Fast response from UK company to help save lives in Iraq

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UK engineering firm Olympus Automation were recently approached by the president of Azersun, the leading food producer in Azerbaijan, for a rapid cooking system to feed refugees in Northern Iraq.

The president was so appalled by the plight of the refugees stuck on mount Sinjar he has chosen to fund the equipment himself.

Time is clearly of the essence and managing director, Harry Norman, of OAL has been quick to respond and a system will be shipped in record time next week. Norman, says: “Normally systems take 24 weeks to manufacture, but this is clearly not a normal situation, lives are at stake and we will be able to deliver a Steam Infusion cooking system in a week. Steam Infusion is 4 times faster than traditional processes making the equipment ideal for feeding lots of people, hence the call from the president.”

OAL will be flying application specialist Stuart Rigby to an undisclosed location in Turkey to provide training on the system before it is deployed in Northern Iraq.

OAL are supplying a simple cooking system based on its revolutionary Steam Infusion technology to make lentil soups, rice and provide a clean source for drinking and washing water. The cooking system uses will use Steam Infusion, OAL’s revolutionary heating and mixing process to make 4,000 portions of hot food an hour.

Classic Cuisine launches festive favourites

The festive period is a busy time for caterers and food outlets and that is why Classic Cuisine have gone to great lengths to ensure this year’s festive range is innovative, easy to prepare and above all deliciously tasty.

Their scrumptious festive range includes traditional festive favourites as well as seafood, vegetarian and free from options making their range suitable for even the fussiest of palates.

Mark Dean, Sales Director at Classic Cuisine says: “This year Classic Cuisine have included various new dishes and some of the old festive favourites. The Turkey Tornedo for example was one of our bestsellers in a number of pub and restaurant chains last year so we had to put that back on the menu this year. We had an increased interest in our vegetarian dishes, therefore we have spent more time and innovation in our vegetarian range. The demand for our meat free options has risen from all our clients including branded national pub chains, hotel chains, in-store dining and high street restaurants.”

The Christmas product range includes festive favourites such as the turkey tornedo, with delicious Norfolk Turkey wrapped in crispy streaky bacon, topped with a zesty cranberry and orange stuffing and finished with a cinnamon jus to give it a classic Christmas taste. Also included within the festive range is the smoked salmon roulade, a light suet pastry which is infused with fresh spinach and topped with MSC salmon and cream cheese mousse. Classic Cuisine’s vegetarian festive products includes a creamy brie and red onion tart with chestnuts and their Butlers secret soufflé, a creamy and light soufflé infused with luxurious Butlers cheese.

Within the festive dessert range is the delicious and nostalgic trifle cheesecake, a sherry soaked sponge topped with a tart raspberry jelly, orange custard and cream cheese. Also within the range is a truly decadent Christmas treat, a chocolate salami made with rich Belgian chocolate, a variety of delicious biscuits and topped with a sprinkle of pistachios. The chocolate contains a minimum of 72% coco making it the perfect treat to indulge in over Christmas.

Paul Hunt New Product Development Chef at Class Cuisine explains: “At Classic Cuisine we like to put our spin on the Christmas classics by bringing back festive favourites and adding a little something extra. We believe that our secret to success is a combination of being innovative but also ensuring a homemade feel to our dishes, which people especially love around the festive period.”

Jeeva Sanmugam Managing Director of Classic Cuisine explains: “It has been a great year for Classic Cuisine and we are extremely excited to about the launch of our new Christmas products which have each been carefully created by our development chefs to ensure that our dishes are delicious, unique and continue to maintain the same standards of quality.”

Classic Cuisine is a well-established frozen ready meal company that have been manufacturing a variety of meals for the foodservice industry which includes well known chains of bars, restaurants, pubs and catering establishments.

Hong Kong and China food imports from California to exceed $4 billion

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According to the US Department of Commerce, Californian food producers are on target to export more than $4 billion worth of fresh produce, health & organic foods, and fine wines to Hong Kong and China in 2014. Last year, consumers ate and drank their way through $3.899 billion worth of Californian food products, a 19.5% increase on 2012. The overall rise in consumption spending and demand for higher quality food products should lead to a similar double-digit increase by the end of 2014.

