The growth of the micro bakery in the UK

Micro businesses are an important segment of the business population in the UK.  They are technically defined as businesses with fewer than 10 employees and less than 2 million euros of turnover.  2 million euros?  I’ll take that (or half that or a tenth of that) and be running a business on whose profits I can actually live – feed my family, have a great quality of life, and do something I love.

Checkerboard rye.  Simple to make and highly nutritious for you and your community.
Checkerboard rye. Simple to make and highly nutritious for you and your community.

It seems daunting to set up a business – even a micro business.  What do you want to do?  Is there a market for it?  What about the competition?  What about the admin of setting up and running a micro business (let alone a small or medium one?).  The reality is, like anything, it’s both easy and hard.  Easy, because once you know how to do something, it’s ALWAYS easy.  Hard because working for yourself can be nerve wracking and is never ending.  There is always a to do list as long as your arm, you rarely feel like you can switch off, and there are very few people you can call on for support (say good bye to the IT help desk, for example).

Lucie Steel in the Evening Echo
Micro Baker Lucie Steel in the Evening Echo

However, the rewards are beyond price.  You have a thing of your own, you work when and how and how much you want, you invest how you think you should and you take as much profit as you feel you deserve.  And if you are a Bread Angel – a micro baker trained by us –  you are part of a community – a community of like minded people who believe it is possible to change the world through bread – one loaf at a time and one student at a time.

how to set up a community bakery
Liz (award winning baker) and Nina at the Bread Angels reunion

Micro bakeries are on the rise and there is no reason to see the rise slowing, stopping or declining.  Four years ago Virtuous Bread  had some clear targets, among which were training 100 Bread Angels (we have trained 180 now) and being a significant part of reducing the consumption of industrial bread in the UK.  We called it “moving the needle on the white sliced bread market” and we are proud to say we have done our part.  Led by The Real Bread Campaign and its members, big and small, we have worked, spoken, taught, agitated, written and ranted to get the message out that the industrial loaf is cheap for a reason and the very best thing you can do is learn to bake your own or buy real bread from a trusted supplier.

It's easy to bake bread this good...
Beautiful bread baked by a micro baker 

Enter the Micro Bakery

It’s amazing how easy it is to set up and run a micro bakery if you know how.  It’s amazing how cheap it is to set up and run a micro bakery if you know how.  You don’t need fancy gear.  You don’t need expensive ingredients.  You don’t need to over haul your kitchen (at least not at first – until you are SO SUCCESSFUL that you have to get more space like Filam, Lucie, Gaye, Melissa and Elisabeth are.  You need flour, water, salt, and yeast.  You need an oven.  You need some neighbours (individuals or businesses) who need only to try your amazing bread – and taste and experience the difference (no bloating! no gas! no tummy ache! more energy! eat less! lose weight!) to become your customers for life.  It’s amazing how fulfilling it is – meeting your very real need to bake bread and share it with your community whilst doing something wholesome and wonderful that enables you to use food to change lives (including your own – ask Francesca, Ursi, Nina, or Liz) and forge links like David, Venetta, Alison, Claire, Lisa, Peter, Deborah, Vicky, and Val are doing.

Bread baked by micro bakers - highly professional and brilliant quality
Bread baked by micro bakers – highly professional and brilliant quality

One of the Bread Angels had a client who contacted me recently to see if there was another Bread Angel in his vicinity because the first Bread Angels was forced to stop delivering to his very nice gastro pub.  “We have never tasted bread as good as Lucie’s…We are distraught…We don’t know what to do…”.  This is what happens if you stop delivery.  This is what happens if you continue:  “OOOOO there is the bread lady/man…thank goodness….good bread at last…bread that actually has flavour!”  Ask Ni who is a Bread Angel from Thailand – she simply cannot bake enough EVER to keep people happy!

how to set up a micro bakery
Pete and Nick at the Bread Angels reunion

This is a common story and the market is by no means (BY NO MEANS) even close to being met.  There are food desserts all over the UK where people can no longer buy fresh food if they do not have a car.  There are markets crying out real bread – ask Juli, Adri or Rhiannon if they have any bread left after a market day and they will laugh!

All of the details of the course and how to find a trainer are on the Bread Angels website.
All set to start my micro bakery!

It’s easy to set up and run a micro bakery – if you know how.  It’s hard work – I won’t deny it.  It’s fulfilling work though, and it’s work that you can start easily and for very little cost, that you can build over time while continuing to work at your old job. And if you are a Bread Angel you have over 100 like minded people in the “host” to help you fly.  Click here to become a micro baker.  Join us.  You will love it.

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Have your own micro baking business


2 thoughts on “The growth of the micro bakery in the UK”

  1. Just a quick question. I have a small home based micro-bakery. The other day someone asked if I had 2 sinks(?!?). I only have 1 in my kitchen. Is it a legal requirement to have 2? Thanks in advance for response.
    Bread and Butter Bakery

    1. Dear Maria

      Technically no it is not a legal requirement. However, in order to trade legally from your home you need to be approved by the council. Fill in the form on the council website that will be called something like “food business from home”. An inspector will come round to inspect you. You have to submit the form 30 days before you start trading to give them a chance to inspect you. They may or may not get round to you in that time (it depends how busy they are). Once 30 days have passed, you are good to go. The inspector will advise you of what you need and if you have only one sink, the inspector will advise you how to cope with that. You should also do your food hygiene certifications. You can do these on line.

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