cola.Jacquie CahillAllied BakeriesJacquie Cahill has joined Allied Bakeries as supply chain director, with responsibility for overseeing logistics operations. The appointment marks a return to the baking industry for Cahill, who previously worked at Allied Bakeries as a supply chain development manager before leaving to take on the role of global supply director at pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca. She replaces Paul Longley, who will be retiring from the company after 37 years’ service.Ian DestePremier FoodsThe new group sales director for Premier Foods is Ian Deste, who joins the company from Coca Cola Enterprises, where he spent 20 years, including nine years as a member of the GB board. Most recently he held the post of vice-president, sales and customer development.In his early career Deste worked in the beer and tobacco industries.Ernie FinchGenius FoodsAward-winning gluten-free food specialist Genius Foods has appointed Ernie Finch as a non-executive director of the company.Finch brings with him over 40 years of leadership experience within the retail, manufacturing and processing sectors. He spent almost 30 years at Marks & Spencer in various roles. Other experiences include a spell at Lightbody Cakes in the sales and marketing senior management team.last_img read more

White House under bakery fire

first_imgWho would like to sell their muffins for £10? Well, if you supply the White House that is how much you could charge.A new report by the US Justice Department has discovered the centre of power has been paying $16 for the tasty treat. What’s more, it has also been paying a whopping $10 per cookie.Critics have voiced outrage at the spending shown in the internal audit, including $8 coffees and $32-per-person snacks. The US owes more than $14tn and has an annual budget deficit topping $1.4tn. The shock report found that the Justice Department had spent $4,200 on 250 muffins at an August 2009 legal conference at a hotel near the White House.last_img read more

Public’s help needed to develop a plan for Elkhart to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

first_img Twitter Facebook IndianaLocalNews Google+ Previous articleFort Wayne, Allen County Sheriff’s Department sued by ACLU for using tear gas on protestersNext articleThis week’s Hometown Hero is Serenity Whiting 95.3 MNCNews/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel is your breaking news and weather station for northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan. Facebook WhatsApp (Photo supplied/City of Elkhart) The City of Elkhart, through the work of Elkhart Environmental Center staff, and along with broad support and input from city staff and residents, will spend the next several months developing a climate action plan to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions. This plan is being completed alongside eleven communities selected to be a part of Indiana University’s second Resilience Cohort.The Elkhart Environmental Center began its participation with the 2020 Resilience Cohort in January. As a critical first step in the climate action planning process, the City of Elkhart is conducting a community-wide greenhouse gas inventory to better understand the sectors where the community can achieve emissions reductions. The IU Resilience Cohort will provide guidance and training through the end of December.Elkhart officials plan to engage local residents and key community stakeholders to incorporate public input for the plan. Public meeting dates and locations are forthcoming, including virtual participation opportunities. These opportunities will be shared on the website and through the city Facebook pages.Jamison Czarnecki, Supervisor at the Elkhart Environmental Center, says the city has been taking steps forward to make Elkhart more sustainable. “It’s a common understanding that the city is growing and changes are happening, but we need to have a smart growth mentality as we make these changes. This plan is a step in the right direction and will showcase us as a city that thinks about the long term future of its residents and its businesses.”A climate action plan is a fundamental step for Hoosier cities and towns committed to protecting their communities from heavier rainfalls in spring and winter, more frequent river and flash floods, and more freeze-thaw events that lead to potholes, among other impacts. The finished plan will provide Elkhart with a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and becoming more resilient to the effects of climate change.The Resilience Cohort was established in 2019 by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge Initiative.“We are thrilled that Elkhart has decided to take the important step of developing a climate action plan,” said Janet McCabe, ERI Director, “Once adopted, the plan will provide a tailored roadmap to reduce local sources of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. In addition to lowering Elkhart’s climate impact, implementing the plan will lead to community benefits like green jobs, lower utility bills, improved air quality, and a better government bond rating.”The City of Elkhart anticipates that a draft of the plan will be completed by September 2020. The draft will be submitted to City elected officials for review and consideration in the fall.For further information or to participate in the climate action plan, go to and click the “Climate Action Plan” tab. You can also contact the Elkhart Environmental Center at [email protected] or by phone at 574-293-5070. By 95.3 MNC – June 29, 2020 1 371 WhatsApp Pinterest Public’s help needed to develop a plan for Elkhart to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Pinterest Twitter Google+last_img read more

South Bend HS Baseball teams delay Jackie Robinson tributes due to weather issues

first_img Previous articleFood bank mobile distribution schedule for the week aheadNext articleReckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter charges for suspect in deadly LaPorte County crash Tommie Lee The South Bend Schools baseball teams have had to reschedule their Jackie Robinson Day games due to weather.The celebrations were supposed to begin late last week and kick off a week-long celebration of the baseball legend who broke the color line.School officials say the games will be rescheduled and the special tributes will take place at upcoming games. Twitter Facebook Twitter By Tommie Lee – April 18, 2021 0 45 Google+ WhatsApp Pinterest Google+ Facebook Pinterest IndianaLocalNewsSouth Bend MarketSports South Bend HS Baseball teams delay Jackie Robinson tributes due to weather issues WhatsApplast_img read more

