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New for the 2022 Baking Industry Awards, Online Bakery Business of the Year recognizes the evolution of how consumers buy delicious baked goods and the businesses that serve them.
Winner: Project D
Project D has made great strides since its inception in 2018. The Derby-based donut specialist was originally aimed at the UK’s high street but shifted to a predominantly online business when the pandemic hit . Now he delivers luxury hand-decorated donuts across the UK and promotes his products through occasional pop-up stands and his first permanent store in Loughborough.
The company is run by three friends who are all still under 30 and have their product firmly targeted at other millennials. Its large, engaged social media following is enamored with its products, and in the last year alone, Project D has achieved a 20% increase in revenue.
Besides online, he has started exploring new marketing avenues and currently sells 6,000 donuts a week through his wholesale channels. These are done through independent cafes, garden centers and university campuses, located in places as far apart as South Shields and Tamworth.
The founders – Matthew Bond, Max Poynton and Jacob Watts – believe their greatest success in the last 12 months is to have managed to grow the business in a sustainable way. This included the installation of the bakery mezzanine which allowed the company to invest in the £300,000 donut line, enabling it to increase production fivefold.
Judges said the brightly colored and cheeky-named products tasted delicious, and they had a hard time choosing from the trendy toppings. They praised the site for its ease of navigation and said the product arrived quickly in perfect condition with every order.
Finalist: Lottie Shaw’s
Lottie Shaw’s turnover increased by 138% last year, with online orders accounting for 60% of the total. From its bakery in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, this third-generation family business cooks from scratch and offers several iconic recipes such as Yorkshire Parkin. Since the company first went live in 2019, it has garnered over 4,750 reviews, 98% of which are five stars.
During Covid, the bakery developed a corporate gifts section which grew so quickly from 40 to 4,000 orders per week that Lottie Shaw integrated her systems with those of DPD to increase efficiency. The judges praised the bakery for its delivery service, clear pricing, quality products and ambition to establish an international online gift service.
Finalist: Passionate Craftsman
Products ordered from the Lovingly Artisan site arrived with a handwritten note on how to store the items and best enjoy them, which the judges said was a nice added touch that matched the main bakery’s ethos. .
The bakery’s online business was, like many, established during Covid and developed to maintain the company’s core values and “Northern Soul”. Each loaf shipped is packaged in branded eco-friendly bags lined with natural wax to keep them fresh longer. The judges praised the ease of ordering on the site, as well as the quality of the product upon arrival.