Stacey’s Bakery – which has two branches in Ilkeston, as well as ones in Heanor and Eastwood – has not hiked up its prices as much as the bigger chain brand names.
In this inflationary environment, the price of flour has jumped by 30% over this year last year, whipping cream has risen by 50% and premises insurance has mounted by at least 10% - and that’s just a couple of overheads. Cost in labour, gas, energy, other ingredient price hikes, petrol, transport and so forth, and you have a quagmire amassing that ought to frighten even the most hardy baker.
Despite this more intensive landscape, Stacey’s has only had to make moderate increases on its products.
For example, Stacey’s sausage rolls are hand-made and contain quality meat, however, they cost only 84p – “30% cheaper than the mass-produced sausage rolls of a well-known brand,” said David Stacey, MD and great-grandson of the bakery’s founder.
To achieve this, the bakery has – where possible – changed suppliers to make sure it can continue to provide the good value it has been known for since the company’s inception over 100 years ago.
Inflated price hikes
But Stacey claims the biggest brands have also inflated their prices more than their costs have gone up.
“All businesses have to decide how much of their cost price increases they pass onto customers,” he said.
“It’s clear that some companies pass all these on, while others pass it all on plus some extra besides because they think they can get away with it.
“We’ve accepted that our profits are going to be lower during this difficult period. We can only absorb the price increases so much, but equally, we still want our customers to come back and keep shopping with us and not have to worry about extortionate costs.”
Additionally, while everyone is not immune to the runaway energy prices, Stacey said the bakery has been ‘very fortunate’ to have found an energy broker that has fixed the tariff until the current contract ends in September 2024.
“Don’t get me wrong, prices have gone up significantly compared to what they were before,” he added.
“But we can budget for that, and we know prices are not going to go too silly. A couple of months ago, we signed a contract which takes us to September 2026.”
Gearing up to help consumers through winter
But regardless of the current economic climate, Stacey’s – which employs 40 people across its four shops and bakery – has enjoyed a ‘buoyant autumn, surprisingly, even more so than this time last year.
Stacey puts the growth down to number of factors.
He said, “Our big thing is working in an efficient way – and as a small business, we can do that.
“We have a hard-working, dedicated team who, alongside myself, put in the hours – and that’s probably the key.
“We are also currently in the process of investing in some equipment to make our sausage roll production more speedy.”
He added the historic company had always remained steady, having survived several difficult periods, including the pandemic and previous recessions.
“Because we’re small and my family runs the business, we can make decisions quickly.
“We haven’t hesitated to change suppliers if it means we are going to get a better price.
“And if we get a better price, we don’t have to pass price hikes to our customers.”
January is a notoriously quiet time for the bakery sector following the hype of Christmas. But with higher bills expected, it’s anticipated that consumers will severely pull back expenditure in the New Year. However, Stacey’s is already devising plans to bring back special offers and reduced price deals to help get its customers through the winter.
These will be “simple items which will be quick to produce but still tasty”, said Stacey.