The UK bakery market reached £11bn in value in 2012, after growing at an annual rate of 2% since 2006.

According to the latest research from international markets research business Companies and Markets, the ever-growing demand for ready-to-eat convenient food, as well as health concerns, are seen to be the catalysts for this growth in the market.

The firm said that a 2% growth rate has been achieved, despite the British market dealing with a below par wheat harvest due to the wet weather, in addition to an increase in grain prices in the aftermath of the US drought and Russian heatwave.

The UK saw 2,185 active businesses in the bakery products market during the last year - a 7% rise from the figures six years ago - with small companies contributing to 91% of all enterprises, but only generating 8% of total turnover.

On the other side of the scale, businesses with more than 250 employees represented 80% of total turnover, despite only constituting 2% of domestic enterprises.

The report added: "More than 300 establishments have opened over the past two years, driven by the resilience of sales of products such as sausage rolls, pies and cakes. Furthermore, both manufacturers and retailers have responded to consumer preferences for healthier varieties of bread and low-fat offerings, such as through the removal of saturated fats from savoury baked goods."

However, not all of the market’s companies are feeling the growth, with Hovis announcing a bid to downsize with the closure of its west London and Birmingham sites last year, causing 900 redundancies.