Gordon Polson, director at the Federation of Bakers, looks at the organisation’s key achievements and challenges as it celebrates its 75th anniversary
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Federation of Bakers, the industry body that represents the UK’s largest manufacturers of sliced and wrapped bread and morning goods. The federation delivers professional services to our members, whether this be by providing advice, training or leadership.
The anniversary gives us a great opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved in the past 75 years.
The federation was formed in 1942, when the London Wholesale and Multiple Bakers joined forces with various regional organisations to form the Federation of Bakers. The federation was created to work with government to look after the interests of the national loaf, and assist in the vital job of producing and distributing bread in wartime. Following its establishment, the federation also negotiated the annual wages and conditions for all employees in the industry with the trade unions, a practice that ceased in early 1990s.
In the 1960s, bread production faced several significant changes. In 1963 the Bread and Flour Regulations were formalised, governing the composition and additives permitted in flour. 1965 saw the development of the Chorleywood Bread Process in everyday use and the Federation of Bakers played an invaluable role in helping its members instigate these changes.
Over the years our purpose remains the same – to work with government and its agencies to support members in all the challenges they face. These include the gradual reduction of salt in products, in order to comply with government targets introduced in 2005, changes to the bread and flour regulations, the Food Information to Consumers Regulation and, most recently, sugar reduction in morning goods.
Our biggest challenge continues to be the protection and promotion of the nutritional benefits of bread as part of a healthy balanced diet. Most recently we have aimed to improve the perception of bread through our PR work, running successful campaigns to educate young women on the health benefits of bread. As the popularity of bread is challenged, particularly among this demographic, partly due to the rise in fad dieting and subsequent demonisation of carbs, we’ve worked to counter this misconception.
Looking ahead, we’ll remain committed to supporting our members and helping them overcome the challenges this great industry may face.