Award category sponsored by

An overall winner in the category this year
was selected from seven regional finalists

Winner: Reeve the Baker (Also South West winner)

Reeve the Baker is a craft bakery operation that offers quality products containing locally sourced ingredients, while embracing modern strategies to build its business.

Based in Wilton, Salisbury, the family-owned and -run craft bakery has 12 shops across Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire, all serviced from a central bakery.

Sourdoughs are produced without the addition of commercial yeasts and most products are made using traditional craft skills.

Business growth is running at a healthy figure due to shop refurbishments and most outlets incorporate a coffee shop, including the flagship store at Salisbury, which seats 80 customers. The company says customer numbers are up in all its sites.

Within the shops there is continual staff training, whether it’s how to look after customers better or how to make good ferments. Negotiations are under way for shop number 13.

Judges praised the quality of Reeve’s products and were also impressed with how, as a modern bakery, the business uses social media to communicate effectively with its customers.

“The team at Reeve the Baker has continued to build on their traditional
bakery skills, with outstanding quality finished bakery products,
which are clearly made and sold with pride and passion.”

 Tim Clarkson, cluster director at category sponsor Dawn Foods

Finalist: Birds Bakery (Midlands winner)

A traditional high street craft business with 63 shops, Birds is renowned for its cream cakes, bread, confectionery and takeaway. Employing 725 people to service 125,000 customers weekly, the company reacts quickly to the latest trends and places a particular focus on food-to-go operations, which is proving a success.

Finalist: Flour & Bean (London and South East winner)

This bakery employs seven craft bakers, producing goods for the company’s six shops and four Plantations Coffee Shops in garden nurseries. Flour & Bean produces fermented breads and rolls, Danish and cream goods, and has also developed sandwiches and light lunches using its own bakery products.

Finalist: Grants Bakery (Northern England winner)

The main focus of this Northumberland family business is traditional with a twist. Director Andrew Cotterell says: “For example, our flapjacks feature white chocolate and raspberry, our lemon meringues are marbled and our tartes aux pommes are made with dark chocolate.” Sales are growing year on year.

Finalist: Jenkins Bakery (Wales winner)

‘Quality, freshness and value for money’ is a Jenkins family bakery motto. The company works with local suppliers to reduce food miles and help keep the local economy healthy. Jenkins takes on and trains its own bakery staff, which gives them rewarding career paths to follow, supplying its own 30 shops.

Finalist: Stephens Bakery (Scotland winner)

This fourth-generation family bakers employs 230 people and is both traditional and innovative. Using only 100% Canadian wheat for the bread rolls, which are sold alongside confectionery and a salad bar offering bespoke fillings. Last year, the company launched a drive-through bakery.

Finalist: Knead Bakery (Northern Ireland winner)

Graeme Niblock has been running Knead Bakery for 25 years. A recent refurbishment has reaped rewards, but nothing trumps quality, he says – whether it’s the meat for a sausage roll, a classic cake or a new indulgent bun.