As Great British Bake Off fans get set to enjoy the new series of the show, Waitrose predicts that this year will see its biggest ever surge in sales of baking ingredients as amateur bakers prepare to show off their skills perfected during lockdown. 

Sales of home baking ingredients soared from March to July and now Waitrose is gearing up for another baking boom, upping orders of its home baking range to reflect demand after seeing huge sales uplifts in the first half of the year and predicting sales will be even more buoyant this autumn.

Breadcookies and brownies are expected to be the most favoured bakes of 2020, with sales of ingredients rising consistently throughout the year. Bread mix sales are already up 103% versus last year, cooking chocolate is up 55% compared to 2019 and Waitrose Dark Chocolate Chips are seeing a huge increase in sales, up 274% as the nation opted for sweeter bakes and banana loaves studded with chocolate.

Natalie Breslin, home baking buyer at Waitrose comments: “Over the past few months we’ve spent more time in our kitchens, with lockdown giving us a chance to hone our baking skills and perfect classic recipes. Even novice cooks wanted in on the act and we saw adults baking with children as cake mix sales increased by 53%*. Now the return of the Bake Off gives our customers an opportunity to show off their new found talents by creating showstopping cakes and bakes to wow their loved ones.

“Baking is also a wonderful way to show kindness when you can’t be there in person – so with current restrictions on gatherings and the return of the Bake Off, we’re expecting sales of our homebaking range to prove extremely popular, making this the biggest year ever for sales of our baking ingredients.”

During lockdown the nation donned their whisks & aprons and were busy baking. In a survey commissioned by the supermarket, 51% of people who said that they’d spent more quality time with loved ones in lockdown did so by baking.

This year, amateur home bakers are expected to be on the look-out for more interesting ingredients to help elevate their creations. Two Waitrose expert chefs share their predictions for the trends we can expect to see rise to the fore this autumn.

Zoe Simons, Waitrose Senior Brand and Innovation Development Chef

Tahini – It’s got an amazing nutty flavour and a slight bitterness which cuts through sweet flavours in our favourite bakes. It works particularly well in brownies, babkas or cookies and really plays into the trend we know our customers love of combining sweet, salty and bitter flavours. Searches for tahini are up nearly 200% this year on Waitrose.com – so we know it’s top of the list for Waitrose shoppers!

Loaded doughnuts – Anything goes with doughnuts. Whether they’re made from a more traditional sweet mix or a super cool sourdough, they can be topped with everything from biscuits to confectionery, sweet or savoury and filled with cream, caramel, custard, jam – whatever works! We’ve also seen them being stacked up and used as the vessel for an ice cream sundae.

Will Torrent, Innovation Chef, Patisserie Expert and Chocolatier at Waitrose

Mind the Gap – ‘Fault Line’ cakes have been a huge trend over the last few months and I hope we’ll get to see one or two being made on the show this year. They are created by making a deliberate crevice around the middle of the cake, then filled with elaborate decorations or icing to create a show-stopping bake. Our home baking ingredients have seen sales up 28% as have-a-go bakers get creative and adorn their cakes with an array of toppings.

Sugar substitutes – Used to make edible decorations such as pulled sugar or glass-like toppers, sugar substitutes such as Isomalt are a rising ingredient used in the baking world. And with health being high on the agenda right now, we might also see sugar swaps with refined sugar being replaced by naturally occurring sugar to make sweeter bakes a little less naughty.

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