The Hawkhurst Bread Shed always gets the details right. It’s just the way they roll - not only in terms of big punchy flavours but also a striking presentation that stands out on the shelf. As manager Lauren Smith puts it, “customers eat with their eyes.”
We caught up with Lauren to discover more about how the changes they implemented for Natasha’s Law, including roll labels and upgrading to our labelling software, LabelLogic Live, did not just comply with the new legislation but actually ramped up business growth. After selling his successful village shop, Lauren’s dad, Julian Smith, set up the Hawkhurst Bread Shed five years ago. His first customer was the new owner of his former shop!
The Bread Shed’s sandwich business has just grown and grown. Now the tight-knit team makes a whopping number of sandwiches daily, plus party platters, baguettes, wraps, scotch eggs, and samosas for shops, cafes, farm shops, garages, schools, events, and more.
Meeting Natasha’s Law with LabelLogic Live
When Natasha’s Law was introduced in 2021, businesses that offered food or drink pre-packaged for direct sale (PPDS) had to include full ingredient declarations on the packs with allergens highlighted in bold. At the time, many small businesses were concerned about how to meet the new legislation fearing it would be too challenging and costly. But for the Bread Shed, it became an opportunity.
Lauren told us:
“We have thrived since Natasha’s Law because we got on top of it. Some other businesses stopped when it was introduced. But we smashed it.”
The sandwich business signed up to LabelLogic Live, Planglow’s multi-award-winning label software, to manage all their label printing requirements. This innovative online labelling system allows them to create legally compliant food labels online and stay ahead of future legislative changes.
How roll labels turbo-charged the business
Before Natasha’s Law, they used square labels, but now they've switched to Planglow’s Simply Natural Nutri Roll Label, a much more efficient option. In fact, roll labels have been the biggest game-changer.
“Now we keep our brown and white bread sandwich packaging separate. So we have two laptops and two printers and can run both simultaneously using the power of LabelLogic Live. It’s so much more efficient and faster with roll labels."
This means Lauren’s father can go out and attract new orders and new business, safe in the knowledge that Lauren (and LabelLogic Live) have everything under control.
“It’s all second nature now. I love the fact that it’s simple to use with an easy layout. Many of the supplies we use are already in LabelLogic Live, for instance, tins of sweetcorn. So it’s easy to create new flavours as you don’t have to type all the ingredients. LabelLogic Live highlights the allergens in bold. I also highlight it when we add a new ingredient to our products to make customers aware.”
With LabelLogic Live, Lauren can add nutritional data, including the full ingredients declaration and allergens in bold for over 42,000 branded products.
From product title and price to barcodes, allergens, and full ingredient declaration, with LabelLogic Live, they can add as much or as little information as required. Having the ingredients and information in the system helps to ensure accuracy and food safety by reducing the opportunities for human error.
Like many similar businesses, the Bread Shed has a lot of details they need to share with customers, including:
- Description and title
- Time /date
- Produced in Kent
- Email address so that customers can contact them
- Below 5 degrees fridge temperature
- Use by /end of
- Ingredients on the back
Even with this level of detail, Lauren can easily fit all she needs on the roll labels designed especially for Natasha's Law. She can make changes to what is on the label in the template section of LabelLogic Live quickly with no hassle.
Another benefit of LabelLogic Live is that it gives Lauren control - over access to the data and also where and when she can work. She can set user permissions with varying levels of access. They use two logins, with Lauren having greater permissions and the team having their own login with restricted access. The online labelling system can be used on the move freeing Lauren to work on the label app at home on her iPad.
It’s all in the “deep-fill” details
When talking to Lauren, it quickly became clear that the team is meticulous in creating and presenting their high-quality, deep-fill sandwiches. The tiniest detail matters; each sandwich is placed in the box straight and lined up perfectly.
“I want to ensure that every sandwich sits in the box well. People eat with their eyes. I want them to see the product and want to buy it. With our tuna and cucumber sandwiches, I like to present them so that customers can see the cucumber. It’s these details that matter.”
Hundreds of flavours make up the Bread Shed’s flexible and varied offer. Coronation Chicken is a top seller, which flew off the shelf at the Queen’s Jubilee. They like to think outside the box with offerings such as the beef stack with beef, cheese, chutney, or the CLT (chicken, lettuce, and tomato). In the summer months, they also ramp up their plant-based options.
Generous fillings are the USP, which is winning them business. A private school has just switched to the Bread Shed from a national chain, which had disappointingly served sandwiches with a mere slither of filling.
Eco packaging stands out on the shelf
The natural, rustic look works well with Hawkhurst Bread Shed’s brand ethos of a quality, hand-crafted, freshly made offering.
Their delicious sandwiches are lovingly packed and sent to the shelf in various Planglow plastic-free packaging. The plant-based Natural Peel & Seal Wedge is a firm favourite as it offers an extended shelf life for sandwiches (without the need for a sealing machine).
They also use the Natural Heat Seal Wedge, a perfect match for their trade-mark deep-fill sandwiches. These are spot on for high-volume sandwich producers like the Bread Shed who want their sandwiches to be as fresh as can be; the wedge is fully lined with a smart plant-based laminate offering a superior barrier so that even the most generous (and the Bread Shed’s are generous!) fillings stay as fresh as can be. Like the mouth-watering New Yorker with mustard mayo emmental, gherkin, pastrami, and rocket.
“We do all our sandwich packaging by hand, and the whole team has the knack for the Planglow packaging. Our customers love the natural colour. They look nice and attractive on the shelf. People buy more in great packaging.
“The fact Planglow packaging is better for the environment definitely impacted our decision. Our customers even contact us to say they love that the products are compostable!”
Call the Planglow backup team
Unlike many packaging and labelling companies, our expert team of account managers and IT support team are here to help.
Lauren told us:
“Live chat is very helpful. It’s peace of mind - so many businesses provide the labels but don’t offer the support of the live chat. If you forget how to do something, you know this support is available.
“For example, I wanted to create labels for platters and worried I’d have to redo all the labels. I contacted support, and they talked me through how to do it. I set up a new template and copied the information from each sandwich into a new category . It’s so easy as the information on each individual sandwich was already on the system.”
Lauren’s account manager, Sally, is also always there to help:
“Sally is supportive, kind, and helpful. She’s brilliant and always gets straight on the phone. Sally recommended that we switch to the roll printer to help improve efficiency. When we started using it, there was something wrong with the printing. But Sally knew what it was straight away and sorted it out. She knows it all inside out. “
To conclude, Lauren says it best:
“Planglow has had a huge impact on our business, and we'd recommend them to others. The labels are so fast and easy to create, and the packaging is so eye-catching.
“After all, we eat with our eyes.”
Thanks to Lauren for catching up with us, and we wish them continued success.
Check out the benefits of LabelLogic Live here.