As a result of the last two years, consumer behaviour has inevitably shifted, and this has led to a number of trends which have remained.

This includes shoppers ‘trading up’ on their usual staples to something more premium, like part-baked bread.

Sales of part-baked breads soared during the national lockdowns as people looked to elevate their meal times into something special.

Since restrictions have lifted, and sales have stabilised, part-baked bread continues to be in MAT growth of 8 per cent (Nielsen).

This indicates that people are still looking to add a premium twist to their meals whether that be breakfast, lunch or dinner.

While most standard loaves continue to struggle against the high sales during the pandemic, white bread has fared better over the course of the L12 weeks (Nielsen).

This has been reflected in sales of Baker Street’s Sliced White Loaf which is up 3 per cent in comparison to last year (Nielsen).

Growth in bakery is being driven by breads that offer a point of difference, such as tiger, farmhouse and seeded loaves (Nielsen), as well as innovation in rolls and baguettes, which is up almost 10 per cent year on year.

Chris McLaughlin, Commercial Director at St Pierre Groupe, comments: “The past two years have taught consumers how to make the most of at-home events and this year will be about ‘levelling up’ – taking hosting to new levels. There are myriad reasons why the at-home socialisation trend will remain key.”

Beyond consumers having different comfort levels when it comes to ‘returning to normal’ there are new financial factors at play.

The housing market is set to record its strongest year since 2007 – that means millions of consumers are either saving money after a house move, have new homes in which to entertain guests, or both.

Food waste also remains a big topic and shoppers are looking to buy more longer-life food and drink products to help combat the issue.

Baker Street is packed to stay fresher for longer and guarantees a minimum life of 35 days from delivery to depot, helping retailers ensure on-shelf availability and reducing the risk of wastage. This is also a benefit for consumers who are looking for food items with a generous shelf-life to help cater to spontaneous meal occasions.

Baker Street Burger Buns and Hot Dog Rolls are the brand’s best-selling products, as both consumer and trade audiences embrace extended-life options that allow for variety.

The Original Burger Buns have increased 433 per cent in comparison to last year and 1,200 per cent for the Classic Hot Dog Rolls (Nielsen). Both products can be used for a host of meals, including traditional ‘American style’ burgers and loaded hot dogs. Since launch, Baker Street has sold more than 25 million burger buns, more than one bun every second.

The Baker Street brand is up 12 per cent (Nielsen).

Chris Craig, MD at Allied Bakeries, comments: “White bread is versatile, convenient, and tasty, and something the whole family will eat. Despite constant innovation and NPD in the bread category, white bread will always remain a staple.”

White and wholemeal loaves still possess a significant share of the market, holding a 44% and 17.6% share respectively (Nielsen).

“With the current rise in the cost of living causing continued economic uncertainty, we expect to see some spending caution, which will mean sales of classic loaves will remain significant,” adds Craig. “We will likely see packed lunches grow as people look to save cash, maintaining the habits developed during lockdown. This will mean bakery as a whole will continue to do well at lunchtime, and the rise in at-home lunches will help maintain the success of this category.”

Health is a key driver of grocery innovation and this is expected to continue. Over the past few years, Allied Bakeries has seen the 50/50 range successfully expand to bring innovation to shoppers that offer both great tasting recipes and healthier choice without compromise.

The popularity of seeded bread is still growing too, +1.9% value YoY (Nielsen), as consumers continue to seek healthier and yet still tasty solutions. Innovation such as Kingsmill 50/50 Multi-Seed tap into this longer-term trend, providing the benefits of wholegrain as well as a seeded proposition.

For those consumers seeking a higher intake of Vitamin D, Kingsmill has also launched a 50/50 loaf with added vitamins and minerals. Kingsmill 50/50 Vitamin Boost helps families up their daily vitamin and mineral intake while giving retailers the chance to leverage health benefits to drive category growth. The loaf contains iron and vitamin B6, which contribute to the normal function of the immune system, calcium and vitamin D for healthy teeth and bones, and niacin and vitamin B1 for energy release.

A key health benefit of the Vitamin Boost loaf is that two slices of the loaf provide 30% of the reference intake of iron, vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin and vitamin D and 38% of the reference intake for calcium and folic acid.

Kingsmill has recently launched a new toasting loaf: 50/50 King of Toast, baked with 50/50 white and wholemeal flour. This toasting loaf is a first of its kind toasting loaf that is perfect for shoppers looking to enjoy toast and still get their daily whole grain and a source of Vitamin D.

King of Toast features slices developed to fit perfectly in the toaster, and give the ultimate balance of a soft centre and crunchy exterior when toasting.

