An in-store bakery inside a Sainsbury's store

Source: Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s is planning to remove scratch baking from more of its in-store bakeries as part of wider proposals to help it deliver its Next Level Sainsbury’s strategy.

The retailer has yet to reveal how many stores and bakery staff could be affected by the move but has confirmed it is conducting a consultancy process with bakers in the affected stores. Sainsbury’s noted it has reassured staff that it will find alternative roles for them where possible.

The proposals are part of its ‘Save and Invest to Win’ programme, which includes the reduction of around 1,500 roles across the business. This also features a move to a simpler structure for teams at its Store Support Centre and in its Retail, Transformation, HR, Supply Chain, and Logistics departments.

Sainsbury’s said leading the market on freshly baked goods was an important part of its aim to become ‘first choice for food’. It has already started a programme to move stores to a more efficient way of baking products in store and has outlined plans to move more to this model.

The ‘more efficient’ method utilises a bake-off model, common across the major retailers, in which baked goods such as bread and rolls are delivered from suppliers par-baked to be finished baking in store. At present, Sainsbury’s operates a mix of scratch baking and bake-off models across its in-store bakery estate. Scratch baking will remain in some stores should the proposals go ahead.

“Our Next Level Sainsbury’s strategy is about giving customers more of what they come to Sainsbury’s for – outstanding value, unbeatable quality food and great service. One of the ways we’re going to deliver on this promise is through our Save and Invest to Win programme,” said Simon Roberts, Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s.

“As we move into the next phase of our strategy, we are making some difficult, but necessary decisions. The proposals we’ve been talking to teams about today are important to ensure we’re better set up to focus on the things that create a real impact for our customers, delivering good food for all of us and building a platform for growth. I know today’s news is unsettling for affected colleagues and we will do everything we can to support them.”

Many retailers utilise a bake-off model. Both Lidl and M&S, who were crowned Bakery Retailer of the Year at the Baking Industry Awards in 2023 and 2022 respectively, both use it across their estates. Asda, also a finalist at last year’s awards, overhauled its bakery operation in 2021 to futureproof its in-store bakery business. The strategy change saw it remove scratch production and moving to a centralised manufacturing model, including bake-off.