Hong Kong and China shoppers are discriminating more and more about their food purchases. They are actively seeking out more information about nutrition, sustainability and safety, which is driving demand for higher quality products. Quality tends to be associated with “country of origin”, something that consumers respond to when making purchasing decisions. California and US food products are positioned as high quality, which helps to explain the growth of US food exports across greater China.

Hong Kong’s annual HK Food Expo 2014 will again see leading Californian food and drink producers displaying rich and diverse produce from The Golden State. There will also be opportunities for food sampling and wine tasting sessions throughout the show at the California, USA Pavilion, at booth 5F-F11.

Jeff Williamson, Director, California State Trade and Export Promotion, says, “The growing number of food and wine products imported to HK and China is a tremendous achievement of California’s produce gaining acceptance, at an ever increasing rate, with the discerning palates of consumers in Hong Kong and China. Rising exports reaffirms a long-standing commitment to provide a diverse, quality product portfolio to customers.”

Food Expo 2014 will see Californian exporters showcasing quality-assured food and beverage products such as organic foods, nuts, premium chocolate and candies, baby foods, wines, cheeses and other manufactured food items. Well represented this year are producers from the confectionary sector with premium chocolates and snacks made with real fruit extracts to satisfy the traditionally sweet-toothed Hong Kong and China consumers. The taste for chocolate and treats is such that China is now the world’s second largest confectionary market.

Other exhibitors from California at HK Food Expo 2014 include Initiative Foods, Drunken Dragon, North America Food Company, Watlington Foods LLC, Guglielmo Winery, Premier Organics and Poindexter Nut.

USDA releases results of water-based Aflatoxin test study

As part of the National Mycotoxin Quality Assurance Program, the USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee has released the results of a comparative study on water-based aflatoxin test kits.

Neogen, Charm, and Envirologix test kits were compared against a GIPSA reference method. Neogen’s Reveal Q+ Aflatoxin Green test and one other compared favourably against the reference method in the detection of aflatoxins in ground corn.

Dr Steve Chambers, Neogen’s Sales & Marketing Director, says, “GIPSA’s study showed our test most closely compares to the GIPSA reference method. Our Reveal Q+ tests for mycotoxins are designed to be the easiest and most reliable quantitative tests for mycotoxins available, and they are performing to specifications.”

The results of the study are posted on the USDA website and can be found by visiting www.gipsa.usda.gov. Reveal Q+ for Aflatoxin Green delivers precise results ranging from 2 to 150 parts per billion of aflatoxin after only six minutes. Reveal Q+ test strips are read in Neogen’s AccuScan lateral flow test reader to deliver quantitative results.

Neogen’s test offers room temperature incubation of the test strip and storage of the test kit eliminating the need for an incubator and refrigeration space, and requires minimal equipment to achieve precise results.

For further information call 01292 525625, email mycotoxins@neogeneurope.com or visit www.neogeneurope.com.

Munters wins prestigious Health & Safety Award

Munters’ IceDry solution, which prevents frost and ice in cold storage facilities and reduces accidents, has been honoured at the new awards scheme by the Food Storage and Distribution Federation.

Munters won in the FSDF Associate Member category, where the judges looked for an innovative approach, good prospects for wider application and cost-effective deployment prospects throughout the food storage and distribution industry at large.

This was certainly the case with Munters’ IceDry solution, an innovative frost prevention dehumidification system, removes airborne moisture, reduces ice build-up and fogging and greatly reduces accidents in cold storage areas. The award was collected by Christine Modla-Thomas, Global Marketing Director.

This award once again proves that IceDry is successfully used around the world and continues to achieve high accolades within the cold storage industry. Munters are ecstatic that this application is helping with health and safety within the work place.

Gin set to flow from new Caithness micro distillery

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Work has now finished at the most northerly gin distillery on mainland Britain with the final piece of equipment – a new still called ‘Elizabeth’ – installed in the new custom-built distillery at Dunnet, Caithness.

Husband and wife team Martin and Claire Murray, the founders of Dunnet Bay Distillers have distilled and tested the first batches of Rock Rose gin and full production will be under way in time for the launch of the new micro distillery on 21st August. Over the next three years, the company will receive support of £83,990 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise which the owners say have put a huge amount of effort into helping them develop their Rock Rose gin. Claire has been working with experts in Caithness to research local botanicals which can be used to flavour the gin.

