A senior boss at Tesco admitted the company’s bakery offering had to “catch up” with rivals - as he announced plans for a new training centre for the supermarket chain.
Nick Tatum, bakery category director, was speaking at the British Society of Baking (BSB) when he made the brutally honest assessment and pledged the supermarket chain would continue to overhaul its range of products, packaging and presentation, saying it was on a “journey”.
Tatum, who took over in charge of bakery with the company in 2011, has moved fast in revamping Tesco’s in-store bakeries and admitted some sites were now seeing double-digit growth.
He said the company had made its baked offering “more warm and more human”, after listening to its customers.
“It was very easy for me, because when customers were telling me it was rubbish I could say, ‘Don’t worry I am going to fix it’,” he explained.
Tatum said that customer research revealed the consumer could not understand the classification of bread previously used - and now the standard 800g in-store made loaf was the same as its Finest range.
Hinting at further developments to come, he added: “We can’t be wedded to ‘as is’ and, instead, we have to be wedded to the future. It isn’t all about 800g and it isn’t all about white.”
The new training centre for Tesco will be based in Enfield and will include all the different types of equiment from ovens, provers and roll plant that the supermarket currently uses. “This is us catching up,” added Tatum. “It will give is the opportunity to train existing staff as well as new.”
Tatum was speaking on the day that the supermarket reported a fall in half-year profits for the first time in around two decades. Pre-tax profit for the six months to 25 August was £1.7bn, down 11.6% from the same period last year.