Scott Clarke, Tesco category director of bakery, stressed the retailer’s strategy to put the customer first, at the FoB conference. Coming from a background of bakery at RHM, he said his first five months at Tesco had "felt like a lifetime". He commented: "It is an industry full of changes and everyone has an emotional response."

He said that Tesco was a grocer at heart and wanted to offer great quality, at a fair price with constant availability. And he added that food pricing was the number one issue for consumers with 27% of them shopping around more, according to recent IGD research.

Clarke also noted that plant bread sales were up and that 5.7% more of the population were eating lunchboxes. But he dismissed the idea of labelling in-store bread, stating, "Cus- tomers are not asking for it."

On the issue of salt, he said: "We need to be responsible." And he commended the breakfast cereals industry for the way it promoted its ’healthy’ attributes and said there was an opportunity for bread to do likewise.

l For a fuller report on this talk see feature pages 26-27