By John Murray
THE amount of craft bakeries in Ayrshire has risen over the past year as consumers are willing to spend more dough on organic, unprocessed bread and speciality cakes.
This summer two new craft bakeries popped up in Stewarton and the East Ayrshire village of Dunlop.
Stephanie Stewart is the owner of Gilmartin’ s bakery and café in Stewarton.
After her sister bought the old Bank of Scotland building in the town, the aspiring businesswoman saw a gap in the market for an outlet selling freshly baked breads and cakes.
She said: “It may have something to do with people being more aware of baking because of the show Bake Off. I don’t know but there has been an increase in people who want good quality bakery products.
“Ayrshire produces nice fresh produce and we wanted to be a part of that.”
Idle Hands bakes all its cakes and pastries on site and its bread is outsourced from different bakeries in the west coast of Scotland. Morven Kerr and her partner Piero Lundi have operated several retail businesses over the years. When an opportunity arose to take over the shop space below their flat they decided upon a bakery.
“We spoke to people in the village and discovered there was a real need for a bakery,” said Morven.
“A lot of people have been having processed bread and realised they don’t make them feel good but whereas with sourdoughs and freshly baked breads they are healthier options.”
Both Gilmartin’s and Idle Hands were delighted business was going well and both owners noted they cater to a wide demographic of people.
Stephanie said: “We get farmers, other workers and young mothers with children – a real mix.”
Morven agreed: “We get families with toddlers coming in and we get older people coming in and they buy bread to last them throughout the week. They tend to pick the healthier options thy go after the wee brown loafs because they prefer healthier option.”
Morven believed consumers buying habits had gone ‘full circle’ and people now use their loaves when it comes to shopping for baked produce.
“I think shopping habits are changing for people, they are never going to move away from the supermarkets entirely but I think people are enjoying better quality products and that is the way the high street is moving.”