As stores struggle to keep bread and other baked goods on shelves, now is the time for retailers to turn to local bakers for supply.

Britain’s largest bread suppliers are fighting hard to keep up with demand, making changes to systems to maximise production – such as reducing the number of different products they supply.

Unlike many other food manufacturers, they also have the huge challenge of delivering product direct to stores.

Given the unprecedented situation, it’s little wonder that at least one of the big three bread brands has now stopped supplying some smaller stores.

Meanwhile, many of Britain’s bakers have seen their wholesale businesses virtually disappear overnight as schools, restaurants and hotels shut their doors. Bakers have been reduced to tears as trade they have spent years nurturing and supporting suddenly dries up.

If you are a retailer looking at empty bread shelves, pick up the phone to your local baker.

Nothing may come of it. Or you may strike up a business relationship that will last beyond the current crisis.

This is an opportunity to keep your customers satisfied while throwing a lifeline to a deserving local business.

It is said so often these days but it remains true: we are all in this together, and we will come through it together.

Vince Bamford, editor, British Baker