24 hours with Charlie’s Cookies

Name: Jacky Magid

Company name: Charlie's Cookies

Title: owner, cookie-lover, innovator and sales manager

What are your primary roles and responsibilities in your job? Give us a day in your working life. 
Charlie’s Cookies is a family business that is owned and managed by myself and my husband, Ken Mahlab.

I manage the product development, sales and marketing and Ken is responsible for operations and finance. We are also lucky to have a fantastic executive team working alongside us.

A typical working day for me looks like this:

  • 9am: Arrive at the office with my customer service hat on. I check in with my team and problem solve any queries to ensure we have happy cookie customers
  • 10.30am: I put on my product development hat, taste test trial batches and review recipe updates with the production team
  • 11.30am: I meet with my husband Ken to discuss the strategic plan and manage any HR issues which may involve interviewing and recruiting new team members
  • 12.30pm: I meet with my team on operational matters
  • 1.00pm: I squeeze in a tuna salad while sitting at my desk and catching up on emails for an hour
  • 2.00pm: I meet with clients and follow-up sales calls for the rest of the day

What training/education did you need for your job?
Eight years as a lawyer helped me develop strong people management skills. My training in the legal profession provided me with transferable skills. I’ve found that my ability to problem solve, communicate professionally and objectively and my love of systems and processes are just the features that set us apart from other cookie manufacturers and what our clients love about us.

I have also previously worked in alternative dispute resolution and negotiation skills training – this certainly honed my communication and interpersonal skills.

How did you get to where you are today? Give us a bullet point career path. 

  • My first job was working on the production line at Greta Lingerie in 1982 – this was my parents' business. It was almost a given that my first job would be on the floor of our family business. I was given the task of making the ‘bows’ for the underpants, using a foot controlled bow making machine.
  • I dreamt of doing medicine or law at university and ended up doing the latter, studying arts first at the University of Melbourne between 1991 and 1993 and Law at Monash between 1994 and 1997
  • Upon graduation, I worked in commercial law for eight years between 1998 and 2005. During this time I worked heavily in business conflict resolution and crisis management, where the systematic approach became more relevant.
  • My husband Ken and I purchased the business in 2004 and Charlie’s Cookies is a story of a successful turnaround. Originally launched in 1994 as Uncle Charlie’s Cookies, the business went into administration 10 years after its establishment so we then worked hard to turn things around. Since then our much-loved local cookie shop has been transformed into a boutique food service and retail brand.
  • By the end of 2014 we expect our products to be available in over 200 gourmet stores and independent supermarkets nationwide. Our delicious cookies are also found on Qantas domestic flights and Virgin Lounges, so we’re well travelled!

What tools and/or sofware do you use on a daily basis?
I check the Charlie’s Cookies social media platforms on a daily basis, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

I also couldn’t live without Excel and Email (Outlook). From a sales perspective I regularly look at sales reports on MYOB and use Salesforce our CRM software.

What is the one thing that you are most proud of in your professional life?

I think the thing I am most proud of is having a professional life but at the same time being as present as I can to my children and family (and now horses).

A recent proud moment at Charlie’s has been the development and current launch of our new Mini Melting Moments range.

Our mouth-watering Mini Melting Moments are a real innovation for the category. After almost a year of perfecting the recipe, we’ve worked hard during product development and packaging to create one of the first commercially produced quintessentially Australian Mini Melting Moments ranges. We were lucky enough to recently win an RASV packaging Champion award for our efforts and bronze medals at Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.

Biggest daily challenge?
With up to 25 key members on our busy Charlie’s Cookies team, knowing how to manage staff effectively is an ongoing daily challenge and consideration.

Biggest career challenge?
In 2003 the previous ownership saw the business (then called Uncle Charlie’s) go into administration. The ultimate challenge for Ken and I was turning it around and get back into the black. Knowing where we’ve been allows us to go into the future with strategy and some wisdom.

Deciding to join my husband (Ken Mahlab) in business at that time was also a hard and yet very important decision. Although it wasn’t always easy in the first couple of years, working at Charlie’s together is a great union and we’ve learnt to work as an effective team. We each bring something very different to the business that together makes it a fun and successful partnership.

What is your biggest frustration in your job?
I think one of the challenges for sales in the food business is the fragmentation of the gourmet food market. I wish I had more hours in the day or an army of people to be able to get my product more widely distributed and be able to give every customer the most exceptional service.

