Hot bread rolls from a barrow, klezmer players fiddling down the street, and a lechayim with honey cake to toast the occasion. A journey through the history of one of London’s bakery landmarks took place recently, when the Grodzinski family celebrated the 75th anniversary of its bakery shop in Stamford Hill. The backdrop of the celebration was an exhibition of an archive of photos and papers assembled by Mr Jonathan Grodzinski, proprietor of the 117-year-old chain, which now has four shops. “There’s not more than a handful, at most, of bakeries in London that have been trading for 75 years in the same location,” notes Mr Joni, as he is known to staff and clients. In 1888, immigrants Harris and Judith Grodzinski arrived in England, fleeing Czarist persecution. Judith set to work making bilkelech (sweet rolls) in a rented bakery, and Harris took them to market each morning. Business flourished, and the couple soon opened their own bakery in the East End, the heart of Jewish settlement in the late 19th-century England. When Harris Grodzinski died, aged 54, his 18-year-old son Abie inherited the bakery. In 1908, Abie’s wife, Bertha Jeidel joined him to help build the business. But just before their 10th wedding anniversary, the flu epidemic struck Abie, leaving Bertha a widow, with five young children and a bustling business to oversee. For more than a decade, she ensured the bakery’s trade and reputation grew. In 1930, her two eldest children, Harry and Ruby, began sharing responsibility for the business, and they convinced Bertha to move out of the East End to the suburbs. On November 10, 1930, Bertha opened Grodzinski’s second establishment in Stamford Hill. By the time war broke out in 1939, Grodzinski had six shops in north London. One generation later, as Harry’s and Ruby’s children began to take their place in the family firm, Grodzinski was a well-established institution in the Jewish community, with 24 shops throughout London.The shop and main bakery at Dunsmure Road were expanded and modernised in the early ’60s, and Grodzinski’s patisserie was moved to Stamford Hill, alongside the bread and confectionery departments. While the bakery turned out Grodzinski’s rye breads, fruit cake and sweet plaited challahs, the patisserie made the kosher, cream-filled millefeuilles and sachertortes. In 1991, however, the firm found itself in financial difficulties and went into liquidation.But eight of the shops were subsequently bought back by two sections of the family – M&D Grodzinski and J Grodzinski and Daughters – and trade as separate businesses under the Grodzinski’s name. Now, a new generation has joined her parents at the helm of four of those shops; 23-year-old Tova Grodzinski, great-great-granddaughter of Harris and Judith, recently took over management of the Grodzinski shop in Edgware.
Leading figures from across the baking industry are being invited to join a representative steering group to push forward plans for a new National Skills Academy for Bakery, following a successful skills summit at the Baking Industry Exhibition last week.Justine Fosh, director of the National Skills Academy, told the One Voice for Training conference that between five and 10 bakery employers from craft, plant and the major retailers are being sought to thrash out a common path for the sector over the next two weeks. The steering group’s remit will cover training and qualification needs, long-term funding and identifying a training provider as a hub or ’champion’ of the academy, alongside other skills providers.The National Skills Academy was launched in August 2007, in a bid to support the government’s 2006 Leitch Report on skills, which threatens levies on emp-loyers if progress towards mee- ting training needs is not made.Delivering John Renshaw’s keynote conference paper in absentia, British Bakels’ MD Paul Morrow urged a unified industry-wide stance on upping skills levels. He said: “The creation of skills academies is the main opportunity for employers to grasp the agenda and demand the kind of training and skills development we feel we need in our businesses, so that no longer is our business growth restricted by skills gaps.”Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees general secretary Matthew May said maintaining the momentum would be critical to establishing the academy: “What it cannot turn into is a talking shop. If the industry agrees that is what needs to happen, we need to make it happen, and it’s a long-term commitment.”To get involved in shaping the future of bakery training, contact Justine Fosh, tel: 0845 644 0558 or email [email protected] foodanddrink.nsacademy.co.uk
