Edmonton-based wholesale bakery The London Bread & Cake Co (LBC) has come up with an unusual way of coping with the recession by taking smaller bakeries under its wing.

Managing director David Hall, who describes the set-up as "a bit like a co-operative", told British Baker that, during the past 18 months, it has had two firms move production to its site Advent Way. In July 2009 bagel firm A&A Bakeries International moved into LBC’s premises after Goswell Bakeries sold the business to a management buy-out team, led by former general manager Alan Weston.

"Three months ago, we were also buying our doughnuts from an outside company, which produced excellent products, but was experiencing difficulties, so I invited them to join us we would charge a small management fee in exchange for looking after its HACCP, food safety, engineering and training issues," explained Hall. The company is now in talks with another London-based wholesale bakery, he said. The firms remain as separate com-panies, but work under one roof and, by using bulk-bought ingredients, the family of businesses can also make cost savings.

"We are a very large bakery and I feel the only way forward for us is to look at niche bakeries producing speciality products that complement our range, and that we can work with. We buy bagels and doughnuts, for example, from them, and they buy products from us we all work together," said Hall.