1816 jobs at risk as Tesco plans to transform its bakeries

Tesco Jason Tarry

Tesco has announced plans to transform its bakeries in large stores from May in a bid to remain relevant for customers, after noticing a “big shift” in consumer preferences.

The initiative comes after the grocer found that customers are purchasing fewer traditional loaves of bread and are increasingly looking for a wider range of options, with sales of wraps, bagels and flatbreads increasing.

The move will put 1816 bakery staff at risk of redundancy, to which Tesco said it will support those in finding an alternative role from the many thousands of vacancies available across store networks.

“We have undertaken a review to make sure our bakery operation is relevant for the way the market and our customers have evolved,” Tesco UK & Ireland chief executive Jason Tarry said.

“We need to adapt to changing customer demand and tastes for bakery products so that we continue to offer customers a market-leading bakery range in store.

“We know this will be very difficult for colleagues who are impacted, and our priority is to support them through this process.”

As part of the bakeries transformation, Tesco said it will increase the alternatives to traditional loaves.

“We will continue to offer scratch baking in 257 stores but we’re making some changes to our other bakeries,” the Big 4 grocer said.

“In 201 stores the most popular products will continue to be baked from scratch with other products moving to part-baked.

“And in 58 stores we’re converting the bakery to full bake-off where all products are delivered pre-prepared, then baked and finished in store.”

The retailer will also seek to improve customer experience by investing and continuing to roll out new, up-to-date fixtures as well as growing its regional bakery ranges in partnership with small local suppliers.

Tesco has undergone many changes this year so far.

Earlier today, it sold its 20 per cent share of a joint venture in China to a unit of its partner China Resources Holdings (CRH) for £275 million, establishing its exit from the country.

It also delisted a Chinese supplier following accusations of forced prison labour in manufacturing Christmas cards.