What is the biggest challenge facing your business?
In the food service industry nothing is guaranteed and continued supply depends on product and customer service quality. Distribution of a new product and brand is a challenge and takes time and investment before you create the demand.

We understand it is important to stay innovative and keep up with or stay ahead of trends – ultimately it’s about staying relevant.

Is there anything else about your job you want Australia to know about?
Charlie’s Cookies is a family business with a strong social and community commitment and supports a number of philanthropic and educational groups. With a strong emphasis on feeding the hungry and supporting the local community, Charlie’s donates at least $50,000 worth of cookies each year to FareShare, local community groups and other sponsorship programs.

Recently, Charlie’s Cookies sponsored The Feed Melbourne Appeal, Shout Lunch, Fight Hunger lunch.

At Charlie’s we believe that the joy in life comes from the mini moments that happen while you’re busy planning for the big ones. Life’s short. Eat the biscuit!

If you would like to take part in Food mag's Industry Map, click here.

To read another Industry Map Q&A, click here.


Continental Patisserie factory opens in Silverwater

Continental Patisserie has launched its new factory in Silverwater, one of the largest custom-built factories of its kind.

At over 3,800sqm, the factory houses a humidified chocolate room, preparation areas, dedicated finishing rooms, temperature controlled spaces for baking and cooling, a packing zone, cool room and expansive freezer.

Continental’s general manager, Jian Yao said “It has been a long road but with the factory now fully operational,  we are ready to commence a new period of expansion and growth.”

The factory is the second for Continental Patisserie, with another in Shanghai.

Another manufacturer which has grown into the Silverwater area is  coffee pod manufacturer, Pod Pack Australia, which more than tripled the capacity of its manufacturing plant in Silverwater recently.


Garlo’s Pies expands into QLD market

Previously only stocked in NSW, Garlo's Pies, the pie manufacturing business established by ex-football player Sean Garlick, is expanding into the sunshine state.

Seven of Garlo's product lines will be available in 160 Coles stores in Queensland, and the expansion comes less than a year after the company moved into a new production facility in Sydney's St Peters.

"This move represents capacity and potential. We've always had potential and everyone's always spoken about how good our product is, but while we've been thwarted in our growth because of the physical limitations of our last premises, over the last couple of years we've learnt where we wanted to go in terms of operations and logistics," Garlick said at the time.

The move into Queensland has been on the cards for quite some time, and while it's testing the family-owned business, Garlick is optimistic that more locations will soon be stocking Garlo's pies and pastries.

“After Coles approached us to supply over 200 stores I sat there and did the numbers in my head,” he said. “At the time we had just enough capacity to deliver the quantities requested. We’d never sent a pallet out the door let alone the quantities that were being ordered by Coles but we decided to trial the product across the state.”  


Bürgen Gluten Free White Bread

Product name: Bürgen Gluten Free White Bread

Product manufacturer: Tip Top Foodservice

Ingredients: Water, Modified Tapioca Starch (1442), Rice Flour, Canola Oil, Sugar, Maize Starch, Soy Flour, Egg White, Vegetable Fibre, Dried Yeast, Iodised Salt, Vinegar, Vegetable Gums (412, 464).

Shelf life: Four months after manufacture when Frozen / 14 days from thawing

Packaging: Vacuum packed

Product manager: Brian Esplin , National Business Manager, Tip Top Foodservice

Brand website: www.tiptop-foodservice.com.au/

What the company says
The new Bürgen Gluten Free White Bread is catering for the growing gluten free market and is frozen from fresh, specifically for the foodservice market. This enables foodservice outlets to keep sufficient product on hand to meet demand, while also minimising any waste.

“We invested time and resources into developing the most flavoursome gluten free bread for Australian foodservice outlets. We had feedback from the industry that existing products on the market did not match the taste requirements of consumers and took up the challenge to provide an offering that satisfied the demand for gluten free products while not compromising on flavour,” said Brian Esplin, National Business Manager for Tip Top Foodservice.

The Bürgen Gluten Free bread will be distributed frozen to foodservice outlets from April 1. The product can be thawed quickly as needed, meaning minimal impact on preparation time, and also minimising any waste.  Bürgen Gluten Free White is vacuum packed and will be available nationwide via foodservice distributors, supplied in cartons of 6 with four months frozen shelf life.

