Director’s Weekly News – 5th March 2018

Dear All,

Headline: Today I attended the PHE briefing on their energy report Calorie reduction: The scope and ambition for action, which will be released under embargo till00:01hrs tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. We were also briefed on the public facing calorie campaign which will also to be launched tomorrow. I will be circulating the full report in due course to FoB members.

Clearly last week was difficult for a lot of members so I hope this week is better.

Gordon Polson – Director

Federation of Bakers

SAVE THE DATE:  FOB AGM and Annual Conference – Wednesday, 23rd May 2018 at One Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA.  Further details will be published soon.


Economic News

CBI Economic Update: Surveys point to firmer growth, but mixed picture across sectors. The ONS revised down Q4 2017 GDP growth slightly, with the breakdown revealing that growth over the quarter was based on shaky foundations. Meanwhile, the CBI’s February surveys were somewhat of a mixed bag: while growth in manufacturing remained solid and the services sector saw a pick-up in volumes, sales growth slowed further in the retail sector.

UK GDP growth in Q4 2017 was revised down to 0.4%, from the initial estimate of 0.5%, in line with our January nowcast. However, the expenditure breakdown wasn’t especially encouraging, showing that growth was mostly driven by net acquisitions of valuables and general government investment, which are generally volatile components. Growth in household spending remained muted, at just 0.3% on the quarter (but nonetheless adding +0.2ppts to growth), highlighting the ongoing squeeze on households’ real incomes. Business investment was flat on the quarter, marking the first time it hasn’t grown in a year, while net trade dragged on growth for the second quarter running (-0.5%).

Employment rose solidly in the three months to December 2017, by 88,000 (to 32.1 million). However, the three months to December also saw the biggest rise in unemployment in five years (up 46,000 on the quarter, to 1.47 million). The rise in unemployment was related in part falling inactivity, as more people joined the economically active population: those registered as economically inactive (not available and/or looking for work) decreased by 109,000 compared with the previous quarter, marking the second rolling quarter of decline and the sharpest drop in over two years.

There were also some signs of a recovery in wage growth, with nominal regular pay (excluding bonuses) growing by 2.5% on the year in the three months to December 2017, up marginally (by 0.2% pts) on November and the highest in a year. However, with CPI inflation still elevated, real wages (excluding bonuses) fell for the eleventh consecutive month. Nevertheless, the decline was also the smallest in eleven months.

The CBI’s business surveys over February were a bit of a mixed bag. Our latest Service Sector Survey revealed that volumes growth picked up in both consumer and business & professional services. Stronger volumes growth paired with slower costs growth paved the way for a recovery in profitability in both sub-sectors. However, investment intentions for the year ahead were skewed towards IT, with spending in other areas set to be cut back or left unchanged.

In contrast to the strength in consumer services, the February Distributive Trades Survey painted a softer picture of the retail sector. Retail sales grew at a subdued pace in the year to February, marking the third consecutive month of slower growth and highlighting the impact on the sector from weaker household spending. However, investment intentions for the year ahead improved, and are now at their strongest since August 2015.

Meanwhile, manufacturing growth remained firm in the three months to February, according to the CBI’s Industrial Trends Survey. Total and export order books also remained far above the negative long-run average, albeit softening from the multi-decade highs seen in recent months. Over the next quarter, growth in manufacturing output is expected to ease, but nonetheless remain solid.

UK GFK Consumer Confidence Survey Feb’18: UK consumer sentiment drops one point to -10 in feb’18, after rebounding four points in jan’18 (highest since aug’17). The decline was driven by a less optimistic assessment by households regarding the general as well as their personal financial situation. reflecting that consumers could be increasingly changing their spending patterns, purchasing intentions also drifted lower to their lowest reading since aug’17, while saving intentions reached their highest level since sep’08. Finally, consumers’ assessment regarding inflation and unemployment remained largely unchanged inflationary pressures are set to remain high and unemployment low. Consumer confidence points to limited upside to household spending in 2018. Risks of precautionary saving are on the rise as the outlook for households is increasingly clouded by expected bank rate and council tax hikes. While spending intentions closely reflect personal financial situations, saving intentions are more discretionary and likely depend much more on the perception of future economic risks. Accordingly, consumers are more likely to restore precautionary saving by reining in spending and taking advantage of a possible moderate catch up in real wages this year. Household consumption came in at 0.3% (q⁄q) in q4’17, more or less in line with previous quarters, resulting in 2017 annual growth of 1.7%, the lowest since 2011. It is expected 2018 consumption to slow further, down to about 1% (y⁄y). (Barclays live)

Other News

DEFRA: has published its consultation on “Health and Harmony: the future of food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit” on which comments are invited by 8th May.  There is a link to the documentation below

WRAP: next Love Food Hate Waste campaign will start on Monday 12 March and will be focus on bread – top of the list of the most wasted foods in the UK.  The 4-week  ‘Make Toast Not Waste’ campaign will be targeted at a) students & young people new to work (18-24 years) and young families (25-34 years) and aims to:

  • increase awareness of how much bread is thrown away and wasted every day (24 million slices!)
  • increase knowledge of the benefits of freezing bread and making toast from frozen to reduce the amount of food being binned
  • encourage audiences to experiment with different toppings on their toast to create convenient, quick and affordable meal solutions to maximise the use of bread

For our digital campaign we will be posting a new, Instragram-style creative toast topping every few days of the campaign and encouraging our audiences to get creative with their own toast toppings and share them with us on all the usual Love Food Hate Waste channels.  We will also work with media and influencers to get the message across and will have a dedicated Make Toast Not Waste microsite on the LFHW website.

