Corporates change via bakery

We’re used to corporate people being, well... just that, corporate.

Especially the bigger boys who have so much to lose. So it is refreshing then when a senior manager gives such an honest appraisal of their company. I am, of course, referring to the talk by Nick Tatum, the bakery category director at Tesco, delivered this week at the British Society of Baking’s annual conference.

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Tatum has moved quickly since his installation last October and has sparked a revolution at Tesco. He has revamped the company’s offer in just short of year. It is often said that changing strategy at a FTSE company is a bit like trying to turn around the Titanic in a bath, not so in the case of Tatum’s work.

A selection of the new continental bread lines include rosemary and rock salt focaccia, sunflower and honey loaves, green pesto breadsticks, three-cheese bread, a range of hand-baked pretzels and a sourdough pave, have all been introduced at Tesco. The new bakery format is part of the supermarket’s wider improvements to its UK business operations and follows the launch of its Everyday Value own-brand range, as well as major improvements to its ready meal range.

Tesco, whatever your views on in-store bakeries, is a substantial player in the UK bakery market. And, for many, it will be their only experience of bakery. For them to up their game in such a way is a reflection of the whole up-skilling in the industry.

Bakers know that what they produce is something special, and is evocative. The supermarkets know this too. It is a leader for other sales and its amazing therefore that Tesco has been so honest about its pre-revamp offering. It should be applauded and so to should the BSB for obtaining Tatum as a speaker. The whole conference was informative and insightful.

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