New low sodium ingredient for baked goods

Salt supplier, Salt of the Earth, has launched a low sodium sea salt ingredient, allowing manufacturers to reduce the sodium in bakery products including cereals and breads.

The ingredient allows for a sodium reduction of between 28 and 66 percent, and its launch comes in the same week that the Heart Foundation kick started the Halt Hidden Salt campaign, which is designed to raise awareness of the high salt levels in processed foods.

The main challenge in sodium reduction is the aftertaste of salt substitutes,” said Aliza Ravizki, R&D manager of Salt of the Earth. “We conducted numerous trials of different mineral sources to solve this problem and finally came up with a tasty, propriety blend of sea salt sourced from the clear waters of the Red Sea, and potassium chloride derived from the Dead Sea.

“Sea salt contains most of the trace minerals needed for the body. Salt of the Earth’s low sodium sea salt ingredient enables food manufacturers to reduce the sodium in a formulation, without any negative effect on taste,” Ravizki said.

According to Salt of the Earth, the new low sodium salt ingredient can be added to the food production process easily, has a long shelf life, is highly heat-stable and has few food additives.

Last year, a similar organisation, Nu-Tek Salt, partnered with The George Institute in an attempt to tackle the health problems associated with high sodium diets. The Salt Swap initiative involved distributing Nu-Tek’s Salt for Life product, which offers 70 percent less sodium than conventional table salt, to residents and independent bakeries in Lithgow in order to help reduce salt intake in the area by 10 percent.


Health claims on the rise in global bread launches

Products boasting a health claim made up 42 percent of the new launches across the globe in 2013, according to Innova Market Insights.

The prevalence of health claims varies from region to region however, with product launches accompanied by a health claim jumping 75 percent in the US and Australia, and 70 percent in Latin America, but falling to less than 30 percent in Asian markets.

Innova Market Insights divides health claims and positioning into two types – passive, such as low and light, organic and gluten-free, and active, which involve the addition of particular ingredients, such as calcium, protein and fibre, or the promotion of specific benefits such as heart health or digestive health.

Globally, passive claims dominated in the bread market, with over 40 percent of launches using them in 2013, compared with just five percent using active claims of some kind. Again this varies regionally, with over 11 percent of launches using active claims in the USA, compared with six percent in Asia and three percent in Europe.

The most popular health claims in the bread market overall referred to naturalness, with one-fifth of 2103 launches using one or more claims relating to naturalness, an additive- or preservative-free formulation or an organic positioning. Nearly 17 percent used either high-in-/source-of-fibre claims or a wholegrain positioning.

In terms of active health claims, usage was much lower, with the most frequently used being vitamin and mineral fortification, featuring on 1.5 percent of launches, ahead of omega 3/DHA fortification and heart health, with about one percent each.

Claims relating to naturalness were particularly common in the US, with over one-third of tracked launches using this style of health claim, and a similar percentage used claims relating to fibre/wholegrain content. Wholegrain products have continued to grow in popularity in the US and the use of ancient grains is also on the rise.


From administration to innovation: how the Byron Bay Cookie Company got back to business

2013 didn’t start off too well for popular cookie manufacturer, the Byron Bay Cookie Company. In March, the company announced it had entered voluntary administration, much to the surprise of consumers and fellow manufacturers. It didn’t take long, however, for it to be snapped up, with Rinoldi acquiring the Byron Bay Cookie Company in July, and getting the brand back on its feet in no time.

Emilie Emond, marketing manager for the Byron Bay Cookie Company, said the acquisition has completely transformed the company.

“At first people were asking why a pasta company would purchase a cookie company, but to me it didn’t sound odd at all, it just made sense because Rinoldi is a manufacturer with a lot of experience. They’re one of Australia’s oldest manufacturers, having been around since 1878 and they have the expertise that we obviously needed. And then for them, they acquired a very strong brand, so it did make sense.

“The mood at Byron Bay Cookie Company has completed lifted,” Emond told Food magazine. “And from a cultural point of view, Rinoldi is a family-owned business. They’ve got a very strong, positive, friendly culture and that’s transferred over into the Byron side as well. So you can see that people are happy to go to work every day. It’s made a tremendous difference.”