News story: New offshore patrol vessel named HMS Trent

first_img As the third of five Offshore Patrol Vessels being built in Scotland, HMS Trent will soon be part of a fleet of highly capable ships. These new vessels will keep the UK safe by conducting counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and other vital maritime operations. UK Defence has invested in an unprecedented ship-building production line in Glasgow and the city’s shipyards with their 1,700 highly skilled engineers and technicians, benefiting from full order books for the next two decades. The work to build the new OPV fleet is sustaining jobs and the shipbuilding skills vital to the construction of the new Type 26 Frigate fleet. The first Type 26, HMS Glasgow, is currently under construction in Govan.Following a period of rigorous sea trials, HMS Trent is expected to be delivered to the Royal Navy in the second half of 2018. Within the next few days the 90-metre warship, which is the third to be named following HMS Forth and HMS Medway, will take to the water for the first time and make the short journey across the Clyde from Govan to Scotstoun where she will be fitted out for sea trials.The ship’s sponsor, Mrs Pamela Potts, officially named the ship by pressing a button to smash a bottle of gin, which was distilled close to the River Trent, against the hull. Trent’s lady sponsor Mrs Potts is the wife of Vice Admiral Duncan Potts, Director General of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.HMS Trent will, alongside her sister ships Forth, Medway, Tamar and Spey, make a significant contribution to the defence of the UK by performing vital counter-terrorism, anti-smuggling and other maritime security operations to secure the UK’s borders.Minister for Defence Procurement, Guto Bebb, said: This is another welcome milestone in the delivery of the Royal Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessel fleet – one which we are celebrating alongside our partners in the Royal Navy and industry. We look forward to the delivery of the remaining OPVs and good progress in the Type 26 build programme. The sixth Royal Navy vessel to bear the name, HMS Trent will be armed with a medium-calibre gun and a flight deck capable of accommodating a Merlin helicopter.Sir Simon Bollom, Chief of Materiel (Ships) for Defence, Equipment and Support, the government’s procurement agency, said:last_img read more

Press release: Celeb-led travel trends prompt FCO warning this Easter

first_imgThe FCO recommends Brits making trips abroad this Easter join the 16 million people a year who check its Travel Advice before they travel. All sorts of local laws and customs are covered in the travel advice, including the 10 listed below: Julia Longbottom, FCO Consular Director said: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is warning young Brits following in the footsteps of globe-trotting celebs not to fall foul of lesser-known local laws and customs, which could land them in serious trouble.New research from the FCO shows that one third of 18 – 24 year olds (33%) will be influenced by celebrities when preparing for their holiday this Easter, with nearly 1 in 3 (30%) saying stars inspire their travel destination.However, many of these destinations have more unusual and surprising rules than UK travellers are used to.As most young Brits don’t have A-listers’ concierge support when planning trips abroad, the FCO is urging British people to be aware of local laws and customs in the destinations they are travelling to by reading up on Travel Advice – something that fewer than two fifths of young people (38%) currently do – if they want to avoid getting into trouble abroad.FCO analysis of ONS data has found a significant increase in Brits travelling further afield than the traditional European trips, often to popular celebrity destinations that have stricter laws and customs than the UK. Visits to Sri Lanka are up more than a fifth (22%) and the UAE up more than a sixth (17%).Jack White, celeb content director at Now magazine said: Follow the Foreign Office on Twitter @foreignoffice and Facebook Follow the Foreign Office on Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn Greece: Indecent behaviour, including mooning, isn’t tolerated and could result in arrest and a fine or a prison sentence. For more information and to find out about local laws and customs in destinations around the world, visit the FCO’s travel advice pages.Further information UAE: Swearing and making rude gestures (including online) are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed or deported. Japan: The use or possession of some medicines like Vicks Inhalers or painkillers containing Codeine is banned in Japan and can result in detention and deportation Turkey: It is an offence to insult the Turkish nation or the national flag, or to deface or tear up currency. If you are convicted of any of these offences, you could face a prison sentence of between 6 months and 3 years. We’ve all felt the pang of envy that comes from scrolling through a celebrity’s luxury holiday snaps on social media, but if you’re ever lucky enough to end up in Dubai or St Lucia it’s worth remembering different countries have different rules – and sometimes even the stars seem unaware of this. It’s easy to get caught up the moment on holiday, so it’s worth researching the local laws beforehand to make sure your dream trip doesn’t end in disaster. After all, there’s definitely nothing glamorous about ending up behind bars! Caribbean: Many Caribbean countries, such as Barbados, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia ban the wearing of camouflage clothing, including by children. Spain: Causing a forest fire is treated as a criminal offence in Spain even if unintentional. For journalists It’s great to see the British people being inspired to travel to new and exciting places. This makes it all the more important to follow our Travel Advice and respect local laws and customs to avoid unnecessary trouble. For instance, e-cigarettes are banned in Thailand and can result in a prison sentence of up to ten years. Even in places closer to home, disrespecting local laws can have serious consequences – in Greece indecent behaviour, such as mooning, can be punishable with a fine or even a prison sentence. We see many cases each year of people breaking local laws and customs. It is important that our travellers understand that the UK Government can’t give legal advice or get them out of prison. Instead, we want to do all we can to help British people stay safe when they are travelling, and avoid ending up in these difficult situations. Sri Lanka: The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is a serious offence and tourists have been convicted for this. British nationals have been refused entry to Sri Lanka or faced deportation for having visible tattoos of Buddha. Don’t pose for photographs standing in front of a statue of Buddha. Ukraine: Smoking and drinking alcoholic drinks in public places (including transport, bus stops, underground crossings, sports and government establishments, playgrounds and parks) is officially banned. Media enquiries Thailand: You can’t bring vaporisers, such as e-cigarettes, e-baraku or refills into Thailand. These items are likely to be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to ten years if convicted. Australia: Australia has strict quarantine rules to keep out pests and diseases that could affect plant, animal and human health. Breaches of quarantine regulations can result in large fines. Email [email protected]last_img read more