Source: BakkavorSales of pizza and desserts have proved resilient at food manufacturer Bakkavor as its UK sales fell 5.2% due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.The UK side of the business, which produces sandwiches, salads, desserts amongst other items, reported revenue of £1,566.6m for the 52 weeks ending 26 December 2020. Adjusted operating profit, meanwhile, fell by 15.3% from £107.1m to £90.7m.Bakkavor said the breadth of its portfolio helped it to weather a volatile year in which consumer shopping habits changed and demand shifted significantly due to Covid-19 and lockdowns.A ‘strong performance’ was seen in its pizza and bread category, with pizza described as the firm’s ‘most resilient’ category across the year as it benefitted from being suitable for a midweek meal and also a takeaway-style product, particularly at the premium end of the spectrum.Despite being impacted by the initial boom in home baking, desserts also performed well.“Sales continued to improve through the second half, as we worked with customers to extend ranges, introduce popular new products such as the ‘Yumnut’ and deliver innovation in Christmas desserts, which resulted in us achieving our strongest ever Christmas performance in desserts,” it stated in its full year results.It also benefitted from an uplift in online shopping after one of its ‘key strategic customers’ kicked off a new partnership with Ocado.“Despite the UK Government’s roadmap, with lockdown restrictions in the UK continuing into the spring, the short-term trading environment remains uncertain, but we are encouraged by the way consumers have returned to our fresher, healthier and more convenient foods each time these restrictions have lifted,” said CEO Agust Gudmundsson.“The actions taken in 2020 to preserve cash and protect profitability across the business, combined with the successful turnaround of our US business, and the strength of our financial position, leave the Group well placed to deliver further growth.”In addition, the operational impact of Brexit on Bakkavor has been ‘modest’ and the company remains ‘well prepared’ for any near-term volatility in the supply chain.There has been some disruption in the export of goods to both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, but the sales impact represents less than 3% of its UK revenue.
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Police in Oregon can no longer arrest someone for possession of small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs. A ballot measure that decriminalized them took effect on Monday. Instead, those found in possession would face a $100 fine or a health assessment. Backers of the ballot measure, which Oregon voters passed by a wide margin in November, hailed it as a revolutionary move for the United States. Ballot Measure 110’s backers said treatment needs to be the priority and that criminalizing drug possession was not working. Oregon is a pioneer in liberalizing drug laws. It was the first state, in 1973, to decriminalize marijuana possession.