No doubt fuelled by the likes of poo-obsessed TV nutritionist Gillian McKeith, healthy breads and, specifically, whole grains, have seen a revival over the last five years, with the focus being on maintaining a healthy gut. Heart health, on the other hand, has fallen somewhat off the radar. As one industry insider stated, during the course of researching this feature, “The health claims are amazing, yet the Brits seem to concentrate on bowels!”While most heart-health claims related to wholegrain foods have so far been made by breakfast cereal suppliers (see pg 34), this could be set to change with the introduction of the Whole Grains Stamp to the UK, which is being taken up on bread products. An American initiative, the stamp has lifted the US market for wholegrain products from 1% growth in 2001-2004, to 18% in 2005.It no doubt played a small hand in the rise of wholegrain product launches too, which doubled between 2005 to 2006, according to Mintel’s Global New Product database. The stamp, which helps consumers identify wholegrain foods was, at the last count, being used on over 1,700 products in the US, 23% of which are breads or bagels.Paul Morrow, managing director of British Bakels, says bakers have yet to tap the full marketing potential of whole grains. “Food giants such as Nestlé (Shredded Wheat and Shreddies) and PepsiCo (Walkers’ SunBites crisps) have realised the opportunities that whole grain offers and are now advertising these products heavily. Bakers will also benefit from this, as it will raise awareness of whole grain in the diet.”Bakels is the first to make the stamp available to UK bakers to use on packaging and labelling as part of a point-of-sale package that includes posters, shelf talkers and leaflets. Its message is ’It just takes 2’, as two medium slices of its multi wholegrain bread (2x41g) would give consumers 48g of whole grain – the recommended daily amount in many countries, and more than treble the current UK average.Holding back whole grain in the UK has been a lack of any industry-wide definition, confusion over EU legislation on health claims, and the lack of agreed minimum levels of whole grains before making claims. Now that this has changed (see below and pg 34), the Whole Grains Council believes the stamp could take off over here.”This is potentially huge for the UK baking market,” says Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies for the US Whole Grains Council, a non-profit-making organisation. “In the first nine months of 2007 alone, bakers worldwide launched more than 500 wholegrain products, accounting for one-third of all new wholegrain launches. Wholegrain bread is wildly popular, and we want to help UK bakers benefit from the growing consumer interest.”While the UK bread market has traditionally been dominated by white bread, the last five years have seen a boom in brown and wholemeal, which is rapidly catching up with white bread. Brown and wholemeal bread are now worth a fifth of the total value market for bread and bakery products, with expenditure up 75% in just five years, according to Key Note’s latest bakery report.Eyeing the opportunity is a newcomer to the UK, Danish firm Valsemøllen, which launched into the UK at the Baking Industry Exhibition in April, offering conventional and organic bread mixes, concentrates, premixes and improvers. “We’re focusing a lot on whole grain – it’s important in Denmark right now. UK bakers are showing a big interest in our organic products,” says export manager Bo Sander.Meanwhile, established UK players, such as BakeMark, have seen low-GI, high-fibre bread products fast become category staples: “We’re focusing heavily on taste and health across our product ranges, but particularly in breads, with the development of our healthy choices such as Seeds ’n’ Grains,” says Vera Malhotra, head of marketing. “There will be more to come in this area in 2008.”Meanwhile, the wrapped breads category has seen a slew of healthier bread product launches in the last two years. “Now more than ever, consumers are looking for added health benefits from staples such as bread,” says Sarah Miskell, category director at Warburtons, which launched a Wholemeal Fibre Boost 800g loaf in February. New product development such as this will no doubt kick the category on: in 2007 the brown and wholemeal bread market was worth just over £700 million – up from £400m in 2004, with a 15% increase on 2006. This contrasts with the white bread sector, where spend has slowly declined, dropping £40m to be worth £962m last year.But before you all get carried away, Key Note states: “The brown and wholemeal bread sector has tended to be much smaller than the white bread sector, mainly because of some consumer resistance to its taste and texture, compared with the blander products available within the white bread sector. At the same time, it was seen as less interesting and less exciting than the speciality and ethnic sector.”