The Federation of Bakers, an organisation that represents the UK’s largest baking companies, has announced today the measures that the bread and bakery industry is collectively taking to ensure supply continues to meet demand. Members of the Federation of Bakers* are working to maximum capacity and in many cases have made changes to their systems to meet demand, which is exceeding 50% above average. Aside from increasing productivity, some bakers have also made the decision to reduce the number of SKUs, in order to maximise production of core lines.
Gordon Polson, Chief Executive of the Federation of Bakers, said:
“The supply chain for bread and bakery products is not the same as other foods, which is why, we as an industry, are working together with the government to ensure there is a continuous supply of quality bakery goods to meet consumer demand during this unprecedented time.
“We are facing a number of challenges; however, we welcome the support that the government has already shown towards the industry and recently called upon the secretary of state for the support to continue. This includes ensuring flexibility of driver’s hours, provision of suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), prioritising testing kits for the bakery industry and reviewing guidance on the provision of canteen food in the context of key workers. These measures will help to give the greater flexibility required in the supply chain.
“One of the challenges facing bakers, in contrast to other food manufacturers, is they are responsible for delivering product direct to retailer’s stores and therefore flexibility is needed to maintain business continuity. To help the industry overcome this, the government is recognising food production employees as key workers and relaxing drivers’ hours, which is key factor in ensuring product is delivered to retailers. This move also means we can ensure regular delivery of flour and ingredients to bakeries, as the supply chain for bread and bakery products has a very short lead time and flour from millers is delivered every day by tanker. As with other industries, absences in workforces are currently having an impact on productivity, however these are currently being managed. Although, there may be further challenges to overcome if this figure reaches 20%.
“With bread playing an important part in a healthy balanced diet and no more so than during a time like this, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and will make further changes, if required, in order to maintain an adequate supply of the nation’s favourite staple food product.”
The Federation of Bakers represents the interests of the UK’s largest baking companies who produce sliced and wrapped bread, bakery snacks and other bread products. It is a £4 billion industry at retail sales value employing around 75,000 people supplying 80% of the nation’s bread. To find out more about the Federation of Bakers visit www.fob.uk.com