Baking powder supplier Kudos Blends (Kidderminster, Worcs) has developed a new range of low-sodium and no-sodium alternatives.The range provides an effective way for bakers to respond to current health concerns about sodium levels in the diet, says the company. Standard baking powder contains almost 20% sodium, but this can be reduced or even eliminated using Kudos’ Pell low-sodium alternatives.
A series of demonstrations and workshops in Leeds aims to help students prepare for up-coming bakery competitions. The National Federation of Bakery Students’ Societies/IBB Alliance is holding an Exhibition Standard School on Friday, February 10, from 8.30am to 5pm, and Saturday, February 11, 2006 from 8.30am to 3pm. The weekend is designed to help and encourage students and others into competition work ahead of the Alliance’s conference at the end of April.Held at Thomas Danby College in Leeds, the weekend includes a series of full-day and half-day workshops. Topics on the Friday include competition bread, Hovis and Granary bread, and chocolate work. Half-day sessions include fruitcake and Swiss roll demonstrations, an ‘innovation’ bread workshop and marzipan modelling.Half-day classes on the Saturday include a dough modelling demonstration and workshop, a brush embroidery workshop, a fondant and gateaux workshop and a morning goods demonstration. The sessions on Saturday will end with feedback and a raffle. Among the tutors are John Costello for chocolate work, Paul Radford for the fruitcake and Swiss roll session, Sue Haskell for marzipan modelling and brush embroidery, and Maureen Dempsey for fondant and gateaux. Delegates are requested to bring their own whites and book their own accommodation. Coffee and pastries, lunch, and a buffet and disco on the Friday evening are all included in the price, which is £20 for Alliance members and £35 for non-members, which includes full membership. Cheques should be made payable to NFBSS/IBB Weekend School.For more information please contact Karen O’Brien, tel: 01204 574854; or email [email protected] What’s on at a glance- Competition bread- Hovis and Granary bread- Fruitcake and Swiss rolls- Chocolate work- Marzipan modelling read more
Gordon Brown’s 10th and possibly final Budget contained some nasty surprises together with some sweeteners for businesses of all sizes. How the Budget affects small firmsCorporation tax ratesThe u-turn on the 0% corporation tax rate on profits of less than £10,000, announced in the pre-budget report in December 2005, was confirmed. For small companies with taxable profits of less than £300,000 the rate of tax will be 19%. For companies with profits above £1.5m the full rate of 30% will be payable. Marginal relief is given to smooth the transition from one rate to another. First year allowancesThe rate of first year allowances for expenditure by small businesses on qualifying plant and machinery will be increased to 50% for new expenditure incurred between April 6, 2006, and April 5, 2007. A small business is one that satisfies two of the following conditions: not more than £5.6m in turnover; not more than £2.8m in assets; not more than 50 employees. Self-assessment filing date changeMeasures were announced to move the deadline for income tax self-assessment returns to September 30, where returns are on paper, or November 30, where the returns are filed online. Currently, self-assessment tax returns must be filed by January 31 following the tax year. It is intended that these changes will be effective from 2008 and will be introduced on a phased basis. By 2012 it is expected that all income tax self-assessment returns will be filed by these dates. In addition to this, computer-generated paper substitute returns currently used by accountants will no longer be accepted. For many businesses the change in these filing deadlines will increase pressures to prepare the necessary information in time. This is particularly true for sole traders and partners who have to prepare accounts.Venture capital schemesSome changes to Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) were announced in the Budget. The Chancellor announced that a new income tax relief for investors in Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) would be decreased to 30%. Previously the rate had been 40%. In addition, the minimum period for which investors must hold their shares will increase from three years to five years.Bigger changes were announced for EIS investments. The doubling of the income tax relief for the annual investment limit to £400,000 is a welcome increase. However, the change in the gross assets test will mean that less companies will be eligible for EIS relief. Under the current rules the gross asset of the company raising money under EIS must not exceed £15m immediately before the investment and £16m immediately after. These limits were reduced to £7m and £8m from April 6, 2006. TechnologyAnnouncements in connection with the current exemptions for computers and mobile phones came as a big surprise. The exemptions for computers have been around since 1999 and the government has actively encouraged Home Computer Initiative (HCI) schemes which rely on this exemption.Under current rules, no taxable charge arises where an employee is provided with computer equipment with a value of up to £2,500. This is on the basis that there is no transfer of ownership in the property and the scheme is available to all employees. Without the exemption, the employee would be subject to a benefit in kind on 20% of the value of the assets, ie £500. The removal of the exemption will affect businesses that were considering the introduction of these schemes. