LEEDS, UK. — British supermarket chain Asda is considering changing the way its in-store bakeries operate, citing a desire “to improve product quality, availability and offer customers a greater range of specialized bakery products.”
The retail chain currently uses a scratch baking model in which fresh-baked foods are made once a day. Moving forward, Asda said it is considering a transition to an ambient bakery model, using a centralized bakery to deliver a wide range of pre-baked products to stores each day.
Asda said the shift in strategy follows a transition in customer buying behaviors in recent years, with demand for specialty bread, wraps, bagels and pancakes outstripping traditional loaves.
“The current in-store bakery model has restricted our ability to respond to changing customer demands and offer them the specialty products and freshly baked goods they want to buy throughout the day,” said Derek Lawlor, chief merchandising officer. “The changes we are proposing will deliver a much better and more consistent bakery offering for customers across all our stores. We know these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this process.”
Asda, which operates 341 stores that employ approximately 1,200 bakery workers, will now enter formal consultations with colleague potentially impacted by the changes. If the proposals are enacted, the priority will be to move as many colleagues as possible into alternative roles within Asda, with redundancy the last option, the company said.