How coronavirus took its toll on Finsbury Food Group sales

first_imgFinsbury Food Group’s latest financial year has seen a marked difference in performance between the first six months and the second.In the first half of its financial year, ended 27 June 2020, revenues rose 4.7% year on year to £159.4m.And despite a strong start to the second half, the UK coronavirus outbreak brought a huge shift in the market and saw sales fall 9.8% over the period compared to the previous year.As a result, revenue was down 24% year-on-year in April, 19% in May and 15% in June.Finsbury explained that lockdown meant demand in the foodservice and food-to-go sectors, which together accounted for about 20% of the group’s revenue, fell to almost nothing overnight.Although celebration cake sales declined, demand for some everyday product ranges, particularly round cakes, buns and rolls rose.It has since recovered, trading at 39% of the previous year’s levels in the fourth quarter.In March, the company temporarily closed foodservice buns and rolls business Kara because of reduced demand. The site reopened last month and shift numbers have continued to increase since.Finsbury saw major changes in shopping behaviour in retail. Although celebration cake sales declined, demand for some everyday product ranges, particularly round cakes, buns and rolls rose.Initially, some complex products could not be manufactured until social distancing measures were introduced at the company’s bakeries, and some products were delisted as stores prioritised store-cupboard essentials. Since then, Finsbury has gradually reinstated full product ranges.The business said it had brought back many of its previously furloughed staff and would continue to do so.At the start of the crisis, Finsbury froze all discretionary expenditure and capital investment and suspended its interim dividend, while the senior staff agreed to a three-month salary reduction.While the pandemic meant that sales were down in Q4, we are encouraged by the steady monthly improvements we have seen since MarchFinsbury Food Group CEO John DuffyLooking ahead, the company said it expected changing consumer behaviours that had accelerated during lockdown – such as online grocery shopping, home-delivered eat-in, and home working – to continue“While the pandemic meant that sales were down in Q4, we are encouraged by the steady monthly improvements we have seen since March as demand begins to move in the right direction again,” said Finsbury CEO John Duffy.He added that the business continued to operate in an uncertain situation, but was well-positioned by working collaboratively with large customers and brand partners. This would enable it to anticipate and respond to future demand patterns and develop products and ranges that fulfilled shifting consumer needs, he said.“The benefits of the group’s geographical, channel, customer and product diversification have been evident throughout the crisis, and we have illustrated that we are robust, but agile – we have adapted quickly so far and will continue to do so.”Finsbury factory goes nut-free  Finsbury is launching a new range of nut-free products after making its Hamilton Celebration Cake factory in Scotland 100% nut free.The company explained it had renovated the site in response to the growing number of consumers who were looking for nut-free guarantees from the products they buy.Finsbury will be launching nut-free products in a range of sizes, featuring new flavours and ingredients. These will include Hogwarts, Frozen 2 and Spider-Man cakes.All will feature clear ‘nut-free’ labels“As the UK’s number one licensed branded celebration cake manufacturer, we felt it was important for us to take a lead on a growing issue,” said Hamilton technical head Catherine Swinburne.“We’ve worked hard, including establishing completely new processes, systems and training, to make this change possible and bring consumers and our retail customers the reassurance that they can now purchase a huge range of cakes from a nut-free environment.”last_img read more

New proposal aims to improve drug harm assessment process

first_img Source: Aug 20 2018A drug policy researcher is proposing a suite of changes to overhaul the Multi-Criteria Drug Harm Scale (MCDHS), which informs drug policies across Europe. The changes focus on addressing use and abuse separately, collecting input from a broader range of stakeholders, and targeting substance-specific experts for drug review panels.”The MCDHS, also known as the Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis of Drug Harms, is a valuable tool that allows for informed decision making about substances that can have serious consequences for health and well-being on a national scale,” says Veljko Dubljevic, author of a paper describing the proposals. “But there is significant room for improvement.” Dubljevic is an assistant professor of ethics at North Carolina State University and an affiliate of NC State’s Science, Technology & Society program”My proposals would allow for a deeper assessment of the harms associated with substances such as opioids, cannabis, tobacco and stimulants,” Dubljevic says. “And this is an approach that I think the United States should adopt, rather than relying largely on industry-funded research.”The MCDHS has been around for about a decade, and draws on a panel of experts in psychiatry, pharmacology and addiction to rank a drug’s risk of causing harm in three areas: physical health effects, potential for dependence, and social harm. To date, the MCDHS has been used in the European Union, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Norway.The first of three changes Dubljevic is proposing to the MCDHS is to dissociate the harms of a drug’s use from the harms of its abuse.”The risks of drinking a glass of wine on the weekend are different from the risks associated with heavy drinking,” Dubljevic says. “The same is true for the proper use of a prescription drug versus chronic, off-label use. It’s important to assess the risks of drug use and drug abuse separately, and to give each drug two ratings: one for proper use and one for abuse.”Related StoriesDrugs designed with advanced computing technologies could help tackle hospital superbugsResearchers survey orthopedic providers to understand factors that drive opioid prescribing practicesBirth, child outcomes linked with maternal opioid use during pregnancyThe second proposal is to incorporate input from people on the front lines of drug use. Specifically, Dubljevic calls for panels to incorporate input from people who use drugs, pharmacists and general medical practitioners.”This local expertise can provide valuable perspectives that allow for a more robust understanding of a substance’s potential for addiction or social harms,” Dubljevic says.The third proposal is to eschew one-size-fits-all expert panels and instead form panels with substance-specific expertise.”For example, individuals with expertise in prescription opioids are likely not the same people with expertise in khat, a widely-used stimulant in eastern Africa and the Middle East,” Dubljevic says. It simply makes sense to convene different panels to ensure that the people with the relevant expertise are at the table.”The use of the MCDHS, regardless of whether my proposals are adopted, allows for more informed decision making by policymakers, with the potential for improving public health outcomes,” Dubljevic says. “That’s why I’d like to see the U.S. move toward incorporating the MCDHS into its drug evaluations.”For example, it’s probable that a more complete understanding of risks could boost efforts to develop ways of limiting a drug’s potential for abuse,” Dubljevic says. “One possibility, for instance, would be to encourage the development of more delayed-release pharmaceuticals, making it more difficult for the drugs to be used recreationally.”last_img read more