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has confirmed that where existing schemes are in place a benefit-in-kind charge will not arise. Mobile phones were also under attack and limits placed on the exemption. The new measures, which were introduced on April 6, 2006, will mean that only one tax-free mobile phone is available per employee. Thresholds and ratesThe VAT registration threshold was increased to £61,000 from April 1, 2006, and the de-registration threshold up to £59,000.The turnover limit for using the annual accounting scheme has been increased to £1.35m per year from April 1, 2006.How the Budget affects large firmsResearch & developmentThe government is extending the employee limits for a company to qualify as a small- to medium-sized enterprise, which will give these companies the ability to claim cash back from HMRC for R&D investment. The limit relating to company employees has been doubled from 250 to 500 employees. Companies that employ between 250 and 500 employees will be able to benefit by claiming a tax credit; previously they would only have been able to claim an additional deduction for the qualifying costs. These companies will now be able to surrender any losses for cash back at a rate of 24% of the underlying R&D investment. The time limit for making this claim will be two years from the end of the accounting period.Stamp duty reconstruction reliefStamp duty is broadly restricted to the transfer of shares. Currently, certain exemptions are available for companies carrying out reorganisation. Due to the strict conditions of these reliefs a slight change in shareholdings could result in stamp duty becoming payable. The provisions announced confirm that relief will not be denied, if the proportion of shares in the new entity has to change slightly for practical reasons. Stamp duty land tax (SDLT): withdrawal of unit trust seeding reliefThe Chancellor announced that SDLT relief for seeding unit trusts with property ended from 2pm on March 22, 2006. This move will prevent the relief contained within Section 64A Finance Act 2003 from being used to avoid SDLT on certain high-value commercial property transactions.This was not an entirely unexpected move by the Chancellor and it is, in some ways, surprising that HMRC did not move earlier in order to prevent the relief from being used in this way. The Treasury will have been aware, even before the introduction of the SDLT disclosure provisions, that literally billions of pounds of UK real estate interests were being transferred to offshore unit trusts in order to avoid a potential SDLT charge to purchasers on the acquisition of their interests. Employment-related securitiesThe attack on tax avoidance schemes using employment-related securities and options is continuing. Where an option is granted as part of a tax avoidance scheme, it will be taxed as though it was a convertible security. This means there will be an income tax charge on the grant of the option as well as on its exercise. The tax charge arising on the grant is calculated by taking the value of the option on the grant, ignoring any resting period and performance conditions. It is possible that the tax charge on the grant may be more than the value of the shares! The employee is taxed again when the option is exercised, but as though he had converted one security into another. Where the underlying shares are readily convertible, assets tax and national insurance contributions will also be due.A second provision strengthens the penalty regime on the operation of PAYE on employment-related securities and options. Where retrospective legislation has been enacted the employer must operate PAYE on the date that the retrospective legislation becomes law. Also, the employer must collect tax from the employee within 90 days of the enactment of the legislation. Failure to do so could result in the employee facing further tax as the unpaid amounts are treated as employment income. Paula Tallon is director and head of direct tax at Chiltern, email: [email protected] Fulcher, president of the National Association of Master Bakers, runs Lilleys Bakery, which has three shops in Essex. He was not impressed by the Budget. “The Chancellor hasn’t done much for anyone, unless they have children, and I’m quite surprised that he’s done nothing for OAPs.” Mr Fulcher added: “He’s put the threshold of inheritance tax up – I’d like to see that abolished entirely. People work hard and when businesses get passed down to children, shops have to be sold to pay the tax. That doesn’t seem right.” In terms of investment, Mr Fulcher said: “I don’t know of any business that has money kicking around for investment, so the changes the Chancellor has made won’t help. It seems that Mr Brown wants to become Prime Minister and so has tried not to offend anyone.” read more
Ingham paper & Packaging (Ottery St Mary, Devon) supplies paper packaging to bakers. Its siliconised greaseproof paper can be both recycled and composted.Envirocoat non-slip paper pallet liners are used to prevent baked produce slipping in transit. The water-based acrylic coating gives excellent non-slip properties, says the firm, and is grease resistant.