—-=== So what’s new? ===DSM has launched a new enzyme, BakeZyme WholeGain, which is designed to help wholegrain bread manufacturers overcome the common problems associated with producing high-fibre bread, such as reduced volume and unappealing crumb. The enzyme is claimed to increase dough tolerance by enabling better gluten development and improves proofing stability… British Bakels has introduced New Multi Wholegrain Bread Concentrate, which contains four different types of grains and rye flour. It is added to wholemeal flour to give high-fibre bread that contains 60% wholegrain and the concentrate is used on a 50/50 ratio with the wholemeal flour…. Country Choice has launched three artisanal-style loaves, produced in France. Supplied frozen, ready-to-bake, all three 400g varieties are made by traditional methods, which include hand-cutting, rustic decoration and baking on the stone floor of the oven. They include a Malted Grain Baton, Sourdough Boule, and the Premium Seeded Batard—-=== Who’s buying whole grain? ===l UK interest in wholegrain products is still heavily centred on gut health issues. However, there is a growing awareness of the benefits of a low-GI diet, both in terms of weight control and in the control of blood sugar and prevention of diabetes.l In the US, however, heart health has been by far the most important single issue behind the phenomenal growth of wholegrain products in recent years. This particular benefit of wholegrain foods has yet to achieve such widespread recognition in the UK and the market could perhaps benefit from greater promotion of this issue.l While white breads made with hidden wholegrain flours are popular as a way to improve the diets of children, adult consumers are more likely to choose wholegrain breads with ’bits’. Grain or seeded products represent the fastest-growing sector of the wrapped bread market, up 30-35% in 2006.Source: Bakels/Leatherhead Food International: The UK Bakery Market 2007—-=== Labelling: whole grains ===In November 2007, a definition of ’whole grains’ was agreed in the UK by a food industry working group, which also recommended a level of inclusion for whole grains in foods.Market analyst IGD’s Working Group on nutrition, which had representation from the Flour Advisory Bureau, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Premier Foods among others, recommended that packaged goods claiming the presence of whole grain should contain at least 8g of whole grain per serving.This term ’whole grain’ refers to the edible entire grain after removal of inedible parts, such as the hull and glume. It must include the entire germ, endosperm and bran. The whole grain definition includes grains that have been subjected to processing – milling, cracking, crushing, rolling, flaking and extrusion – but only if, after processing, the proportions of the germ, endosperm and bran are present in the same or virtually the same proportions as the original grain.Temporary separation of whole grain constituents during processing for later recombination is deemed acceptable, provided the proportions of the germ, endosperm and bran are the same or virtually the same as in the original grain. Simply adding together these three whole grain constituents as separate ingredients does not constitute a whole grain and making a claim that it does could be misleading to consumers, it states.Different varieties of the same grain may be combined during processing and be called whole grain – for example, different varieties of wheat – as long as the final product contains the component parts of the grain in line with their pre-processed proportions. Recombined bran, germ and endosperm from different cereals – for example, wheat plus oats – would not qualify as whole grain.For packaged foods stating ’contains whole grains’ or ’with whole grains’, it was recommended that foods should contain a minimum level of 8g whole grain per serving, based on final batch load proportions. This forms