This week’s extreme weather and severe flooding has caused chaos for bakers, millers and distributors around England and Wales.
Production at Maple Leaf UK’s Rotherham bakery ground to a halt on Tuesday, as the electricity went down on its industrial estate.
Guy Hall, deputy managing director, told British Baker the building was not structurally affected but that the car park and surrounding roads were under three feet of water. "We have no idea when we will be able to start production again," he said. "It depends how fast the water recedes and when we can get deliveries in and out."
A Rank Hovis mill in Rotherham was also temporarily closed down. Jon Tanner, sales and marketing director of RHM, said the basement of the mill was flooded on Monday and the premises were evacuated. He added that there was no material damage.
The Sheffield area and its neighbouring towns were cut off from the rest of the country.
Mike Holling, of Birds of Derby, said: "I’ve never seen so much rain fall in my life. It’s utter chaos. One of our bakery shops in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, was closed down on Monday because we couldn’t even get to it."
Gill Brooks-Lonican, chief executive of the National Association of Master Bakers, said even in places where the weather was less severe, it was still having a big impact on trade, especially in resorts such as Blackpool and Cornwall. "Often people like to buy pies and sandwiches and sit on the beach. At the moment no one wants to leave home," she said.
The British Chamber of Commerce said the torrential rain could cost the economy up to £400m a day, with staff unable to get to work or arriving late because of transport problems.