The BB75 networking lunch held recently at The Avenue Restaurant in London saw the industry come together to share ideas, best practice and get an exclusive look at British Baker’s own research into the bakery retail market.

The outgoing chief executive of Greggs, Ken McMeikan, was also on hand to collect an award for the north-east bakery chain again topping the list – because of its numbers of stores.

The event also saw craft chains like Wenzel’s, Waterfields and Birds of Derby attend to listen to a keynote speech on consumer trends by Paul Flatters, the chief executive of consumer research agency The Trajectory Partnership.

John Waterfield, managing director, Waterfields of Leigh, said: “It’s always interesting to come down and speak to different people, and see whether we’re in line with them or not.”

Mike Holling, retail operations director, Birds of Derby, added: “We had a very informative presentation, from Paul Flatters, and it has been an excellent opportunity to network with key people within the industry.”

Jason Danciger, head of hospitality at Marks & Spencer, said: “It is always fascinating to take a step out when you are going at 180 miles. It’s great to stop, look, think and not only find out what everyone else is doing, but at times to reflect and see where the market is.

“Some of the market and consumer research today, as well as learning more about the trends, are fascinating things to think about, and that’s something to think about when we get back to going at 180 miles an hour.”

Graham Nash, director of Nash’s Bakery, Bicester, Oxon, added: “It’s nice to meet other people in the industry, not necessarily bakers, because it is a very diverse sector and it is nice to listen to other people to see that perhaps, I am not doing everything wrong. It has just been a benefit to meet people and get talking.”

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