Small bakery owners face serious challenges

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Concern has been raised about the future of small bakers
Concern has been raised about the future of small bakers

Related tags Bakery

The rising costs of flour and energy pose some serious challenges to bakery owners and support is needed for this sector, a new report has revealed.

Research conducted by Emma Bell, Professor of Organisation and Leadership at the Open University Business School, between May and July this year looked at how small bakery businesses were faring following the pandemic. 

It found that in the past five years, the number of small bakery businesses in the UK has grown, due to increased demand for artisanal bread and a spike in popularity for bread, cakes and pastries.


Results of a survey, conducted as part of the research, showed that the cost of ingredients was the biggest concern for bakery owners, followed by rising energy costs, followed by cost-of-living pressures on their customers. 

It said there are now major challenges for the sector. The war in Ukraine increased wheat prices by 40% while the soaring cost of living means that many consumers are now cutting back. 

The report, which was created with support from The Real Bread Campaign and the Craft Bakers Association, also found that the recruitment and retention of skilled bakery employees is a further widespread concern amongst these business owners and that, while they are willing to train bakers, there is an issue of an ageing workforce and limited training opportunities for young bakers. 


The report states that a successful future for these small businesses will require bakery owners to work together with policy makers, educators, and suppliers to build more resilient supply chains, improve training and career pathways for bakers and enhance customer awareness about the benefits of locally made, fresh bread and bakery products.

Professor Bell said: “In the face of soaring costs and a shortage of skilled bakers, we need to find ways to support these innovative small businesses and ensure small bakeries continue to play an important role in building local, sustainable food cultures in the UK.”

Chris Young, from the Real Bread Campaign said: “This report gives an insightful snapshot of the state of micro and other small bakeries in the UK. While the Real Bread movement remains vibrant, the findings highlight the plight that many small businesses face and underline the need for the support that the Real Bread Campaign has urged the government to provide.” 

Related topics Bakery

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