It has reappointed Mike Roberts from Roberts Bakery – one of the oldest family bakers in the UK – as its chairman, along with Brian Irwin from Irwin’s Bakery as deputy chair and Steve Cook from Fine Lady Bakeries as treasurer.
The announcement were made during the FOB’s first virtual AGM and will see a continuation of solid management throughout the business.
According to its 2020 Annual Report published in September, the sector saw sales spike by 100% in some instances, but members were quick on the mark to answer demand. In March alone, supermarkets sold an extra 56.7 million packs of bread and other baked products compared with the same period in 2019, The Grocer (BakeryandSnacks’ sister site) noted in its Bread and Bakery May 2020 report.
“Firstly, I’m very honoured to have been reappointed as chairman of the Federation of Bakers. The past few months have been particularly challenging for our industry and I’m proud of how we have responded,” said Roberts.
“At one point, we saw a significant increase in demand for bread and bakery across all grocery channels. Whilst these levels have now plateaued, it is great to see how the nation has reinvigorated its love for bread and I hope that this is a trend that continues for many years to come.”
FOB’s CEO Gordon Polson added, “We are delighted to be reappointing Mike, Brian and Steve to our executive board. They bring with them unlimited expertise from three major bakery businesses and are valuable assets for the industry, especially during these unprecedented times.”
At the time of the release of the Annual Report, he noted that prior to the pandemic, regulatory issues dominated the FOB’s efforts.
“Part of the FOB’s role is to challenge on behalf of our members. For example, PHE’s [Public Health England] proposed 5.5% reduction in salt for bread and 10% for morning goods, by 2023 which is clearly an area of concern for the industry.
“The FOB also regularly responds to correct and defend negative articles on bread. As part of a proactive piece of activity to promote the benefits of bread, we commissioned a report from the British Nutrition Foundation, which has now been shared with members and used to support consumer media outreach.
“Another project has been the overhaul of the FOB website which has been updated to make it simpler to navigate with refreshed content.”
The FOB represents some of the UK’s largest bakery companies supplying around 80% of the bread and bakery products consumed in the UK (the equivalent of almost 11 million loaves and packs sold daily), including Delifrance UK, Fine Lady Bakeries, Geary’s Bakeries, Irwins’ Bakery, Jacksons Bakery, Kerry Ingredients, Roberts Bakery and Warburtons.
The UK’s bread and bakery sector is worth around £3.9bn at retail sales value and employs over 75,000 people.