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Social media campaign gives a voice to small German bakers

Fritsch's #SaveOurBakers project reveals the ingenuity and enterprise of artisan bakers.

Following the pandemic outbreak and imposition of lockdown FRITSCH began a social media campaign, #SaveOurBakers, to highlight the personal experiences of bakers. Katrin Schöps of the company provided an update on the initiative and how it is progressing:

"When the Corona pandemic reached its peak in March and the whole world was in a state of emergency, we as the FRITSCH team wondered what message we wanted to spread in this crisis," she explained. The company was in an enviable position, as compared with others, being able to continue production as usual and move much of its staff to work from home without difficulty. A lot of SMEs were not so lucky or secure, so a concern for the wellbeing and livelihood of its artisan bakers led to the launch of #SaveOurBakers to give the bakers a voice and share their inspirational stories of ingenuity and encouragement. "We were able to learn about their actions, which they initiated within a few days and weeks and how much solidarity there is in their neighbourhood. We were once again able to experience that there is not only a lot of creativity in their craftsmanship, but they are also very inventive when it comes to new sales strategies."

One important change that has occurred during the crisis has been the need to move towards cashless payment contrary to usual practice among small traditional bakers unfamiliar with the technology. Government requirements have meant that bakeries had to implement digital payment systems, online shops, ordering apps, which are likely to remain even after the Corona crisis.

Among the initiatives introduced by bakers have been individual and often unique sales models, such as: door to door delivery service; bread trucks with localization app that run from village to village; Pick-up station in front of the bakery; Introduction of a customer card with which customers can pay; Pop-up bakery in an empty petrol station; Students volunteers for the delivery service. In addition, FRITSCH partners purchase care packages from company bakeries to support their sales and people in the neighbourhood who need help.

According to feedback from bakeries, some of these sales models will be discontinued after the Corona crisis because they are not profitable in the long term. However, much has been learnt, such as an increasing and conscious appreciation for local producers and that their products provide quality of life. Also, that neighbourhood assistance and an appreciation of the home can enrich the everyday life of each of us.

"I really hope that this project can continue even after the lockdown, because then we will see what opportunities we have taken from this crisis," said Schöps. "We will still experience the economic consequences for a long time. Numerous artisan bakers are currently applying for insolvency. We will find out what positive effects we can take with us. I don't think that with the reducing the COVID-19 measures, the personal experiences and stories of our bakers will become less."