There is a lot happening in this week’s issue, bread weights deregulation, which looked to be on hold, has suddenly been the victim of a coup d’état. So sometime next year, we should see a virtual free-for-all, specifically on wrapped bread and possibly unwrapped (pg 4).

It is news that will delight most of the supermarkets and some plant bakers - but definitely not others. Most have refrained from speaking publicly on the issue, but privately they know that it will cause some havoc and plenty of discussion.

While millers will be concerned that a range of smaller loaves might mean less flour sold, bakers and retailers will be concerned that more air and water may make loaves look larger than they should, meaning prices will not reflect true content - and so it goes on.

It was a topic discussed at the recent Federation of Bakers conference - before news of the deregulation came through (pg 16). But nothing is likely to happen before 2008, so there’s still time for reflection.

Also this week, Patak’s seems a perfect fit for ABF (pg 5). And at the Scottish Conference at Peebles, I learned that the next increase in the minimum wage in October has been limited to 3.2%, with quite a bit of credit for the limit going to Low Pay Commission representative and past president of the SAMB Ian Hay.

The SAMB also reported that it had seen a rise in employment queries about age discrimination, so I hope that our article this week, Age Aware (pg 14) proves timely.

Meanwhile, the UK’s branded coffee shop market is continuing to expand significantly (pg 8) with Starbucks leading the growth. It is all about branding and ambience, but bakers can do just as well with the right offering in the right place. On page 21, we look at how even opening a small in-store coffee shop can really boost your business. And the bakery offering in many coffee shops is nowhere as good as in a baker’s shop, although the cakes and biscuits are usually imaginative.

No, it’s mainly the coffee and ambience that is the draw. So if you go ahead, give the coffee equal importance and give your shopfitter a brief to visit all the coffee shop chains. Bakers can do it better!