Thanks to our category sponsor
Excellent products and an outstanding consumer experience are among the attributes sought after in the Bakery Retailer of the Year category.
Winner: Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer wants to be famous for its market-leading bread offer by elevating its speciality breads to rival artisan bakeries while differentiating itself with a range of special sweet treats.
The retailer said its speciality bread range has gone from strength to strength, helping it to outperform the market in what it describes as a key growth area.
Further innovation came as M&S invested in its bread offering through a partnership with Jones Village Bakery which has seen the Wrexham-based manufacturer invest £16m in a sourdough production line for the creation of the M&S Collection Sourdough range.
The NPD efforts are underpinned by an efficient operating model run by the retailer’s 5,000-plus bakers who are equipped with the tools and processes they need.
“We believe we have the best team in the business,” the business said. “We know they are proud to work for M&S Bakery, and we work to give them the best training, tools, and processes to do their job efficiently. Furthermore, we are using our new national training facility to increase our team members’ understanding of product quality and merchandising principles.
M&S has also been busy moving its in-store bakeries to front of store to drive perceptions of product freshness in addition to developing strategic partnerships with suppliers to elevate product quality.
The judges said the in-store bakery teams really knew their stuff and their passion for bakery shone through. They were also impressed with the quality of the products sampled.
Finalist: Paul Bakery
The judges commended Paul Bakery’s ambitious plans and noted the great strides the retailer has made in staff training, producing new training guides, a wealth of motivational learning and development initiatives, plus a ‘Highfliers Programme’ for management development.
The judges also praised Paul’s engagement with customers, such as working with aggregators such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats to offer shoppers the convenience they want while maintaining the product quality they expect. “Paul’s products were very, very good,” said the judges. “And we really liked the app developed to communicate to consumers, especially around its new value promotions.”
Finalist: Scotmid – The Kitchen
Bakery is a cornerstone of Scotmid’s stated purpose to serve its communities and improve people’s everyday lives. To deliver this the retailer works with winning local craft bakery suppliers in each regional area to ensure its customers can buy the best bread, product lines and flavours each area is famous for. The success of the strategy is vindicated by the 20% year-on-year growth in Scotmid’s bakery sales.
The judges said it was clear the leadership team had a real understanding of the customer base and cared about the suppliers they worked with. They added that all the in-store teams they met were both knowledgeable and passionate about the products they sold.
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M&S takes home the trophy for Bakery Retailer of the Year