While there were staff casualties when the company first entered voluntary administration, 15 new employees have been hired since Rinoldi stepped in, and the new owners are now investing in making Byron Bay Cookie Company a leading manufacturer in Australia’s baked goods industry.

“From a practical point of view, the bakehouse in Byron Bay has seen a lot of improvements, because from the get-go Rinoldi has been investing in the site. For example, it’s introduced new processing equipment, and a new ERP [enterprise resource planning] system which we desperately needed … So now we’re in a better position to supply our customers in full and on time,” Emond said.

The Byron Bay Cookie Company credits the loyalty of its customers, including David Jones and Qantas, for its ability to get back to satisfying orders so quickly.

“We were very fortunate because all of our customers stuck by us. The best example is Qantas. We’ve been onboard Qantas for 10 years now and as soon as we were in trouble they reassured us that they were going to continue ordering from us, and that’s something that meant a lot to us, and obviously we’re still supplying to them – both domestically and internationally.

“And that’s such a core part of our brand. A lot of people know about us because of Qantas,” Emond said.

In other good news for the brand, Jetstar has recently announced its agreement to stock Byron Bay’s gluten-free Dotty cookie on its flights, both domestically and into Asia as well.

“That’s another big win for us,” said Emond, who believes the company’s customers were so loyal during Byron Bay’s troubles because they know how hard manufacturing is in Australia at the moment and were keen to stand by a local brand doing it tough.

Instead of making a song and dance out of its acquisition and resilience through tough times, Emond said Byron Bay Cookie Company’s strategy throughout the year was simply to put its head down, work hard and keep its customers happy.

“Our first focus was [to ensure we were able] to fulfill our orders … Because we’ve got such a strong presence in the café world, it was important for us to be able to supply our cafes, because at the end of the day when people grab a cup of coffee and they see the jars on the counter, that’s the biggest brand exposure you can get. So it was important that we could continue supplying, and keep those jars full.”

Once that was guaranteed, the marketing team was able to work on a very subtle marketing campaign, including attending industry events, conducting product sampling and promoting the brand through social media.

At the end of the day, however, it all comes down to the product. 2014 will be a year of innovation and product development for the Byron Bay Cookie Company brand, because there’s no better indication that a company is thriving than if it continues to release products that are in demand and sell well, said Emond.

“Product development has always been a strong area for us, but I guess in the last 12 months we had to kind of put it on hold. I know we released an Anzac biscuit last year, which worked really well for us, but we want to kind of push the boundaries when it comes to new flavours.

“We’re investing a lot in new product development. There are other new flavours in the pipeline as well for 2014; it’s important for us to stay fresh and relevant. We know that our customers love our classic flavours, but there’s always a need to keep innovating and keep the offering current,” she said.

“To be honest I’m quite impressed with how the company’s been turned around in such a short period of time. Yes, for the first couple of months there was a bit of damage control, but we’ve already managed to get back to where we were. And getting Jetstar onboard was a big win for us. It was like ‘OK we’re back. We’re strong.’”


Tip Top opens QLD bakery after $9m upgrade

Tip Top Bakeries, owned by George Weston Foods, has completed a $9 million upgrade of its Springwood factory in Queensland.

Ahead of the facility's 30th anniversary next year, the bakery upgrade included improvements to the onsite warehouse and distribution centre, automated packaging and handling equipment; staff amenities including a lunchroom and changing facilities; an upgrade to the engineering workshop and a new wash bay and crate washer equipment.

Officially opened yesterday by Logan City Council Mayor Pam Parker, Tip Top employs 392 Springwood residents, more than 100 of whom have been with the factory for over 10 years.

The Springwood bakery produces 180,000 units per day across eight distribution lines, including some of GWF's leading brands, Tip Top The One, Sunblest, Golden, Abbott's and Gold Max.

Savoury biscuits innovate to target larger audience

An Innova Market Insights reports has found that savoury biscuits accounted for 10 percent of global new product activity in bakery products for the year ending July 2013.

The number equates to just over a quarter of total biscuit and cookie launches over the period, and represents a stronger growth rate in the savoury biscuit sector in many countries.

“The sector is also moving away from relatively plain biscuits used as an accompaniment for products such as cheese, savoury spreads and wine, and into products positioned as snacks in their own right, suitable for consumption straight from the box or with dips,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights.