It seems like a simple process. Grease a baking tin with release agent and your product will slide easily from it.But release agents can also affect things like the finish and shape of baked goods, and different products require specific agents, explains Alfred Fowler, sales director of Croda Food Services.”If you use too much release agent or the wrong kind, you can end up frying the crust or making the outer part of the product soggy. It can even affect the shape of your product. That is why there are specific agents for different cakes and breads.”He continues: “The releasing part of the process is of prime importance because if the baker has done everything correctly, up to that point, but is unable to release the bread from the tin or the cake from the shape, all his time has been in vain.”Release agents are an area of expertise for Croda, a specialist manufacturer of technical oils and fats. Based in Oldham, Lancashire, it supplies major bread and cake manufacturers and in-store and craft bakeries.One of its most recent innovations has been to develop trans fat free release agents.”Retailers want to remove all hydrogenated fats from their products,” says Fowler. “Marks & Spencer, for example, set a deadline of April 2006. We had to be sure the new release agents retained their quality and function so we had to do lots of tests and plant trials.”Other health issues that Croda has to be aware of is avoiding contamination by a build up of carbon. “Therefore, as little agent should be used as possible without compromising on its effectiveness,” says Fowler. “Because we do regular servicing and design the machines that apply the agents, we can make sure there is not an excess of carbon build-up.”Croda’s release agents are made from vegetable oils, emulsifiers and waxes and are compltely free from mineral hydrocarbons.Its main areas of specialisation include: release agents for use in bread, cake, pizza and sugar confectionery applications; speciality products designed to replace mineral oils in bakery machine lubrication; emulsifiers for the large cake manufacturers; and speciality liquid, powdered and flaked fats for the food and bakery industries.Croda also supplies organic release agents that are certified by the Soil Association, as well as soya-free lubricants.To help bakers decide which release agent is required for their products, Croda has developed an online Matrix test (see [http://www.croda.com]).The company’s release agents range includes:l Greetin: a vegetable oil-based emulsion for automated, high volume bread lines.l Starspray: designed for use by the in-store and craft baker, where application is by brush or hand spray.l So-Free: an alternative range of release agents that are completely free from soya-based ingredients. read more
Starbucks’ international sales rose 30% to $387m while profit increased by 9% to $21m in the second quarter of its financial year.The chain said the increase in revenue was due to product sales and royalty revenues from opening 456 stores in the last 12 months.Starbucks reported a 20% increase in overall net revenue to $2.26bn compared with $1.89bn last year.Jim Donald, president and chief executive, said: “We’re very pleased our business is right where our plans were and we were able to continue to deliver another solid quarter for our shareholders.”Donald added Starbucks was very comfortable with its performance both in the US and abroad. Starbucks plans to open at least 2,400 new stores around the world in the current financial year. read more
CSM vowed to make itself the “European premier supplier of choice” in the coffee shop sector, following its acquisition of Kate’s Cakes this week.The Dutch group, which owns BakeMark in the UK, bought Kate’s Cakes, which supplies customers including Starbucks, Pret A Manger and Waitrose, for £20.5 million plus £12m debt on Tuesday.The Dutch group said it planned to run West Sussex-based Kate’s Cakes and Wirral-based BakeMark UK “largely independently”, following the deal. Kate’s Cake’s management team, headed by MD Steve Greenhalgh would be retained for the “foreseeable future”.Marco Bertacca, CSM’s European vice-president for frozen and bakery products said: “Kate’s will complement our existing UK operations while providing a superb platform and effective model to enable us to focus on the growing opportunities within the coffee shop sector right across Europe. We have the clear aim of becoming the European premier supplier of choice within this important, fast-emerging channel.”Greenhalgh said the resources and