Me and My Brand: Louise Reynard of Baker Street

Louise Reynard, Commercial Manager for Baker Street shares an update on the extended-life brand, why it works so well, and big plans for the future

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Louise Reynard

Can you please give an overview of your Baker Street brand 

Baker Street is a UK bakery brand, part of the St Pierre Groupe portfolio, and it’s got a whole host of products – everything from burger buns and hot dog rolls to classic sliced and rye breads – all with an extended life to help reduce retailer’s wastage. Our sliced breads are also a reduced size which makes them perfect for one-person households.

Essentially, Baker Street is there for when you need it. For retailers, the appeal – particularly for convenience – is in being able to offer a long-life alternative.

Trying to plan for one hot weekend, a sell-out of BBQ products and then manage stock through when there’s a total wash out means that retailers are wasting a phenomenal amount of bread. Or, the forecast predicts a wash out and then the sun makes a surprise appearance. Suddenly you’re sold out of key products and have to watch sales walk out the door. Our extended shelf-life products reduce the risk of wastage and offer a quality product.

How is your brand currently performing? 

Baker Street is performing brilliantly. Sales are up 36 per cent year on year and the brand value will exceed £24 million this year. During COVID-19, the good weather helped boost sales of Baker Street Burger Buns and Hot Dogs rolls and the trend has continued – people are realising that you can eat burgers or at least use the bread, whatever the weather. We get feedback all the time that the quality is great too – our burger buns are built for burgers. They’re not going to fall apart like a sandwich roll might. That quality is also boosting the brand. It’s actually a brilliant success story – particularly for the convenience sector. Baker Street is the number-two branded burger bun in the UK and we don’t yet have a single listing with a major multiple!

Baker Street Sliced Bread

How is the bakery/long-life baked goods market currently performing? 

It definitely feels like UK retailers are starting to understand the brand more. The UK has a slightly strange attitude towards extended-life products, but Baker Street is the Number 7 fastest-growing bakery brand in the UK, so it’s fair to say that attitudes are changing. Next year, I think we’ll see long life become more widely sold, in part due to the impact of the pandemic. People are looking to shop less, so they need products that they know will last until their next shopping trip. We’re terrible in this country for throwing bread away, but people are more aware of food waste than ever before. The tide is turning.

Do you have any new product development? 

Baker Street always has new product development – but I’m not allowed to say what! There are some key areas that we’re interested in developing in 2021. I’m rubbish at keeping secrets, but I’m going to have to keep schtum!

How are you supporting your brand & NPD? 

The business has really upped investment in marketing over the past couple of months and by all accounts, there’s going to be a lot of very exciting activity in 2021. We’ve recognised that NPD needs PR – we are really excited and we want to share that excitement with people.

We’re also going to be looking at how we better support our products in-store, working closely with our retail partners to help bring the brand to life for the consumer – as well our first ‘direct to consumer’ marketing campaigns.

We’ve got big ambitions for Baker Street. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be in every convenience store in the UK. How many brands could you buy a six-pack and be able to use half one week and half the next, knowing that they’ll still taste great? Our focus is on bringing this to life.

 

How important are independent retailers to your brand? 

Independent retailers are SO important. Baker Street isn’t as ‘sexy’ as some of our other brands, but what we have done with the brand and the quality of our products is fantastic.

Admittedly, I’ve got a real soft spot for the brand and its relationship with the convenience sector. But more than that, you’ve got to really believe in your brand. I genuinely eat Baker Street products everyday – they’re that good.

What trends are occurring in the sector? 

I think there’s been some rationalisation – certainly in bakery. Retailers are cutting their ranges down to offer less choice.  It used to be really common that you’d go into a shop and find them offering three different versions of the same product. In bakery, we’ve gained space on the shelf because we’re offering the same quality but better shelf-life.

Convenience retailers had to adapt throughout COVID. Previously, many didn’t offer a huge range of fresh food, but consumer habits changed and extending the range compromised the space dedicated to the bakery aisle – but that worked in our favour, thanks to the extended shelf-life.

Describe your brand in three words.

Long-life – People are realising the benefits of long life products now, so retailers are less suspicious.

Quality – We’re really proud of our products, our clever packaging process and the brand.

Fun – Baker Street is fun. We’re not a stuffy traditional bakery brand and we do things differently.