Director’s Weekly News – 30th April 2018

Dear All,

Thank you to everyone who has booked tickets for this year’s FOB conference on 23rd May and to our generous sponsors AB Mauri, Baker Perkins, Bühler, Lesaffre, Kwik Lok and Zeelandia.

With only a few weeks’ to go until the event we still have tickets to sell.

If you have not booked your ticket yet, if you are able to book any additional tickets or have any colleagues that may be interested please let me know as we have an excellent programme lined up with a great line up of speakers.  A draft programme is attached.

This year’s event will address and debate a range of important issues for the UK bakery sector including:

  • Bakery and the Health Agenda – including PHE’s work on salt, sugar and calorie reduction; wholegrain and fortification of bakery products
  • Market and Economic Update – including a look at the challenges and opportunities of Brexit for the food manufacturing industry
  • Food Safety and Sustainability in the Bakery Sector – including acrylamide mitigation, dust sensitisation, food waste and single use plastics

Speakers include:

  • Dr. Alison Tedstone – PHE
  • Professor Paul Sharp – Kings College London
  • Dr. Jan-Willem Van der Kamp – Healthgrain Forum
  • Ian Wright – FDF
  • Matthew Verity – Kantar Worldpanel UK
  • Moira Howie – Waitrose
  • Dr. Clive Black – Shore Capital Markets
  • Peter Worsey – WRAP
  • Mervin Poole – Heygates Mills
  • Giles Hyder – HSE

Ticket cost is £150 + VAT which includes all conference materials, refreshments, lunch and a post-conference drinks reception offering plenty of opportunity to network  with industry colleagues and listen to some topical and thought provoking presentations.

It is also an ideal opportunity to bring along suppliers or customers or to invite your local constituency MP to come along and hear us address and debate some key industry issues.  We are offering a 20% discount on ticket price for any guests you wish to add to your booking (£120 + VAT).

The event is being held at One Great George Street in Westminster and registration is from 09:00.

I look forward to hearing from you and we hope to see many of you there.


Have a good week.

Gordon Polson – Director

Federation of Bakers



Economic News

CBI Economic Update: Conditions remain tough for UK consumers. While recent data has shown a marginal improvement in real wage growth, conditions remain tough for consumers. Furthermore, despite falling inflation, the Bank of England’s MPC is likely to raise interest rates again at their May meeting, driven by pessimism on the economy’s supply potential and its impact on domestic inflationary pressures. The latest labour market statistics  showed some chinks of light for real pay growth. Real wage growth (excl. bonuses and adjusting for CPI inflation) grew by 0.2% on a year ago marking the first time they have risen since December 2016. However, real pay growth remains well below its pre-crisis average (2.3%).The mild improvement in real pay growth in part reflected falling inflation. CPI inflation fell again in March, to 2.5% – its lowest in a year. The decline was larger than expected, with both the CBI and consensus predicting CPI to remain steady at 2.7%, while the MPC had forecasted it to reach 2.8%, in its February Inflation Report.

However, the larger-than-expected slowdown in inflation is unlikely to deter the MPC from raising interest rates again (likely at its May meeting). This is because the Committee expects the economy to grow above its potential (i.e. the rate at which the economy can grow without stoking inflation) over their forecast period, which will fuel inflationary pressures. In particular, the MPC is likely to be swayed by ongoing signs of strengthening domestic inflationary pressures, such as the improvement in both nominal and real pay growth.

And despite some alleviation in the squeeze on households, conditions remain tough for the consumer. Official data showed that retail sales volumes (including fuel) fell by 1.2% in the year to March, while growth in underlying sales (excluding fuel) saw a smaller decline (-0.5%). The fall in retail sales volumes was largely driven by a 7.4% drop in petrol sales, which could be attributed to people putting off travel plans due to the March snow storms. Meanwhile, internet sales growth held up better in March, as consumers chose to shop online rather than brave the adverse weather conditions outdoors. Department stores, in particular, observed their strongest growth in year-on-year internet sales since October 2013 (in nominal terms). There seems to have been little respite for the retail sector more recently, with the CBI’s Distributive Trades Survey reporting no change in retail sales volumes in the year to April.

In the manufacturing sector, the CBI’s Industrial Trends Survey showed that output growth slowed in the three months to April but nonetheless remained firm. Domestic orders stagnated, seeing no growth for the first time in two years, but export orders growth accelerated to its fastest since 1995, in a sign that manufacturers are continuing to benefit from the lower pound and solid global economic growth.

PHE Sugar Reduction: It is now expected that the sugars report will be issued at late May/early June.

Obesity Plan “Chapter 2” appears to be a likely prospect and may be published as early as next month.

Asda/Sainburys Merger: You may be interested in the Competition and Markets Authority note on the proposed merger which is available via this link

DEFRA: has published Family Food 2016/17, a summary of expenditure and purchases of food and drink. The report is available here Some highlights are significantly less purchases of fats (18% less), sugar and preserves (15% less), fresh and processed potatoes (6% less), and bread (12% less) compared with 2013.

Other News

The Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) annual Food Safety Week (04 June to 08 June 2018) will celebrate all the professionals who keep food safe and what it says it is. Across the country, many thousands of people contribute individually to maintaining the highest collective standards in food safety and food hygiene. This essential work happens, for the most part, out of the public eye.  This year Food Safety Week provides a platform to highlight how we all keep the public’s dinners safe – recognising the importance of all the women and men who take on this great responsibility.

What the FSA is doing

During the Week, the FSA will be profiling a variety of individual FSA employees, such as our meat inspectors, incidents team, scientists and policymakers. We’ll also share some national statistics to help bring to life the scale and significance of both food safety within industry and our role within it.

We will promote our work via PR, social media and digital, giving the public insight into how we keep food safe. We plan to create short videos, written features and infographics about our people, and our remit as the Government Department with lead responsibility for food safety and food hygiene in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We will update stakeholders on our plans in early May.

How to participate

We are only one part of our large, active and diverse food safety community. We invite you to profile the people in your organisation who keep food safe – from technical directors to the server who checks the fridge temperature. Please start thinking internally about who or what you’d like to promote.

This year, we are not asking you to share FSA assets or messaging. For maximum flexibility, we would like you to create your own people profiles, share your own food safety stories and initiatives, and give a ‘shout out’ to the food safety community, via your own communications channels. We will confirm the hashtag and provide a simple campaign badging device for you to use (early May).

If you have any questions, please contact

The Federation of Bakers is delighted to welcome its new associate member, United Bakery Equipment (UBE).

UBE is a specialist bakery equipment company based in California, USA which specialises in supplying slicing and packaging machinery for a wide range of bakery products including bread, buns, rolls, bagels, tortillas, and pita bread. Their machines include slicers, baggers, wrappers, decrusters, dicers, heat sealers, conveyors and other custom machinery.

UBE started in 1966 with a hamburger bun bagging machine in Kansas City, Kansas. Today, UBE is the largest supplier of bread and the bun slicers and baggers in the United States and also sells to customers all over the world including North and South America, Europe, Asia, the Mid-East, Australia and New Zealand.