The three finalists for this category have created dedicated customer followings in their respective regions, from down near England’s south coast to the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and up to the eastern shores of Scotland.
The category, sponsored by Dawn Foods, looks to honour successful and progressive businesses creating artisan, handcrafted, or bespoke ranges with exciting new products, customer engagement and marketing initiatives, and a sound work culture among staff. Entrants can range in size from operating a single retail shop, to a high street chain, to a wholesale craft bakery.
Check out the finalists for Craft Bakery Business of the Year 2023:
108 The Bakery
This bakery located in Romsey near Southampton was founded in 2018, and has managed to quadruple its turnover since moving to a new town-centre premises in October last year. Its small team of passionate bakers produce sourdough bread from locally stoneground flour, as well as viennoiserie, tarts, cakes, savouries, and sandwiches using local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients. Approximately half of the menu is vegan, said to be a key driver of new customers.
Positive reviews have been given for the bakery’s open plan layout, which allows customers a direct view of the staff crafting and baking products from scratch such as the local favourite cruffins and the signature stoneground white sourdough loaf. With sustainability being a central pillar of the business, the site is powered by 100% renewables, with single-use plastics minimised in operations and composting of waste maximised. 108 The Bakery says it is now focussing on profit rather than growth, trying to develop products that can be made in less time with less electricity.
Judges were impressed by the good farm-to-plate mentality from the business, and with the self-taught staff creating beautiful products including an orange polenta cake they described as “sensational”.
As a business with over 100 years of history, Bettys is billed as one of Yorkshire’s most iconic brands. It currently operates a craft bakery, five café tea rooms, and a cookery school, as well as a thriving online shop, which has doubled in the last year. Founded by a baker immigrating from Switzerland in 1919, the bakery combines Swiss precision with Yorkshire warmth to deliver a top-notch afternoon tea experience along with sales of handcrafted products including its bestselling range of Fat Rascal scones (700,000 per year).
Bettys has expanded its portfolio with gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options, and developed a hybrid of manual and automated methods to maintain artisan quality but keep up with demand. It recently launched an Afternoon Tea Gift Box for home delivery and completed a refresh to the Belmont Room of its York branch, which is a Grade II listed building.
Judges lauded the “heritage business” for its first-class branding and packaging, saying it had a lovely ethos and great staff retention.
Fisher & Donaldson
The Fife-based, fifth-generation family business has been handmaking its range of traditional Scottish favourites, seasonal treats, morning rolls, and afternoon sweets for over a century. It declares an uncompromising commitment to the pursuit of quality, which includes sourcing the finest ingredients locally. Fisher & Donaldson currently remains one of only two Scottish bakeries holding a Royal Warrant, and is making its second straight appearance as a Baking Industry Awards finalist in the category.
Having opened its first standalone café in St Andrews last year to add to its six existing shops, the company has welcomed a 15% increase in turnover over the past year. It attributes its growth to improved product quality and customer service, recognition for its multiple awards, a focus on staff training, and an expanding retail partnership with Greens stores across Scotland.
Judges praised the eating quality and exceptional freshness of Fisher & Donaldson products, while noting a step up in terms of display look, service efficiency and staff knowledge during their shop visit.
Thanks to our category sponsor
Baking Industry Awards finalists for 2023 revealed
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Finalists for Craft Bakery Business of the Year 2023