As key partners, you might like to get involved by:

  • Sharing your own creative toast toppings and recipes.
  • Hosting Make Toast Not Waste content on your website and/or linking to our microsite
  • Including messaging about freezing bread on pack or at point of sale
  • Spreading the word to your staff and customers through your usual communications channels.
  • Or simply sharing our social media posts from Love Food Hate Waste on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


The Love Food Hate Waste MAKE TOAST NOT WASTE CAMPAIGN RESOURCE PACK & ASSETS are now available on the WRAP Partners website.

The campaign is all about encouraging people to freeze bread and then use it straight from the freezer to make toast.  It targets students and young people new to the workplace (18-24) and young families (25-34). The resource pack includes all the information partners will need to support the campaign including: key messages, calls to action, facts, tips, logos, editorial and social media content including lovely foodie photography and videos.

PLEASE NOTE: These resources are embargoed until the campaign launch on 12 March 2018.  The LFHW microsites for Make Toast Not Waste will also go love on 12 March at and


Folic Acid: Lord Rooker has asked the Government what assessment it has made of the article in Public Health Reviews (31 January 2018), about new research which indicates that the study years ago which linked excess intake of folic acid to an increased risk of neurological damage is flawed and that an upper intake level is therefore unnecessary and should be removed. Lord Rooker also asked if this paper removes the last scientific barrier to a more humane policy for preventing lifelong disability due to neural tube defects.  In response the Minister, Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen, said the study has been referred to the Committee on Toxicity, which will review the evidence that currently underpins maximum recommended intake of folic acid. Lord Rooker welcomed this decision and asked what discussions the Government has had with the Scottish Government, the food industry, the wider scientific community and other countries since the new advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition and this new evidence became available. Baroness Chilsholm said that the Secretary of State (for Health) “is very keen to make progress and any delay is not intended”, but Baroness Hayman pointed out that the original study (linking folate intake with neural tube deficits) was published in 1991 and 81 countries have acted on this British, publicly funded research. She suggested it is “a disgrace that we have not got to the point of preventing that suffering in our own country”. Other Peers pressed the Minister to commit to ensuring that discussions take place on these between the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments but she declined to do so. [Source: Parliament website 1 March 2018]

Nutrition labelling on Food
: Julie Elliott has asked the Government if it will make it its policy to introduce mandatory front of pack traffic light labelling for all pre-packaged food in the UK.  Ms Elliott also asked what  steps the Department of Health is taking to implement the commitment in the childhood obesity plan to review sugar labelling on pre-packaged foods. In response the Health Minister, Steve Brine, noted that mandatory nutrition labelling for the majority of pre-packaged foods is harmonised by EU legislation and as the UK leaves the EU it may have greater flexibility to determine what information should be presented and how it should be displayed in the UK. He added that there are “ongoing discussions between officials in the Department of Health and Defra on the labelling of food and drink.” [Source: Parliament website 8 Feb. 2018]

Innovate UK: Invitation via FDF: “Join us at one of the UK briefing events during March to find out about the £10m manufacturing and materials readiness Innovation Loans competition.

Innovate UK is to offer up to £10 million in loans to SMEs for innovative manufacturing or materials projects.  The aim of this competition is to provide loans to help SMEs increase manufacturing readiness.

Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network have organised briefing events across the UK during March.  Register now to secure your place:

The launch event, with a live and recorded webinar. will be at BMA House in London on 6th March.


Register below for any of the regional briefing events which will be held in: Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry 5 March Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Rotherham 8 March National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, Darlington 9 March Strathclyde Innovation Centre 14 March Sci-Tech, Daresbury 15 March The Engine Shed, Bristol 16 March NIACE Centre, Belfast 22 March


Innovation loans will offer affordable, patient, flexible, repayable funding for later-stage research & development projects with a clear route to commercial success.  More information can be found here. The competition scope will cover innovations in:

manufacturing systems, technologies or processes, and/or materials development, properties, integration or reuse.

Proposals should focus on the scale-up of recent or ongoing manufacturing process innovation and/or materials development activities. The project’s aim should be to enable UK based companies to progress innovative manufacturing or materials developments to commercial readiness.


The deadline for registration for the competition is 25 April and the application deadline is noon on 2 May 2018.” To apply go to


Coca-Cola: is shutting its flagship projects with schoolchildren as the backlash grows against sugary fizzy drinks fuelling Britain’s obesity crisis. More than 100,000 children have taken up free trips to the drinks giant’s education centres at five of its factories and a recycling centre in the past decade. It is also scrapping a national competition — the Real Business Challenge — for secondary schools that has involved about 390,000 children.