Baker Street is a brand in growth, after the first quarter of 2023 saw extended distribution of its core ranges with major UK retailers.

Grocery Trader sat down with Mark Frossell, Senior National Account Manager at St Pierre Groupe to discuss what’s next from the long-life bakery leader and how Baker Street is helping retailers to reduce wastage and drive profit.

What are your best-known products?

When Baker Street launched in 2002, it was pre-dominantly about long-life sliced breads, offered into the convenience sector. More than 20 years later, the brand is a leading name in long-life bakery, with a range of bakery staples including sliced loaves and an increasingly popular seasonal range.

Our best-known products, though, are our burger buns and hot dog rolls. Since launching onto the shelves of major multiple supermarkets in 2021, the range has gone from strength to strength and can now be found on shelf at ASDA and Tesco.

What’s the latest news from the brand?

Baker Street is a brand in growth – up 11 per cent on last year and an impressive 27 per cent in the last 12 weeks (Nielsen to 3rd June ’23). This summer we are continuing to build brand awareness by engaging the nation during BBQ season with marketing campaigns, materials and promotions to drive awareness and trial of the brand.

Our Mega Burger Buns and Jumbo Hot Dog Rolls have launched into ASDA and this summer is about super-sizing our summer staples and sales for retailers, by offering consumers the products they want, from a brand they trust.

What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?

Baker Street is reliable – it offers consistent, high-quality, long-life bakery staples. Attitudes to long life are changing. For retailers, extended shelf life means they reduce waste, drive profit and particularly over summer, are less exposed to Britain’s erratic weather forecast! This is also key for shoppers though, who are more conscious than ever before of the impact of food waste. Brands like Baker Street make it easier for shoppers to feel they are ‘doing their bit’, because it’s less likely to end up in the bin.

What’s more though, is that our products are suitable for vegan and vegetarian diets. This year, a record rate of one person every 2.4 seconds signed up to Veganuary, with 13 per cent of the population also adopting a flexitarian diet.

Retailers can attract and retain vegan and vegetarian customers by stocking both plant-based staples that shoppers have become familiar with and complementary products that might not seem so obvious in the vegan space – like popular bakery staples.

Consumers, including vegans and vegetarians, continue to buy bread and bakery at scale in c-stores, making it a very important category both in sales terms and as a driver of store traffic. Shoppers are increasingly looking for breads for everyday eating that offer a point of difference like Baker Street’s range of sliced loaves, as well as innovative products that enhance meal occasions like Baker Street’s burger buns and hot dog rolls. During their visit, these shoppers also purchase across other categories such as plant-based burgers, sausages, veggies and fillings, which complement the Baker Street range perfectly across different mealtimes from breakfast through to dinner.

What sets your brand apart from others?

All Baker Street products are cleverly packed to stay fresher for longer. As a brand, we have moved this claim to front of pack after research showed that consumers – who are increasingly conscious of food waste – see shelf life as part of the value proposition. Extended life is also vital for retailers looking to cut down on wastage, too, so Baker Street products offer an ideal solution.

This is particularly true in the summer months when retailers run the risk of trying to forecast in line with the great British weather. Baker Street means that retailers have the products shoppers want on shelf when they want them – and aren’t throwing stock away and wasting profits, when the weather causes BBQs and al fresco dining plans across the country to be cancelled.

How much is the UK bread and baking market worth? Is the category in growth? What is driving it?

Bakery has had a challenging few years but the category is back to its best, with the kind of fast-paced growth and branded NPD opportunities that are simply not found in many other sectors. As a whole, bakery is up 13 per cent on last year, worth £3.4bn in the UK. What’s more striking though, is to look at the areas driving this growth.

Morning goods and speciality breads are up 14.5 per cent equating to almost 39 per cent of the category. This demonstrates the fact that it’s more important than ever for retailers to offer a broad selection of breads and baked goods to shoppers who are more exploratory in their tastes and more receptive to new flavours and products than ever before.

Baker Street has benefitted from the rise in popularity of speciality breads. Earlier this year, its Seeded Rye Loaf launched onto shelves of almost 800 Co-Op stores, increasing quality options on shelf for shoppers, but also brand awareness for Baker Street as a supplier of speciality breads.

The other sector within bakery to highlight is ‘rolls and baguettes’. Whilst it accounts for the smallest share of the category at just shy of 13 per cent, growth of the rolls segment is out-pacing both ‘bread’ and ‘morning goods and speciality breads’ at almost 18 per cent.

Baker Street is the fourth fastest growing brand in the rolls category – up 27 per cent in the last 12 weeks and out-pacing private label which further demonstrates that shoppers are looking for trusted brands for consistent quality and perceived ‘added value’. That is to say, shoppers will spend a little more for a better product or shelf life that means they’re not throwing food – and therefore money – away, later that week. That’s why Baker Street is out-performing other brands and being embraced by money and environment conscious shoppers whose attitudes towards long life products are changing. (Nielsen to 3rd June ’23)

How can retailers maximise sales of the category?

As we move into BBQ season, we would expect a natural uplift in sales of burger buns and hot dog rolls. However, as shoppers continue to feel the impact of rising prices, anything that delivers on ‘bigger product, better value’ carries appeal.

Baker Street offers quality bakery staples – including extra-large versions – that cater to consumer demand for making ‘favourites’ at home. The Mega and Jumbo range also cater to the trend for ‘Americana’ which is increasingly moving from an out-of-home menu regular, to an at-home restaurant recreation – something else on the rise as consumers adapt to increases in the cost of living.

Retailers who cross-merchandise bakery products as part of every in-store meal solution (BBQ, big night in, Halloween, Bonfire) will benefit from doing so and with an extended shelf-life, Baker Street helps retailers to ensure on-shelf availability through every season – protecting margins and reducing wastage.

Often, when we look at these growing consumer occasions like the big night in, or Halloween, for example, bakery is overlooked. However, handheld bakery products are a staple of any get together because they’re easy to serve. Just looking at the growth in the category demonstrates that retailers who overlook the bakery fixture as a sales driving opportunity, are missing a trick.

How do you work with retailers to help them grow sales?

We work closely with our retail customers to collaborate on an attractive promotions calendar, branded shippers, in-store activity and POS materials. We also support our brands with integrated marketing campaigns to drive awareness and trial of all of our products, ultimately driving sales.

St Pierre Groupe also invests heavily in research and insight so that we can share insight with our retail customers and drive growth. We work as partners, not just suppliers, to demonstrate understanding of the category, our shoppers and the opportunities that our brands can maximise for retailers and we’re looking forward to another great year of results as a consequence of this approach.


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