Consumer demand for artisan bread is likely to stay, according to a food and drink analyst.

Commenting on research group Mintel’s latest Bread and Baked Goods report, Heidi Lanschützer from the group said that consumers seek out artisan goods “for the fact that they offer expertise, sensation, a personal touch or even an opportunity to express our individuality”.

Published in September, the report revealed consumers were switching to artisan bread offerings over pre-packed bread. It analysed bread consumption in Britain over the past five years, and showed that pre-packed bread experienced only 2% growth in value terms from 2012 to 2013. Speciality bread, as well as sweet baked goods, grew strongly by an estimated 8% and 9% respectively in value terms.

The report also revealed that consumers are opting for wraps, bagels and pittas, as well as artisan offerings from supermarkets’ in-store bakeries.

Mintel stated it expected the bread and baked goods market to grow by around 24% in value terms by 2018, reaching a total of £4.8bn.

Lanschützer added: “Given the maturity of the bread and baked goods market, with penetration standing at almost 100% for bread and over 80% for baked goods and usage frequency being high, potential for growth in volume terms is arguably limited.

“Value sales, on the other hand, continue to be fuelled by the rising prices of wheat, which have at least partially been passed on to consumers, as well as by consumers’ growing interest in higher-priced bread alternatives, such as bagels, wraps and pittas.”

The analyst said that, over the next 12 months, Mintel expects value to continue to outpace volume growth in the UK bread and baked goods market, staying in line with recent trends.

Commenting on the report, Gordon Polson, director of the Federation of Bakers, said: “It’s no secret that bread sales are in decline, but what’s happened is that there’s now an excellent variety of goods available for consumers. The market is adapting to the demands and habits of consumers, particularly food-to-go. Things change, which is good.”