the basis of the Whole Grains Stamp, which has been rolled out across whole grain products in the US. Source: IGD—-=== Stake your claim ===As of December 2006, EU legislation lays down rules for the use of health or nutritional claims on foodstuffs across the EU and seeks to ensure that any claim made on a food label in the EU is clear, accurate and substantiated. This includes all nutrition and health claims. So how can the whole grain content be assessed in foods highlighting the presence of whole grain?In line with EU labelling legislation 2, highlighting the inclusion of whole grain on a food package – for example, by stating ’with whole grain’ or ’made with whole grains’ – will automatically trigger the requirement to provide a Quantitative Ingredient Declaration (QUID). This provides a mechanism for consumers and other interested parties to assess the level of whole grain that is present.The benefits of whole grains have been ratified by the Joint Health Claims Initiative, a UK government body set up to review health claims. They approved wording on heart health claims that ’People with a healthy heart tend to eat more wholegrain foods as part of a healthy lifestyle’.What you can say:l Eat more whole grain foodsl Look out for ’whole’ on the label – wholemeal, whole wheat, whole oats are all whole grainsl Choose brown varieties of bread, rice and pastal Eating more wholegrain and high-fibre foods forms a key part of a healthy, balanced diet
Owlet Juices has just launched a new “bag in a box” of juice, which the company claims is suitable for bakery retailers. The juice, which has a 12-month shelf life, comes in a 10-litre pack size with a recyclable cardboard box and there is no glass packaging to recycle.The juices contain no sugar, artificial sweeteners, colours or preservatives. The range includes single-variety apple juices, blends of apple varieties, pear juice and apple & berry blends.Owlet Juices are also available in a one-litre range packed in cases of 12, a 25cl range packed in cases of 24, as well as a five-litre catering pack.The company, based in Lamberhurst, Kent, supplies the Houses of Parliament and is a previous gold medal winner at the Great Taste Awards.[http://www.owletfruitjuice.co.uk]
“In my profession, my taste buds and sensory skills are crucial. My 18 years of experience enable me to distinguish between thousands of flavours. My taste buds also allow me to distinguish any defects”- Gennaro Pelliccia, taster for Costa Coffee, who has insured his taste buds for £10m (incidentally the equivalent value of half a David Beckham leg)”We’re not going to alleviate her guilt. This is something in her life. So the question for us was, how do we not trip her guilt?”- noticed all those ’baked’ crisps emerging onto the market? Jill Nykoliation, president of the advertising agency Juniper Park in charge of US crisps giant Frito-Lay’s marketing, reveals why “baked” crisps were launched to target crisp-dodging women”As soon as you open a bag up, the distinctive aroma of the Cornish pasty hits you”- the bakery-crisps crossover continues with Sharen Parker, whose Lusty Pirate pasty-flavoured potato snacks are now selling in Tesco stores in Cornwall
Devon-based company Peck & Strong is defying the current climate by moving to a new production site, four times the size of its existing one.The new site comprises a 14,000sq ft bakery and an additional 1,500sq ft, which will be used for office space and accommodation for its 14 employees.The firm has been producing handmade cakes, snacks and vegetarian flans and pies since 1980. Founder, owner and project manager John Peck had been looking for a new freehold property for the last five years, as space was getting tight at the old factory, less than half a mile down the road.The company purchased the site around 18 months ago and hope it will enable them to grow further. It is a “natural evolution for the business”, said Peck. “Our existing market is principally tea rooms and coffee shops, as well as several National Trust sites, delis and universities,” he added. The firm is also rebranding its product range, which Peck said is soon to be completed.The move into larger premises will enable the firm to meet the growing demand for its products within the coffee shop and snacking sector. “At the moment we cover the southern half of England, as well as South Wales, mainly with our own transport, but also through distributors, so we’re looking to build on that and develop into the north of England,” said Peck.
