viewpoint

22 June, 2007
Page 10 
Last time we wrote about the top 50 retailers of bakery products some craft bakers told us off, pointing out that coffee shops such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee are not 'bakery'. I quite agree. They are coffee shops. But they are also retailers of baked goods and they rival craft bakers who have cafés (pg 4).
It is therefore essential that we include them on our listbecause it is always important to know what your rivals are doing and the speed at which they are opening or closing. For example, a while back we featured the development chef at Pret A Manger, who described his thinking behind the chain's sandwich range. We also interviewed the MD of Caffè Nero to discover the range and source of his baked goods.This week we update you on the top 20 on our list of retailers - and there have been some dramatic changes. Subway is increasing its outlets, Benjys has gone and craft baker Cooplands has shot up the scale. Just last week a well-known craft baker was telling me he needs to investigate better coffee machines to rival the quality of the coffee shops. That is the right attitude for that baker and the location of his shops.Meanwhile, if someone had suggested a year ago that Sainsbury's in-store bakery would be charging £1.69 for an own-label speciality loaf, I would have been surprised (pg 8). But Sainsbury's is charging just that for five of its six new loaves and I think it is a great move. The breads will be noticed, I predict they will be bought and it will engender more respect for bread and the whole category.The buyers at Sainsbury's told me how they had flown out to France, interviewed artisan bakers about their best-selling lines and then worked with their bread suppliers to produce those products for the British palate. In the meantime, other supermarkets are battling it out in a price war (pg 4). Bread simply cannot afford to be a major casualty. Also this week, we take a topical look at Inter Link's current situation, check out bakery at Whole Foods' new supermarket in London and find out just how clued-up typical consumers are about folic acid. We also consider when it's wise - or not - to expand your craft business.I hope you enjoy the variety.



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