Martin currently works in the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen and has a master’s degree in process engineering. He is now studying for a pHd in brewing and distillation at Heriot Watt University. As part of this study, he worked with the Centre on a number of research projects to assist with product development.

Located in the Bay of Dunnet where fresh air and pure water is in abundance, Martin and Claire’s goal is to create a spirit which reflects the Caithness way, carefully and slowly distilling by hand to create the product.

Claire says, “Each year we will create a new vintage. Our Caithness botanicals are dependent on our climate resulting in a truly hand crafted gin that will change year on year, but is still undeniably Rock Rose.

“Rock Rose gin was named after our first botanical forage along our Caithness cliffs, where local herbalist Brian Lamb introduced us to Rhodiola Rosea, a rose in the rocks. Hundreds of years ago, the Vikings would pillage these wild exposed cliffs to gather this precious plant, which was thought to give them extra strength to continue with their long, arduous journeys. Our gin uses this ‘Rock Rose’ and a blend of local and traditional botanicals to create a unique taste of Caithness in the Highlands.”

Martin says, “Since the new still arrived, we have been making some trials and we look forward to launching Rock Rose at the end of August. We aim to make about 700 bottles in every batch, producing about 10,000 bottles a year. The first batch sold out by pre-orders within 48 hours and the second batch is expected to be released in early September. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved in the last year, but we realise that a lot of hard work is ahead of us. We really cannot wait for people to taste the gin!”

Laura Gunn, account manager from HIE, says, “We are very excited about having the most northerly distillery in mainland Scotland opening in Caithness. Martin and Claire have put a huge amount of time and effort into ensuring the product they are creating is of an extremely high quality, and we look forward to working with them in the months and years to come as they take the product into markets at home and abroad.”

Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker crowned Champion Beer of Britain

Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker has been crowned the ‘Best Beer’ in Britain at the Great British Beer Festival, Olympia, London.

The West Yorkshire brewed real ale was judged the Supreme Champion over a host of other finalists in 7 different beer categories (Bitters, Best Bitters, Strong Bitters, Golden Ales, Milds, Winter Beers, and the Speciality class), including beers from both small microbrewers and large regional brewers.

Nik Antona, Champion Beer of Britain Director, spoke in praise of today’s winner, saying: “It is fantastic to announce Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker as the Champion Beer of Britain 2014. This full flavoured bitter is a modern classic that is as impressive today as the day it was first brewed.”

Head Brewer Peter Eells says: “I’m speechless. We work very hard to produce great beers and we really believe this is the best beer we can brew – so to have it acknowledged in such an important competition is absolutely fantastic.”

Managing Director Charles Dent adds: “We’re absolutely delighted. It’s our favourite, it’s the brewers favourite, it’s the beer that you drink if you’re drinking with us and it’s named after one of our favourites pubs – The Boltmakers.”

This year’s Silver went to Oakham Citra, whilst the Bronze award went to Salopian, Darwin’s Origin.

All three of the beers are available at the Great British Beer Festival this week.

Overall winners-

Gold – Timothy Taylors, Boltmaker

Silver – Oakham, Citra

Bronze – Salopian, Darwin’s Origin

Mild category-

Gold – Bank Top, Dark Mild

Silver – Branscombe Vale, Mild

Bronze – Castle Rock, Black Gold

Bitters category-

Gold – Timothy Taylor, Boltmaker

Silver – Mighty Oak, Captain Bob

Joint Bronze – Flowerpots, Flowerpots Bitter & Sambrook’s Wandle Ale

Best Bitters-

Gold – Salopian, Darwin’s Origin

Silver – Red Willow, Directionless

Joint Bronze – Purity, Mad Goose & Langton, Inclined plain bitter

Golden Ales-

Gold – Oakham, Citra

Silver – Hawkshead, Cumbrian Five Hop

Bronze – Salopian, Hop Twister

Strong Bitters-

Gold – Church End, Fallen Angel

Silver – Blue Monkey, Ape Ale

Bronze –Loch Ness, HoppyNESS

Speciality Beers-

Gold – Saltaire, Triple Chocoholic

Silver – Offbeat, Way Out Wheat

Bronze – Peak Ales, Chatsworth Gold

Champion Winter Beer of Britain (from category winners announced in January 2014)-

Cairngorm, Black Gold (Stouts Category)

