Blackburn-owned supermarket chain Asda is in discussions about changing its in-store bakery business model which could lead to over 1,000 job losses.

The supermarket, owned by the Issa brothers, the billionaires behind the EG Group petrol forecourt business, has started consulting with about 1,200 staff over its plans to overhaul in-store bakeries across 341 Asda branches.

Asda has today announced proposals to change the way that its in-store bakeries operate to improve product quality, availability and offer customers a greater range of specialised bakery products. 

The supermarket is proposing to introduce an ambient bakery model, using a centralised bakery to deliver a wide range of pre-baked products to stores each day, replacing the current scratch baking model.

In a statement, the company said: “If the proposals are enacted, the priority will be to move as many colleagues as possible into alternative roles within Asda, with redundancy the last option.”

The company said that it was treating redundancy as “the last option” during the consultations, which it said was sparked by changing tastes among shoppers.

Derek Lawlor, Asda Chief Merchandising Officer, said: “The current in-store bakery model has restricted our ability to respond to changing customer demands and offer them the speciality 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.

"We know these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this process.” 

Customers are increasingly looking for speciality breads, wraps, bagels and pancakes ahead of traditional loaves.

The shift will see a centralised bakery delivering a larger range of pre-baked goods to supermarkets each day, replacing the current model where the goods are baked on site.