Lidl in-store bakery

Source: Lidl

Lidl’s business strategy for its in-store bakeries will be discussed by head of buying Holly Bleach

Bakery experts from Lidl, Wildfarmed, and Just Love Food Company are among the speakers due to share their expertise at the upcoming British Society of Baking (BSB) conference.

The event, which focuses on driving growth and NPD, takes place at the Cotswold Hotel and Spa in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire on Thursday 18 April.

Notably, many of the speakers are recent Baking Industry Awards winners with Lidl taking the title of Bakery Retailer of the Year in 2023, while Wildfarmed secured the trophy for Sustainability Initiative of the Year for its work with M&S. What’s more, Just Love Food Company took home the gong for Free-From Bakery Product of the Year with its gluten-free Happy Birthday Cake.

Here is the full line-up of speakers and the topics they will be covering:

Holly Bleach, head of buying, Lidl

Holly Bleach oversees a team of buyers responsible for bakery and snacking, including in-store bakery, bread, cake, biscuits, and more. Her presentation will explore her role, which touches on every stage in the lifecycle of a product, including product and packaging development, agreeing commercials with suppliers, and monitoring the performance of ranges. She will also discuss business strategy projects, including Lidl’s ‘Next Level Bakery’ project.

Gilbert van der Wal, senior bakery application specialist, IFF

Gilbert will be providing the technical paper for the conference. He will discuss how bakeries can balance production costs with product quality to meet consumer demand for healthier and label friendly offerings at a price they can afford. As part of this, Gilbert will present a brand-new enzyme that contains a patented innovative phospholipase, designed to meet these needs without compromise. He’ll also discuss how functional bakery ingredients can support customers’ sustainability agenda.

Andy Thomas at the Baking Industry Awards 2024 with host Ellie Taylor and Macphie’s sustainability director Edward Widdowson

Andy Thomas at the Baking Industry Awards 2024 with host Ellie Taylor and Macphie’s sustainability director Edward Widdowson

Andy Thomas, head of grocery, Wildfarmed

Andy has been part of two Baking Industry Award-winning teams, most recently as part of Wildfarmed but also with M&S when it was named Bakery Retailer of the Year in 2022. During his time with the retailer, he was instrumental in transforming the in-store bakery offer, including the launch of the Collection Sourdough range. Now, as Wildfarmed forges ahead with new major new partnerships, he will discuss whether all wheat growers should consider following its values? Are those values cost effective? Will ‘sustainable’ and ‘regenerative’ become retailer-driven requirements for the future?

Mike Woods, a smiling man in a blue jumper

Source: Just Love Food

Mike Woods

Mike Woods, managing director, Just Love Food Company

Woods will explore what is next on the agenda for his free-from cake business including how he is driving growth and tackling NPD – a particularly difficult task as many of the products made by Just Love Food are free from 13 of the 14 major allergens. Having studied chartered accountancy, he became management accountant in a food factory, studying waste, yields and doing costings for all. By the time two of his children were diagnosed with life threatening nut allergies 24 years ago, he was MD of a cake business having to put ‘May contain Nuts’ on every product. Then in 2009 he took the momentous decision to set up his own nut-free factory.

Stéphanie Brillouet, marketing director, Délifrance

Brillouet will be giving exclusive insights at the BSB conference as she delves into consumer attitudes and habits when consuming viennoiserie products both in and out of the home. She’ll unveil key trends and share valuable practical advice on how to maximise this knowledge to elevate your bakery offerings.

NPD panel

In this panel chaired by Paul Turner, four passionate experts will offer short presentations on a variety of topics before answering questions from the audience on all things NPD related. The panellists are:

  • Mark McCormack from British Bakels, providing guidance and tips for developing a winning product and successful launch through the Stage Gate process from concept to post launch
  • Stan Cauvain is a world-renowned cereal and bakery scientist. His consultancy, Baketran, places an emphasis on achieving optimal quality and development of new products and processes
  • Aisling McGhee is part of the fourth generation at McGhees Bakery. A former KPMG chartered accountant, she leads the team’s product costing and pricing proposals, as well as being heavily involved with all aspects of the NPD process
  • Daniel Sanders is head of product development at Hovis. His focus on innovation has helped the company’s craft and artisan-style bakery products approach £20m sales in just three years.

The BSB Golf Day is taking place on the Wednesday 17 April – the day before the conference. The evening will include dinner and drinks.

To find out more, or to book tickets for the conference, visit the BSB website.