The bakery retail market is “exciting and vibrant”, according to the speakers at the Insights from the Bakery Market Report 2016 live event.

The speakers, who included food journalist Patrick McGuigan, food and drink analyst Amy Price and chairman of Warrens Bakery Mark Sullivan, stressed the importance of new product development to maintain an edge in a tough market and highlighted the spread of the artisan market to areas outside London.

Sullivan said new product innovation was key and added: “When we look at the bakery sector, innovation is a central plank. For us over the last year we’ve produced three world firsts through NPD: the mince pie and custard sweet pasty; savoury shortbread biscuits using seaweed and sea peppers; and our meal in one bites, aka the crisps, which have a number of complex flavours such as English breakfast and fish and chips.

“Through these innovations, the important point is that we are not simply replacing our range, but broadening categories for the benefit of all, including retailers, who see more interest in shelf space as a result.”

moving out

Artisan bakery was also a key trend for retail business, with many chains, including Gail’s, Paul and Le Pain Quoditien, moving out of London to other regions.

McGuigan said: “Interestingly, last year, we saw them just starting to branch out from there, so Paul and Le Pain Quotidien opened their first stores outside of the capital. Le Pain opened one in Bicester Village and Paul had one in Birmingham.

“The more premium, handmade artisanal product is starting to have nationwide appeal. I think it started in London, but is now going outside there.”

However, the speakers were generally upbeat about the future of the industry, with McGuigan saying: “I think it’s a really exciting and vibrant market and, in a way, the tough times from 2008 onwards have really helped the market in some ways. People have really had to up their game in terms of the products they sell, the feel of stores and marketing and promotions and value.”

The Bakery Market Report is sponsored by Cornelius Group.

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