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NIFDA Awards Night 2015

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Belfast Baker Anna Taggart making lots of dough

Posted in: News ♦ Wednesday, September 27th, 2017, 12:51 pm ♦ No Comments on Belfast Baker Anna Taggart making lots of dough

SOURCE: Belfast Telegraph

How family illness and redundancy bred a successful business

Anna Taggart receives an award for best product from restaurateur Michael Deane and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster at the IFEX in 2012

Belfast woman Anna Taggart thought baking was just part of her family history – but now she’s running her own award-winning business, and will be exhibiting at Northern Ireland’s biggest food fair in Belfast this week.

Yummy Bakes now has over 70 customers in Northern Ireland, including the Mount Charles Group, Maud’s Ice Cream, O’Brien’s Sandwich Bars, Invest NI, Deanes Deli,

Cafe Conor and the National Trust as well as coffee shops and the retail bakery trade across Northern Ireland.

The firm, which has recently employed another full-time baker, is now looking at export opportunities in the Republic of Ireland and in the Middle East and has capacity to produce 70,000 biscuits per month from a specially-built facility at Ms Taggart’s own home.

In 2012 she was made redundant from her part-time job and with only two established customers who regularly ordered for homemade products, decided to invest her own money and set up her own firm, Yummy Bakes.

That same year she took a stand at IFEX, a trade event for the food, drink, retail and hospitality industries, and met thousands of industry visitors over the three days, establishing vital contacts and securing new business.

She was awarded a Best Product accolade, which brought her to the attention of another exhibitor, Henderson Foodservice, which owns Spar and ViVo chains and now lists many of her products.

Ms Taggart will be one of the producers on the Henderson stand at this year’s IFEX event in the King’s Hall from March 11 to 13. She said she had “no intention” of baking as a business, until fate stepped in. While she comes from a family of bakers who once owned a coffee shop at the corner of Fortwilliam Park in Belfast, Ms Taggart pursued other interests in life until redundancy and her mum’s ill-health changed things.

After a number of strokes and moving into a care home, Ms Taggart’s mother told her stories of her baking, recounted recipes and encouraged her to bake for the residents of the nursing home – reigniting her daughter’s love for baking and her appreciation of her mother’s recipes.

“My mother worked until she was 75. I was happy in my own work, I thought ‘why would anyone want to work that hard’?” she said. “However, after her third stroke she became very down, she was not interested in reading or the television, but talking about baking brought the sparkle back into her eyes. She would say ‘would you not go home and make these poor old people in the home something nice to eat’ and it was that that made me find my love for cooking again.

“All the products I make are based on recipes from my mother. Everything has to be made using butter, nothing is synthetic, it must taste home-made and I think people are going back to those traditional flavours.

“People say when you make things commercially you will never be able to taste the real quality but I don’t agree. For me, it has to be the best quality or I don’t want to bother.

“I’m delighted to have won the listing with Henderson’s. Baking is a real passion for me and I have worked so hard. 2012 saw some of the saddest times of my life but through that sadness I was able to see great happiness.”

* Ifex is the biggest trade expo in Northern Ireland and is a biennial event for the food, drink, retail and hospitality industries

* Over 5,000 industry professionals are expected to visit

* Almost 100 exhibitors display at the event

* 250 student and industry chefs are taking part in Salon Culinaire – consisting of The ChefSkills Theatre, with 14 individual category competitions and a team event.

Thousands of top exhibitors set to do millions in trade at expo

Northern Ireland’s biggest food, drink and hospitality event takes place in Belfast this week.

Over 5,000 industry professionals are expected to attend the IFEX trade expo in the King’s Hall Pavilion, with millions of pounds of business expected to be done from Tuesday to Thursday.

This year, exhibitors include show stalwarts like Stephen’s Catering, Henderson’s Foodservice, Masseys for Catering Equipment, Lynas Foodservice, Matthew Algie, Golden Glen Catering, BD Foods, Scan Coin, Bunzl McLaughlin, Bunzl Rafferty, and Frylite.