market knowledge which CSM brought to Kate’s Cakes would help take the business to another level.BakeMark UK and Kate’s would be “left alone to do what they do best”, he said and customer contacts will be unchanged. He said: “Both Kate’s Cakes and BakeMark UK have strong market leading positions with highly effective individuals, teams and working methodology.”While we will creatively explore synergies, we will be very careful not to disturb what is a winning formula within both firms.”Kate’s Cakes employs some 470 people and has annual sales of around £23m, recording “strong double-digit growth” over the last few years, said CSM. The company was founded in 1989 and was bought by Greenhalgh in 1999.”This acquisition allows us to more quickly become a worldwide partner for leading companies in the high-quality foodservice and out-of-home markets,” said CSM chief executive Gerard Hoetmer.BakeMark UK country manager John Lindsay commented: “CSM is always looking for exciting purchases worldwide. It is great to see it actively investing in UK bakery.” read more
Growing voter apathy has long been a worry for politicians, so what better way to appeal to the disaffected – and to the collective sweet tooth of the US electorate – than to decide the presidential election outcome on the number of cookies people buy?Bakery association Retail Bakers of America (RBA) has organised a poll whereby participating bakers tot up the number of election-themed cookies sold. They can then give a running total as a barometer of how the Republicans and Democrats are faring in the run-up to November’s election.”It reflects people’s concerns right now,” said Rose Wilcox, co-owner of the appropriately named Phatso’s Bakery in Chester, Pennsylvania, commenting on the presidential cookies (possibly overlooking the near meltdown of the American economy).The results in so far from participating bakeries who have sent in their totals show the Democrats way out in front.Unfortunately, cookies are not about to replace the ballot card any time soon (though we’d encourage the RBA to keep on lobbying). read more
Britvic has seen its revenue increase 29.3% to £926.5m for the 52 weeks to 28 September 2008, compared with the same 2007/08 period. The figures incorporate a full 52-week contribution from Britvic Ireland of £200.7m.The sales in its Great Britain & International division represent a 4.8% increase over the 52 weeks, which has been put down to the growth in stills and carbonates in the GB market.A downturn in consumer spending, continued challenges in the licensed on-premise market and the poor summer weather have been noted as barriers to sales growth in the last year.Despite an overall decline in volume in the GB stills market of 2.7%, Britvic saw strong volume growth of 8.1%. Within the GB carbonates market, it increased its sales volume by 4.3%.Paul Moody, chief executive commented that the business had delivered a strong performance despite the challenges of current market conditions and rising raw material and energy costs. “The business has achieved good revenue growth, increased market volume and value share with tight cost control helping to deliver our target of increasing GB & International operating profit margin by at least 10-15 basis points,” said Moody. “Consequently, we expect to deliver earnings for the year in line with expectations.”[http://www.britvic.com] read more
Environmental and corporate social responsibilty (CSR) issues have plummeted down the agenda as the UK’s leading food executives turn their sights on dealing with the economic downturn.According to a new report, based on interviews with over 250 executives from across the food supply chain, sustainability and environmental issues went from ranking third among the ’main business challenges’ going forward to 13th.When questioned in 2007, a third of those interviewes stated that CSR was a major challenge (33%), but this dropped to 11% in this year’s Food & Beverage Senior Executive ’Top of Mind’ Survey, compiled by Allegra Strategies.The top spots were dominated by the economic downturn, rising ingredients costs, declining consumer spend and profitability. Value consciousness, healthy eating and convenience were viewed as major opportunities, while excellence in innovation, customer service and cost control were considered key com- petencies going forward.Meanwhile, Allegra reaffirmed its previous predictions that the rapid growth of the UK branded coffee chains would slow only slightly in 2009 and would break through 5,000 outlets by 2012. read more