Bakery owner Getty Images

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The Open University (OU) is calling on owners of small bakeries across the UK to help create a better understanding of the sector by providing input for research.

The bakery owners are being asked to complete a short, anonymous survey, with the type of businesses targeted ranging from sole traders and microbakers to employers of up to 50 people.

The aim, according to the OU, is to help create a better picture of the sector, how it has changed over time, and to gain insight into the experience and needs of small bakery owners. Along with information collected from interviews with bakers, the findings of the study will help to demonstrate the contribution that small bakeries make to job creation and local economies, the researchers said.

According to Emma Bell, professor of organisation studies at the OU, the results of the survey will also show how craft bakers are responding to today’s challenging market of rising costs and shortages of raw materials, and highlight the kind of support they need to survive and thrive.

“We need a better picture of the experience and characteristics of small bakery businesses in the UK,” said Bell. “They appear to be growing in strength and numbers, with many new businesses having started up in the last five years. But they face a lot of issues that are making their future challenging.”

Bell added that she hoped the study, which is being carried out by OU with assistance from the Real Bread Campaign and the Craft Bakers Association, will help to raise awareness of the innovative work that bakery owners are doing. .

Bakery owners are invited to complete the survey online at: