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Passion play

first_imgPassionate People, Passionate About Food’ is Rotherham-based Maple Leaf Bakery’s slogan. This passion, along with a huge pride about what it does and what it has achieved, were the main instigators behind the company’s decision to enter last year’s Baking Industry Awards and the reasons behind its Bakery Manufacturer Of The Year accolade. Sitting in marketing and innovation director Guy Hall’s office, drinking tea out of an ’I love New York bagels’ mug, the passion is certainly evident.Hall joined in July 2001, just before the company acquired the recently rebranded New York Bakery Co, formerly known as New York Bagel Co. “There has been quite a lot of change as the business has grown; when I joined there were about 40 people working here, now it’s 1,400,” says Hall. Maple Leaf Bakery, part of Maple Leaf Foods Inc of Toronto, Canada, started manufacturing at its first site in Meadow Way, Rotherham in 1998, producing own-label bagels for Tesco. “It was a lot smaller than what you see today,” explains Hall. “We built a small bakery to produce bagels and were the first on a commercial scale to boil bagels, which is the traditional process where you simmer the dough in water before baking it. We’re still one of the only ones who do that and we stone-bake as well.” The Rotherham factory has since had money poured into its expansion and development and now stands at 80,000sq ft.The company quickly expanded, manufacturing other own-label products, which it started to supply to Marks & Spencer and Asda. “That rolled out in Sainsbury’s in-store bakery as well, and subsequently others,” says Hall. In 2001, the bagel market was still relatively small, but, since then, it has become a runaway success. “On average, we probably make 50,000 bagels an hour – about six million bagels a week. In 2001, the bagel market at retail was worth about £10m; today it’s worth about £60m. It’s really up with the major markets in morning goods.”Back in 2001, Maple Leaf was competing with the company that is now its most famous brand – New York Bagel Co. “We had about a 50% share of the market each – Maple Leaf with private-label and New York with branded. So we decided to purchase the New York Bagel Co, which gave us the brand, and a route to communicating with consumers, which we couldn’t do just through private-label,” explains Hall.As soon as Maple Leaf took over New York Bagel, it changed the recipe from its previously denser, chewier, American-style texture to a lighter-style dough. They started to advertise and, since then, have seen double-digit growth. “Today we’ve got somewhere in the region of 85-90% of ambient bagel supply in this country and also, in terms of in-store bakery, we make up virtually all of that – so we are the lead supplier of bagels and are very proud of that.”The brand name change from New York Bagel Co to New York Bakery has opened up possible expansion routes for the previously restrictively-named brand and Maple Leaf is hoping to grow within the speciality bread sector. The company recently launched seven test products in Tesco – four speciality bread lines along an Italian theme and three in the sweet bakery area – which are still under review.Along with the rest of the baking industry, Maple Leaf has had to contend with escalating prices. Last year, heavy rainfall flattened all its South Yorkshire wheat and the company had to source it from the south of England. “We’ve had agreements in recent years with local growers to source wheat in South Yorkshire, which is great, as fewer food miles help the environment and it’s good for costs as well,” says Hall.Meanwhile, on the business front, many acquisitions followed, including a former pizza plant in Cumbria, a small bakery in Southend that makes pretzels and plant bakery Harvestime bakery in Walsall. It then went on to jointly purchase the French Croissant Company and speciality bread manufacturer, Avance bakery, and following that, speciality bread manufacturer La Fornaia in August last year.Since the awards, it has also acquired a former Bernard Matthews bakery in Dunstable, in November. “In the last three years we’ve taken on several big companies, at least the same size of what we were before, so for the last 12 months we’ve been really focused on that,” explains Hall.Although Maple Leaf has no immediate plans to buy up more bakeries, it never says ’never’, and its successes so far have seen its expected turnover grow to £140 million. “If something came along tomorrow that fits with our strategy then yes we’d give it some consideration,” Hall explains. “Sometimes it’s just opportunistic; for example, we wouldn’t have purchased Dunstable on the back of several other big acquisitions, but it was there and available and we had to move quickly. You have to bite the bullet – if you don’t, you miss the opportunity.”Maple Leaf had never entered any awards before BIA07, and Hall felt that with all they had achieved in recent years, it was a good time to do it. “We had a great story to tell in terms of growth and we had also secured a lot of jobs within the industry as Harvestime was purchased from the administrator and Dunstable was heading the same way.” For perhaps obvious reasons, the company focused on bagels when it came to writing their application. “Although we didn’t initiate the market, from a very small and flat base, it’s Maple Leaf that’s taken that on,” says Hall.”We’re really proud of our investment and commitment to it and we’ve ploughed a lot of money back in to grow the market to where it is today. I think the judges were impressed by our commitment to the category and also the investment that we’ve brought to this bakery site and indeed other areas,” he adds. “We’ve spent around £15m of capital on this site plus the investment going into the marketplace, so we were recognised for that and the success it generated. With acquisitions, if you’ve got the money, anybody could do it. The smart thing’s not really the purchase – it’s what you do with it afterwards.”—-=== What winning meant to us ===”The reason we entered [the ADM-sponsored Bakery Food Manufacturer of the Year] was hopefully to win, and it was a great recognition of the business’ achievements. Everybody’s been very pleased by it and we got a lot of media coverage, which is good for morale and good for recruitment in terms of profiling the business. We’re not a well-known company because of our private-label history, but in terms of the local area, it got us a lot of exposure.”—-=== View from the awards night ===”It’s a good night out, very entertaining and a good chance to meet everybody else,” says Hall. “It’s easy to get parochial about your own product and there aren’t many opportunities to meet up with people in the industry. There’s some rivalry, but I think it’s friendly!”last_img read more