“One key thing for all retailers to watch out for is that is that consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious,” says Craig. “Over recent years, Kingsmill has seen the range successfully expand to bring exciting innovation to shoppers that offer both great tasting recipes and healthier choice without compromise.”

Matt Grenter, Retail Sales Manager, Brioche Pasquier, comments: “There is no doubt that bakery has evolved into a much more complex sector than it was even five years ago. Once a fairly stable corner of the market dominated by big brands and traditional loaves, in recent years bakery has undergone the sort of transformation that the brewing industry experienced ten years ago in the craft beer revolution.”

There are of course still big bakers and dominant brands but the idea of craft has been re-introduced into the industry, with artisan bakers at the independent end of the market delivering sourdough, seeded, rye and numerous other loaves that are attracting the attention of consumers and putting the pressure on the large bakeries to follow suit.

Breads from other parts of the world and different cultures have also become more widely popular. Brioche is now very well established as a desirable alternative to traditional bread in any scenario, from barbecue to breakfast.

“The pandemic has exerted its own pressures, putting the emphasis on health and wellbeing and fuelling the trend for clean labelling,” adds Grenter. “Clean labelling is an increasingly important factor for bread and wrapped bakery products. Consumers are concerned about their health and wellbeing. Additives like preservatives, unhealthy fats, artificial flavourings and colourings all signal a red light to those who want to eat simple, clean bakery products.”

Brioche Pasquier’s most recent launch is its new soft and sweet Pancakes. Quick and easy to prepare they are great for breakfast or lunch dishes and can be paired with sweet or savoury toppings.

They come conveniently wrapped in twin packs of eight, are baked from wholesome ingredients and have a shelf life up to 21-days like all Brioche Pasquier products. They are suitable for vegetarians and have been made to a traditional recipe by expert bakers.

Stéphanie Brillouet, marketing director, Délifrance, comments: “We’re seeing growth in the category and it’s set to continue. Délifrance’s Prove It: A Bread Focus report reveals that future bread consumption will be driven by freshness, quality and convenience. As consumers look for good value core staples, as well as breads that can answer evolving health and wellness needs – whether this is functionality or sustainability.”

Traditional white and wholemeal loaves continue to hold a special place in consumers’ hearts. Délifrance’s 2021 data indicates that almost half (48%) of bread types purchased at least once a week are white, brown or wholemeal loaves. White sliced bread, brown, wholemeal and multiseed loaves are more likely than other types of bread to be used for toast, showing their flexibility and versatility. Meanwhile, sandwich fans are more likely to choose crusty rolls, brown, wholemeal or multiseed bread.

Sandwiches are the most common way to enjoy bread, with 56% of consumers using it to make sandwiches. They’re also seeking variety and inspiration, however, with 19% of the bread types bought once a week being rolls, 17% seeded loaves, 11% baguettes, 6% sourdough loaves, 5% Italian breads, and 4% bread with added ingredients.

“As well as providing everyday breads, like white, wholemeal and brown, retailers should stock a selection of premium products that meet consumer needs for health and indulgence – seeded loaves, baguettes, pavé and sourdough for example,” says Brillouet. ”Customers expect a variety of products that meet their needs. So, it’s important to understand new legislation and customer requirements.”

Délifrance’s recent Prove It: Adapting bakery report, explores the fast-growing market of consumers with allergies and intolerances, providing a wealth of guidance on catering for these consumers’ needs.

“Speciality and sourdough bread are undergoing marked growth, so retailers should make sure they provide these as part of their offering,” suggests Brillouet.

The retail market has seen 7.4% year on year growth for speciality loaves, seeded and brown increased by 14.5% and sourdough is a high performer, up 22.4% from last year (IRI).

“Over the pandemic, we also saw a decline in breads like half baguettes and bread rolls for sandwiches and soups, but with people now going back to the office, it’s likely that sales of these products will bounce back, so retailers should make sure they have these in stock,” Brillouet continues. “Visibility, merchandising and educating customers helps them to make the most fulfilling and profitable choices. Retailers should also make sure that products are available throughout the day – not just in the morning – so they don’t disappoint profitable afternoon customers who arrive in the shop to see empty shelves.”

Jen Brown, Head of Marketing – Cake, Dr. Oetker Baking, comments: “Recent years have seen many new shoppers entering the home baking category, many with much less experience in baking, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has resulted in a large growth in the convenience sector, such as mixes for whole cakes, cupcakes, cookies and kids mixes and toppings like buttercream. These products have performed particularly well as shoppers have turned to baking as a form of activity due to spending more time at home. It has also become a good way to entertain kids and spend quality time together.”