It’s a sign of our environmentally conscious times that reducing food waste was one of the driving factors behind Honeytop Speciality Foods’ decision to invest in technology for applying resealable closures to a line of own-label tortilla wraps.The Zip-Pak ’press-to-close’ seal means that shoppers can keep their tortilla wraps fresh between meals, thereby reducing wastage. What’s equally important is that it also helps the products to stand out on shelf, says Honeytop joint MD David Laurence. “This new machine and the reclosable packaging help us to differentiate our products. Reclosable packaging offers consumers the added flexibility and convenience they demand.”The closure is applied using a ZipPak Reseal 360XM applicator unit attached to a Fuji Alpha flow-wrapper. According to Fuji’s technical manager Charles Ingham, the applicator unit applies the seal to the film as the product is wrapped – a more cost-effective method than using pre-made bags or film with the seals pre-applied.”Pre-made bags have to be filled individually, while if it is pre-applied to the film, you can get less on a reel, which means more change-overs,” he says. Even so, having to apply a seal does still slow down flow-wrapping speeds, with the Alpha’s top rate of 120 packs per minute cut by around half.In plant bread, consumers have long been able to reseal their loaves, thanks to the sticky plastic tape used to close the bags. But even the simplest designs can be improved as evidenced by a tape application machine from the newly launched UK subsidiary of US company Burford Corporation. As well as applying tape to bags of plant bread, the TCS Tamper Evident Tape Closure System also applies a paper strip across the ’legs’ of the tape, which makes it easier to pull apart and acts as a tamper-evident seal.”It provides another way for bread companies to demonstrate due diligence and the integrity of their product,” says the company’s UK sales manager Terry O’Donoghue. “The machine is designed completely differently to others on the market, with a different concept for applying tape. The type of rollers we use means we can apply tape with a stronger level of adhesive, which means they are easier to reseal and bags are less likely to burst open.”The TCS, which runs at over 80 loaves per minute and has already been taken up by Hovis and Vogel, incorporates a Markem Smartdate 5 thermal printer for codes and ’sell by’ information. Options include manual or automatic tie height adjustment and the machine will work with a number of substrates including polyethylene, polypropylene and paper bags.Select Bag Sealers has also introduced new bag-sealing technology recently, which ensures tape and printed information is applied extremely accurately. Launched last year, the SBS-Thurne Flexi Sealer can be electronically raised and lowered, as well as adjusted width-ways, to adapt to different-sized products, thereby ensuring the tape is accurately applied. “This is extremely important because information on the seal is required for essential point-of-tie information such as traceability codes,” says sales manager Nick Kemp. “Other sealers cannot guarantee the position of the print as accurately.”Accurate application of seals also ensures the bread inside is tightly packaged, eliminating the possibility that it could slant to one side. Speeds of up to 95 bags per minute can be achieved, depending on product, and the machine is available in two models – 90mm length seal format for standard polythene bags or 110mm for thick polypropylene or paper.
Belgique is a new bakery-café concept with deep breath a bakery, coffee shop, freshly made sandwiches, patisserie, chocolaterie, celebration cakes and a deli. With eight shops, 500 retail lines, 250 birthday cakes a month and thousands of boxes of chocolates, it’s no wonder Igor Bekaert says he has taken only one day off in 60.With a CV that includes a long stint at Patisserie Valerie before setting up his own bakery wholesaler, Bekaert & Dupont since sold to finance the retail side Bekaert has switched his retailer brain to turning a few modern bakery truisms on their head. Let’s tick them off one by one.Rule 1: Food-to-go is kingWhen he started out in retail, Bekaert was advised by professional shopfitters to focus on sandwiches and take-away. “I said no!” he exclaims. “I’ve always been skeptical. That’s what you see everywhere.” Initially he set out to be retail only no tables, no chairs and it didn’t work. “You just can’t take enough money,” he says.A tweak of the concept to a 50/50 retail/café split means he easily gets sites under A1 retail licence as well as A3 restaurant sites. “Even if the council takes me to court, it takes me 10 minutes to prove I am actually a retailer,” he says.Rule 2: Feature prominent menu boardsBelgique doesn’t. So how does it communicate all those concepts to the customer? “We kind of don’t,” shrugs Bekaert. “You have heavily branded bakeries out there with price boards and meal deals and blah blah blah. We’re the other way round.”I have no problem with people coming in and being confused. It’s up to the staff to notice that and offer help. I’d rather the first impression not be the price but the wow factor.” This seems to work: 80% of customers are estimated to be regulars and, of that figure, 70% come three-to-four times a week. “They find out what we do in their own way, at their own