Atkins Nutritionals filed for protection from bankruptcy in the US, reporting debts of nearly £170m. The news was welcomed by bakers as marking the end of the low-
carbohydrate Atkins diet craze.
Northern supermarket chain Booths started a review of its speciality breads on offer at its 26 stores, which was set to last 12 months. The company also extended its speciality range to include more unusual products and a new range of sourdough breads. The in-store bakeries carry a range from Bolton-based craft baker Greenhalgh’s.
ADM Milling announced plans to raise flour prices £9.38 a tonne from September 12, blaming rising energy costs. Plant bakers Allied Bakeries, Warburtons and British Bakeries also put up prices earlier in the summer, blaming inflationary pressures.
Fine Lady Bakeries was fined £150,000 plus costs after the death of an employee at its Banbury bakery in 2002. The employee fell from a 22-inch platform while trying to free a jammed bread cooling machine. He sustained severe head injuries and later died.
The Office of Fair Trading caused controversy when it said it had no plans to revamp the Supermarkets Code of Practice, saying there was no evidence it was not working well.
A new National Food Survey showed an ongoing decline of volumes of bread purchased since 1974, but wholemeal loaves are becoming increasingly popular. The report, from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said the average UK consumer bought 720g of bread a week in 2003-4, spending £3.70 a week on bread and cereal products. Around £1 of that was on cakes, pastries and biscuits.
Cake manufacturer Kate’s Cakes said it planned to nearly double turnover to £32 million with a recently launched branded range and extended national supply network.
Bakery chain Sayers began piloting a new format at a new flagship store in Liverpool city centre. The new store’s layout was focused on getting customers in and out as quickly as possible, with more space given to self-serve ranges, it said. The store was Sayers’ 116th.
Tesco said it was to roll out standard-sized bread baskets to all 1,000 stores following pilots. The roll out would be done in clusters with all stores, including Tesco Express, due to use them by the end of 2006.
The Federation of Bakers appointed Gordon Polson as its director, effective from September. Mr Polson’s recruitment followed a long hunt for a successor to John White.
Northern Irish miller Neill’s invested £500,000 in de-branning technology to produce purer whiter flour. The 100-year old Belfast baker said the investment would strengthen its position as one of Northern Ireland’s leading mills.