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Asda in talks with bakery staff as store ditches ‘scratch’ baking

Asda said it will now ‘enter formal consultations with colleagues potentially impacted by the changes’ - with reports from Sky News suggesting that 1200 jobs could be placed at risk

Asda is in redundancy talks with a number of staff after deciding to close nine of its bakeries as part of proposals to “transform” its in-store baked goods offering. 

Asda, which is Britain’s third-largest grocery chain, said that move comes after it noticed a “shift” in customer buying behaviours in recent years. 

The restructuring of its bakery will see Asda begin sending pre-baked goods from a central location – rather than bake the products from scratch on-site. 

According to the group, the switch to a new model means Asda would be able to “broaden the range of bakery products offered” – baking fresh products several times a day, compared to just once a day at present. 

Asda said it will now “enter formal consultations with colleagues potentially impacted by the changes” – with reports from Sky News suggesting that 1200 jobs could be placed at risk. 

However, the grocer has confirmed that if the proposals are enacted, the priority will be to move as many colleagues as possible into alternative roles within Asda, with “redundancy the last option”.  

The announcement follows a similar move by rival chain Tesco. In February 2020, it announced a major overhaul to its in-store bakery operations, putting 1,816 staff at risk of redundancy.

At the time, the fellow ‘Big Four’ supermarket also revealed plans to migrate from ‘scratch baking’ – again citing a “big shift in customer tastes and preferences” as the reason for this. 

Derek Lawlor, chief merchandising officer at Asda, told Retail Sector: “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. 

“The changes we are proposing will deliver a much better and more consistent bakery offering for customers across all our stores. We know these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this process.”

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