Biscuit exports upExports of sweet biscuits are up, as the food and drinks sector is on track to achieve its fourth consecutive year of record export growth, according to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Sweet biscuits were up 12.4% to £95.2m in the first six months of 2009. But the FDF said more could be done to help small businesses export, “with issues such as longer credit terms creating real headaches for exporters”.Shelf-life innovationA breakthrough method to increase the shelf-life of bread by up to 14 days has been licensed to food ingredients company Puratos. Food scientists at University College Cork (UCC) developed the method, which has now been patented, using lactic acid bacteria. Puratos will upscale the scientists’ work to industrial level, before bringing it to market.Friendlier firmsA new study into the UK business sector has revealed small family-owned firms are regarded as more employee-friendly, motivational, passionate and creative than non-family private enterprises. According to the study, commissioned by insurer More th>n Business, this could spur a surge in interest from job-seekers, who have suffered at the hands of the recession.Costa expansionCosta has opened 119 new stores this year taking its estate to nearly 1,000 stores in the UK and over 400 stores overseas. Like-for-like sales for the first half of this year grew by 2.5%, with total revenues up 20% to £155.4m and operating profit up 72.6% to £12m. Just over 42% of Costa’s customers buy food when they visit a store.