UK shoppers have bought nearly five times the number of Portuguese custard tarts from supermarkets this year than in 2016, according to Lantmännen Unibake UK.

Unit sales of the traditional pastry, which has a sweet egg custard filling, are up 458% [IRI unit sales data Oct 2016 – Oct 2018].

So far this year the tarts have amassed sales of £1.5m across the major multiples with sales up 89% on last year, data from retail analyst IRI to 29 September 2018 shows.

The bakery supplier said the small light pastry, which has a sweet egg custard filling, is “breathing new life” into the UK’s in-store bakery category. It is also increasingly springing up across the UK in traditional cake shops, on afternoon tea menus or being consumed as a grab-and-go item.

“Global flavours and formats are inspiring consumers and influencing their purchasing decisions,” explained Kate Sykes, marketing manager, Lantmännen Unibake UK. “The Portuguese Custard Tart encapsulates current consumer demand for authentic flavours in an easy hand-held format, which can be eaten on-the-go at any time of the day.

“This has led to their popularity sky-rocketing in the past 24 months, a trend that shows no sign of waning, providing retailers with an unmissable opportunity to capitalise on the UK consumer demand for this iconic sweet treat.”

The tart dates back to the 18th century and has long been a staple of Portugal’s sweet bakery offering.