From COVID to Ukraine to the Sourdough Code, FoB’s Annual Report looks back to look forward

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The Federation of Bakers supports the UK's bakery sector to keep providing bread for the nation, despite the often extraordinary challenges. Pic: GettyImages/andresr
The Federation of Bakers supports the UK's bakery sector to keep providing bread for the nation, despite the often extraordinary challenges. Pic: GettyImages/andresr

Related tags Federation of Bakers COVID Ukraine-Russia conflict sourdough Inflation UK bakery industry

The UK’s Federation of Bakers (FoB) has published its 2022 Annual Report, which looks at the extraordinary challenges the bakery sector is currently facing, but also its role in helping it to provide continuity and food security at a price that all Brits can afford.
Mike Roberts Chairman of Federation of Bakers
Mike Roberts

If Brexit and COVID weren’t difficult enough for the bakery sector, the resulting rise in commodity prices and other costs is a completely unprecedented challenge, wrote FoB chairman Mike Roberts in the Report’s foreword.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict, too, is further intensifying the situation, making budgeting and planning ahead extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the bakery sector.

However, the industry continues to endure and rise to the challenges, added Roberts, supported by the Federation’s efforts on behalf of its members and the industry.

“As an industry we continue to rise to the challenges, and I would like to thank the Federation of Bakers board and the various committees for their hard work and support over the past twelve months,”​ said Roberts.

“I would also like to extend a special thanks to the FoB Associate Members who support the sector.”

Representing members’ interests

Andrew Pyne, recently appointed as chief executive of the Federation of Bakers, said the UK bakery industry maintained its focus to ensure the nation continued to be supplied with bread, even as the global pandemic entered into its second year and faced an increased demand for bread and bakery goods.

“We represented our members’ interests as clarity unfolded around the issues of Brexit and the supply chain,” ​said Pyne.

“We built on the strong relationships we had established with government, and stakeholders across the supply chain.”

These included bodies like Public Health England, DHSC, Defra, FSA and FSS, WRAP and the HSE on issues and policies impacting the bakery industry.

“Most urgently, from Covid to Ukraine, we face a global crisis, both in humanitarian terms as well as for food and energy supplies and associated inflation.

“We wrote in March to George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, calling for action on the pressing issues facing UK bakery businesses, due to rising energy prices and uncertainty over raw materials supplies, and asked for an opportunity to discuss these challenges in person.

“As a result, in April, a meeting was held with Defra Director General for Food, Farming and Biosecurity, David Kennedy, and we look forward to developing the conversation as these issues dominate our landscape.”

Debunking myths

A vital function of the FoB is to continually monitor the media environment to correct any misinformation around the health of bread and bakery goods, and referring journalists to the British Nutrition Foundation’s updated review of bread.

“Our Technical Panel have been active in the last year as they continue to review legislative divergence from the EU, the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998, the Sourdough Code of Practice and public health policy,”​ said Pyne.

“Our Health and Safety Committee (FHSC) were on hand to members to help them navigate through the challenges COVID-19 had posed.

“We have continued to engage on the sustainability agenda and the role the collective industry plays towards the net zero targets. And we have been continuing our work with WRAP around the recyclability of bread wrappers packaging.”

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