The report suggests that the increase in savoury biscuit product activity is a reflection of a heightened interest in healthy options. Over 40 percent of product launches featured health related claims such as low fat, organic, natural, gluten-free, as well as active claims including; added calcium or protein or specific health benefits such as heart health or digestive health.

The report also states that interest in all natural and clean label options has increased by 20 percent globally, a trend which is particularly evident in more developed markets. Other popular health claims featuring strongly in crackers and savoury biscuits include the use of wholegrains; featured on 10 percent of global launches, and source of fibre/ high fibre and gluten-free claims featured on 8 percent.

New and untraditional ingredients are also starting to appear, particularly in the US market. Nabisco’s Triscuit brand was extended in the US in mid-2013 with Brown Rice Triscuit made with wholegrain brown rice and wheat with pieces of sweet potato or red beans.

Other innovative products included the introduction of composite products such as the Milka Tuc variant – a combination of Kraft’s well-known brands, Milka chocolate and Tuc salted biscuits.

“It is clear that new product activity is helping to drive the savoury biscuits market forward,” said Williams.

“With innovation designed to increase the product’s appeal as a versatile, nutritious and tasty snack, offering planned and impulse, on-the-go and at-home options for a variety of social and domestic occasions.”


Four ‘N Twenty Aussie Pasties recalled

Four ‘N Twenty Aussie Pasties have been recalled around Australia due to the presence of a foreign matter – hard plastic.

The 175g pasties are individually packaged in flo-wrap with a best before date of 07/01/15.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) were notified of the recall on 11 September, and stated that food products containing hard plastic may cause injury if consumed.

FSANZ said that consumers should not eat this product, and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

The Four ‘N Twenty Aussie Pasties are sold nationally at convenience store, service stations and wholesale outlets.


Melinda’s Blueberry Lemon cupcakes

Product name: Blueberry Lemon cupcakes

Product manufacturer: Melinda Trembath

Ingredients: Gluten free self raising flour (maize starch, tapioca starch, soy flour, rice flour, raising agents (575,501,500), dextrose, stevia, dried blueberries (0.6%), dried lemons (0.36%), natural blueberry flavour(0.3%) and natural lemon flavour (0.3%)

Shelf life: 12 months

Packaging: The design aligns with the current Melinda’s pink branded packaging however the brand's added the deep green front panel to highlight the use of ‘natural’ energy sources – the glucose and stevia. The company also added a panel to the back to explain Fructose Free and refer people to its website for more information.

Used materials continue to be recycled board however at a higher grade to ensure a stable, reinforced box that sits well on all shelves and suffers minimal to no damage during supply chain.

Product manager : Melinda Trembath

Brand website: https://www.melindasgfg.com

What the company says
Part of the new fructose friendly and gluten free range, the Blueberry Lemon cupcakes are a light blend of our signature flour, dried and crushed real blueberries and lemons, and sweetened naturally with glucose and stevia. Prepare with milk, butter and eggs (or substitutes) and add some fresh blueberries for an extra flavour hit.

Freezer stable for up to six months, the fructose friendly range of Melinda's premixes can be prepared as slab cakes for events or as individual cupcakes for a special treat.


Goodman Fielder to axe 34 jobs

Goodman Fielder will close its Ballarat bakery in November, axing 34 jobs.

The company, which has been reviewing effiencies across all its sites, has already closed three bakeries in the past year, and plans to move production from the Ballarat site to one at Forestville in South Australia, weeklytimesnow reports.

While a distribution depot will be kept in Ballarat, the bakery's close will see 34 jobs cut, but workers will be offered positions if they can move to other sites.


Bakers Delight takes out Food mag award: video

This year, the winner of the Baked Goods category at the Food magazine awards was bakery franchise, Bakers Delight, for its Chia and Fruit Loaf.

Made from Chia wholemeal dough with dates, sultanas and a hint of mixed spice, the Chia and Fruit Loaf contains no preservatives and, like all Bakers Delight products, is made from scratch every day.

The key point of difference to other fruit loaves is that the Chia and Fruit Loaf contains no added sugar and, thanks to the chia seeds, has added health benefits.

An ancient seed, the chia seed was first used by the Aztecs in South America. Now grown and harvested in Western Australia's Kimberley region, this tiny seed contains omega-3 ALA, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants making it the most nutritious grain available.

Bakers Delight is also supporting the Australian food manufacturing industry, with the franchise partnering with the Chia Company in Kanunarra back in 2010 to ensure a sustainable supply of Australian-sourced chia seeds.