Dunham Massey, Dunham Porter (Porter Category)

Exe Valley, Winter Glow (Old Ales & Strong Milds)

Kinver, Over the Edge (Barley Wines & Strong Old Ales)

Champion Bottled Beer of Britain winners (Sponsored by Beer Hawk)

Gold – Marble, Chocolate Marble

Silver – St Austell, Proper Job

Bronze – Spire, Prince Igor Imperial Russian Stout

Bumper crop of gold stars for damson port from Yorkshire

Raisthorpe Manor Fine Foods proved to be good as gold as it picked up a hat-trick of gold stars for its new Damson Port, from the prestigious 2014 Great Taste Awards.

Raisthorpe Manor Damson Port is the first of its kind in the UK and the first Damson Port to win three gold stars at the awards, which are organised by the Guild of Fine Foods.

The Great Taste judges, who include Radio 2 resident foodie Nigel Barden, as well as the legendary Charles Campion and The Food Programme’s Sheila Dillon, said that Raisthorpe Manor’s port has ‘a gorgeous deep damson shade, lovely aromas of fruit skin with a hint of damson stone.’ They continued, ‘the palate is fabulous – pure, clear, simple in the sense of having great fruit clarity, yet complex from the hint of fruit stone. A wonderful balance of sweetness – just enough to carry the fruit flavours through to a glorious finish.’

According to Tortie Farrand, spokesperson at the Great Taste Awards, ‘being awarded 3-stars is a huge achievement. It means that the product has been blind tasted over and over again and that all the judges who taste it feel that the product is WOW.’ For a 3-star Gold Award, every single judge attending the session, which can be as many as 40 experts must unanimously agree that the food delivers that indescribable ‘wow’ factor.

Raisthorpe Manor’s Damson Port is the third unique product the Malton-based company has created, after coming up with the UK’s first Sloe Port and Sloe Sherry in 2010.

The port, made from locally grown damsons, was one of only 153 products out of 10,000 products entered, to win the coveted three gold stars at the 2014 awards. The exquisite drink is made from damsons collected annually, and by hand, by the Raisthorpe team from an orchard in Leavening, North Yorkshire.

Situated in Hockney country in the Yorkshire Wolds, owner Julia Medforth’s daily forage for fruit in the hedgerows on the Raisthorpe estate – and an ancient recipe from her grandmother – led her to hit upon the idea of making luscious fruit liqueurs. Today, Raisthorpe stays true to its original intentions, capturing an essence of Yorkshire in bottle.

“We pride ourselves on sourcing ingredients from the farms, fields and hedgerows in and around our 1,500 acre estate in Wharram, including sloes, damsons and raspberries. Because our product is packed full of fresh fruit, each batch can change minutely from season to season given different weather conditions, but we feel this brings the drinks alive in a way that fresh produce can only do – and we’re delighted the Great Taste judges felt the same,” says Julia. “We love the Yorkshire Wolds and our aim has always been to bottle a little of the place we love in our products.”

The Great Taste Awards are the largest and most trusted awards scheme for speciality fine food and drink, putting more than 10,000 products to the test with a panel of more than 400 experts including chefs, buyers, food writers and retailers.

Fourth generation family bakery celebrates 80th year in business

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A family-run bakery business is celebrating its 80th year with rising orders for the likes of John Lewis and Asda as well as sandwich shops, secondary schools and London cafes.

Barnsley-based White’s Bakery manufactures a wide range of cakes, cookies and bread products for wholesale and retail customers.

The fourth generation business has seen a steep increase in orders in the last four years and now has a turnover of £2.6 million and employs 56 people at its Worsbrough Bridge bakery and four South Yorkshire shops.

White’s has now launched a new marketing drive to build on success and attract more customers in its 80th anniversary year.

Managing director David White says: “We are always handling fresh enquiries and repeat orders and have an excellent relationship with our existing customers whether they are the local corner shop or a national food production company.

“We’ve had four straight years of growth, following the quieter years of recession, and what we’d like to do now is expand our customer base further. We have the capacity to expand so we are stepping up our marketing drive.”

Whites’ business growth strategy is being supported by Enterprising Barnsley, a European-funded programme delivered by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.

