Warburtons announced a £2.5m TV ad campaign highlighting the “family values of the Warburtons brand”, and plans to catch up on expansion in 2005. MD Brett Warburton told British Baker growth had been restrained in 2004 after the arson attack at Warburtons’ Wednesbury plant in January 2004. Warburtons later bought and started refurbishing the former New Rathbones’ Stockton bakery, to extend its capacity in the north of the country.

The United Biscuits plant in Carlisle was flooded under five feet of water as Carlisle was cut off by floods in winter storms. UB had spent £7.2m upgrading the site in 2004.

The European Union ruled that Saskatoon berries could be imported into all EU countries including Britain. Saskatoons, the first new fruit to the EU for 60 years, are popular in baked goods in north America. The UK Food Standards Agency had previously classified them as a “novel food” and would not allow them into the UK.

Allied Bakeries relaunched its Kingsmill Gold range, with new recipes, packaging and advertising, in a bid to increase its share of the premium bread market, from 17% by value. It also relaunched its Burgen Soya & Linseed loaves, marked as low glycaemic index (GI).

With GI set to become a big trend for 2005, ingredients supplier Bakels announced the launch of what it claimed to be the UK’s first low-GI bread mix. Its Multiseed mix was targeted at the craft baking sector.

Brown bread debuted in Asda’s top-10 best-sellers list on sales volumes over the 2004 calendar year. A 400g own-label wheatgerm loaf was at number eight, up from number 15 in 2003. Hovis Best of Both was at number nine, up from number 11 in 2003. Warburtons Sliced White Toastie 800g was number one, up from number two in 2003.

Manor Bakeries announced an £8m relaunch of its Mr Kipling cakes range, with new packaging and six new whole cakes. Some £5m was spent on a TV campaign to highlight

the changes.