== baker of the year Sponsored by Vandemoortele ==

Judges are seeking a baker who can show a dedication and passion for quality finished products and the willingness to meet the challenges of the current business climate. Entries can be from small or large firms and do not have to be customers of Vandemoortele. "This award is mainly about the person," says UK commercial manager of Vandemoortele’s Lipids Division, Stephen Bickmore. "We are looking for someone who still uses their baking skills, as well as influencing the running of the business." Above all, they must show they are making consistently high-quality products.

== celebration cake maker of the year Sponsored by renshawnapier ==

From small cake-making specialists right up to celebration cake manufacturers, this award aims to search out those highly skilled individuals that make celebration cakes such an exciting sector. Judges will be seeking entrants who can excel in their craft and demonstrate creativity and individuality. Key points include good use of colour and modern, simple designs. "I am delighted to be able to offer cake-makers the opportunity to demonstrate their immense talent," says Stephen Heslop, CEO of renshawnapier’s parent firm, the Real Good Food Company.

== The craft business Award Sponsored by Rank Hovis ==

Product excellence, enterprise and ideas are the focus of this award. Judges will look for craft bakeries that are moving with the times to meet new challenges. The award is open to all types of craft bakeries and key to success is proving you have a good grasp of customer trends and have used this to boost your business, as well as producing great quality products. "Entrants must be passionate, knowledgeable and have an unerring attention to detail," says Rank Hovis head of sales and marketing Lawrence Watson. As with all categories, entrants do not have to be customers of the sponsor.

== The Customer Focus Award Sponsored by BakeMark ==

"Simply meeting customers’ expectations is not enough, we need to surpass them," says John Lindsay, country manager and business unit director at BakeMark UK.

Open to craft, in-store bakeries and industrial manufacturers, the award recognises those firms that can show how they take customer service and support to a new level, understanding their customers’ needs and going the extra mile to satisfy them. Swift solutions to customers’ problems or adapting to issues that might arise are important requirements and entries need to be backed up by examples.

== The achievement in bakery training award Sponsored by Rich Products ==

Individuals or companies that have either initiated or been involved in successful training programmes are invited to enter this award. "This award aims to highlight industry best practice in training," says Rich Products MD George Thomopoulos. "If you are a firm that has set up individual training programmes, supported school and college curriculums to develop the skills of future bakers or have been involved personally in training, we want to hear from you." Any individual or size of firm making any type of baked product is eligible to enter.

== bakery supplier of the year Sponsored by Sainsbury’s ==

This award is open to all kinds of bakery supplier. Judges will be looking at how firms have identified a gap in the market, achieved quality standards of distribution and built strong relationships with customers. "We are looking for suppliers, from small artisan up to industrial, to demonstrate an excellent supplier-customer partnership that has delivered a step-change in the customer offer," says Nick Townend, bakery category manager for Sainsbury’s. Entrants should be able to show investment in the customer offering through innovation, quality and/or value, which has fuelled growth.

== trainee baker of the year Sponsored jointly by Improve and the National Skills Academy ==

Open to bakers training at college or with a company, as well as apprentice bakers, this new award aims to recognise trainee bakers who will go on to be the backbone of the industry. Entrants can be training in craft or industrial skills with a company or college, but must be able to demonstrate their commitment and passion for a career in the baking industry. "Skilled bakers are critical to the future of the industry and those who can demonstrate that additional passion and dedication should be recognised," says Improve CEO Jack Matthews.

== bakery food manufacturer of the year ==

Sponsored by ADM Milling

This award is open to all bakery and bakery food manufacturing businesses. Whatever the product, all entrants must strive to produce exceptional baked goods. Judges will assess entries on product quality, operational standards, marketing initiatives and measurable success in their marketplace. "Entrants need to display exceptional achievements in the past year on issues such as response to changing market conditions, trends and new product development," says ADM marketing manager Melanie Somerville.

== The innovation Award Sponsored by ASDA ==

Recognition of companies that are driving the baking industry forwards is what this award is all about. Not restricted to any particular product type and open to all kinds of bakery businesses, entrants need to demonstrate how their innovation - be it in product development, merchandising, reducing wastage or improvements to manufacturing processes - have benefited the end-consumer. "The key to this award is showing how the needs of shoppers have inspired your business practice," says Asda general manager of bakery and cafés Nigel Murray.

== ???? stop press ???? ==

l Another category is joining the awards line-up. For full details of The In-Store Bakery Award, please turn to page 30. If your store employs an in-store bakery team involved in making bread, cakes and other bakery products, we want to hear from you.

l Deadline extension We want the highest possible number of entries in this year’s Baking Industry Awards. As such, we have decided to extend the deadline for entries:

New deadline for entries: Friday 15 May