Bakery buyers may be sobbing in the aisles – and one or two tertiary bakery suppliers, no doubt – as the one-size-fits-all approach to filling the supermarket bakery concessions across the land is ditched, with the focus shifted onto locally sourced products, premium, indulgent products and organics.Asda is simplifying its number of SKUs and is focusing, at a store- specific level, on tailoring its bakery offering to a locality – a move which has paid off this year, according to bakery director Huw Edwards. “Buyers are very protective of their products. But we have to prise some of these products out of the buyers’ hands and focus on what the customer really wants.”Whereas a whole range of Bakewell tart brands, for example, may once have competed on-shelf, the new approach is to “take some tough decisions” by whittling down the offering to one value, one mid-market and one premium product in some cases. The challenge is to edit down the bewil- dering amount of choice and make the bakery buying experience less frightening, he said.”There is now so much choice that it almost paralyses the customer,” said Edwards. “The customer might only spend 20 seconds in the bread aisle, so you’ve got to make it easy for them to find what they want. Most people find shopping a chore. Everything we do must be about making the shopping experience easy.”Key to Asda’s strategy has been sourcing local baked goods, as well as “bringing the buying power of our business to give customers great prices on national brands”. Some stores have their own display unit for local products, while in others, more space is being allocated for local products in the fixture where appropriate. “We’ve taken some tough decisions about national brands,” said Edwards. “If there are three big brands, we will only offer two of them in-store, if that’s what’s relevant to the consumer in that store.”There are massive differences in demand from store to store, even within regions, he said. “What we thought was fairly uniform is not. In Scotland we sell an awful lot of Kingsmill; in the south we sell a lot of Hovis.”Asda’s in-store business is growing faster than bought-in, revealed Edwards, with big improvements over the last year where previously there had been “inhibited growth”. “We’ve focused on operational excellence this year,” he said. “We have a network of ’stores of learning’, we’ve upgraded our [training] packages, and we’ve got a team of specialists who relaunch stores that aren’t driving success.” A total of 45 failing stores have been relaunched successfully this year.Asda is also launching more speciality products. The retailer has seen 80% growth in its Extra Special premium label this year. Meanwhile, although a small market in growth, organics remains a big consumer pull, with sales up by 50%. “It’s clear that you’ve got to be in the organics market to get people through the door, even if they only buy one or two products,” said Edwards.Portion control is another trend, with sales of larger products, such as whole cakes, falling off in favour of smaller packs. “It’s far more successful to produce a really great product in a two-portion pack – you have the treat, it’s gone, there’s no more temptation. You can go back to eating your salads,” said Edwards. The successful launch in Asda of a super-indulgent chocolate muffin twin-pack pointed the way forward, he added. “There is a declining market for cakes in lunchboxes. What was a major part of the [cake] market is in decline. So we’re looking at other avenues and indulgence is an area where we can make a difference, getting people to trade up.”On the healthy eating side, the baking industry has some way to go before it matches the impact of the cereals industry in promoting wholegrain products, he noted. “Neither we retailers nor the manufacturing base have covered ourselves in glory in the way we’ve marketed wholegrain. The cereals business has plastered every TV screen and magazine with wholegrains and healthiness. It’s something we’ve all got to work at.”Retailers need to encourage shoppers to try products by developing cross-merchandising or on-shelf information to link breads to eating occasions, said Edwards. Competitive pricing, offering good value, and a promotional strategy will continue to see shoppers trade up. “A balanced use of those mechanics has helped us to grow the business,” he said. “All the markets are growing, both in volume and sales. It seems we’re pressing the right buttons for our customers.” n—-=== Asda comment ===n On training: “One of the big issues for all of us who operate in-store bakeries is skill levels and getting enough bakers to run those bakeries effectively. It’s tough to find them and keep them.”n On availability: “It’s the biggest focus in our business and we’re starting to make headway. We need the baking industry’s help – it’s about how we work in our stores, but also about how accurate the deliveries are.”n On the in-store experience: “We’re putting better and better products into our stores. We can’t have clinical stores. We need them to be inspirational.”n On in-store organic production: “We’re not baking organic in-store at the moment. We’re looking for products that could be baked in the packaging to maintain the integrity of the product, but we’ve got to find a way of doing it well.”
