Award category sponsored by

Winner: Marks & Spencer

Bakery has been a focus for Marks & Spencer (M&S), with the business recently refreshing its point-of-sale material to give it a “warmer tone of voice”.

And the retailer has been working to make its in-store operation more efficient and customer-facing.

Activity has included changing location of equipment in the bakery, altering staffing hours to ensure there is a trained baker to serve and help its customers and maintaining availability of fresh products.

M&S has also launched a new customer information system, designed to ensure staff have access to real-time product information, including full ingredients and allergens, by scanning a shelf-edge ticket.

Breads offering a point of difference – whether a sourdough or a fruited loaf – have been a focus for M&S as it looks to align itself with changing trends and customers’ needs.

“Customers are eating less bread and, when they choose to eat it, they want to eat better and eat a product that they really enjoy,” explains the business, which was declared the winner after impressing judges by offering a consistent approach across all the stores visited during the judging process.

“Stores offered excellent quality and presentation, with impressive staff knowledge
of baking process and products. With strong NPD, waste reduction
and stock control, M&S is a worthy winner.”
Peter Drew, marketing director at sponsor Lantmännen Unibake

Finalist: Asda

Asda – which says its top priority from its in-store bakery offer is to have freshness, consistent quality and availability throughout the day – has continued its mission to make bakery shopping simpler for the customer. The retailer’s back-to-basics approach has included improved baker training materials, innovation such as new Tiger Coburg and Salt & Pepper Baguette scratch breads, and investment in price and value.

Finalist: Booths

Booths’ vision for bakery retailing is simple – to make quality accessible and to provide a dynamic shopping experience. The retailer says it benefits from having talented craft bakers in its region, which means it is consistent in delivering quality products and creating a memorable shopping experience through the sight and smell of its loose bakery offering.

Finalist: Lidl

Introduced into Lidl stores in 2011, bakery has become a key element of the retailer’s offer. Bakery is positioned at the front of Lidl sites in a move designed to entice customers through the doors, and, last year, the business introduced a promotion that trialled 21 new products over the year. While ensuring strong availability, food waste reduction has been a focus for Lidl.

Finalist: Morrisons

Range development has been in the spotlight at Morrisons, including new The Best Belgian Chocolate Hot Cross Buns, made from scratch in-store. The business has also driven growth in its pick’n’mix rolls after improving quality and unveiling new lines. And it has developed new fixtures to promote its pastries and Viennoiserie while simplifying its bakery operationby introducing new ingredients.

Finalist: Tesco

Tesco is in the third phase of a three-year plan to develop its in-store bakery operation. The first year was built around stabilising and resetting its ISB operation, the second on simplifying and differentiating, and the third is about integrating, sustaining and evolving the plan. Key areas of focus include clean-label products, reduced packaging, health and sustainable ingredients, alongside innovation and collaboration with suppliers.