When did the Spinneys Central Bakery open?
Neil: It opened in 2013 and we started by supplying all Spinneys Market stores. We began by making our artisan loaves and everyday breads. A year later, we branched into making cakes and started to produce the deli range, too.
How many different products do you make at the bakery today?
Kamel: Our bakery product range currently has about 75 items. These include artisanal breads (such as country, French village, wurzel, Norlander, German rye and olive loaves); traditional and seasonal baguettes; our sliced, pre-packed “English breads”, like the spinneysFOOD Energy, Protein, High-Fibre (white and brown) and Farmhouse options; burger buns, cakes; madeleines; muffins; cookies and more. We produce an average of 21,000 total products a day.
All your products are free from trans fats, hydrogenated fats, artificial flavours and colours. You also work with a range of great-quality flours. Where do you source your ingredients from?
Neil: Mostly France, Germany and from a few local suppliers.
Tell us about the Central Bakery’s specialty: the honey cake.
Kamel: It’s based on a traditional Russian medovic recipe and we use some of the best ingredients we can find. We use equipment to mix and flatten the dough (each cake is made of seven flat layers), however the rest of the process is all done by hand, including shaping the final layers, piping in our special Lithuanian cream, icing the cakes and decorating them. We make an average of 350 cakes a day but it’s more like 500.
Are there any processes that you’ve put in place to minimise waste in the bakery?
Neil: Yes, we’re always looking at solutions for this. It’s often simple methods that have a big impact. By modifying the tables at work stations, we’ve been able to catch excess dough from our products – like the honey cake. This “leftover” dough is reworked into final products, as we make it into crumbs that we use to decorate the cakes. Catching any excess dough, chocolate or other ingredients also helps with keeping the factory clean. Another example is our wurzel bread. Because of its shape and the way in which it’s handled, there could be quite a lot of waste, but we decided to develop garlic dough balls from any leftover dough. In terms of equipment, we’ve looked at our processes and adapted them to maximise efficiency and not waste any time.
Are most of your products made by hand?
Neil: Our artisanal range is all handmade. For any conventional items, any automation is mainly used in the moulding process; there is still a lot of manual input.
Besides their great taste, Spinneys bakery products are known for their quality and consistency. How do you maintain this?
Neil: It all comes down to our skilled staff members. We invest a lot of time and effort into training, standards are put in place, everyone knows what is expected of them and they go above and beyond to deliver quality products.
Who comes up with any new bakery recipes?
Kamel: This is all handled by the new product development team. We focus mainly on the actual manufacturing of the products. Having said that, we’re always there to support the commercial teams.