January

Challenge of the fittest in tough times

Last year was a tough year for high street retailers, with the shock demise of iconic high street brand Woolworths perhaps best capturing the turmoil facing traders. Bakery retailers were just recovering from runaway commodity, ingredients and utilities prices at the start of the year, when the economy went berserk as the newly-coined "credit crunch" started to play out in the UK. Property prices plunged, consumer spending predictions were thrown into the unknown and availability of institutional funding dried up.

Season retains sparkle

Astraw poll of bakeries up and down the country has revealed that the meltdown on the high street witnessed by non-food retailers has not yet infected bakery retailers. While many felt twitchy throughout December, the last few days before Christmas came good, with sales often matching - or even exceeding - those of 2007.

Comment

"Salt will continue to be a major industry issue in 2009. The Federation of Bakers is very concerned that the new Food Standards Agency (FSA) targets likely to be set for 2012 will be technically impossible for the industry to achieve. The Federation is committed to an ongoing constructive dialogue with the FSA and is voicing its concerns. We hope the FSA will develop some practical proposals moving forwards.

Seed pricing

== Pine nuts: ==

Reporting in New Year, new opportunity

After a difficult second half of 2008, I know I'm not the only one hoping for a better year ahead. Unfortunately, it looks like the economy will be getting worse before it gets better. That means more tough times ahead for FPB members.

Maple Leaf price-fixing inquiry continues

Canada Bread Company, the parent company of the UK's biggest bagel supplier Maple Leaf, is continuing its investigation into allegations that an employee at its UK bakery operations, Maple Leaf Bakery, may have sought to influence the pricing of a competitor, Mr Bagel.

Food execs sidelining green issues

Environmental and corporate social responsibilty (CSR) issues have plummeted down the agenda as the UK's leading food executives turn their sights on dealing with the economic downturn.

Exchange rate hits ingredients prices

Bakers are facing a sharp increase in the price of ingredients and equipment imported from the Continent, as the slump in the value of the pound bites.

CSM slashes workforce at two of its plants

Bakery product supplier, CSM has announced an overall reduction in its workforce, with a total of 125 full-time employee redundancies.

Research reveals missed opportunity for bakers

Latest figures for bread, cakes, cookies and morning goods sold through high street bakeries paint a mixed picture of people visiting bakery shops more frequently and buying more products, but spending less.

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