Letting religion in

first_imgWhen you see the word “veritas” standing alone, you likely think of Harvard. You probably even know that the word is Latin for truth. But what you may not know is that the University’s motto has decidedly religious origins.The word is a key to the Latin saying “Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae,” or “Truth for Christ and the Church,” Harvard’s original motto before it was shortened.With a nod to that venerable religious tradition, the Veritas Forum, a nonprofit founded at Harvard by a group of students, faculty, and ministers in 1992 to explore “life’s big questions,” asked two renowned political philosophers on Tuesday to discuss the hot topic: “Does religion have a role in public life?”Harvard’s justice guru Michael Sandel and Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago Divinity School explored how the teachings of myriad faiths can help inform civic discourse.In his remarks, Sandel suggested that a public discourse that disregards moral and religious convictions is “a mistake.” Ignoring such input, said the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government, means we “cut ourselves off from a range of considerations that ought to matter in the way we govern our lives together.”Critics of the notion of a firm separation of church and state, he said, miss the point. “One of the strongest arguments for the separation of church and state is precisely to allow free scope for pluralist argument and engagement from all traditions — secular and faith traditions — in politics.”While welcoming competing voices and opinions encourages a “clamorous and contentious” debate, it also encourages a “morally more robust one than the kind we have become accustomed to,” said Sandel. “Rather than aspire to a toleration of avoidance,” he added, “we should aspire to a pluralism of engagement about hard moral, spiritual, and religious questions.”Sandel, whose most recent book is “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets,” offered the nation’s widening income gap as sobering proof of the need to include the “habits and attitudes and virtues that often find articulation and expression in various faith traditions.”He fears that those who are well off increasingly accept the assumption that they alone possess the talents and gifts that society values, and therefore they alone deserve the rewards. “That leads to a warped attitude toward one’s own success,” he said, “that is corrosive and overreaching.”“It’s the idea that merit, success, money, and wealth is the crowning virtue, that ‘I earned it, and therefore it’s mine,’ rather than being alive to the sense in which ‘I am the bearer of gifts that are not my own doing, and much of my good fortune may be thanks to that.’ And that … can support a notion of solidarity that is harder and harder to come by.”Elshtain, who was raised in the Christian tradition, said she “joined the community of those who chided those who believed,” while she was in college. She became a Deist while studying the Enlightenment. Ultimately, she realized that “much of what I thought I had rejected lived on and burst forth” in her writings, but also in her broader understanding of the world.Religious teachings, modes of thought “that helped shape the world,” should always be incorporated by wise political thinkers, said Elshtain, the author of several books, including “Sovereignty: God, State, and Self.”“In the West, one of those formative, formative movements and ways of being in the world is, of course, Christianity. We omit or forget this at our peril … we lose contact with the sources and the forces that have, for better or worse, made us who we are as persons and as a complex, diverse culture.”What’s needed to foster productive civic discourse, suggested Elshtain, is a type of toleration that recognizes the importance and validity of other forms of religious thought.  She offered the comments of Pope John Paul II during a visit to Kazakhstan in 2001 as an example of “an eloquent defense of toleration.”“When, in a society, citizens accept one another …  in their respective religious beliefs, it is easier to foster among them recognition of other human rights, and an understanding of the values on which a peaceful and productive coexistence may be based,” the pope said. “In fact, they feel a common bond in the awareness that they are brothers and sisters because they are children of the one God.”last_img read more

