UK firm seeks partner to upscale baking quality marque

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Worshipful Company of Bakers CEO: 'Anyone who believes they can partner and take this forward in a professional way, as opposed to a voluntary way, we will talk to them'
Worshipful Company of Bakers CEO: 'Anyone who believes they can partner and take this forward in a professional way, as opposed to a voluntary way, we will talk to them'

Related tags Baker Bakery

The Worshipful Company of Bakers is looking for a partner to develop and drive forward its bakery quality stamp in the UK.

The bakery livery company launched its Bakers' Marque in 2012. The pilot project was developed to give bakeries an assurance standard on production and ingredients quality – something the Worshipful Company of Bakers believed was missing in the market. As of today, 12 small UK bakeries have adopted the marque.

But Martin Westwood, CEO of the Worshipful Company of Bakers, said now was the time to upscale.

“This is a pilot project – it’s not being run at a very big scale. It’s been staffed to date by volunteers within the company – a small but willing team of very highly qualified people involved in baking for a very long time, but realistically it cannot run at a nationwide scale as it is,”​ he told BakeryandSnacks.com.

“So now, it needs to move on. It must be a more commercial basis in the sense it will need paid staff; paid organisation,” ​he said.

Driving the marque nationwide

The company wanted a partner to back the marque and drive it deeper into the UK’s bakery market, Westwood said, and it was very open about who that partner could be.

Victoria Bakery in Barnet, London carries the baker's marque
Victoria Bakery in Barnet, London carries the baker's marque

“Anyone who believes they can partner and take this forward in a professional way, as opposed to a voluntary way, we will talk to them.”

Whether that was an existing standards association, a trade association or a bakery firm, he said the company wanted to hear more.

Ideally commercial backing would happen within the year, he said, but the timeline was truly dependant on the level of interest and where the interest came from.  

If, for example, a fully-functioning standards agency rolled the marque out it would take considerably less effort and time than a start-up company or baker taking such a project on for the first time, he said.

“But, what we’d have to say is that the key bit is maintaining the credibility of the marque as an independent standard.”

Eligibility to use the marque is based on four key points: provenance, production process, product and staffing and community.

Bakery companies have to prove provenance on all ingredients used and communicate this to consumers and the product has to be judged as excellent by the Worshipful Company of Bakers. For production, environmental health and safety standards must be met and the bakery also has to show positive staffing attitudes, particularly around training and recruitment.

What’s the appeal?

“[The marque] is something that says companies are compliant with all the necessary legislation, obviously, but also that they’re being judged by their peers to be of a suitable standard...It’s about knowing it’s something judged by other bakers as a worthwhile product,”​ Westwood said.

The Bakers' Marque would assist consumer purchase decisions, Westwood says
The Bakers' Marque would assist consumer purchase decisions, Westwood says

For bakery companies of all sizes therefore, the marque – once better known nationwide – would be a credible mark of baking quality and standards, he said.

For consumers, he said the marque was another signpost to help navigate through a plethora of foods and claims.

“It has a part to play, in amongst the other marques on the market, in reassuring the consumer. It’s in the greater interest of people wanting to know more about their food.”

Full details on the criteria of the Bakers' Marque can be found HERE​.

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