New Zealand bakeries also stock the Chia and Fruit Loaf, and outlets in Canada will soon follow suit, with both regions adhering to the Australian recipe. When launched in Canada, the Loaf will be available in over 700 bakeries worldwide. 

In its nomination form, Bakers Delight said its Chia and Fruit Loaf, launched in August 2012, is a leader in the baked goods sector.

"We see the Chia and Fruit Loaf as an evolution of 'fruit bread', not just a flavour variation," the company said. "In terms of marketplace competition, very few fruit toast varieties offer any additional health benefits to their loaves. Whether they are fresh baked or factory manufactured, most fruit toasts are marketed as indulgent or decadent options for consumers. We have positioned Chia and Fruit as a healthy option for consumers to eat whilst still enjoying the full flavours of fruit and mixed spices."



Salt Swap initiative launched in Lithgow

Nu-Tek Salt Australasia has partnered with The George Institute in an attempt to curb the health risks associated with high sodium diets, launching a Salt Swap program in Lithgow.

Salt Swap is a community health campaign to reduce salt intake by swapping household table salt with Nu-Tek's Salt for Life product, which offers 70 percent less sodium than conventional table salt.

A diet high in salt, or sodium chloride, can have a number of negative effects on health including high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Nu-Tek's Salt for Life product is a potassium chloride formulation rather than a sodium-based one, therefore offering consumers a healthier alternative to traditional table salt.

Salt Swap will not only see Lithgow households replace their salt shaker with Salt for Life, independent bakeries in the area will also be replacing their salt with Nu-Tek's product.

Nu-Tek's director, Jason Cummings, said "We're working on getting 100 percent of the independent bakeries using Nu-Tek salt in their bread products, to reduce the sodium in their bread, and we're aiming to have 50 percent of independent caterers and restaurants using Salt for Life. We're also aiming to have 75 to 95 percent of households using Salt for Life."

Currently in the third year of a four year program, Salt Swap identified the average adult salt intake in Lithgow is nine grams a day, more than twice the Australian suggested dietary target of four grams a day.

The initiative aims to reduce salt intake in the area by 10 percent, and Mary-Anne Land of The George Institute said Salt Swap Lithgow places Lithgow at the forefront of achieving the World Health Organisation's 2025 target of reducing the population's salt intake by 30 percent.

Cummings told Food magazine, "It's an exciting exercise. There's lots happening and we're trying to work with the community and get them to change how they use salt, especially at home. Because, at the end of the day, any [reduction] in salt levels is a benefit."

Patties Foods announces financial year results

Australian frozen food company, Patties Foods Limited announced the company’s financial results for the year ended 30 June 2013.

The company recorded a 75.4 percent drop in net profit after tax (NPAT) due to a non-cash impairment charge of $11.8m against the Frozen Fruit intangible assets, resulting in an end of year profit of $4.8m.

The company says that the underlying NPAT of $17.0 is in line with the board’s earnings update which was reported to the Australian Stock Exchange on 28 June, 2013.

Chairman of Patties Foods, Mark Smith said that the company continued to grow during the period despite challenging economic conditions.

 “The market leading branded savoury business continued growth in FY13 in challenging trading conditions. We remain focused on our strategy of supporting and growing our core brands through innovative new products, marketing campaigns and channel development.

“In June this year we announced a strategic review of our frozen fruit business which is continuing. Alongside this review our periodic impairment testing process has resulted in the board recording an impairment of $11.8m in the value of the intangible assets of the frozen fruit business.”

Managing director, Greg Bourke said that 2013 marked the first time in four years that the company recorded a drop in earnings.

 “Market conditions remain difficult and for the first time in 4 years, we have reported a decline in earnings. However, the core business of savoury brands continues to underpin the performance of the company,” he said.

“Volumes continue to grow strongly although incremental revenue was achieved at lower margins due to increased discounting levels, particularly in the In-Home (supermarket) channel.

“Our manufacturing result was disappointing as we did not meet our own high standards when commissioning the automated pie packing plant, despite other parts of the bakery performing well with good improvements in efficiencies.”

Throughout the financial period, Patties Foods enjoyed increased market share in In Home and Out of Home savoury categories and strong growth of the Four’N Twenty and Patties brands.