As people continue to work from home, ‘snacking occasions’ have also increased. Baking cookies or tray bakes for an afternoon snack have become increasingly popular and baking to save money is also on the incline because of recessionary behaviour as the cost of living rises.

Dr. Oetker has a number of new products launching in April including Brookie Cookie Baking Mix and Melting Middle Chocolate Pudding Baking Mix in the mixes range, in addition to Chocolatey Unicorns and Rainbows and Dinosaurs in the placements category.

Helen Touchais, Brand Director for Home Baking at Premier Foods, comments: “The home baking category has seen strong growth over the past two years with an 860,000 rise in shopper’s vs pre-Covid (Kantar). This growth ties in with a 470m surge in home baking occasions (Kantar), which has seen a sweet versus savoury split across different households, with non-families seeking out sweet baking products while family households have generally opted for mixes and ingredients for traditional comfort foods and bread.”

Despite changes in peoples’ lifestyles, one of the main reason home baking remains prominent is togetherness, health plays a large role in home baking decisions as shoppers want a better understanding of – and greater control over – what is going into their meals.

Home baking gives the shopper complete control over the ingredients they are using, while also presenting a greater opportunity to try new flavours and customise their bakes.

In the latest year, 7 million shoppers have purchased a Premier Foods product, ranking it second in terms of buyer numbers (Kantar).

“Retailers should be sure to stock products that can be used in breadmaking and traditional savoury bakes. The rise in demand for family-orientated products is set to continue, as parents look for solutions that bring more fun to the activity and encourage children to be creative. For example, our range of Cadbury and Mr Kipling baking mixes and icing products, that contain natural colours and flavours. We added the Unicorn baking mix and icing to the range last year and they have proven to be exceptionally popular with shoppers too,” says Touchais.

“Mixes are a great way to introduce novices and children to home baking, with simple recipes and convenient packs containing all the key ingredients. Themed products that are based on popular trends – such as unicorns – bring natural excitement and provide a springboard for families to get creative with their final decorations. By stocking these on shelf, shoppers can have confidence that the resulting cake will be of a high standard, and turn out as expected, because of the simplicity of the product. It also allows consumers to trust their local store in catering for all their baking needs, increasing the likelihood of repeat purchase. Bakers Basco is issuing an urgent appeal to the British nation to report any missing bread baskets and dollies that can be recovered by their teams to ensure the continued supply of essential bread and associated products to supermarkets and grocery traders.

Bakers Basco Limited was set up in 2006 as a joint venture by five of the UK’s biggest bakeries: Allied Bakeries, Hovis, Fine Lady Bakeries, Frank Roberts & Sons and Warburtons. The company’s original mission was to design, source and manage a new bread basket which would in time become the accepted industry standard, allowing for significant cost savings in terms of the design, raw material procurement and production of both the basket and dolly.

This equipment plays a vital role in the supply chain to ensure the continuous daily supply of bread and associated products from bakeries to supermarket shop floors across the UK.

You may have in the past come across, or even used, these baskets or Dollies. If you have, then you are using equipment that has been taken out of the bakery logistics supply chain. The ongoing problem of misplaced baskets continues to have an impact on the bakery sector, and indeed, the sustainable credentials of the grocery sector in general.

The Basco Omega baskets are made from sturdy polypropylene, which is meant to be reusable for many years. Within the logistics industry, the baskets are categorised as ‘Reusable Transit Packaging’ – packaging which is designed to protect goods in transit, and which is meant to be reused, again and again, not thrown away after one trip.

Basco’s General Manager Paul Empson comments, “Plastic, in itself, isn’t the problem – it is how society has become reliant on single use packaging. On average, when used responsibly, our baskets and dollies should last beyond eight years. Only when they have reached the end of their useful life are they recycled, with each piece of kit recycled potentially 400 times during its life span.”

It is worth noting that these baskets are designed solely to carry wrapped bread products, so they are not fit to be used for any other purposes, such as carrying unwrapped bread products, raw meat, fish or other items which could contaminate the baskets.

Empson goes on to say, “Misplaced baskets often end up in landfill, which does nothing for the green credentials of the grocery industry or indeed the environment in general. Together with you and the sustainability teams we can help the environment by ensuring the equipment returns to the supply chain and reduces the need to produce more plastic for the baskets and Dollies. Our campaign is an urgent plea to everyone across the nation to be vigilant and report any bread baskets and dollies via the contact details provided on the side of each basket, which shows who the equipment belongs to.”

 

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