Grandma would be tickled to see the steady rise in home baking that’s sweeping the UK. Writing this as we tuck into someone’s home-baked birthday cake in the office (a delicious jam sponge, by the way…), home baking has shaken off its mumsy image, taking on the glamour of an extreme sport, featuring in televised bake-offs complete with jeopardy, thrills, and lots of action close-ups.

Go back two decades, and even the home baking suppliers were depressed about the prospects for home baking as a sector: it had lost its appeal as growing numbers of younger consumers wanted convenience products, instant mixes or ready made chilled or frozen. They didn’t want to be stuck in the kitchen baking. Home Baking wasn’t a destination aisle any more: as a category it was history, appealing to older consumers, who were of no consequence as far as marketing people were concerned.

So what’s happened? The shift came first of all with the home cooking revolution that picked up in the late nineties with Delia Smith’s How to Cook TV series and gave home baking a shot of Viagra, thanks to Saint Delia and all the other celebrity cooks we have come to know by their first names.

But the recession really changed everything. Since 2007 UK interest in home cooking in general has been surging as both younger and older consumers do their utmost to find bargains and stretch their food pounds in these difficult times. And when things are tough out there, there’s nothing more comforting when you get home than sinking your teeth into freshly made cakes, scones and bread. It feels even better when you’ve done it yourself, and proved you‘re not just capable of following a recipe, you’re the Messiah with a mixing bowl.

The good news is that it’s not just trendy foodies doing the home baking. A cool look at the numbers courtesy of Mintel shows home baking is universal. Half (50%) of consumers say they are baking at home as it enables them to cut down on their personal shopping bills, and instead of preferring convenience, now only 19% say baking from scratch takes too much time. Meanwhile, we like to showcase our home baking efforts to those close to us, with nearly half (45%) of Brits saying they like to show off their baking skills to friends and family. Almost all consumers have bought baking ingredients in the last year, with over two thirds (69%) having bought raw ingredients.

The Grocery Trader

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