== Mike Holling ==

Chairman, National Association of Master Bakers

Apart from the challenging economic climate that all sectors of the baking industry are experiencing at present, two weeks ago we were forced to deal with the worst weather conditions seen in the country for 18 years, resulting in further disruption to the industry, leading to lost revenue and a situation that nobody needs, given the pressure we are all under at present.

I was asked if my company (Birds of Derby) had a snow policy to deal with such incidents, I have to admit the answer was no - you can already see the Health & Safety brigade consultants having a field day with this one. I have always been of the view that common sense prevails in such circumstances or is that too simple? In these hard trading times, it is essential to market yourself as never before. The craft baker needs to make every effort to highlight its freshly made and quality credentials.

With this in mind, the National Association is working together with other key partners in the industry to launch National Craft Bakers’ Week.

The primary objectives are to raise the profile of bakers to their consumers, to educate bakers on the benefits of self-promotion, to show that the baking industry can offer solid career opportunities and to show that bakers are innovative, keen to offer choice, responsive to the local and national consumer trends and an integral element within the high street community.

A great deal of hard work has already gone into this project by all the key partners to get the idea up and running and it will be a great opportunity to promote the industry. The aim is to run the week during June, so look out for further updates very soon.