I enjoyed the BSB autumn conference for many reasons but, above all, for the ability to socialise and talk about general bakery issues other than just the prices of raw materials, which seems to have dominated us all in the trade for some time.

With unprecedented increases in flour, oils and dairy products, to name a few, the pressure has really been on us all. We have to make consumers realise what a bargain our products are and, despite having to pay even the increases required to cover the cost of raw materials and overheads escalating as they have, they are still getting good-value, highly nutritious and tasty food for little cost.

I would also like to take the opportunity to say that it is with great pleasure that I am able to announce that we awarded our first two honorary memberships to the society. We acknowledged Jean Grieves and Mike Byrd. Jean, as many know, was conference chairman for 13 years and Mike recently stepped down as our Treasurer, having served in this position for 15 years. He was responsible for the strong financial position the BSB enjoys to date.

You will have noticed that our next conference will coincide with the Food & Bake exhibition at the NEC, with a dinner on Monday, 7 April, and the conference itself taking place on Tuesday, 8 April. I look forward to hosting the spring conference, when we are looking forward to some great papers and big names to make it as informative and enjoyable as ever.