Out-of-home occasions featuring bakery items have fallen 2%, driven by a decline in snacking, new research from analyst MCA has revealed.

The insights are part of its Quarterly Bakery & Sandwich Tracker, which highlighted a 6% year-on-year decline in snacking occasions featuring a bakery item for the year ending 31 March 2019. The snacking day-part, according to MCA, is the biggest for the sandwich and bakery sector.

In comparison, breakfast and dinner occasions saw ‘promising growth’ in the same period, rising 5% and 4%, respectively.

Meanwhile, sweet and savoury bakery items suffered a decline. Occasions featuring a sweet bakery item fell by 4% to two billion, while those including a savoury item dropped by 1% to 4.24bn.

“As a whole, out-of-home bakery occasions are in decline. However, when split by day-part, there are positives. Breakfast and dinner visits are in growth, but it is the significant decline in the snack occasion that is cause for concern,” said Daljit Johal, data scientist at MCA Insight.

“An overall decline in sandwich carriers being purchased as a snack is the main catalyst for a decline in savoury bakery. However, it is sweet bakery that has suffered the biggest decline. Each of the top five sweet bakery items purchased as a snack have declined year-on-year.”

The top five sweet bakery items are cookies, cake slices, muffins, biscuits and brownies.

Johal added that fast food outlets continued to be the most popular channel for savoury bakery items, while sandwich retailers and coffee shops/cafés were the top choice for consumers purchasing sweet bakery items.

The report is underpinned by MCA’s Eating Out Panel, which includes 6,000 monthly consumer interviews every year. The sample is representative of UK adults in terms of age, gender and region, and covers every day of the year. The results look at the consumer trends affecting the bakery and sandwich market – purchase behaviours, purchase locations, spend and products.