Some of the phone calls I take in this job can be heart-rending. People I have known for some time suddenly lose their jobs. Not only are they worried about finding another job, but also about being able to stay in an industry that they love - and have often served very well.
Then there are the phone calls from creditors when a business they supply collapses. The loss to creditors can be great and to a small- or medium-sized supplier, crippling. Those who are unable to get their ’due’ payment, and I want to emphasise that word because it is money owed to them, are justifiably very angry.
On occasions, I feel sympathy too with the company that has gone into administration or liquidation. But I have to admit that after reading the story on page 4 this week, with its tangled web of directorships and affiliations, plus all the industry comments received which we cannot print, I can share some of the creditors’ anger.
And while on the subject of ’angry’, I don’t know about you, but I feel livid when I hear that in Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe’s government has increased the price of bread from 22,000 Zimbabwean dollars to 30,000 to ’ease shortages’, in other words to make it harder to buy. What on earth are our politicians doing keeping silent? There is a strong element of political correctness here. We should not be seen to criticise a black African leader or how he runs his country.
Actually, I think he should be loudly condemned from the rafters. There should be crisis meetings at the United Nations and Unicef. Little children cannot get enough bread to eat in the former bread basket of Africa. It’s disgraceful!
On a very different topic, this week we report on how a range of Tesco breads has gone clean label (pg 6). Will we see the rest of the industry follow suit? And we look at how a coffee shop and sandwich outlet, O’Briens, updated its image with a refit (pg 18). These outlets increasingly rival craft bakers and are the customers of bakery suppliers - it is essential we cover them.
And if you want to read about an inspiring businessman look no further than Joe McDonald (pg 16). Baker, Scottish president, marathon runner, charity fundraiser and activist. What a man!