Tesco said it would have to make "customer-led decisions" this year, following plans to slim down its product range and launch fewer products than in 2007, in a bid to drive availa- bility and quality.

In-store bakery (ISB) buyer Simon Holt told British Baker that Tesco’s ISB contained too many products and the range would undergo "editing" over the next 12 months. The aim is to make it simpler for stores to bake products in-store, maintain quality and increase availability, he said. "We only have so much shelf space, so we’re focusing on editing the range. We cannot keep filling the stores with more and more product," said Holt.

"This will involve making some decisions based on customer needs - we’re going to have to be very focused. That will be a massive project this year." Currently, around 80% of ISB sales come from half of Tesco’s products, he added.

Despite a successful year for the category, Holt revealed that the ISB launched too many products in 2007. Future launches would have to be backed up by market data and a strong customer rationale from suppliers, he said. "We’ll launch fewer products - around 40 a year - but more successful ones, so we can focus on what customers want."

Holt also called for more NPD on non-premium lines. "Everybody is going hell for leather after Finest," he said. "But the vast majority of our customers are middle-of-the-road and middle-income; we’ve got to provide great quality and great value-for-money for those customers."

ACNielsen figures for the last 52 weeks to this week show Tesco is outperforming the market by 3.5%. "We’re also reporting some of the strongest numbers within food at Tesco," added Holt.