Asda says redundancy 'last option' for bakery staff

Asda staff in Norfolk in consultation

Thousands of bakery staff at Asda are now in consultation after the store decided to no longer bake goods fresh on site. - Credit: Asda

Supermarket chain Asda, with stores across Norfolk, has started a consultation process with more than 1,000 workers.

The firm said that it was treating redundancy as "the last option" with the move blamed on changing tastes among shoppers.

As many as 1,200 staff work at the in-store bakeries across 341 Asda branches.

"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 company said in a statement.

Customers are increasingly looking for speciality breads, wraps, bagels and pancakes rather than traditional loaves.

The shift will see a centralised bakery delivering a larger range of pre-baked goods to supermarkets each day, replacing people baking from scratch on site.

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Asda chief merchandising officer Derek Lawlor said: "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."

Asda's move follows a similar decision by Tesco, taken just over a year ago, which put up to 1,800 jobs at risk.

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