Top apprenticeMartins Foods employee Sunè Brunton has gained national newspaper coverage after being name Advanced Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship Awards this month. She joined the bakery in 2004 and has since developed new products for major retailers, including Asda and Sainsbury’s, helping the business expand its customer base. She has been accepted to study for an MSc in Food Safety at the University of Central Lancashire.Chinese influenceChina is the fourth-largest country in terms of retail sales and held the second position for new product launches in the global bakery and cereals market last year, with more than 1,500 new product launches, according to Datamonitor. Its report, Product Insights: Bakery and Cereals in China, says that the key to success is adapting to local Chinese tastes and offering flavours ranging from peanut and black sesame seeds to Peking duck and Shanghai crab.Skills for small firms New skills courses designed to boost innovation and growth are being launched for small business owners and managers in the north west. Applicants can choose from a menu of skills facilitated by talks, tutorials, practical work and self-directed study in the workplace. To find out more contact: [email protected] researchWheat breeder RAGT is conducting research into how different types of wheat could have an effect on how much salt is needed in bread. Initial results suggest it doesn’t necessarily follow that the current, good breadmaking varieties will have the right characteristics for baking with a lower salt content.