The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. LLC has joined forces with Wilkinson Baking Co. to pilot The Mini Bakery, affectionately dubbed “The Breadbot,” at the Northeast supermarket chain's Milford, Mass., store. According to Stop & Shop it’s only grocer on the East Coast to feature the machine, which turns out fresh sandwich-style bread all day long.
The Mini Bakery mixes, forms, proofs, bakes and cools 10 loaves of artisan bread every hour. The breads come in such varieties as white, wheat, whole wheat, nine grain, sourdough and honey oat, with availability of items based on demand. The bread is made and sold the same day, eliminating the need for the artificial preservatives often found in commercial bread.
“We know that our customers want fresh, tasty and healthy food that’s good for them and for their families,” noted Michael Vachon, category manager at Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop. “With The Mini Bakery, shoppers can see exactly what goes into their bread and feel confident that it’s made with wholesome ingredients.”
“Making the bread locally, right in the store with The Mini Bakery, has a very positive environmental effect,” added Randall Wilkinson, CEO of Wilkinson Baking Co., in Walla Walla, Wash. “The fleets of delivery trucks and the fuel they use are reduced, since only dry ingredients need to be shipped. And, because The Mini Bakery keeps track of its production, it’s able to predict how much bread it should bake in order to meet demand. Everything it bakes sells within hours. Nothing goes to waste.”
The Mini Bakery is located within the Milford Stop & Shop’s bakery department. Each loaf retails for $3.99.
If the pilot proves successful, Stop & Shop intends to roll out additional The Mini Bakery machines at other stores across its five-state footprint.
Stop & Shop employs nearly 60,000 associates and operates more than 400 stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. Parent company Ahold Delhaize USA is No. 4 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.