Big Bear Sells Bakery Operation
Stores here has sold its commercial bakery operation in order to invest more heavily in expanding its in-store bakery business.
The 77-store chain, a division of the Penn Traffic Co., Syracuse, N.Y., sold the business to Flowers Industries, a $1.2 billion food manufacturer based in Thomasville, Ga. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Big Bear officials said that for the immediate future, Flowers would continue to supply Big Bear supermarkets and Big Bear Plus supercenters with commercial baked goods.
"This change will allow Big Bear to focus more attention on our extremely successful in-store bakery operations," said Stephen V. Breech, president, Big Bear Stores.
"Demand for baked goods has shifted from packaged products to freshly baked goods made from scratch on our store premises. We are continuing to improve our in-store bakeries by adding special amenities such as computerized cake decorating machines and bagel boilers that create authentic New York-style bagels."
Flowers produces and markets a variety of fresh and frozen baked goods, as well as frozen fruits, vegetables and desserts. It has 50 manufacturing plants and distribution points in 16 states.
Pillsbury Offers Parbaked Program
MINNEAPOLIS -- Pillsbury Bakeries & Foodservice here has created a new program for producing hearth-style parbaked breads.
The six hearth-style breads -- pesto Italian, cheddar onion, Dijon rye, 12-grain rustic, pane potato and tomato basil -- are parbaked and frozen, as are the company's other breads. Bakery workers finish the free-form shaped and scored loaves in the store.
A Pillsbury executive said the new program was created to help retailers tap into dramatic increases in the sales of variety and specialty breads.
"Pillsbury's new hearth-style breads diversify a bakery's bread selection by offering distinctive flavors consistent with today's tastes," said Brad Wiersum, vice president of marketing. The manufacturer's existing parbaked line includes caraway, pumpernickel, country style loaves and boule; sourdough, French and multigrain crusty European baguettes, batard, rolls, boule and loaves.
AIB Offers Home-Study Course
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- The American Institute of Baking is offering a home-study training course in bakery production, marking a new step in educational programming beyond its traditional training seminars.
Calling the course a "seminar in a box," AIB will sell a "distance learning" package containing 15 hours of videotaped instructional lectures, focusing on the basics of bread and roll production. The lectures, given by Kirk O'Donnell, AIB's director of bread and roll production, include illustrations and demonstrations. They are accompanied by written materials and homework assignments.
AIB said the course teaches technical skills such as reading and understanding formulations; understanding the functions of ingredients as they apply to specific processes; how to judge proper mixing, hydration, gluten development, specific impact of ingredients, and process conditions; and in-process check points.
"We have developed this course because we realize it isn't always efficient to send production workers to seminars away from their jobs," said Darrell D. Brensing, vice president-education, AIB. The price of the course is $425.