Patties say that they remain committed to driving earnings growth from underlying earnings in 2013 and building shareholder value through strategic growth initiatives, supporting core brands, achieving price increases and improving manufacturing efficiencies.


Genius Gluten Free

Product name: Genius Gluten Free

Product manufacturer: Genius

Ingredients: Water, tapioca starch, rice flour, potato starch, rapeseed oil, maize starch, psyllium husk powder, humectant (vegetable glycerine), sugar, stabiliser (hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose), dried egg white, yeast, flax seeds, salt, flavouring, rice starch, preservative (calcium propionate)

Shelf life: Three days after defrosting

Packaging: 102g to 560g plastic wrapping (Frozen)

Brand website: https://geniusglutenfree.com/our_story/

What the company says
Just because you are avoiding gluten for medical or health reasons, or are choosing to lead a lower gluten lifestyle – why should you compromise on not only what you want to eat – but the quality of the offering?

Genius bread was born out of the 'Genius' that goes with creating fantastic food, without the quality compromise, in some of the most basic and stable food categories i.e. bread, morning goods, pastry and pizza.

We aim to bring great tasting gluten free food to consumers, to understand the challenges that our consumers face in the quest to find great tasting gluten free food and to create quality and convenient solutions that makes food more enjoyable and life easier.

Genius is available in Australia at Coles.


Cocktail Naan by Mughal Foods

Product name: Cocktail Naan

Product manufacturer: Mughal Foods

Ingredients: Plain flour,yeast,salt and water

Shelf life: One week on shelf/two months in freezer

Packaging: Vaccum bag with oxygen absorber

Product manager: Amir Budroodin

Brand website: https://www.mughalfoods.com.au

What the company says

  • Approx 5cm in diameter
  • Fully cooked and ready to use
  • Suitable for use in buffets, also as a base for gourmet pizzas. Toppings can range from cream cheese and smoked salmon to tandoori chicken pieces or ham and bacon.


Coles bakery sweeps the floor at food awards

Coles Supermarkets has won a total of 72 medals at this year’s Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards, taking home more than any other entrant.

The supermarket giant won 12 gold medals, 32 silver and 27 bronze as well as the Champion Bread prize and the bakery team at Coles Meadow Mews won 18 awards for its range of locally-baked bread and cakes.

Jon Alexander, store manager for Coles Meadow Mews said that the team was ‘incredibly proud’ to receive 18 medals.

“Our Bakery Manager Shaun McCarthy has been the driving force behind the team, which has worked tirelessly to produce exceptional products for our customers and for the Awards,” said Alexander.

“The team is passionate about what they do and strive to do a great job each day they’re in the bakery – we’re always getting positive comments about the admirable quality of their work.”

Coles business category manager for bakery, Craig Taylor said the results are a credit to the hard work and dedication of the team.

“Each and every award is a credit to the craftsmanship, culinary skills and hard work of our team members involved in the product development and baking of our entries,” said Taylor.

“We’ve been entering the Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards for many years now and this is our best-ever result. We hope it demonstrates our strengths in bakery and the wonderful work produced by our bakery teams across Australia.”


Consumers shouldn’t assume ‘baked’ means fresh, says Coles

Defending allegations it misled consumers by masking imported bread as freshly baked products, Coles says consumers shouldn't assume 'baked' means 'baked from scratch.'

The supermarket giant told the Federal Court that standard industry practice could become an issue in proving whether consumers believe bread from Coles' bakeries is baked fresh on-site, AFR reports.

In order to properly defend the allegations brought forward by the ACCC, Coles needs to prove that the average consumer should or would assume that the word 'baked' means something other than 'baked from scratch.'

In June, the ACCC launched legal proceedings against Coles for supplying bread that's partially baked and frozen off-site, transported to Coles stores, ‘finished’ in-store and then promoted as ‘Baked Today, Sold Today’ and/or ‘Freshly Baked In-Store’.

While the ACCC claimed Coles actions create an unfair playing ground for those bakeries genuinely baking fresh products daily, the supermarket chain claims par-baked products are "commonly offered" for sale in supermarkets, fast food outlets, bakeries and restaurants.

Coles also explained that certain bread labels stated the product was 'Made in Ireland.'