The family bakery business was established in 1934 by David’s grandparents Albert and Elsie White. David’s dad and uncle, Jack and Colin, then joined the company and David took over as MD in 1996. His son Mathew is leading on the new marketing initiative to boost their expanding order books.

Recent new orders include a contract to design and bake Victorian gingerbread figures – gentlemen and ladies – to celebrate John Lewis’ 150th anniversary. This is not the first time White’s has baked for the department store as they also produced ‘The Bear and the Hare’ decorated biscuits which accompanied John Lewis’ huge Christmas campaign in 2013.

Another order will see more than 200,000 Madeira cakes baked by White’s on the shelves of Asda stores in Scotland and Northern Ireland in the run up to Christmas this year. The sponge cakes are a particular festive favourite in these parts of the UK and this sale represents a repeat order for White’s via a wholesale supplier.

Fairtrade cookies – made from ethically-sourced ingredients including chocolate, spices, raisins and sugar – are an increasingly significant product for White’s. Sales of these premium cookies have quadrupled in the last two years. Most of the cookies are delivered to London’s universities, colleges and coffee shops again via a large wholesale supplier.

Whites’ customers also include a growing number of schools across Yorkshire and the East Midlands, to whom they deliver flapjacks, cookies and shortbreads.

David says: “Our schools are very important customers to us. Their goods have to be baked and delivered daily and they have to meet all Government required low fat, low sugar and low salt content levels. We are committed to our schools and have doubled the number we supply across the region in the last two years.”

Whites also delivers bread and confectionery direct to small grocers, sandwich shops and chip shops as well its own four retail outlets in Worsbrough, Darfield, Conisbrough and Barnsley market.

Large wholesale orders are transported to food preparation and sandwich-making companies and niche goods are developed for customers too. For example, Whites’ bakers are currently developing a mini Eccles cake for a catering company which supplies big name airlines like Emirates.

David says: “We are responsive to our customers’ needs – whether that means creating bespoke novelty biscuits, following regulated ingredient guidelines for schools or fulfilling bulk orders of cakes.”

White’s Bakery in Charles Street routinely bakes from 6am – 6pm and packs and delivers through the early hours of the morning. The company used to operate a chain of its own small local shops, but when David took over as MD he steered the business towards more manufacture, when he realised the bakery’s equipment was standing idle most of the day.

Enterprising Barnsley is now supporting White’s with intensive specialist coaching to develop robust sales and marketing techniques and improved IT systems.

Enterprising Barnsley business development manager Shaun Higginbottom says: “This is an exciting time for White’s Bakery as it puts fresh impetus into its drive to seek new customers and explore new markets.

“White’s is a perfect example of a family firm which understands the value of its heritage but looks to the future too. We look forward to seeing the business expand and in the next few years, building on its first 80 years.”

Enterprising Barnsley is supported financially by the European Union and has attracted £2,259,511 investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.

Brewfest returns due to popular demand

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Brewfest, from London-based craft brewer Meantime Brewing, is returning this August with their event celebrating modern craft beer and brewing.

Meantime’s BrewFest will take place over three days – from Saturday August 23rd to Monday August 25th – at The Old Brewery, in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

The event will feature three main bars, representing craft beer from the UK, America and the rest of Europe. Over 150 different beers will be on offer, from rare speciality brews through to firm favourites. Londoners will be able to sample a wide variety of different craft beers and experts will be on hand to suggest beer and food pairing options.

The Meantime Beer Tank will be in presence throughout the weekend, whilst live music performances will create background ambience and tutored beer and cheese tastings will be on offer in the Old Brewery main room in the evenings.

Richard Myers, Marketing Director at Meantime says: “We started Brewfest as a celebration of the international craft beer scene – showcasing the quality beers and brewers that have helped turn around the fortunes of the beer category. The second annual event in May was such a success that we’ve decided to hold the event twice this year.”

“Our aim is to bring different styles and flavours from around the globe into one place for people to enjoy, in a relaxed environment. The beer scene in London has never been stronger and it’s modern craft that is driving this revival. BrewFest is our way of celebrating.

“Meantime’s BrewFest is designed as a coming together of people who have a thirst for a more a premium product and who already enjoy flavoursome beer. There has probably never been a time when a greater number of diverse beer styles have existed and our accredited sommeliers will be on hand to talk through the styles, tastes and flavour profiles of over 150 different beers.”