The Scottish Association of Master Bakers (SAMB) took the momentous decision to change the whole set-up of its board at its conference last weekend.

Delegates to the event, held at the Peebles Hydro Hotel from 24 to 27 May, first listened to a presentation by Lewis Maclean, MD of Maclean’s of Forres, which has three shops and a wholesale business. Maclean said proposed changes were based on a perception that the current structure - of office bearers, standing com- mittee convenors, regional representatives and co-opted members - needed overhauling.

Maclean said: "This structure makes the board a passive reci-pient of a series of reports about the work of others. Much of the decision-taking process within the SAMB bypasses the board."

Earlier in the year, the SAMB had asked members of the (under) 40 Group to develop ideas for the strategic development of the board. It had also listened to opinion from current and honorary members. Past SAMB president, Ian Terris, of William Stephens Bakery in Fife, said: "There’s a thorny branch to be grasped here and someone needs to do it."

With a resolution passed to change the structure of the board, members will now be ’empowered to make things happen’ said Maclean. New committee structures will now be put under the direct control of the board, with all members able to apply to serve on the board, removing the practice of reserved board seats for heads of committees.

Also at the conference, George Stevenson, MD of Mathieson’s of Falkirk, took over from Joe Macdonald as president.

l For a full report, see pg 38


=== In Short ===

Doughnut pack

Linpac has added a four-doughnnut box to its range. Made of APET, the packaging contains no ribs or tilts in order to give consumers the best view of the products. It is also compact in design to save on shelf space.

Sammies winners

The winners of the British Sandwich Industry Awards, the Sammies, were announced at a ceremony at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel on 15 May. Among the winners was Fred de Luca, the American founder of the Subway chain, who was honoured with The British Sandwich Industry Award for the success of his international chain, opening 1,198 UK shops over the last few years.

Free-from accolades

The first Free-from Awards were presented by Antony Worrall Thompson on 21 May. Organised by Food Matters, the awards took place at Thompson’s Notting Grill restaurant in West London. Among the winners was Roley’s bakery, which won the FAIR trophy for the Best Free-from Food 2008 for its Teff Flour Mix. The awards covered the main free-from sectors including wheat, dairy and egg.

Welsh success

Finsbury Food Group has won ’Welsh Business of the Year’ at the Western Mail Business Awards on 23 May. The title recognises the company’s contribution to Welsh industry and celebrates its success as a leading local bakery business.

US bread prices up

US food prices will rise by 5% this year, propelled by sharply higher prices for bread, cookies and other bakery goods, according to the US Department of Agriculture. The USDA said prices of cereals and bakery products would rise 8%, up 2% from its initial forecast.