JANUARY Called in on 10 January, administrator BDO Stoy Hayward hoped to make a quick sale of independent bakery chain M Firkin. By April Firkin was rescued from administration by baker Ian Bolderston, in a deal supported by flour miller Heygates. Selling Firkin’s 54 shops secured over 300 jobs. FEBRUARY Bread prices went up as much as 13%, due to energy prices. Just five months later spiralling wheat prices pushed up the price of flour due to record summer temperatures, low world wheat stocks, a reduced harvest in America and projected increased demand from bio-fuels. MARCH The Competition Commission started a landmark review of the grocery market in response to the growing dominance of the "Big Four" superstores. Maple Leaf Bakery UK announced it was to offer a range of bake-off products and sliced bread in the UK, following its acquisition of the £20m turnover former Harvestime (2005) plant bakery in Walsall. It went on to acquire the French Croissant Company and Avance in November. APRIL Scottish bakery firm Aulds bounced back from a fire at its Inchinnan plant last year and it was highly praised by independent inspection body EFSIS, which awarded it an ’A-Rated’ accreditation certificate for its temporary facilities. Tesco announced that it would revamp its bakeries and introduce new ranges across the the UK. MAY British Bakeries celebrated its 120th birthday of the Hovis brand, marked by a relaunch of its wholemeal Hovis loaves and the revival of its boy with the bike advertisement. JUNE Northern Foods revealed its plans to divest many of its bakery businesses over the next 12 months, which accounted for 40% sales, including Park Cakes, Fletchers Bakery, its chilled pastry businesses and Smith Flour Mills. The bakery assets were sold to private equity firm Vision Capital in November. JULY A massive blaze ripped through Fletchers Bakeries, owned by Northern Food, 16 July, costing £5m in lost sales in the first half of its financial year. Warburtons achieved national distribution for the first time in its 130-year history, due to millions of pounds invested in the Enfield and Tuscany Park, Wakefield, bakeries. AUGUST Major miller Rank Hovis announced a flour price increase of £29 a tonne and ADM Milling £28.78 a tonne, due to rising costs, including energy. SEPTEMBER 900 people attended British Baker’s 19th annual Baking Industry Awards at the Grosvenor House hotel on 18 September. Baker of the Year, sponsored by Vandemoortele, went to Trevor Mooney of Arthur Chatwin. The British Baker Special Award for Services to the Industry went to Jean Grieves. On 22 September, the new-look and new-size British Baker was launched, with Slattery’s Karen Bowden making her debut - and ours! She was awarded Celebration Cake Maker of the Year. OCTOBER From 3 to 9 October, exhibitors including GB Plange, Bakels, Unifine, Baker Perkins and Cereform flocked to Europe’s biggest bakery fair, IBA. A total of 23 bakery companies from the UK travelled to Germany for the show, joining the 965 exhibitors from around the world. Bakery giant Lyndale Foods started a review of its retail businesses following management changes. The company put its Peter Hunt’s division, which manufactures pastry products, up for sale. NOVEMBER The price of flour was predicted to go up an additional £25 a tonne before Christmas, as millers prepared to announce a second round of price increases. British Baker announced the launch of the new bakeryinfo.co.uk website, with news, features and exclusives. It is dedicated to helping you improve your bakery business. DECEMBER Innovation and investment were promised by Premier Foods after it took over RHM, which comprises milling, bread and cake businesses, for £1.2bn. William Reed Exhibitions announced its launch of The Baking Industry Exhibition (BIE), at the NEC from 6-9 April 2008.