Month: April 2021
Major bakery trainers have pledge their support for a national Colleges and Trainers Forum.The meeting will take place at Sheffield College on 30 June. Acting chairman and organiser Chris North, a bakery lecturer at the college, told British Baker that bakery training has reached a crunch point, with confusion over new qualifications and funding putting pressure on colleges. “I’m anticipating that this will just increase the number of colleges that have closed down their bakery courses,” North told British Baker.North said he hoped the meeting would persuade training providers, who are used to working in isolation, to share their knowledge and pool resources. Most of the major colleges and trainers had pledged support, he added.For more information, contact Chris North at [email protected]
The retail price of packaged croissants has almost doubled in the last six months, according to the latest price data from Verdict Research.The survey found that, of all retail products, the price of four-packs of croissants rose the most steeply – by 47.4% from January to August this year – topping Verdict’s top 10 list of product price increases. Second on the list was original and bolognese pasta sauce, with packeted ham coming in third. Over the same period, the overall bakery and cereal product category has seen a price rise of 6%.”It’s purely down to the raw ingredients,” explained Huw Edwards, Asda’s bakery director. “Croissants have been hit not only by flour costs, but by high increases in fat as well.” Despite this, Edwards said Asda’s sales of croissants are still very good.The overall increase in consumers’ shopping baskets from January to August was 8.3%, said Verdict. “The good news is that food prices won’t keep on going up by as much as this; the bad news is that they are likely to remain stable rather than come down,” commented Neil Saunders, consulting director, Verdict Research.”Consumers have become used to food prices falling year after year. That era has gone and shoppers are having to adjust to higher prices.”
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) Wales, is to hold a second co-hosted seminar for Welsh bakery businesses, looking at the issue of saturated fat reduction. The seminar will be held on 4 March at FSA Wales’ Cardiff office in Wood Street, in association with the Food Industry Centre at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC).The event, which follows on from the recent launch of the FSA’s saturated fat campaign, aims to provide an update on the work that has been done by the baking industry to reduce saturated fat content and an overview of the progress by the UK industry to voluntarily reduce levels.It will also look at how the UWIC’s Food Industry Centre can assist Welsh bakery businesses with reformulation and healthier NPD.Welsh businesses interested in attending should email [email protected] Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.
The government’s controversial idea to phase out ’best-before’ dates to reduce food wastage could be scuppered by EU regulations, which specify that such labelling is mandatory.Defra minister Hilary Benn floated a plan earlier this month to simplify the range of date labels on food, such as ’use-by’, ’sell-by’, ’display-until’ and ’best-before’, to make information less confusing for consumers and to reduce the amount of food that is thrown away unnecessarily. Best-before and sell-by dates could be scrapped altogether under the plan.”Some 370,000 tonnes of food are chucked out each year after passing their best-before dates, despite being perfectly good, safe and edible,” he said. “As part of our war on waste, I want to improve the labels on our food so that when we buy a loaf of bread, we know exactly how long it’s safe to eat.”According to waste resource organisation WRAP, over 175,000 tonnes of bread is thrown out each year as a result of going past a best-before date.However, the plan could fall foul of EU regulations, said Owen Warnock, partner and food labelling expert at international law firm Eversheds. “It will be hard for the government to do anything about best-before dates because they are required by EU law. If Defra really intends to tackle this issue, it must try to influence the review of food labelling law currently under way in Europe to change the rules.”Gordon Polson, director of the Federation of Bakers, said that best-before and use-by dates “are all there for a good reason”. “They provide useful information to the consumer and we would want to see a formal consultation if there were to be changes,” he said.Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, added: “Scrapping best-before dates won’t reduce food waste. Customer education will. Date labels are there to help customers, but they need to understand what they mean.”
