asda bakery award

Asda’s senior buying manager for in-store bakery Ian Cummings (centre) collected the award from television presenter Stephen Mulhern (right) and Ian Harris, head of marketing at Lantmännen Unibake

Asda has been named Supermarket Bakery Business of the Year in the baking industry’s equivalent of the Oscars - the Baking Industry Awards 2018.

The grocery giant picked up the accolade at the event run by The Grocer’s sister publication, British Baker.

More than 600 industry guests watched Ian Cummings, Asda senior buying manager for in-store bakery, collect the award from television presenter Stephen Mulhern and Ian Harris, head of marketing at award category sponsor Lantmännen Unibake at the awards at London’s Hilton, on Park Lane, last night (5 September).

The judges recognised that Asda had transformed its in-store bakeries in the past year, after the retailer realised it had made the category and shopping experience too complicated.

It removed unnecessary complications so staff could focus on shoppers’ needs. Some ranges were switched from scratch to bake-off, and scratch baking introduced on some other products.

Judges praised Asda for its “back to basics” approach to the category, commenting on “fully engaged staff” in store “with a clear understanding of product and customer needs”.

“Asda has rolled up its sleeves to review and improve everything about its ways of working and in-store delivery,” said one judge, adding that reductions in the height of some fixtures and improvements to merchandising had transformed retail execution.

The Baking Industry Awards is now in its 31st year and recognised as the UK bakery calendar’s premier event.

Prizes were awarded across 10 categories including Speciality Bread Product, Celebration Cake Business and Baker of the Year.

Vince Bamford, editor of British Baker, said: “Once again, the Baking Industry Awards has highlighted the dedication and innovation that shapes Britain’s baking industry.

“I would like to thank everyone involved: our sponsors, our expert judges and, of course, the brilliant bakers and businesses we are delighted to honour with this event.”