Nick HarrisManaging director, BFP WholesaleHas a period of raw material price stability come to an end? It would certainly appear so if the pages of this magazine are to be believed. And all of the recent comments regarding the Eastern Europe harvests on television and in the press are suggesting the same.Over the past few weeks, all types of suppliers, whether they be with commodity-type products or added-value ingredients, are presenting their case for increases based on commodities, energy, packaging and so on. There is clear evidence that certain types of raw materials are in short supply on the global markets and this pressure inevitably filters through to Europe, regardless of local stocks. What is a comparatively new phenomenon is the apparent hunger of the speculators, led by the hedge funds, to hold commodity positions and to bet against market movements.This speculation results in extraordinary spikes and troughs in prices, depending on which way the bet is taken, and can be counter-intuitive against the actual availability of the products. However, prices are definitely increasing on core bakery ingredients, whether that be flour, fats, oils or sugar and, regardless of the UK’s own supply position, the global trend will prevail.According to the latest government figures, food prices at retail level started to increase in August. This trend is likely to continue for the remainder of this year and presents another challenge to all of us. How long can you hold off an increase in your prices? The bakery sector is incredibly competitive and the fear of being first to move can be used as a reason not to increase prices this week. Another excuse can be the possibility of gaining market share at the expense of a competitor who has already increased their prices.But the strongest argument of all and the real question to ask is, ’What is the cost of not increasing your prices, what will be the consequences for your business and all your stakeholders?’ The next few weeks are among the busiest for bakeries, so can you really afford to try and absorb key raw material increases across all your volume?
Read Full Story Who decides who can carry concealed firearms legally? Should local police chiefs have a say? Massachusetts police chiefs think so. A new survey finds that a large majority of Massachusetts police chiefs favor continuing to give local police discretion in whether or not to grant concealed carry hand gun permits in their jurisdiction. Massachusetts is one of nine states with a “may-issue” concealed carry permit law, which gives a police chief discretion in issuing a gun permit; most other states have “shall-issue” laws that limit police discretion. In about half of those states, police have no discretion at all and a police chief must issue a permit if the applicant passes a computerized federal background check.The study was published online April 16, 2015, in the Journal of Public Health Policy.“There are proposals to require reciprocity among states in terms of gun carrying permits. Reciprocity means that anyone with an Alabama permit could legally carry in Massachusetts. But before we begin a discussion about reciprocity, we first need evidence about who is obtaining permits in what types of regulatory regimes,” said co-author David Hemenway, professor of health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.
With the Trojans’ offense facing a litany of depth and injury issues while looking stagnant in most of USC’s games so far, the defense will be called upon to step up to the plate once more as they take on Arizona State this Saturday.Homecoming · Senior defensive end Devon Kennard, a native of Phoenix, Ariz., will be playing in front of family and friends in Tempe. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanThis is the second road game for USC as well as its second conference game. This matchup will determine whether the Trojans or the Sun Devils will start 0-2 in the Pac-12, a surprising development since both squads were expected to compete for the Pac-12 South division title. The Trojans are determined not to be the team to disappoint this weekend.“We really want this win,” redshirt junior cornerback Josh Shaw said. “We’re going to come out in the first quarter and punch them in the mouth.”After three home games in a row, the Trojans offense has looked subpar, especially experiencing trouble with third down conversions (27.5 percent success rate).But the defense has been there to pick up the pieces, only allowing USC’s opponents to convert on 29 percent of their third down chances.“They practice nasty, they play nasty and they lead by example,” head coach Lane Kiffin said.The Trojans’ defense has focused on continuing to progress despite the performance of their offensive counterparts.Team captain and senior defensive end Devon Kennard said the Trojans offense has not affected the way the defense performs or prepares.“Our goal is to go three and out, get a turnover, get a sack,” Kennard said. “The offense does not directly affect us in the way we play.”Both the defense and the offense will have to be at their best come Saturday after having played three games in a row at home — Sun Devil Stadium is arguably one of the most hostile atmospheres the Trojans will experience all season.Kiffin has been using a simulated clapping device broadcast over the loud speakers and loud music at practice this week to prepare the team for the noise level at Sun Devil Stadium.“I think it’s been preparing us, but nothing is like being in that stadium,” Kennard said. “It’s crazy how loud it gets there.”The possibility of poor weather — something the Trojans rarely have to worry about while playing at home in Los Angeles — is also fresh on Kiffin’s mind. Two years ago, USC was beat down 43-22 by Arizona State as former quarterback Matt Barkley struggled to throw in windy conditions.“I remember that crazy dust storm that hit late in the first quarter,” Kiffin said jokingly when asked if he remembered any specific moments from the last time the team visited Tempe. “First it was hot, then it was really cold, and then it was extremely windy and dusty.”homeward boundFor Kennard, this week’s matchup might just be like playing at home. Kennard is a native to Phoenix, Ariz., which is just a 20 minute car ride from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.“I have about 15 tickets, meaning my entire family will be there,” Kennard said. “Plus I just have a lot of friends that go to Arizona State, so I’m really looking forward to this game.”from keeton to KellyIn last week’s matchup against Utah State, the Trojans defense was put to the challenge of containing dual-threat quarterback Chuckie Keeton. Keeton was stifled for much of the game, rushing for minus-15 yards and being sacked four times.Now the Trojans must prepare for another week of up-tempo offense led by ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly, who is known for his precision passing from the pocket. Kelly ranks 10th nationally in total offense, averaging 354.7 yards a game. He has thrown eight touchdowns with three interceptions in 2013.“All we have to do is play as a unit, communicate and tackle well,” senior safety Demetrius Wright said.The veteran said the team is watching a lot of film and observing the tendencies of the Sun Devils’ offensive line.Kelly is not the only player the Trojans will have to look out for. The Sun Devils have talent on both sides of the ball with defensive tackle Will Sutton rounding out the Sun Devils defense. Sutton received 2012 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.turning over a new leaf“About the only thing we haven’t done well on defense in the last two weeks is get turnovers,” Kiffin said.The Trojans’ defense has made headlines for their consistent performance over the last four games, but they haven’t intercepted any passes in USC’s last two games after recording six picks in the first two games against Hawai’i and Washington State.“We had a mediocre practice yesterday so the focus has been on making plays on the ball,” said defensive lineman George Uko. “Not just making the tackle, but actually putting an emphasis on where the ball is and getting the ball out.” Follow Lauren on Twitter @LJonesSports