Prizes for pastry decoration and bakery window displays are up for grabs at the upcoming IBA international bakery exhibition in Düsseldorf.The show from October 3-9 will host a competition for apprentices organised by the Association of German Con-fectioners, for the best decorated gateaux, and for sales staff to find the most appealing bakery display window.The IBA Cup, an international competition for bakers and confectioners, will also take place at the exhibition, along with factory tours to give foreign visitors an insight into German bakeries, while seminars and discussion forums will highlight future industry trends.More than 990 companies have booked over 123,000 sq m for the show, which is set to be larger than the last one in 2006.l For further details, visit: www.iba.de.
Independent bakers shops are showing an unexpected 6% growth by filling empty sites on the high street.Figures from research firm The Local Data Company reveal a closure rate of 4.1% in the second half of 2009, but an opening rate of 9.9%. These companies, with less than five shops, have fared better than the multiple bakery chains, which saw their number of stores fall by 0.5%.The rise is in contrast to 2008 figures; the Office for National Statistics reported a net loss of 215 bakery retail businesses over the year to March 2009, with smaller businesses dropping from 3,355 to 3,140 shops.National Association of Master Bakers chairman Mike Holling said it was positive news: “If it’s true, the industry should see it as very encouraging. There is enthusiasm out there from people wanting to start their own bakery business, but setting one up can cost anywhere between £50,000 and £100,000 and banks are reluctant to lend at the moment.”The Local Data Company’s business development director Matthew Hopkinson said the recession had meant that landlords were keen to get businesses in, which meant there were low rents to be had. “The market is in the retailers’ favour and consumers increasingly want to shop locally for fresh ingredients.”He added: “When Tesco Metro and Sainsbury’s Local open in a high street, they increase footfall and, because they don’t have in-store bakeries, if your shop is nearby, you will probably do well, as long as you’ve got a good offer, a fair price and local products.”But Hopkinson admitted that new openings had centred more on the south east and London, where some of the more upmarket artisan bakeries were proving successful. And he added: “This might just be a blip as we have yet to see the impact of business rates on small firms.”The firm studies 705 towns and cities across the UK, tracking 1,200 independent bakers.
Warburtons is set to launch an eight-strong gluten-free bakery range, having revealed in October that the brand would move into the gluten-free market.The new range will be rolled out in January and will comprise white and brown loaves and sub-rolls, crumpets and teacakes.The firm has spent four years working on the lines, and spent £3m on a dedicated gluten-free site in Newcastle, according to The Grocer. Warburtons has said it will be targeting both coeliacs and those opting for gluten-free products as part of a lifestyle choice.Warburtons is the first major bread brand to launch a gluten-free range. It follows the success of gluten-free bread brand Genius, which launched exclusively in Tesco at the end of April 2009, and is now stocked in all major UK supermarkets.>>Warburtons in free-from move>>Warburtons director switches to Genius as gluten-free sector hots up
A new online survey has revealed that consumers would fancy a cheese and onion doughnut accompanied by a glass of champagne.In the run-up to National Doughnut Week on 12-19 May, other savoury varieties, such as bacon with maple syrup or cheese and chutney, came out as favourites. The majority of people interviewed confirmed a cup of tea should go alongside the traditional jam doughnut, but a glass of bubbly would suit their dream doughnuts.Helen Sinclair of bakery ingredients business CSM United Kingdom – sponsor of National Doughnut Week – said: “The fun survey gave us a fresh insight into the consumers’ love of doughnuts and their wish-list for the future, demonstrating that consumers have a real affection for the baked goods, which they believe deliver a unique treat sensation for young and old.“And for bakers seeking to increase doughnut sales and raise even more cash for charity during National Doughnut Week, our survey says loud and clear – the biggest ‘must have a doughnut’ trigger is watching someone else eating one, so why not hand out a few samples and trigger the doughnut munchies in your shop?”National Doughnut Week aims to help bakers increase sales of doughnuts, as well as the awareness of their role on the high street, while raising money for The Children’s Trust. To find out more, visit www.nationaldoughnutweek.org.