Around 1200 jobs could be lost at Asda after it announced plans to halt in-store baking.
The Big 4 grocer said the decision was prompted by “a notable shift in customer buying behaviours”, with demand for specialty breads, wraps, bagels and pancakes surpassing traditional loaves.
If the proposals are enacted, the grocer’s baked goods will be made in a central bakery and delivered to supermarkets.
Asda claimed it will try to move workers into other roles, with redundancy as the last option.
“We know these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this process,” 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 specialty 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.”
Asda’s announcement comes less than two months after it revealed 5000 warehouse jobs could go in its shift to online grocery shopping.
GMB national officer Roger Jenkins told The Guardian: “Asda’s plans to scrap baking their products from scratch on site and replace with part-baked products from mass producers is not good for the consumer.”
He called on Asda to “retain these valuable skilled employees and continue to offer the customer truly fresh produce baked by professional bakers.”
Big 4 rival Tesco announced a similar shake-up of in-store bakeries last year, with items being part-baked in-store instead of made from scratch.