Asda cuts 1,200 bakery jobs

Asda is set to cut up to 1,200 jobs as it moves its focus away from traditional bread loaves.

The supermarket said it intends re-deploy as many employees as possible to other roles, with redundancy being “the last option”.

The news comes as UK consumer attitudes to bread are changing, a Mintel survey in July 2020 said 47 per cent of respondents agree that eating a lot of bread is unhealthy, and that since the start of the pandemic healthy eating has become more important for 30 per cent of people.

Asda said the move was in response to “a notable shift in customer buying behaviours” in the past few years, as consumer interest in speciality breads, wraps, bagels, and pancakes exceeded that for traditional loaves.

Asda currently makes bread in-store from scratch with teams of bakers but will now rely on a central bakery model and deliver pre-baked breads to its supermarkets.

The supermarket said the restructuring will allow it to provide a larger range of bakery products, as bread can be baked several times a day, instead of just once.

The supermarket is set to begin a formal consultation with its bakers and bakery managers.

Rival Tesco last year made a similar decision to change its focus from traditional bread, axing 1,800 jobs in response to reduced consumer demand.

“The current in-store bakery model has restricted our ability to respond to changing customer demands and offer them the speciality products and freshly baked goods they want to buy throughout the day,” said Asda chief merchandising officer Derek Lawlor.

“The changes we are proposing will deliver a much better and more consistent bakery offering for customers across all our stores."

He added: “We know these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this process.”

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