British Baker is pleased to announce entries for the 2012 Baking Industry Awards are now open.

Organised by British Baker, the awards are now in their 25th year and will take place on Wednesday 12 September at the Park Lane Hilton in London.

The Baking Industry Awards acknowledge and reward bakery companies and professionals from around the country for their contributions to the industry.

Martyn Leek, editor of British Baker, said: "Now in its 25th year, the awards celebrate people from one of the most innovative trades in the world who show skill, passion, energy and enthusiasm. Perhaps you are a brilliant baker, or you have a talented ’rising star’ among your staff. Just entering makes you look hard at your business and sends a positive message to your customers."

This year sees a brand new category for bakers to enter – the Retail Innovation Award – which will recognise outstanding efforts and innovation by high street bakery retailers.

Other categories to enter include:

Baker of the Year, sponsored by Vandemoortele

This award is open to any individual with hands-on baking expertise. We are looking for a baker who has a passion for baking quality products – whether for a small artisanal business or a large plant bakery. This category is predominantly about the person rather than the company. “We are looking for bakers who are giving customers added value in these austere times, following and setting trends and helping to future-proof their businesses. We are looking for someone who can demonstrate that end-product excellence remains paramount.” Stephen Bickmore, UK commercial manager, Vandemoortele’s Lipids Division.

Baker of the Year

Bakery Food Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by Golden Valley Pallet Wrap Specialists

This award recognises quality products and services. It may be that you have grown from traditional craft bakery roots and now supply to many shops. Or you may be an excellent speciality baker or cake-maker. As well as quality, the judges in this category will be considering process efficiency, innovation, marketing, health and safety and environmental issues, plus success in the marketplace. “The passion for excellence we observed at BIA 2011 inspired us to sponsor Bakery Food Manufacturer of the Year for 2012.” Colin Griffiths, chairman, Golden Valley Pallet Wrap Specialists.

Bakery Food Manufacturer of the Year

Celebration Cake Maker of the Year, sponsored by Renshaw

Attracting entries from the country’s most accomplished bakers and cake decorators, successful contenders are challenged to set new standards in creative baking. The emphasis is not only on skill, but on imagination, with the judging panel looking for unique, innovative and inspiring designs of the highest calibre. Sarah Summers, commercial director, Renshaw said “The awards present a great sense of personal achievement and pride for entrants and their businesses. We are thrilled to sponsor this inspirational award and to recognise the creative and individual talent of the country’s top celebration cake designers.”

Celebration Cake Maker of the Year

Confectioner of the Year, sponsored by Dawn Foods

A lot has changed in confectionery over the years and confectioners have to embrace these changes to maximise sales. Since the recession, confectioners have had to work harder to entice customers with innovative products and competitive prices. Confectioners also have to strike the right balance between the new and exciting and the old and familiar. Karl Brown, vice-president, Dawn Foods said “We’re looking for entries from companies who can show us how good their products are, from staple to creative and seasonal. We will be judging based on entire ranges – everything from the design of products to their target consumer and what times of day they were designed for will be taken into consideration.”

Confectioner of the Year

The Craft Business Award, sponsored by ADM Milling

This award recognises the passion and dedication of UK craft businesses in offering the finest-quality products and service. The category is open to all sectors of craft bakery, whether entrants operate a single retail shop or multiple high street locations or even a wholesale craft bakery. In addition to the finished quality of products, judges will also be assessing criteria such as maintaining the craft element in the business, innovation, marketing initiatives/promotions, and safety, as well as measurable success in the marketplace. “We are seeking entrants who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in response to market conditions, trends or product innovation.” Peter Hayes, national sales manager, ADM.

The Craft Business Award

The Customer Focus Award, sponsored by CSM United Kingdom

To enter The Customer Focus Award, you may be a craft business, a plant baker, a foodservice supplier or a cake-maker. Small, large or in-between, it makes no difference, as long as you do not stand still. John Lindsay, sales director, CSM (United Kingdom) said “In these challenging times, companies need to consider how their customers think, and what their challenges are and then provide solutions that not only meet all those needs but surpass their customers’ expectations. We want companies that can show how they take customer support to a new level.”

The Customer Focus Award

In-Store Bakery Retailer of the Year, sponsored Zeelandia

This award is open to large retail operators that have a minimum of 100 in-store bakeries and employ bakers. Richard Schrama, managing director, Zeelandia said “We will be looking for ISB retailers that demonstrate innovation, quality and breadth of product range.” If you are a major retailer with a full ISB offering of fresh bakery products, including speciality breads, morning goods and a choice of cakes and pastries then make sure you enter this category.

In-Store Bakery Retailer of the Year

The Product Innovation Award, sponsored by Asda

This award is open to all sizes of bakery business, from small craft producers right up to major industrial manufacturers. Whether you supply retail, wholesale or foodservice, Asda is waiting to hear from you. You will just need to show how your innovation benefits the end-consumer. “Innovation not only helps us meet the challenges of today, but keeps bakery at the forefront of the shopping basket.” John Cummings, category directory for bakery, Asda. If you have an innovation with real consumer appeal, make sure you enter today.

The Product Innovation Award

This new award is designed to recognise outstanding efforts and innovation by high street bakery retailers. It is open to all kinds of bakery outlets, coffee shops take-away and cake businesses. Judges will be looking for businesses that can demonstrate how they have revamped or improved their bakery business to drive incremental sales growth and improve their retail environment. This could be a new store layout, new branding, eye-catching displays or new additions to their product range. “The value of attracting customers with attention-grabbing presentation, service, availability and high standards is paramount to surviving and thriving on the high street.” Alastair Macphie, chief executive, Macphie.

The Retail Innovation Award

The Rising Star Award, sponsored by Whitworth Bros

To ensure the UK baking industry remains strong, innovative, forward-thinking and profitable, it is vital to maintain and improve the quality and understanding of the people working within it. “We are looking for people who are enterprising, have drive and ambition and are intent on making a successful career in bakery or confectionery. They need to stand out from the crowd and be able to demonstrate the achievements they have made during the past three years since entering college or the trade.” Roger Butler, managing director, Whitworth Bros.

The Rising Star Award

Speciality Bread Product of the Year, sponsored by British Bakels

This award recognises flair, individuality, creativity and consumer appeal. Paul Morrow, member of Bakels Group management board said “Often led by artisan and craft bakers, this award is nevertheless open to all sectors – from small bakers up to large automated manufacturers, making packaged or unwrapped bread. Entrants could be selling the breads in their own shops, to local restaurants or pubs, or supplying foodservice or supermarkets.” The judges will be looking for breads that are original, taste and look good and have been a hit with consumers. Entrants should also be able to show marketing, customer service and business skills.

Speciality Bread Product of the Year

The Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Délifrance

To enter the awards, either:

Contact: Rebecca George on 01293 610422 or


Deadline for entries is Friday 11 May