Kirk Hunter

chief executive, SAMB

The SAMB’s Annual Conference (16-17 May) filled me with renewed optimism. The presentations by Sir Michael Darrington, former MD of Greggs, on the firm’s recipe for success and the speakers on branding for small businesses pointed the way forward for the small/medium-sized family firms that make up the bulk of our members. I was left reassured that craft bakery is in a strong position for a viable future.

In Scotland we wait with keen interest to hear from the Scottish Government on the future direction of the National Food and Drink Policy. An announcement is expected at the Royal Highland Show in June. With a huge lobbying industry surrounding food and drink, many groups have been pressing the government to place health and social justice issues at the heart of food policy.

However, the SAMB and the rest of industry have been encouraging the government to make the development of an economically sustainable food and drink industry the heart of their policy. We want to see the government bring forward proposals to help bakers develop new domestic and export markets, raise the skills base of their workforce to higher levels and be able to innovate with new products. Government must not saddle us with further compliance costs and bureaucracy. A profitable baking industry will be well-placed to address the government’s other objectives in health and nutrition. A weak industry will not.

National Craft Bakers’ Week will give us a platform to hammer home to our political masters, the vital importance of craft bakery to the Scottish economy.