January

Making it to the top

Most traditional craft bakers report that their role on the high street has radically altered over the last few years.

International activity

A record number of 33 British bakery, food and drinks companies is set to exhibit at a trade show in Dubai, which aims to take advantage of the 80,000 British people who are now living in the Gulf region, according to research conducted by Food from Britain (FFB).

Premium additions

Bakery company Finsbury Food Group says it is finalising new premium cakes ranges for Morrisons, the Co-operative Group and Asda, following premium relaunches with Somerfield, Sainsbury's and Tesco last year.

Carrs predicts a tough year

Carrs Milling Industries said in an AGM statement this week that a massive increase in wheat prices, combined with high energy costs, will make it a tough year for its food division.

viewpoint

W e kick off our first issue of the year with a look at Britain's Top 50 Retailers by number of outlets (pg 14). I could have guessed the Top 10 and wobbled towards the Top 20, but there would have been more than a few hazy moments predicting the Top 50. One or two are struggling, but many are a real credit to the craft industry and we include comments from several key players.

Lyndale abandons its Vite concept

Lyndale Foods has dropped its Maison Blanc Vite format, closing two trial stores in London.

Arthur Rayner, head of skills training, SAMB

The Scottish Association of Master Bakers' (SAMB) training department feels very encouraged and positive about the future of bakery training in Scotland, especially for 2007. Although the current round of European Social Fund (ESF) programmes is almost at an end and the future of this funding is very uncertain, Scottish bakers can really benefit from the 2007 projects that have been approved. Through the Scottish Bakery Training Council (SBTC), which develops and manages the ESF projects, the SAMB can continue to offer training opportunities for employed adults across all of Scotland during 2007. The SBTC has secured European funding to support training projects with a total value of almost £575,000 to help train bakery staff at all levels. As well as training leading to Scottish Vocational Qualifications at Levels 1, 2 and 3, the money also helps to pay for management and technical training.

Irwin's strikes Guinness deal

"Irwin's bakery of Ireland, in partnership with the beer brand Guinness, has created a new Guiness bread, following two years of pro-duct research and development.

Quick sale sought for Ferrari's bakery

Administrators say they are hopeful of a quick sale after Welsh bakery Ferrari's went into administration on December 18.

Briefs

n Northern Foods' shareholders voted in favour of the disposal of the firm's speciality bread, chilled pastry, cakes and flour milling businesses to Vision Capital at an Extraordinary General Meeting this week.

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