Finsbury Foods (FF) has seen sales increase by 53.9% to £169m during the year to 30 June 2008.

FF’s preliminary results for the year show the company has achieved strong growth in each of its subsidiaries, with like- for-like sales up 13%. Adjusted pre-tax profit stood at £7.7m compared to £4.6m last year.

Dave Brooks, who stepped down as chief executive on 29 September, said it had been "a year of achievement" for FF, despite inflationary pressures, with highlights including the acquisition of Yorkshire Farm Bakeries and A&P Foods to form Livwell Ltd, and the transfer of the California Cakes operation to the Hamilton site of the Lightbody Group in July 2007. It was also a year that saw United Central Bakeries return to full operation, following a fire in October 2006.

"The future looks challenging, with many macro-economic conditions, such as world commodity prices, exchange rate movements (particularly the euro), and the economic downturn, generally affecting business," said Brooks. "Challenging periods also provide opportunities for businesses, particularly those nimble enough to react to changes in consumer trends."

Brooks said that, from the beginning of July this year, the company was split into three distinct divisions - cake, bread and free-from - each having its own management team.

Newly-appointed chief executive Martin Lightbody agreed with Brooks that, "Challenges such as the current economic climate bring opportunities."

Chairman David Marshall added that the first 10 weeks of the current financial year have seen the upward sales trend continuing.


=== In Short ===

== Balchem opens innovation centre ==

New York-based ingredients company Balchem Corporation has expanded its applications laboratory with the addition of a bakery innovation centre. The company said it hoped that the centre in New Hampton would significantly increase its ingredient delivery technology opportunities.

== PGI reassures on milk contamination ==

Members of the Philippine Baking Industry group have assured anxious consumers that its bakery products don’t contain milk ingredients from China. A number of infants have died and tens of thousands have been hospitalised in China, after drinking milk that contained the toxic chemical melamine.

== Giant steps in to recall food items ==

US-based Giant Food - which is owned by Amsterdam-based Royal Ahold NV - is voluntarily recalling a number of Giant bakery products, as they could contain nut allergens that have not been declared on the label. The items, including Giant Rainbow Cake and Giant Mundel Bread, were manufactured by Grandma Taylor and sold in Giant’s Bakeshop. To date, no consumers have reported any ill-effects from the products.

== Bimbo fined over diesel emissions ==

US company Bimbo Bakeries has been fined over $300,000 (£168,600) for failing to test its diesel trucks for excess emissions at 58 of its fleet facilities. The bakery, based in Texas, must send employees to a mandatory class on diesel emissions testing. The company, producing more than 100 branded products, has an exclusive licence to distribute Entenmann’s products in the western regions of the USA.