Chief Executive’s Weekly News for 11th May 2020

Dear All

Attached is the just published Government’s Covid 19 Recovery Plan .

The document describes the progress the UK has made to date in tackling the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and sets out the plans for moving to the next phase of its response to the virus.

The strategy sets out a cautious roadmap to easing existing measures in a safe and measured way, subject to successfully controlling the virus and being able to monitor and react to its spread. The roadmap will be kept constantly under review as the epidemic, and the world’s understanding of it, develops.

As the details of the plan become clearer I will update as appropriate but there does appear to be a need to wear face masks when for example on public transport.

Gordon Polson

Chief Executive – Federation of Bakers Ltd


Bank of England: Please find attached the following link to the May Monetary Policy Report; this will include PowerPoint slides and Excel sheets containing the final charts and tables, as well as the visual summary. MPR and FSR visual summary page and charts and tables file

Barclays Economic Update: GDP decreased by 3.8% in euro area and by 3.5% in European Union (EU) in q1’20

According to a preliminary flash estimate published by eurostat, seasonally adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) decreased by 3.8% in the euro area and by 3.5% in the EU in q1’20 compared to an increase in GDP by 0.1% in the euro area and by 0.2 % in the EU in q4’19.

Compared with q1’19, seasonally adjusted GDP decreased by 3.3% in the euro area and by 2.7 % in the EU in q1’20, after growth of 1.0% and 1.3% respectively in q4’19.

These were the sharpest declines observed since 1995. In mar’20, covid-19 containment measures began to be widely introduced by member states.  

Annual inflation is expected to decrease to 0.4% in apr’20

According to eurostat, Euro Area (EA) annual inflation rate is expected to decrease to 0.4% in apr’20 compared to 0.7% in mar 20. Main components of euro area inflation including food, alcohol & tobacco are expected to have the highest annual rate of 3.6% in apr’20, compared with 2.4% in mar’20. Additionally, inflation for services stood at 1.2% in apr’20 compared with 1.3% in mar’20, non-energy industrial goods at 0.3% in apr’20, compared with 0.5% in mar’20 and energy at -9.6% in apr’20, compared with -4.5% in mar’20.

Rabobank Review: Below is a link and attachment to an overview of Rabobank on fresh and frozen bakery in Covid 19 times written by JP Frossard, an analyst based in New York/Rabobank:

Reduction in Incidents Reported to FSA: Message from FSA:-

I wanted to get in touch, and to let you know that since early March, we have seen a reduction in the number of incidents being reported to the FSA; a reduction of 50% on average on a weekly basis.

This was anticipated, and is understandable in light of Local Authority planned inspections not being undertaken at the moment and we appreciate there is a reduction in business operating currently, however, we are keen to understand if there are any current or emerging risks and issues, giving rise to a potential situation whereby:

  1. Incidents are occurring but the means of incident detection is hampered such as the reduction in food safety monitoring and verification procedures
  2. Means of detection of incidents remains in place but reporting of the incidents to the competent authorities has changed priority/ is not being done
  3. food business verification procedures have changed so far that that it has led to a change to sampling procedures or frequency, in particular for allergen and microbiological incidents, that might give rise to undetected incidents which could present a safety risk to consumers.

It is noted that there has been a circa 50% reduction in reporting of allergy incidents and circa 70% reduction in microbiological incidents.

I’d be grateful if you could assist by:

  • reminding your members that where there is a food or feed incident, the burden for notifications has not altered, where unsafe food or feed may be on the market, we expect the LA’s will be notified and in turn where the incident is serious or widespread,  the Local Authorities are still required to prioritise resources to investigate incidents and notify the FSA as usual where necessary.
  • Letting us know if there are any current or emerging risks or issues, giving rise to a potential situations outlined in points a, b and c above.

The agencies incident data is open source and published routinely, whilst the months referred to have not been published as yet, we have no objection to the reduction rates and request for information to be shared with your members.

I’d be grateful if you can direct any information on known issues outlined above to the

Agriculture Bill Report & Third Reading

The Agriculture Bill is expected to be debated at Report stage and Third Reading in the Commons on 13 May.  The Bill’s progress can be followed on its website.

Business rates revaluation postponed

The Government has announced that the revaluation of business rates due to take place in 2021 will be postponed until 2022 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of Covid-19. In the meantime, the Government is continuing its review of business rates with the key aims of reducing the overall burden on businesses, improving the current business rates system and considering more fundamental changes in the medium-to-long term. A call for evidence for the review will be published later this year.

EU-UK hold first review meeting on Northern Ireland/Ireland Protocol

The EU and UK held their first Specialised Committee meeting on the implementation and application of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland on 30 April. The parties took stock of the implementation efforts on both sides and considered the decisions the Joint Committee is tasked with taking before the end of the Brexit transition period.  The EU is adamant that a new, constructive post-Brexit trading partnership can only be built on the “faithful and effective” implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. The Protocol applies with effect from 1 January 2021.

UK-USA trade talks begin

The Government has announced that the UK and USA started negotiating a UK-US Free Trade Agreement on 5 May.  This first round of negotiations will last for approximately 2 weeks and will involve around 100 negotiators on each side.  Further rounds will take place approximately every 6 weeks and will be carried out remotely until it is safe to travel.  A summary of the first round will be published once it has concluded.

WRAP Courtauld Report: Citizens learning to love food and hate waste during lockdown

  • UK citizens are managing their food better in lockdown, including more pre-shop planning, better in-home food management and using creative approaches to cooking.
  • These new behaviours are leading to a reported 34% reduction in waste of potatoes, bread, chicken, and milk.
  • WRAP calls on businesses, local authorities and others to help citizens make this the ‘new normal’.


UK citizens have risen to the challenge of lockdown by making the food they buy last longer and go further, according to the latest survey into food habits, behaviours and attitudes from WRAP.

With supermarkets operating strict social distancing rules, restaurants closed and many of us at home all day, our food shopping habits have shifted significantly; we are shopping less frequently and buying more items. But, the survey reveals, householders have become more resourceful in managing their food, from using up their cupboard stocks, meal planning and list-making to freezing more and batch-cooking.

These ‘food smart’ behaviours should lead to less food ending up as waste. Of four of the key food items people waste most – potatoes, bread, milk and chicken, this latest survey shows that respondents are reporting a 34% drop in how much they throw away. This reported reduction is especially welcome since people are also buying more of these items than before. 24% reported that they have bought more milk in lockdown; 23% said the same for bread.

An opportunity for progress

With the pandemic crisis having a profound impact on citizens’ daily lives, WRAP used its bi-annual citizen survey to learn more about how lockdown was affecting behaviours. The survey, ‘Citizen responses to the Covid-19 lockdown – food purchasing, management and waste’, compares current citizen behaviour

with that reported in previous surveys, and whether this presents an opportunity for the future.

The encouraging results confirmed that this ‘new normal’ in the way we manage our food presents an opportunity for the nation to cement these behaviours in the future and re-evaluate our relationship with food. With wasted food costing us billions every year and associated with millions of tonnes of GHG emissions, this is good news for our economies and the environment.