Winning Britain’s Best Loaf is a glorious achievement for any UK-based baker, but the title also comes with business benefits.

Past champions have noted a media frenzy in the immediate aftermath of the event, with substantial coverage inspiring a surge in local trade from customers flocking to get their hands on the award-winning bread and discover other star products at the shops too.

Miyo Aeotsu, who triumphed last year with a vibrant Japonais Brioche loaf created at her Kuma-San Bakehouse micro bakery in Matlock, Derbyshire, said she even received orders via email from as far off as Canada and the US, as well as one from an unnamed Middle Eastern royal family member. “I baked a dozen loaves – the driver came from London to my house to collect them,” she revealed to British Baker.

Aeotsu noted her matcha flavoured sweet bread is still proving very popular during sales on special occasions such as Christmas and Easter. “I now have a lot more customers,” she confirms, adding that some travel from 100 miles away.

Brioche Japonais by Kuma-San Bakehouse 2100x1400

Source: Kuma-San Bakehouse

Brioche Japonais

She also received “a lot of media attention” following her 2023 victory, with the BBC running an article that was widely shared, leading to her story being picked up by news outlets in her native Japan.

Former teacher Aeotsu, who took bakery lessons at Forge Bakehouse in Sheffield and at the nearby School of Artisan Food, also received many requests to share her knowledge of Japanese and Western fusion baking and is now planning to launch an online training course and a book.

Enter Britain’s Best Loaf 2024 today

Meanwhile Dan Booth, director and head baker at Bakerman in Darlington, described the response to his Parmesan & Black Pepper Sourdough winning in 2022 as “insane”. His business garnered front page coverage in the local paper, features on radio and in magazines and a segment in BBC Look North regional news.

”The main benefit of winning the award was increased exposure of the bakery,” he told British Baker. “We’re quite tucked away and unless you knew we were here, you probably wouldn’t stumble across us. We had a lot of local media interest which brought in a lot of new customers.”

The sourdough remains a bestseller for Bakerman, regularly promoting it as a guest loaf on socials. “The queen is back. Ignore the weather and come grab one, it will definitely make you feel better,” read one recent Facebook post on the company’s page.

Peter Cooks Bread - Wild Hops & Barley Sourdough - Britain's Best Loaf 2020

Source: Peter Cooks Bread

Wild Hops & Barley Sourdough, winner of Britain’s Best Loaf 2020

Peter Cooks Bread in Herefordshire has also maintained production of Wild Hops & Barley Sourdough Loaf in the years since it was named Britain’s Best Loaf 2020. “It is a mainstay of our seasonal calendar every September and October. We keep it just for the local hop harvest season,” commented founder Peter Cook.

“Winning the competition was a real boost for the business and helped us get media attention and interest from new customers at a crucial time,” Cook continued. “We were just coming out of Covid restrictions and many local hospitality providers were looking to revamp their menus to entice customers out. Then they find out that Peter Cooks Bread just down the road makes Britain’s Best Loaf and it’s a simple decision on where to go for the best real bread.”

Poppyseed Bakery founder Lee Smith is a four-time champion of the competition, and says his most recent winner – a Wholemeal Sourdough Loaf – is his favourite among the breads he makes to this day. “We received a lot of publicity for winning in 2019 and increased our sales,” he added.

Poppyseed Bakery founder Lee Smith has been a regular judge at Britain's Best Loaf since winning the competition four times.

Source: British Baker

Poppyseed Bakery founder Lee Smith has been a regular judge at Britain’s Best Loaf since winning the competition four times.

Britain’s Best Loaf 2024 – sponsored by ADM Milling, Bako Group, Brook Food & Bakery Equipment and Lesaffre UK & Ireland – is set to take place on Tuesday 30 April at the NEC Birmingham. Entries can be made via the dedicated website up until the extended deadline of Monday 25 March.

As we build up to this year’s event, the esteemed panel of industry veterans and technical experts set to judge loaves across eight different categories has been unveiled.

To help contestants, we previously published the various attributes that judges will be looking for in an award-winning bread relating to appearance, texture, aroma and, of course, taste.