tempo,” he explains. “It’s not pushed in their face like Starbucks.”Rule 3: Coffee is coreTrue, but while Belgique does a decent coffee, the real profit comes from the eat-in food.”You can go to my place, it will be choc-a-bloc and everybody will be having food. You go to Caffè Nero and there will be three people with just a coffee.” At the same time, many cafés suffer home-away-from-home loafer-attracting syndrome. “There are too many doing the cosy corners thing… People will still be there having the same coffee after 45 minutes. Here, they will have coffee, they might have a sandwich, they will be tempted by the patisserie counters.”Instead he follows his own shopfitting rules:Rule 1: Don’t dilly dallyIt’s crucial to get the shops open as fast as possible: number one, money starts rolling in to pay for the fittings; number two, you enjoy more of your free rent period. “It’s not difficult to get six months rent-free, but you see people taking a year to open up,” he shakes his head.Also, recognise and admit mistakes early, he urges. The first error was squeezing the Belgique concept into too small a site a 750sq ft unit in Epping High Street. Not enough table space meant he couldn’t hit the 50/50 retail/on-site turnover split. They bought the next-door shop, knocked through and tripled turnover at a stroke, making the shop profitable.Rule 2: Organise cleverlyWith so many elements to the business, Bekaert manages it through nifty organising. Very few things have a single use, he states, and many elements overlap, making it cost-effective. For example, the deli counter doubles as the stock fridge for sandwich fillings.”From a management point of view, it’s about being organised having one person checking the admin, another checking the management and me basically in charge of the concept. If your staff understand your concept, they live and breathe it for you.”Rule 3: Keep controlHe gets costs down by knowing contractors’ charges before even they do. “I knew I had three shops coming up over six months, so I sat down with everyone and said, ’Look, this is my total budget.’ They don’t even have to give me a price”.For example, he agreed a contract of £50,000 up-front for the electrics for three shops. “I knew the electrician and his colleague’s day tariff was X-amount of money, so if they come every day for 26 weeks, I calculate that amounts to £40,000; I calculate all they need to buy is two fuse boards and cabling. plus materials, which costs £10,000. They nod and that’s it! I’m in control and I tell them how much it will cost.”
Bakers are being urged to make training a priority or face losing out on valuable grants, after changes to government funding kick in this spring. The Learning and Skills Council, which currently handles funding for adult skills-based education in England, is being disbanded at the end of March to make way for new bodies the Chief Executive of Skills Funding and The Young People’s Learning Agency.The Scottish Association of Master Bakers, which is now England’s leading trainer in on-the-job baking, said it had received “positive signs” that funding would continue under the new regimes. However, SAMB head of skills training Arthur Rayer warned that more needed to be done to build on the 104 learners currently on its books taking NVQ Levels 2 and 3 tuition in craft bakery, process bakery, retail and service, and distribution.”We still need more bakers to get more funding,” said Rayer. “If we don’t get more applications, then training contracts could start to shrink, which wouldn’t benefit anyone.”
Dawn van Rensburg, Richemont Club of Great BritainMost of us will use fruit ingredients in some form in our day-to-day baking, but we don’t often have the chance to see the story behind the box or pail it arrives in. So an opportunity to discover this and get an insight into new innovations chocolate mincemeat, for example was remedied recently; John Morley in Congleton, Cheshire, welcomed 25 craft bakers, all members of the Richemont Club of Great Britain, for a tour of its EFSIS-approved factory.A third-generation family-owned firm, run by managing director Paul Roberts, John Morley does more than just import, process and clean fruit from around the world. Its finished products range from mincemeat, fruit sauces, jams and pastes to dry pre-mixes for inclusion in cereals and fruit bars. While some of its customers are big high street names, the company still provides high-quality products and service to family bakers. A wide variety of samples were tasted in the ’fruit filling department’ and one visitor even negotiated a larger pail of fruit compôte for trial back in the bakery.Mincemeat production was not yet under way, as it seems trends are moving towards a less matured, ’fresh fruit’ flavour profile. But the group did taste some mincemeats with a twist, including ’chocolate’, ’amaretto’ and, my personal favourite, ’cassis and blackcurrant’ just proving that age-old recipes can always be challenged.John Morley has a strong innovations and development team, who will work alongside customers with their product development. The Richemont Club visitors came away convinced that the firm remains committed to the future of quality craft bakers.l The Richemont Club of Great Britain was formed in 1948 to encourage the interchange of ideas between craft bakers and confectioners in the UK and other countries