Facts and figures: The UK craft bakery sector versus coronavirus lockdown

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

The UK's craft bakery sector is bouncing back. Pic: GettyImages/Joyce Grace
The UK's craft bakery sector is bouncing back. Pic: GettyImages/Joyce Grace

Related tags: Craft Bakers Association, artisanal bakeries, coronavirus

A survey by the Craft Bakers Association (CBA) has found the UK sector is well on its way in adapting to the ‘new normal’ despite the unprecedented challenges thrown at it.

The survey – conducted in June among the CBA’s members – found almost 63% bakeries remained open during the past 10 weeks, with 68% of those operating at reduced hours.

Of those that did close at some point, 94% are now open in some capacity or are planning to open imminently.

Many respondents said they have adapted their usual sales channels to find new ways to get products to consumers while adhering to all the relevant COVID-19 guidelines:

  • 68% offered a takeaway service for customers during lockdown
  • 55% offered home delivery to those in the community who need it
  • 45% made changes to their payment system, following the advice for payments to be made using cards rather than cash.

“The results of this survey reveal the craft baker’s adaptability, resilience and capacity to innovate,”​ said George Fuller, chairman of the CBA.

“The industry is not only surviving … bakers are making the most of the current situation and we are confident about its future success.”  

The ability to be flexible has been key to success in recent weeks and evidence shows that craft bakers have been able to do just that, said the CBA.

Almost half of the bakeries surveyed said they had added new products to their range during lockdown, while 33% reported making more product than usual. Only 6% continued to produce the same amount of products.

Reflecting the unprecedented and far reaching impact of the pandemic, CBA reported 74% of its members had sought guidance on health and safety, as well as advice on employment law.

With many bakeries opening for a reduced number of hours or closing altogether, 85% were forced to furlough staff over the past 10 weeks. The majority of staff furloughed worked in retail (63&), followed by bakers and bakery assistants (32%).

The future looks positive, however.

As lockdown restriction begin to ease, 55% of those bakeries who did furlough team members are expecting them to return to work within a few weeks and 40% within a few months.

Related topics: Bread, Industry Voices, Markets, COVID-19

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