The inaugural National Craft Bakers’ Week caught the country’s imagination last week, with strong radio, TV and newspaper coverage and a surge in footfall at high street bakery shops.
Sir Terry Wogan was one of the most vocal supporters of the event on his morning radio show, helped by a daily delivery of fresh bread, savouries and cakes from craft baker Chris Freeman of Dunn’s of Crouch End.
Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles also plugged the event, while George Fuller of Fullers Quality Bakers in Goole, Yorkshire, was interviewed at his bakery by the local TV news.
Organised by the National Association of Master Bakers, with support from suppliers and industry organisations, including British Baker, the week highlighted the creativity and care that goes into craft baking through its theme ’The Shop That Never Sleeps’. "We are really pleased with the coverage we received," said NAMB chairman and Birds of Derby retail operations manager Mike Holling. "It has helped raise the profile of craft bakers and get a positive message out there, which is vital for our members in the current economic climate."
Over 3,000 point-of-sale packs were sent out to craft bakeries, many of which held special events and promotions. At Cheshire-based Peter Herd of Wilmslow, daily discounts boosted sales of barm cakes from around 300 a day to 1,000 on one day across its three stores. It also saw celebration cake orders rocket, thanks to a 20% discount and an in-store decoration demonstration.
Fuller added: "People were very inquisitive as to what was going on and why, and we saw new faces in our shops. It certainly did us good to take part."
Five-shop Warings Bakery in Reading said its Free Bread Friday promotion received "an absolutely huge response", as did its chocolate choux bun give-away on Wednesday. Feedback from its branches revealed customers who had picked up free baked goods had returned later on to buy products.
In Scotland, SAMB member and MD of Mathiesons Bakery George Stevenson, presented the Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Jim Mather - who gave his support to the event - with a selection of fresh bakery produce, including a tray of strawberry tarts.