Sponsored by Lantmannen Unibake

Winner: Asda

Asda has transformed its in-store bakeries in the past year after recognising it had made the category and shopping experience too complicated.

Activity has included taking out unnecessary complication, so staff can focus on the needs of shoppers. As a result, some ranges were switched from scratch to bake-off, while scratch was introduced on some other products

“This really was a winning combination by empowering our colleagues and placing craft back into the stores,” said the retailer. “Bakers can focus on innovation in our scratch business and ensure the quality is paramount and consistent.”

NPD has included the launch of a brown sourdough loaf under the Extra Special bread range. Asda has also evolved its training structure, creating 20 Stores of Excellence to make training more accessible.

BIA judges praised the business for its ‘back to basics’ approach to the category.

“Asda has rolled up its sleeves to review and improve everything about its ways of working and in-store delivery,” said one, pointing out that reductions in the height of some fixtures and improvements to merchandising had transformed retail execution.

“Well done Asda – fully engaged staff at store level with a clear understanding of product and customer needs.”

Finalist: Morrisons

One of the big changes at Morrisons in the past 12 months has been the introduction of ‘wave baking’ to all in-store bakeries after a trial in 50 sites.

By introducing a new production plan of four bakes across the day, the business is aiming to offer customers fresh bread throughout the day.

“We have had some great feedback from our customers. In particular, they have noticed they can get a loaf of bread still warm at 2pm in the afternoon,” says the retailer, which has instructed staff to leave a gap on the shelf – rather than face products across the gap – so out-of-stocks are easily recognised and topped up.

The business has also been busy on the NPD front, with launches such as fresh cream waffles on its patisserie counter and the introduction of stonebaked pitta breads from the recently reopened Rathbones bakery.

Morrisons is also continuing to roll out its ‘fresh look’ refit programme, which has introduced improvements such as expanding its single-serve fresh cream cake range by adding chilled counters, and reworking production areas and replacing equipment.

Finalist: Tesco

Tesco says scratch baking is at the heart of its operation, and that simplification of production has enabled it to drive consistency, availability, freshness and innovation – and contributed to it achieving its best-ever in-store bakery hot cross bun sales this Easter.

“We have worked with suppliers to simplify processes and provide colleagues with the ability to utilise our scratch mixes, which unlocks capacity

in-store to use new production skills and produce on-trend products,” explains the retailer.

Another focus for the business has been ensuring its bakery fixtures are easy to navigate and appealing to explore.

Tesco is also enhancing its production planning tool to boost availability and freshness, while improving waste reduction.

“We have also built a solution for dot.com stores that enables bakers to deliver availability for our online customers balanced with driving availability in-store,” says the retailer.

In addition, Tesco is working with suppliers to ensure all of its newly developed in-store bread products and ingredients are specified as clean-label only.