VACCINATE TO ELIMINATE: Iloilo towns urged to buy own anti-rabies shots

first_img“Angmga banwa dapat nga mag-counterpart man sila kay indi man puede nga province lang tanan,” Tabuadasai, adding he will request a supplemental budget from Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr.to augment the P1.5-million fund. At present, the provincial government allocatedaround P1.5-million budget for rabies vaccination – sufficient to cover just20,000 of the total estimated 258,000 dog population in the province, Tabuada explained. ILOILO – Local government units (LGUs)of the province’s 42 towns includingone component city are urged to purchase their own anti-rabies shots so therabies prevention and control program in the province could have a widercoverage. According to Tabuada, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) inthe province will no longer provide rabies vaccines this year due to lack offunds. Based on the initial report of PVO in2019, the towns with low vaccination coverage are the following: Furthermore, the PVO official also notedthat the Department of Health (DOH) is also experiencing lack of supply interms of rabies vaccine for humans due to a global supply shortage. * Alimodian – one percent or 32 out of5,181 dogs Rabies, while fatal, is preventable withvaccination, stressed Tabuad. He noted the significant increase in thenumber of rabies bite cases in province with 68 last 2019. “We will proposed nga makapangayo kita sang supplementalbudget maybe by March paramadugangan ang vaccine,” he said. * Lemery – one percent or five out of4,765 dogs This year, PVO is pushing to increasethe vaccination coverage in the province. Last year, only 20 percentor 52,945 dogs have been vaccinated. Dr. Darel Tabuada of the Iloilo Provincial Veterinary Office is pressing the need to bring awareness on the importance of responsible pet ownership in the province. PNAcenter_img Tabuada said the number of vaccinationcoverage in the said towns could still increase as they have yet to submittheir final report. Rabies primarily affects warm-bloodedanimals other than man, notably dogs, cats, rats, and bats, but which can betransmitted to humans by infected animals.  The rabies virus, which ispresent in the saliva of an infected animal, is passed to a human through abite, or rarely, when the animal’s saliva gets in contact with a scratch orfresh break in the skin. * Passi City – one percent or 34 out of12,538 dogs He emphasized the pressing need to bringawareness on the importance of responsible pet ownership in the province. * Carles – two percent or 123 out of8,054 dogs “Kon responsible langtani ang dog owner, ginahigot kag ginapa-bakunahan ma-limit taninaton ang rabies,” Tabuada said./PN * Dueñas – four percent or 346 out of8,609. * Pototan – one percent or 53 out of10,154 dogs According to Tabuada, these figures aremuch lower compared to vaccination coverage in 2018 which reached 173,672 or 60percent of the 252,976 total dog population. Dr. Darel Tabuada of theProvincial Veterinary Office made this call, saying he is wary of a possiblespike in the province’s rabies cases this year as the government may sufferfrom a shortage in animal and human rabies vaccines. “Konbasehan naton ang aton laboratory medyo mataas ang aton positive sa rabies so far sadtong 2019 may ara sang 68 positive sa rabies,” Tabuada explained.last_img read more

New leadership sees key roles for region’s legends

first_imgBRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Newly-elected Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief, Ricky Skerritt, says he intends to make sure the region’s legends have a key role to play in Caribbean cricket development.He told CMC Sports that the iconic former players were invaluable resources, who needed to be utilised properly, in order to get the full benefit from their vast knowledge and experience.His comments came on the heels of recent controversial remarks by losing three-time incumbent Dave Cameron, who said some West Indies legends had not excelled when asked to perform roles within the administration.“I don’t even feel competent to value the legends – the legends are invaluable. Their role and their value have been immeasurable and of course it varies from one to the other,” Skerritt pointed out.“Some are more famous and more powerful and influential globally and some are more powerful and influential regionally or more powerful and influential locally. The bottom line is: what is their value to cricket at the local and regional level and the international level.“We’re going to explore every opportunity that we can find where, in a way that is workable and affordable, they can be involved.”Skerritt said during the recent CWI election campaign, he had the opportunity to sit with and listen to legendary former players, whose ideas had informed his own planning.“One of the places I went to during my regional campaign was to Barbados and to the home of the legends,” he said.“I sat with the acting CEO of the Barbados Legends, Desmond Haynes, I sat with him for over two hours, listening to him, learning from him and then sharing with him some of my thoughts. “I sat for over half an hour with Sir Wesley Hall … and he gave up valuable commercial time to talk to me.”The region’s legends largely felt ignored under the Cameron administration, and threw their support behind Skerritt and running mate, Dr Kishore Shallow for the top CWI spots.In endorsing Skerritt, former captain Sir Vivian Richards said last week the legends had invested much into the game and also had valuable input.Skerritt, a former West Indies team manager, said CWI would definitely be seeking out advice and expertise from such individuals.“I have no problem interacting with folks who have been there on the frontline, who understand what takes place even though they may not have played T20 cricket, they know cricket,” said the former St Kitts and Nevis government minister.“Clive Lloyd was actually chairman of selectors when Jason Holder was chosen – a very young and green captain chosen by Clive Lloyd because he saw in Jason Holder the qualities that he knew were necessary for leadership going forward on the field.“I have no doubt that we can find tremendous resourcefulness in past cricketers.”last_img read more