Tesco made sure it capitalised on its win as 2017 Supermarket Bakery Business of the Year, both with staff and consumers.

For Tesco bakery category director Gordon Gafa, walking onto the stage at London’s Hilton Park Lane last September represented years of hard work.

The retailer was named 2017 Supermarket Bakery Business of the Year after impressing judges with how it had transformed its bakery offer. Tesco had made significant investment in new product development, bringing in fresh lines across all tiers; new merchandising plans with local overlays; and redesigning fixtures to drive service and presentation.

The business also introduced a new training program, with regional bakery coaches to deliver training directly to new starters, as well as refresh training for established bakers.

“We never take anything for granted at Tesco,” says Gafa. “We’ve been working hard over the last three years to move our bakery offer forward.

“We have stayed sharp on pricing whilst investing in equipment for hundreds of stores, as well as innovative fixtures.”

He adds that bakery is integral to Tesco’s offer, and that participating in the annual Baking Industry Awards (BIA) is something the retailer looks forward to.

“The BIAs are the highlight of the bakery calendar, always graced by the most important players in the industry who have worked hard throughout the year,” says Gafa. “We all turn up to work every day to do the best job possible for our customers and the quality of the entrants was as strong as ever.”

The first thing Gafa did after collecting the award from celebrity host Denise van Outen was to send a thank you out to some of those he had collaborated with over the last few years to make the award possible.

“From the next morning, our focus was to communicate to each colleague at Tesco, and especially our bakers, about the achievement. We sent several ‘thank you’ messages to colleagues across the UK.”

And the messaging didn’t stop there, with Tesco keen to make the most of the opportunity to let its customers know that it had won, in Gafa’s words, “the most prestigious award in the bakery industry”. 

“We are a multichannel retailer and all our channels had visible point of sale showcasing the award. We also communi-cated about the award on various social media platforms.”

Gafa’s personal favourite strapline from the activity was: ‘Supermarket Bakery Business of the Year, said the Baking Industry Awards… A tiger bloomer that’s earned its stripes, said Tesco’.

And he’s keen for the bakery operation to win its stripes again this year, with Tesco entering the 2018 awards.

“The BIA awards are a privilege to be part of. With the key industry players in attendance it’s the event I, personally, look forward to the most.”

Ian Harris and Denise van Outen present the award to Gordon Gafa (centre)

Sponsor’s comment

“Tesco demonstrated the pillars of operating a successful in-store bakery through its broad product offering, investment in new product development and regional training programmes to ensure product quality. It implemented tiered, fresh, customer-centric merchandising solutions, aiding navigation through informative signage, improved packaging and an appealing bakery environment.

“It was interesting to see how the company is looking to develop the future of in-store bakery through its pioneering concept sites, which included engaging features like sampling stations to drive customers into the category.”

Ian Harris, head of marketing, Lantmännen Unibake UK