This week we kick off the year with Britain’s Top 50 bakery retailers (pg 4, 16-18,) covering those who sell, but do not necessarily make, baked goods. Last year, a number of craft bakers told me that coffee and sandwich shops were not bakers as they make nothing, and I agree.

But our list is about retailers. And it is essential that everyone, whether craft baker, coffee shop or snacks retailer, knows how the competition is developing or shrinking. Only by reading about the success of coffee shops or noting the trend for Pret A Manger’s imaginative sandwiches can you compete with a point of difference.

That point of difference could be ’freshly-made’, it might be quality ingredients, price, service or extended opening hours - you must be the judge of what is right for you. But it is so important to keep pace with change and to charge a realistic price for your products.

Certainly, Greggs, which took a brief knockback on growth in early 2006 has bounced back (pg 12). Sir Mike Darrington loves a challenge and has responded with gusto, trialling new formats, products and opening hours. He pays tribute to ’Greggs’ people’. But motivational leadership plays a big part! So congratulations to Greggs for staying at number one in our Top 50 list, but credit to Subway, which is showing rapid growth with a successful format.

And it is great to see traditional craft bakers adapting to the current climate with Coopland’s, JG Ross, plus Simmons and Coughlans creeping up.

The growth of sandwich and coffee bars is providing great business for bakery food manufacturers such as Evron Foods and Greencore to name just two. British Baker goes to all the big bakery manufacturers who supply coffee shops and snack bars, and whose success means they buy more ingredients and more equipment. But at the end of every link in every bakery chain is a buyer and this week we talk to Sainsbury’s in-store bakery buyer, Sarah Mackenzie, who tells us about the store’s strategy and main requirements.

Finally this week, congratulations to Paul Morrow of British Bakels for securing a new global role where he will no doubt be spotting trends and bringing them straight back to Britain and to Anne Bruce, our deputy editor, who goes on maternity leave this week!