Rugby legend Phil Vickery is on standby, local schools and community groups have been primed, and craft bakers round the country are putting the final touches to promotional plans.
As the adage goes, in marketing, success is about selling the sizzle, not the sausage. Plenty of fun is therefore the order of the day for the second annual National Craft Bakers’ Week, which starts on 7 June.
The Week highlights the commercial and social role that craft bakers have in their communities, and encourages consumers to "come home" to the high street. The theme of the week,’The Shop That Never Sleeps’, refers to the craft production process that goes on in a baker’s shop at night. This time the week promises to be more of a show-stopper than ever, with a record number of craft bakers putting on events, promotions, competitions and demonstrations. The National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB) has organised the week, working with key industry companies and British Baker magazine. Chief executive Gill Brooks-Lonican says that members around the country are getting involved, with Vienna Bakery in Jersey among the latest to contact the Association.
Members of Scottish Bakers are also planning a big push, says new president Alan Stuart. Scottish food expert Sue Lawrence will be playing a key role in the campaign in Scotland, with local media and radio targeted. Stuart comments: "We are confident that we will make a much bigger impact this year than last year, generating publicity and sales." His own company, Stuarts of Buckhaven, will be hosting a visit from a group of primary school children to its bakery.
Among other bakers who have shared their plans for the week are Anthony Kindred of Kindred Bakery in Herne Hill, London. He will spend three days demonstrating bread- and pizza-making at the South of England Show, Ardingly, with children and adults given the chance to knead dough themselves. The firm will also run promotions across the week.
Kathleen’s Kitchen in Colchester, Essex will be giving bread baking demonstrations at two local schools, with children moulding doughs into bread and decorating with seeds and grains.
The Bread Basket in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex will be holding bread baking demonstrations at a local school, as will Mansbridge Bakers, Hemel Hempstead, Crumms Bakery in Bexley, Cornfield Bakery in Oxford and Hurst’s Bakers in Clare. During the week, Hurst’s will also offer samples to shoppers.
Meadowfield-based baker Ian Storey in the north-east, who became national president of the NAMB in May, is also planning to do some school visits during the week. "Once people try our bread, they always say it’s better than the supermarkets’," says Storey. "We’ll be trying to get that message across in National Craft Bakers’ Week."
Bushells Bakery in Lowestoft will be promoting new dietary products and handing out tasters and recipe cards to shoppers.
And Fullers Bakery in Soham, Cambridge-shire is among many of the bakeries holding colouring-in and drawing contests, in a competition organised centrally by the NAMB.
Craft bakers have also been baking cakes to deliver to TV and radio celebrities to generate national publicity. London-based bakeries Wenzels and Dunns are baking photo cakes of Holly and Phil of TV’s This Morning, as well as Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles. Kindred’s, meanwhile, is baking a Chris Evans photo-cake and Cornfield Bakery is tackling The One Show’s golden girl Christine Bleakley.
Figurehead for the week is World Cup-winning Phil Vickery, the former England rugby captain. "A celebrity like Phil will help to raise our profile and to get our message across about the importance of craft baking to the high street and to the local community," says Mike Holling, NAMB chairman.
’The Shop that Never Sleeps’ campaign looks set to be a wake-up call to shoppers, the media and opinion formers, a reminder that the craft baker has always been and still is at the heart of the community.
l For more details go to www.bakeryinfo.co.uk and click on the NCBW link.