Morrisons has recaptured the title of In-Store Bakery Retailer of the Year at the Baking Industry Awards 2016 – the industry’s equivalent of the Oscars – with jammier doughnuts and the launch of 40 new products.

The nation’s fourth largest supermarket chain, which last won the award in 2013, also beat off stiff competition from the best of the British baking industry with the help of two inspections by independent judges of its Scarborough store. One was an unannounced mystery shopper visit.

The achievement was recognised last night in front of more than 800 industry guests at London’s Park Lane Hilton during a gala awards ceremony with the theme of the Moulin Rouge. The competition is run by British Baker Magazine and organised by William Reed Business Media.

Andy Clegg, Morrisons’ Category Manager – Bakery, accepted the award on the company’s behalf from Matt Dawson, television celebrity and a member of England’s 2003 World Cup winning rugby union team, and Richard Hazeldine, Sales Manager of the award’s sponsor, Zeelandia.

In the past 12 months, under the direction of a new CEO and group trading director, Morrisons’ bakery aims have been to improve product quality and be more competitive under the new banner, ‘Morrisons Makes It’.

As well as running its own bakery academy, Morrisons sent 53 members of staff to bakery colleges this year and the stores now run a master craft competition every November for bakers and cake colleagues to show off their skills.

Top sellers are the company’s Coburg cob and jam doughnuts with 20% more jam, while innovations such as chocolate chip panettone, made in-store, have also proved very popular.

Said Andy Clegg: “This year, a research programme involving customer and colleague feedback, resulted in 40 new products or launches with a twist. Our nominated store was Scarborough because of its excellent all-round performance.”

Now in their 29th year, the annual Baking Industry Awards are the premier event in the UK bakery calendar and have been recognising industry excellence since 1987. Prizes are awarded across 10 categories including Speciality Bread Product, Celebration Cake Business and Bakery Manufacturer of the Year.

Ellie Woollven, acting editor of British Baker Magazine, said: “This competition represents the very pinnacle of baking distinction and the finalists have to be of international standard in their craft to even be considered for an award. Once again, this is an historic day for British baking.”