There are also many new names including Brakes, Bewley’s, Rational UK and Solmatix.

Central to IFEX is the Salon Culinaire, which combines the ChefSkills Theatre and La Parade des Chefs and features young cooks who will be competing over the three days.

ChefSkills is where the talents of many of Northern Ireland’s celebrated chefs were first recognised.

And La Parade des Chefs will see rival teams from Northern Ireland catering colleges go head-to-head in a real-time, purpose-built kitchen.

Each team of chefs will be cooking and serving 60 covers and some of the industry’s most notable experts will be on hand at the King’s Hall to judge the three-day competition.

A trade-only event which takes place every two years, the show is operated by Fresh Montgomery, which also organises the IFE, Hotelympia, The Hospitality Show and Food & Hospitality Ireland trade shows.

Visitors can register to attend at www.IFEXexhibition.co.uk and the event can be followed on Facebook.com/IfexBelfast or via twitter @IFEX_NI.

Belfast Telegraph



SOURCE: dcppr

A taste of success: Margaret Hearty, director of programmes and business services for InterTradeIreland joins Newtownabbey business woman, Anna Taggart, owner of Yummy Bakes NI, to encourage all micro-businesses across the province to take advantage of the Elevate programme which is now open for applications. Yummy Bakes NI credits the initiative, which is fully funded by InterTradeIreland, with helping to open up the Irish market for its high-quality pastry and biscuit ranges and is urging other small firms to benefit from this cross-border growth opportunity. For more information, visit www.intertradeireland.com/elevate.

InterTradeIreland recently launched the next phase of its sales development programme, Elevate, which aims to help small businesses develop sales opportunities through first time cross-border exports.

Through Elevate, InterTradeIreland provides sector-specific sales support across a range of areas, including food and beverage, construction, engineering and many others.  In the past two years, the programme has already helped 150 small businesses, generating new cross-border sales of approximately £3million.

Small businesses participating in ‘Elevate’ can choose from a list of more than 100 experienced industry specialists who can then help them to identify sales leads in the cross-border market, negotiate deals, share relevant market insights, identify market research requirements and offer advice on the development of marketing materials.

One such company that benefitted from the Elevate Programme was micro-business, Yummy Bakes NI, based in Jordanstown, Newtownabbey.  Owner, Anna Taggart, credits the InterTradeIreland programme with helping to open up the Irish market for her high-quality ‘golden moment’ pastry and biscuit ranges.

“I recognised that I needed someone who came from the food industry and knew the market inside out.  With more than 100 experts to choose from, I was able to select the perfect match for me.  He helped me to research the market and organised two interviews for me with potential major distributors and I am waiting to hear the outcome of these.”

She explains:  “I had grown the local element of my business substantially and wanted to take Yummy Bakes NI across the border but was unsure about how and where to start.  I looked at InterTradeIreland’s Elevate programme, the application process was very straightforward and I was accepted onto the programme.  Taking part gave me the confidence to break into the market and having the support of my Elevate industry expert made my goals a very real possibility.”

Margaret Hearty, Director of Business Services & Programmes, adds: “We regularly review our available support for businesses and a few years ago realised there was a funding gap for small micro enterprises.  As they make up 96% of businesses on the island, it is essential that they receive the support they require to expand and flourish.

“The cross-border market is an often an underutilised but logical first step to wider export markets, giving experience of varied legislation and working with a different currency but has the comfort of being more accessible.  Once mastered, this makes looking at European markets a more realistic prospect.

“The Elevate programme was designed with simplicity in mind to remove as much bureaucracy as possible.  As such, a relatively straight-forward application process was devised and put in place.  I would urge all interested small businesses with less than £1million turnover to register their interest and apply to Elevate today.”