New facility gives Garlo’s a bigger slice of the pie market

There's been no shortage of bad headlines for the food manufacturing industry in recent times. A number of high profile companies have hit the wall (think Rosella, Windsor Farm Food Factory, Darrell Lea and Byron Bay Cookies) and the high Australian dollar, labour costs and cheap imports have also taken their toll on the profitability of local brands.

It's so refreshing then, to hear Sean Garlick, managing director at Garlo's Pies, talk about the strength of the 12 year old pie business.

Family-operated, Garlo's Pies has gone from strength to strength since opening its first retail pie shop in a 60 square metre premises in Sydney's Maroubra.

With Sean an ex-football player, Garlo's launch was promoted through the television show, The Footy Show, giving the brand an enormously valuable push in the right direction.

Twelve months later, Garlo's opened a second store in Mascot, followed by one in Parramatta, one in Coogee and another in Blacktown.

In 2004 production was shifted from the back of the Mascot store to a 250 square metre bakery in St Peters.

"That was our first step into big bakery thinking," Sean told Food magazine. "But for the last two years of our existence [at St Peters] we were just busting at the seams. We couldn't swing a cat. We couldn't operate effectively and we couldn't take on any substantial new business because we physically had no more space. So that was the motivation to move into a new place."

About four weeks ago, production started at Garlo's Pie's new home – a 1,350 square metre facility just 900m down the road from its predecessor.

"This move represents capacity and potential. We've always had potential and everyone's always spoken about how good our product is, but while we've been thwarted in our growth because of the physical limitations of our last premises, over the last couple of years we've learnt where we wanted to go in terms of operations and logistics," says Sean.

"We really took a long time planning the flow of the premises, how the product would come in and come out and now it allows us to really take on all markets."

A very lucrative deal with Coles was another reason Garlo's Pies had to step up its production capabilities. The supermarket giant approached the company back in 2009, and while Sean was originally reluctant to sign on the dotted line, concerned Coles would push pie prices down too far and threaten the brand's premium pie reputation, Sean says Coles is onboard with theGarlo's strategy.

"We're now supplying to every one of their stores in NSW and we have 14 lines in most of them, which is huge," he says.

The Coles contract meant Garlo's had to become a more "sophisticated" business, says Sean.

"They've really provided us with an education in terms of what's needed to be done to service the big guys. It's now positioned us to speak to Woolworths … and we've also been supplying to Metcash for the past six months, which is IGA. We're available all over NSW in IGA stores, but we've also secured big contracts with the Australian Navy."

The Garlick family with NSW premier Barry O'Farrell at the new St Peters site opening.

Despite these game-changing contracts and interest from export markets including the UAE, south east Asia and the US, it's those who helped build Garlo's Pies from the ground up who are still pushing its growth today.

"You've got to market your product. What we learnt very early on is that it's one thing to be available in Coles, but unless you're supporting your product, it just doesn't sell," Sean says.

"We really invested heavily in doing in-store demonstrations, in merchandising and in advertising. There's no point being there if no one's heard of you or no one knows about you.

"[When launching in Coles] we underwent a big advertising campaign and relied on family – as we always do – to go out to the stores. Our wives, sisters, our mother, were all out there in the stores demonstrating, making sure we were on the shelves and trying to get relationships with store managers, going to meetings and just putting our brand in front of people and pushing the brand," he says.

While exporting is a big opportunity for Garlo's Pies, the company is more focussed on establishing a national presence here in Australia, where the humble meat pie has an iconic status not seen anywhere else in the world.

And the new St Peters facility will certainly help to achieve this.

"When we first opened our doors in Maroubra Nathan and I looked at each other and said 'How many pies will we make?' So we made 100 and they all sold out by lunch the next day. The next day we made 200 and they sold out by 2pm the next day. Then we made 500 and that was about as many as we could make."

After moving to its first St Peters location and investing in a pie machine which deposited filling into the pies, as opposed to filling them by hand with an ice cream scoop – production at Garlo's Pies jumped up to about 8,000 pies a day.

"Now, in this place, we can make 12,000 pies in a shift, which is from about 6am to 5pm. And we'll be able to do about 6,000 pies in an hour when we have two machines running," Sean says.

"We can now supply in a much bigger scale to the supermarkets. And of course that's not forgetting the small pubs and clubs and schools and cafes and lunch trucks that we supply to on a daily basis. Those guys are very important in maintaining the strength of the business.

"We can't allow ourselves to have our eggs in too few baskets."