There are just two weeks to the 16 May deadline for getting your entries in for the Baking Industry Awards 2008. With 11 categories celebrating all that’s great about our industry, the climax will be a gala dinner at the Grosvenor House hotel in London on 15 September when the winners will be announced.

Now in their 21st year, the awards are the benchmark for quality and innovation in the UK baking industry, which makes it one of the most exciting to work in anywhere in the world. Among those attending the awards dinner will be representatives from major plant bakeries, craft bakers, millers, the major supermarkets, trade bodies in the bakery industry and suppliers.

Each of the 11 categories has a sponsor and the sponsoring company organises a panel of judges, who will select the winners. Each panel contains representatives from the sponsoring company, plus an independent expert judge selected in agreement with British Baker.

For an entry form or advice on completing it, call Stephanie Smallwood at William Reed Events on 01293 610433.

== Award sponsors’ comments ==

Baker of the Year

Sponsored by:

"As a firm of bakers ourselves, we want to see the expertise of craft bakers maintained and developed. We have changed the emphasis this year to look more at the individual baker, examining how they are tackling green issues and how they plan to pass on their skills. We are particularly looking at innovation, motivation - what makes them tick."

Stephen Bickmore, commercial manager of Vandemoortele UK

== The Achievement in Bakery Training Award ==

Sponsored by:

"We chose to sponsor this award as we feel it bridges the gap between business needs and personal development. In order to sustain profitable business growth both in individual companies and across the industry, we need to continually invest and improve our most valuable asset, our people. Those businesses that will survive now and in the future will be those that provide a platform for individuals to strive for personal and business excellence. We were overwhelmed by the quality of entries last year."

George Thomopoulos, managing director, Rich Products

== Bakery Food Manufacturer of the Year ==

Sponsored by:

"I believe the awards spur people on towards excellence and that must be good for our industry and something ADM should be associated with. We want to see businesses which recognise consumer trends and react to them and market opportunities by thinking through their business and product propositions for the longer term - a good idea, a quality product, concerns for food safety and so on."

Tim Cook, sales and marketing director, ADM

== Bakery Supplier of the Year ==

Sponsored by:

"This year, we are looking for suppliers to present an example of an excellent supplier-retailer partnership that has delivered a step-change in the customer offer. Seeking out the best in the industry will create a strong platform from which to face the challenges ahead.

"Companies that strive to achieve operational excellence, underpinned by a passion for quality and product safety should enter this award, as should those who have raised standards of corporate social responsibility."

Nick Townend, category manager for bakery, Sainsbury’s

== Celebration Cake Maker of the Year ==

Sponsored by:

"This is my first year of being involved with the Baking Industry Awards and I feel this is an excellent opportunity for all our customers to showcase their individual talent. It’s a chance for employers to celebrate the achievements of their staff and the rewards for the winner are substantial, as those who have succeeded in the past will testify."

Tony Sharpe, managing director, Renshaw

== The Craft Business Award ==

Sponsored by:

"We’re looking for the craft bakery which shows the most passion and we want to find out what they are doing to diversify and market their bread products in a very competitive market. As a prominent UK miller we think it is vital that we show support for the craft bakers - those who get up at 3am each day."

Sara Reid, marketing manager, RHM

== The Customer Focus Award ==

Sponsored by:

"BakeMark UK is proud to sponsor the Customer Focus Award 2008. At BakeMark we aim to continually keep ahead of the challenges facing today’s bakers, so we want to highlight the bakeries which adapt and improve to stay ahead of changing consumer demands with this award.

"We look forward to yet another outstanding year of truly exceptional bakers, who have consistently demonstrated dazzling, superior craft and customer service to become benchmarks in their profession."

John Lindsay, country manager, BakeMark UK

== In-Store Bakery of the Year ==

Sponsored by:

"As an integral part of the supermarket offering, ISB means consumers can indulge, experiment and enjoy the freshest of craft bakery products in-store. It is our pleasure to again sponsor the In-Store Bakery of the Year category. Entrants are contributing further to raising the profile of their expertise, their craft and their value in retail. Through the Baking Industry Awards, we can strengthen the reputation of ISB and inspire appreciation of this ’jewel in the supermarkets’ crown’."

Ian Dobbie, MD, Délifrance

== The Organic Award ==

Sponsored by:

"We want to promote organic food in bakery and we are looking for the most innovative approaches to achieving this, while making products more affordable to customers. The range has improved over the last few years but we want to see this taken to a new level."

Huw Edwards, bakery director, Asda

== Plant Product of the Year ==

Sponsored by:

"The need for innovation is crucial particularly in times of raw material inflation. The focus of this award is for manufacturers to be able to demonstrate their innovation within their manufacturing environment.

"As ever, innovation must meet customer need and this should be demonstrated through sales figures presented in the entry."

Dan Oakley, MD, Puratos UK

== The Quality Product Award ==

Sponsored by:

"Quality is a key driver of the emotional connection that customers have with the baking category, so we will judge quality across a broad umbrella of products, covering many areas. Judges will assess entrants by what the finished products looks and tastes like. And they will want to see how your product differentiates itself from other comparable products in the market and in your shop and how you achieved the end result in terms of ingredients, manufacturing process, flavours and aroma."

Neil Franklin, category manager, Tesco

== Paul Barker, ==

owner of Cinnamon Square, who won The Skills Achievement Award in 2007, sponsored by Rich’s, and the Asda-sponsored Marketing Award

"Winning the award was really great because we had only been going two years and it gave us recognition for all the effort we had put into the business. It was especially good for our baking courses, because it gave them extra credibility. When people participating in our courses see that we have won a skills award, it reinforces that they are good. It’s definitely helped with the numbers attending our courses. The Marketing Award, which we also won, was also recognition for the fact that we had taken a risk by putting so much on our Cinnamon Square signature brand. It is helping us to move to the next level, when we will be looking to go through wholesalers.’

== Chris Spoors, ==

winner, In-Store Bakery of the Year, sponsored by Délifrance

"Our team is still riding the wave of winning the In-store Bakery category at the 2007 Baking Industry Awards. Consumers expect a high-quality in-store bakery and as the only genuine craft within retail, winning the award celebrates our expertise and keeps the focus on ISB.’

Since accepting the ISB category accolade for his team at the 2007 Baking Industry Awards, Asda’s Boldon Colliery former bakery manager Chris Spoors, has been promoted to the position of fresh food team leader. His success and that of his team is a true testament to how the Baking Industry Awards transform people, departments and perceptions of ISB, one of the fastest-growing areas within food retail.