Bakery giant Greggs dwarfs its rivals on the high street, both in the takeaway and fast food sectors, according to British Baker’s new league table, the Top 50 Bakery Retailers 2007 (see pg 14).

Our independent research shows that Greggs has more than five times as many shops as its nearest bakery rival, Lyndale Foods, the company which owns the Sayers, Hampsons and Maison Blanc brands.

With 1,327 outlets in the UK and a further six in Belgium, it also has more shops than fast food giants McDonald’s and Burger King, and more shops in the UK than Subway and Starbucks combined.

Managing director Sir Michael Darrington told British Baker: "We are delighted to be recognised as Britain’s top baker in the first year of this list. This position reflects the enormous contribution of Greggs’ employees all over the country and their individual commitment to making and serving great products.

"Despite the significant changes to this industry and market over the years, Greggs is committed to retaining our bakery credentials and heritage, at the same time evolving our bakery offer in line with customer needs."

The new league table, which will be updated annually, gives a full countdown of the number of shops operated by the big bakery and takeaway operators in the UK. For example, it shows that Subway, Starbucks and Costa Coffee all have 500 or more stores and Caffè Nero, M&S Café Revive, BB’s Coffee & Muffins, Pret A Manger and SSP-owned Millie’s Cookies all have estates in triple figures.

The list also reveals that SSP, formerly owned by Compass, has built up a substantial bakery business, with brands including Upper Crust, Millie’s Cookies, Caffè Ritazza and Ixxy’s Bagels. With a total of 522 bakery-style stores, it is number three on the list, behind Subway, which now has 780 UK stores.

Traditional bakers in the top 20 of the new list include: Peter’s Cathedral Bakers and Cooplands (Doncaster) in joint twelfth position; Ferrari’s, which is currently in administration, at number 15; WT Warren & Son and Firkins, both at number 17; and Birds (Derby) at number 19.