The number of independent bakery start-ups has increased 20% in the past year, according to research by insurance brokers Simply Business.

The study – based on requests for insurance quotes from bakery owners - also found that the number of independent bakeries across the nation has grown 1,500% in the past five years.

Looking at the UK’s 10 largest cities, Simply Business found Liverpool and Manchester had the highest growth of new bakeries, while London and Sheffield had the lowest.

“Rather than mass production, the public may now be looking for artisan treats made with natural ingredients and personality by local entrepreneurs,” said Simply Businesses chief customer officer Fiona McSwein.

The data also showed that men were more prominent as bakery owners than women, with a 75% increase in the last two years compared to a 4% decrease in women over the same period.

UK cities ranked in order of growth in new independent bakeries:

1. Liverpool

2. Manchester

3. Bradford

4. Edinburgh

5. Leeds

6. Glasgow

7. Birmingham

8. Bristol

9. Sheffield

10. London