BORN AT SEA
The first ‘ship biscuits’ make their appearance. Commonly known as ‘hard tack,’ they are used as rations for naval seamen. Relied on in war, and in peacetime too, they soon became a staple of every sailor’s diet.
Johann Friedriech Baumann docks in Durban, South Africa, baker and a family man with an industrial-sized vision. He establishes Baumann & Co in Durban the same year with a plan to manufacture the first South African ‘ship biscuits’ … and the great Baumann biscuit dynasty begins.
Johann Michael Baumann sails from London to join his uncle in at Baumann and Co.
USE OF TECHNOLOGY
The first ‘ship biscuit’ machine comes by sea to Durban, imported by contemporary of the Baumanns who is unable to operate it. With their innovative minds and their knack for technology, the Baumanns buy the machine and operate it with great success, producing South Africa’s first machine-made ship biscuits.
Bakers Limited imports the first fancy biscuit machine to South Africa. The first versions of the iconic Blue Label® Marie biscuit begin to appear; 1911 sees the introduction of the Tennis® biscuit.
Anti-German riots break out. Due to its German name, the Baumanns’ bakery and office is burned to the ground. It is rebuilt and the company changes its name from Baumann & Co to Bakers Limited to avoid unwanted associations.
Fuelled by the demand for wartime rations, the company continues to grow. William and Otto Baumann open a Bakers Limited factory in Cape Town.
A 3rd factory is established in East London.
‘THE LITTLE MAN’
The first Bakers trade mark appears on Bakers Ltd. packaging. The grocer in his apron holding a box of biscuits is destined to become a much-loved symbol of quality and service: an embodiment of the Baumanns’ hard-working and jovial spirit.
BEATING THE DEPRESSION
The Great Depression brings flour shortages, food rations and numerous other setbacks. But, as often happens in hard times, consumers stay with names they trust. The hard times fuel new innovative baking techniques and production methods. Bakers Ltd installs a printing plant.
‘Provita’ makes its first appearance. By the end of the decade, the company has increased its production to include a whopping 240 product lines. By this time Bakers Ltd. has 200 employees and a 56% share in the bread trade.
After the war Bakers Ltd. production increases by 77%. The company expands to the Transvaal establishing a warehouse at Isando, Kempton Park.
The 60s bring free love, the Beatles, flower power, and innovation in the industry, including, not surprisingly, multi-coloured wrapping. Bakers Limited begins production in the Transvaal, opening a factory there to complement the Isando warehouse.
TAKING TO THE ROAD
Logistics have become a challenge. On the train the biscuits are being damaged in transit. A fleet of pantechnikon trucks is acquired to transport the stock. The famous red Bakers Ltd trucks become a familiar sight on roads between Durban and Joburg.
GROWING IN VALUE
Despite unmatched quality, the company is able to keep costs down. Delivering unprecedented value to customers, their position as industry leaders is undisputed. The ‘Little Man’ trademark continues to evolve as packaging is updated.
The company develops the BAKERS® brand. CGI technology sees the ‘Little man’ brought to life in a series of iconic Bakersman TV commercials, and the much-loved “Bakersman can” jingle is finds its way into the hearts of South African consumers.
BAKERS® continues to engage the consumer with promotions, competitions, TV commercials and on-going CSI initiatives. The BAKERS®/consumer relationship remains strong, characterised by trust, understanding and humour.
A NEW DIRECTION
BAKERS® launches into the Breakfast category with BAKERS® Good Morning Breakfast biscuits
2015 The new Masterbrand TVC is launched.