How has the big chill affected Britain’s bakers?

As snow sweeps the country to varying degrees, we take a look at how the baking industry is affected by consumer reactions to the weather… and why. 

Bakers are a resilient lot, so there was never a question of whether it would be business as usual.

Remember the Cumbrian floods of last year? That didn’t stop you, so this was certainly never going to.

But what about the shoppers? We wanted to know whether the country is losing its collective cool and panic buying, or staying at home in the warm, hunkering down and waiting it out…

Reactions have been a mixed bag as far as we can see…

Sarah at The Rye Bakery in Hastings, East Sussex, said: “We’re open as normal, but it looks like people are staying indoors. The snow’s not too bad here but business is definitely quieter – Friday’s normally our busiest day. I’m trying to sit on the radiator to keep warm!”

Down the coast at Buttercup Bakery in Ramsgate, Kent, Hayley Woodford said: “It’s business as usual for us. It’s quiet as it is every year at this time, but the snow hasn’t affected us at all here. We’re fine!”

But at The Cake Kitchen in Frinton, Essex, it was a slightly different story: “We have been busier but not in the pattern you would expect,” said Debbie Forecast.

“We thought people would be panic buying when the snow was forecast at the beginning of the week, but we were quiet then. And now the snow’s here we’re really busy as they’re all panic buying!

“I think it’s because we live in a little town and we don’t often get the bad weather, so even if they predict it we don’t believe it until it’s here. But it’s here now, and they’re flooding in!”

Copland Family Bakers in Great Yarmouth said it was “open as normal” but added that it “has definitely been quieter. “We’re just carrying on and hoping people come out for their bread.”

Meanwhile in Scotland, bakers seemed to be making the most of the snow day, if Magee St Bakery was anything to go by... 

Have your customers been affected by the snow? Have you been busier or quieter as a result? Email alice.cooke@wrbm.com or tweet us @BritishBaker


Why do people buy more bread when it snows?

According to Forbes.com, the reason people bulk buy bread (and milk and eggs) when snow is forecast, as opposed to arguably more sensible, less perishable goods is an unwillingness to accept that it will be anything but a minor inconvenience.

Forbes.com said: “In one way or another, we spend a lot of time and energy trying to feel in control, and buying things you might throw out still gives the person a sense of control in an uncontrollable situation.

“Buying perishable items may convey that there is a sense of ‘temporary inconvenience’ that can be endured as opposed to buying more durable items like canned goods, which would signify a more traumatic situation.”

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