Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Co-op and Tesco accused of ‘misleading’ bakery claims

Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Co-op, alongside Tesco, have been accused by campaigners of alleged “misleading” bakery marketing claims.

The Real Bread Campaign, run by Sustain, has submitted a trading standard complaint over how the four supermarkets are marketing their bakery products, The Guardian reported.

Pointing to Sainsbury’s, the campaigners said its bakery section products advertise claims such as “freshly made every day” and “freshly baked bread”, however it is understood the grocer is moving from scratch baking to rebaking bread made in other locations.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s told the publication it had reviewed its “bakery services and recipes earlier this year” in a bid to ensure “good food affordable for everyone”.

They added: “More of our stores now bake pre-prepared dough in-store, as it allows us to offer customers the best quality in-store bakery products at great value. Our bakery items are also clearly labelled in line with legislation and trading standards.”

Lidl was also challenged over its use of “our fresh in-store bakery” and “baked for you throughout the day,”  despite the supermarket only putting pre-made products in the oven to achieve a brown, crispier look.

Likewise, the group has also accused Co-op of mislabelling and misleading over its “freshly prepared”, “sourdough” baguette, which the campaign said was first baked and manufactured by a third party.


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A Co-op spokesperson said: “As a convenience retailer, we pride ourselves on offering an affordable and great quality in-store bakery range for our member owners and customers – including our much-loved Irresistible sourdough baguette which is freshly prepared and baked by trained colleagues across our stores every day.”

It follows last month when the group first confirmed it had sent a complaint to Hertfordshire County Council, which is the local authority with the Primary Authority relationship with Tesco for trading standards.

The campaign said that claims such as “expertly baked in store since 1968”, “baking fresh from our ovens every day” and “freshly baked throughout the day” appear on Tesco’s packaging, store displays and its website, even in stores where this is not the case.

This includes stores where no bread is freshly baked from scratch on-site, stores where baking expertise is not required and stores that did not exist in 1968.

Real bread campaign co-ordinator Chris Young said at time the group was “saddened” by Tesco’s actions and “amazed” the marketing claims have been allowed.

Young added: “Over a number of years, Tesco has been shutting down in-store bakeries and making skilled baker roles redundant, replacing fresh bread making with staff members loading pre-made products into loaf tanning salons.

“We’re saddened by the company’s audacity in telling shoppers that things are being expertly, freshly baked and amazed that they’ve been allowed to continue making such claims.”

However, a spokesperson for Tesco responded: “We’re proud of our colleagues who freshly bake great quality, affordable bread in hundreds of our stores – and have done so since we opened our first in-store bakery in 1968.

“In some stores where we don’t have the space to bake everything from scratch, we work closely with our bakery suppliers who prepare dough for us that trained colleagues bake every day in store.

“The signage we use in each individual store reflects the different ways we prepare bread, and our approach has been agreed with our Trading Standards Primary Authority.”

Tesco also pointed out that while the supermarket giant had over 400 large stores which contain bakeries where products are made from scratch, and can be described as ‘fresh’ or ‘freshly baked’, it did not use terminology such as “fresh’ or ‘freshly baked’ on products made from frozen or part-baked dough.

Lidl has been contacted for comment.

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