Anna concluded “I may have got to the point of considering breaking into Ireland but it would have been many years down the line.  Participation in Elevate sped this up greatly and has got Yummy Bakes NI’s name out there and onto people’s lips – literally!”

For more information on the Elevate programme, including eligibility criteria visit www.intertradeireland.com/elevate.


Anna Taggart’s taken her mum’s Yummy cakes to a whole new level

Posted in: News ♦ Wednesday, September 27th, 2017, 12:35 pm ♦ No Comments on Anna Taggart’s taken her mum’s Yummy cakes to a whole new level

SOURCE: Irish News

ANNA Taggart has taken her business from small beginnings at her kitchen table to a professional career servicing Britain and Ireland and poised to move much further afield. It’s a fascinating story of a young woman who wanted to fulfil her mother’s dying wish and keep the family tradition of baking alive.

Anna’s mum, Betty Macklin was well known in antique circles. She had a quaint little gate-lodge shop at the Antrim Road end of Fortwilliam Park where it was her habit to give customers a cup of tea and a piece of cake or a scone when they came to browse. Soon Fortwilliam Antiques became the centre for morning coffee and afternoon tea.

Betty was a perfectionist. She baked every morning before leaving the house and soon businessmen left their offices to have a bit of craic and relax among the antiques and the pavlovas, children called in on their way home from school, teachers met for a catchup after a busy day.

Anna’s father Joseph ran a gents outfitters further down the Antrim Road and this business ethic was passed on to their children, Anna and her sister Helen.

Sitting in Anna’s kitchen last week, the rich smell of baking in the air, I tucked into a Posh Scone, one of Anna’s signature offerings. Crisp on the outside, like a cloud when you bite into it and covered in cinnamon butter, a hint of vanilla plus raspberries and strawberries. Delicious. But this is only a small part of the operation because Yummy Bakes has a portfolio of the most mouthwatering offerings, shortbread, biscuits, cakes and scones.

Ingredients are all top class, locally sourced, the best of butter, oats, cinnamon – the list goes on and the orders come in. What makes Anna’s business special is the fact that she prepares everything at home in Whiteabbey, immediately blast freezes the raw product, packages and labels the orders and sends them off to distributors, to stores, shops and restaurants where they are freshly baked from frozen and decorated on the day of sale.

“It’s no fuss, freezer to oven and ready in 30 minutes.”

When it comes to biscuits she packs them in ‘pallets’, 64 boxes with 120 biscuits in each. Just before Christmas she sent a supply to a distributor in London and the day after St Stephen’s Day got a call for more.

And yet it all started by accident.

“Mum took a series of strokes when she was 75 and was forced to retire and go into a nursing home and it was during this time she started talking about her granny and her great granny and what great bakers they were; this was the only thing she wanted to remember and I was fascinated by the detail she recalled. She was one of five girls; Rosemary made raspberry jam, Peggy was pavlova, Kathleen tarts, Eileen bread and mum was great at them all!”

As her mother talked through the family recipes going back generations, Anna noted them down and began baking. She took scones and shortbread into the nursing home for a tasting among the residents and staff and before long she knew she was on to a winner.

And so began the business of kitting out the bright and airy kitchen, converting the garage and buying in mixers, freezers, boxes and labels. Every batch is labelled in detail – the ingredients, allergy advice, storage instructions and how to bake from frozen.

One chef told her she’d given him back three and a half hours a day as his preparation time involved only cooking what she had sent him.

Anna and her one full-time assistant begin work at seven in the morning until and continue until 3.30pm, though Anna’s day often stretches into the evening. She loves what she does and since establishing Yummy Bakes in 2012 she has had seven awards, proving that she’s a master at her craft.

The most recent was from NI Food and Drink Association who recognised her skills for the second time. “I entered mum’s chocolate cake and her lemon drizzle. I think she would have been proud.”

It’s a far cry from Anna’s last job working in Ulster Television where, as assistant to the head of news, she was taking phone calls warning of bombs and shooting and taking copy from reporters phoning in details of the horrors that were unfolding before their eyes.

