chaz1Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s Home Baking Feature. The continuing trend to healthy eating in recent years has encouraged growing numbers of consumers to question what goes into their food and how it’s made. The resulting mix of scepticism and curiosity has affected sales of some processed products on one hand and on the other has contributed to increased scratch cooking and home baking.

As defined by research experts Mintel, Home Baking comprises an eclectic mix of products. At one end are convenience-oriented lines such as baking mixes and ready-made pastry: at the other, items beloved of home baking enthusiasts like cake decorations, flavourings and additives, plus raw ingredients such as culinary nuts, dried fruit and cooking chocolate.

Home baking in 2010 is all about busy consumers taking time out to make consciously ‘real’ food and trying their hand at traditional cookery skills that in previous generations were handed down from mother to daughter. These days, time-pressed cooks of both sexes welcome the availability of ready-made ingredients such as pastry and icing and can feel less guilty about doing so, encouraged by celebrity chefs and Delia Smith’s best-selling How to Cheat at Cooking.

As a further driver, busy consumers are always looking for fresh recipe ideas, and celebrity chefs can be found throughout the consumer media promoting their versions of baking items, which then increase in popularity.

NPD has increased significantly over the past few years and has led to the introduction of more convenient, premium, additive-free and ethically sound products, but above the line spend and marketing activity has been quite limited. Although own label takes a majority share of sales overall, its presence is strongest in commodity sectors such as dried fruit and flour. A number of new brands have recently been attracted into baking mixes, particularly at the premium end, with Dr Oetker, Marks & Spencer and Doves Farm launching mixes in the last couple of years.

Families are key consumers of home baking products, and four in ten households with under-10s use cake mixes aimed at children. ABC1s are above-average users of raw baking ingredients, but baking mixes have a clear C2DE profile. Ongoing NPD should enable manufacturers to attract more ABC1s and childless couples to the mixes sector, given their use of patisserie-inspired recipes and premium/ organic ingredients.

Looking forward, the move up market to premium products, reduced ‘additives’ and wider availability of Fair Trade and organic options will all help to add genuine value to the category. Increased availability of more indulgent premium quality mixes will also tempt consumers to try their hand.

The Grocery Trader

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