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Wildcraft Bakery are finalists for TWO awards at the Baking Industry Awards 2020

Last night, the ceremony for the Baking Industry Awards 2020 digitally took place (you can rewatch it here, if you fancy!) Referred to as the Oscars of the baking sector, the Baking Industry Awards are a symbol of quality and excellence. It is the most prestigious event in the UK bakery calendar, and to be finalists in two categories is something to shout about! It feels even more special given how hard we have had to fight for our survival this year.

We were in the running for The Customer Focus Award and the Free-from Bakery Product of the Year for our Maple Pecan Cookie Dough Doughnut. We are a young micro bakery so it’s amazing to be considered for the BIAs, let alone making it to the final with the likes of supermarkets and other well-established independent bakeries.

In case you didn't already know, Wildcraft Bakery is a 100% gluten free, allergy conscious bakery, based in Leeds. We use blends of flours and ancient grains to create tastes and textures that are just how you remember them. Plenty of our food is free from the 14 major allergens, as we think nobody should go without a delicious baked treat!

Behind Wildcraft are two intrepid women, Mina and Sam:

“I started Wildcraft out of my own kitchen at home when I found out I couldn't have gluten. I love good food and baking, and I just could not bear the thought of not getting to eat all that wonderful stuff I was used to. I started just doing farmers markets but then the business grew, and I ended up moving out of my home kitchen into an industrial unit on a local trading estate. That was where my business partner Sam found me (best day ever!) and together we have grown Wildcraft into what it is now.

Sam and I are both coeliacs and have children with lots of food intolerances, so we try to cater for everyone.” – Mina, Founder

The Customer Focus Award

The thing that keeps Wildcraft going is all the incredible support and love we get from our customers. When we wanted to open a cafe but had no money, they gave us over £15,000 via a Crowdfunder campaign we ran. When we had to pivot from being a bricks and mortar bakery to online when the pandemic first struck, they supported us and continued to order and spread the word to help us survive.

Thanks to our customers' support throughout 2020, we managed to move into a bigger production bakery and open a high street shop and cafe in Leeds, though it was not straightforward. We originally planned to open the café in April, but we had to change tack and launch an online mail order service instead. The café finally opened in September, only for the UK to be hit with another lockdown 2 months later. It was a tough year for everyone, and we were no different.

Free-from Bakery Product of the Year for Maple Pecan Cookie Dough Doughnut

Wildcraft gluten free doughnuts have quite the following on Instagram and Facebook. Once a week we add a limited stock of doughnuts to our website, just to watch them sell out in minutes (one customer said it is just like buying tickets for Glastonbury!) We are so excited that our Maple Pecan Cookie Dough flavour has been recognised by the BIA as one of the best free from products in the country.

How was the judging process?

Like most things these days– distant, digital and different. Lots of paperwork at first, and then Zoom meetings once we were shortlisted. We had to send our doughnuts for judging all the way to Germany! When we were confirmed as finalists, a photographer (safely) visited the café in December to capture Mina & Sam, as well as our coveted Maple Pecan doughnut.

How did you get here?

The fact that our products are not just gluten free but also so very tasty and innovative is the reason why we are finalists in the Baking Industry Awards this year. We are also the first free from bakery to be finalists in the Customer Focus awards.

We are unbelievably proud of how far we have come. Even though we didn't win anything at the ceremony on the 20th of January, we're incredibly happy! 

Who organises these awards?

The Baking Industry Awards (BIA) are presented by British Baker magazine and organised by William Reed Business Media. Our awards were sponsored by Lumina Intelligence and Ingredion respectively.

Learn more about the BIAs here