The Enniskillen bombing, the Omagh bombing, atrocities all over the north. “It was very shocking but it was only afterwards I could break down and cry. It will always be with me.”

There’s a calmness about Anna and her kitchen is immaculate and runs like clockwork. Husband Thomas is always on hand with support and although still in education, daughter Ciara is making a name for herself as a harpist and singer son Conor is ‘gigging’ all round the country.

I’m sure Betty Macklin would be amazed to see how her recipes have been developed, buns with honey and cinnamon, wheels with apple and pumpkin seed, scones succulent with cherries, vanilla, sultanas, lemon, maybe coconut or pear and flaked almonds.

Lemon zest is an important ingredient – no joke preparing 50 in a day, washing, grating off the rind and squeezing the juice.

There’s no limit, the only criterion is quality.

“I believe people are fed up with the mass market and want fresh home-made cakes and scones when they go out to a coffee shop or a restaurant. Eventually I’d like to have my own ‘front,’ she added – to you and me, that’s her own cafe!

“In that way I’d have total control of the presentation as well as the ingredients. It’s labour intensive but it’s also my passion. Here,” she adds, “try a another scone?”

Please Anna, too tempting. But then, what did Oscar Wilde say? “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.”

Home bakery Yummy Bakes NI captures major deal with global player

Posted in: News ♦ Wednesday, September 27th, 2017, 12:30 pm ♦ No Comments on Home bakery Yummy Bakes NI captures major deal with global player

SOURCE: Belfast Telegraph

Home bakery Yummy Bakes NI captures major deal with global player

Home bakery Yummy Bakes NI has secured its first contract in Great Britain, supplying global catering giant Sodexo. The Newtownabbey business will supply its award-winning frozen shortbread biscuits to Sodexo for clients.

The contract follows a pitch to Sodexo by Anna Taggart, Yummy Bakes NI founder and owner.

The pitch was arranged by food consultancy Levercliff in Wrexham and followed extensive sampling and discussions with the key buyers lined up by Levercliff. According to Yummy Bakes, the product’s quality and ease in “baking off” – the product is supplied frozen and then baked by the customer – helped clinch the deal.

“The new business is an immensely encouraging endorsement of the shortbread product,” Anna said.

Established in 2012, Yummy Bakes has developed a strong customer base in Ireland for products include blast frozen dough for scones, cakes, biscuits and cookies.

Over the past few years the company has won a series of awards from bodies such as the Guild of Fine Food, which runs the annual Great Taste Awards.

The small business focuses on traditional baking techniques and uses family recipes handed down over four generations.

All products are mixed and shaped by hand, instantly blast frozen and then supplied to the customer.

Anna added: “My mission in starting the bakery was to fuse together the uncompromised values of traditional Northern Irish home baking with the modern convenience of a ready-to-bake product.”

One company told Anna her products had freed up over three hours of his chef’s time.

“I blast freeze everything as soon as its made to keep it as fresh as it can be. It also means that the hotels and restaurants who buy the products can get that home-baked taste but with added convenience,” Anna said.

Yummy Bakes NI produces almost 20,000 items a week with the help of one employee and uses Anna’s mother’s recipes. Her late mother ran a coffee shop on the Antrim Road in Belfast and passed on many of her recipes to her daughter.

“People said now you’ve gone commercial you’re going to have to make these cheaper and use margarine but I always tell them that’ll never happen. For me it has to be the best it can and taste unlike what other companies are making so I’ll always use real butter and the best ingredients,” she said.

Indeed, Anna’s products have been well received by critics. In the last four years, her shortbread has won seven awards and all 17 product lines have won Great Taste Awards. Currently, Yummy Bakes supplies cafes including O’Briens sandwich bars, Bob and Berts and Ramada Shaw’s Bridge, and to retail customers Henderson Group and other retailers.

Belfast Telegraph