There is a lot happening in this week’s issue, bread weights deregulation, which looked to be on hold, has suddenly been the victim of a coup d’état. So sometime next year, we should see a virtual free-for-all, specifically on wrapped bread and possibly unwrapped (pg 4).It is news that will delight most of the supermarkets and some plant bakers – but definitely not others. Most have refrained from speaking publicly on the issue, but privately they know that it will cause some havoc and plenty of discussion.While millers will be concerned that a range of smaller loaves might mean less flour sold, bakers and retailers will be concerned that more air and water may make loaves look larger than they should, meaning prices will not reflect true content – and so it goes on.It was a topic discussed at the recent Federation of Bakers conference – before news of the deregulation came through (pg 16). But nothing is likely to happen before 2008, so there’s still time for reflection.Also this week, Patak’s seems a perfect fit for ABF (pg 5). And at the Scottish Conference at Peebles, I learned that the next increase in the minimum wage in October has been limited to 3.2%, with quite a bit of credit for the limit going to Low Pay Commission representative and past president of the SAMB Ian Hay.The SAMB also reported that it had seen a rise in employment queries about age discrimination, so I hope that our article this week, Age Aware (pg 14) proves timely.Meanwhile, the UK’s branded coffee shop market is continuing to expand significantly (pg 8) with Starbucks leading the growth. It is all about branding and ambience, but bakers can do just as well with the right offering in the right place. On page 21, we look at how even opening a small in-store coffee shop can really boost your business. And the bakery offering in many coffee shops is nowhere as good as in a baker’s shop, although the cakes and biscuits are usually imaginative.No, it’s mainly the coffee and ambience that is the draw. So if you go ahead, give the coffee equal importance and give your shopfitter a brief to visit all the coffee shop chains. Bakers can do it better!
Kyle Strickler starts his bid to complete the Super Nationals triple crown from inside row one.Already a Super Nationals champion and winner of the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational, Strickler drew the ace to earn the pole start in Saturday’s Harris Auto Racing Race of Champions. Mike Jergens is on the outside of the front row and two-time race winner Dustin Smith lines up third.Starting fourth through 12th will be Josh Ruby, Todd Shute, Ryan McDaniel, Bob Moore, Vern Jackson, Mike VanGenderen, Joel Rust, Johnny Scott and Anthony Roth.*The ace put the Westin Abbey on the inside of the front row for the start of the Sunoco Race Fuels Stock Car Race of Champions Two-time RoC winner David Smith will line up on the outside.Completing the 10-car grid are Randy Brands, Shaun Bruns, Bryan Rigsby, Matt Schauer, 2014 race winner Devin Smith, defending winner Dustin Larson, Brandon Czarapata and Kyle Clough.*Todd Shute rock-paper-scissored his way to the outside row one start in tonight’s Modified main event, getting the Rochambeau best of fellow Friday qualifying feature winner Ricky Thornton Jr.The third through eighth spots on the row will be filled by Richie Gustin, J.D. Auringer, Ricky Alvarado, Jay Noteboom, Randy Havlik and Jeremy Mills.*John Oliver Jr. brought in a Rochambeau ringer and as a result will start on the front of the outside row in the championship event for Stock Cars.Devin Smith will look to rebound from his afternoon loss in the Fan Zone from second row outside. Reid Keller, Abe Huls, Shaun Bruns, Jason See, Brian Blessington and Norman Chesmore fill the rest of the front eight positions.
Zenit St Petersburg fans who want non-white and gay players excluded from the Russian team are “living in another century”, says Anzhi Makhachkala defender Christopher Samba.Landscrona, the Russian champions’ largest fans’ group, said black players are “forced down Zenit’s throat”.“I’m not surprised. Everybody knows Zenit supporters are no good and racist,” Samba told BBC Radio 5 live. “They are living in another century. It’s a sad day for Russian football.”He added: “In this time we have different communities and countries that constitute teams. If they can’t accept that then they are never going to progress.”Zenit were the only top-flight Russian team without a black player until the summer signings of Brazil striker Hulk and Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel. The club was fined by the Russian Football Union after one of their fans offered a banana to Anzhi Makhachkala left-back Roberto Carlos before a match between the two sides in March 2011.Black players in the Russian league have been the target of monkey chants and Samba also had a banana thrown at him by a Lokomotiv Moscow fan shortly after his move from Blackburn Rovers.However, the Congo-Brazzaville international insists there is no prospect of black players staging a protest by boycotting matches following Landscrona’s open letter.“Boycotting, why? Because fans make statement they don’t want black players. No. Black players should fight for the good ones – not the idiots,” he said.“It’s really sad. It’s slowing down the process of Russian football being a better league. I hope the Russian federation do the necessary to sanction it.” Raymond Verheijen, a former coach of Zenit, believes there are “serious issues” with racism in Russian football and says action needs to be taken by the sport’s governing body.“If the fans are asking for an all-white team, I’m actually quite shocked to be honest,” he said.“I know, based on my experience with Russian football and Zenit, there are serious issues about racism, so I was already familiar with the problem.“But if it’s true that the fans have asked for this policy then I think its time that the club and the Federation also took some action against these kind of things.”Russia is preparing to host the 2018 World Cup after being picked by governing body Fifa to stage the tournament for the first time. Samba, 28, believes Russia’s continuing problems surrounding racism are “not helping” the country’s preparations.He added: “The fact that a lot of players are going to Russia should be promoted. But if we’re not welcome then it would be very difficult to change the mentality ahead of the World Cup.”