Forty-four per cent of Brits have changed the types of bread they buy, according to Délifrance’s Prove It: The Great British Bakery Report 2019.

The latest edition of the annual report found that, of the proportion who had changed their buying habits, 60% buy wholemeal/wholegrain loaves, and 50% buy seeded.

It also found that uptake of the wellness and health trends was evident in bread buyers of all ages, with wholemeal/wholegrain and seeded breads most popular across the spectrum.

Consumers said they would eat more bread if there were healthier options (40%), more flavour choices (21%) and alternative flours (21%).

“As the wellness trend continues, the category is being challenged to develop nutritionally

balanced recipes with healthy inclusions and reduced salt across the board,” said Stéphanie Brillouet, marketing director UK, northern Europe and North America at Délifrance.

“We’re seeing the market being driven forward by a continued consumer interest in fresh, traditional, handcrafted breads that offer premium, authentic experiences, as well as nutritious inclusions. And with sustainability and food waste at the forefront of the consumer mindset, smaller loaves are a popular choice, especially for ‘top up’ shoppers.”

In Viennoiserie, plant-based options are on the increase, along with classic bakes such as butter croissants and chocolate pastries.

“These popular products are met with challenges. Wider pressures to reduce sugar and the price fluctuations of butter have impacted production and product prices,” said Brillouet.

The report revealed that 42% of consumers would buy more croissants if there were healthier options, and 28% would buy more if there was more variety. Choice of flavour and vegan options were most important to the group aged 25-35.

London was revealed as the most health-conscious region of the UK, despite 43% of Londoners consuming more pastries than before. Two in three Londoners would buy more pastries if there were healthier options, while one in three would buy more if there were more gluten-free options.

Similarly, consumers purchasing patisserie products are looking for something healthier, with nearly half (43%) saying they’d buy more if there was a wider choice of healthy options. Chocolate was found to be the favourite flavour for patisserie products, with 59% choosing it.

In the savoury market, the report found consumers were seeking a grab-and-go option for a busy day. Twenty-nine per cent of men revealed they ate a savoury pastry a few times a week, while 43% of consumers were eating them at least once a week. Women said they would buy more if there was a larger range of healthier options, and 17% of consumers said they would buy more if there were more vegan options. Lunchtime was the most popular day-part, with 50% of those who ate savoury pastries eating them for lunch.

Délifrance concluded that the focus on health, wellness and veganism would continue into the 2020s.

“It’s just the beginning for vegan bakery in the mainstream market, and we’re excited to develop new techniques and ingredients to rival the tradition,” said Brillouet.

“Consumers are quick to take to social media with bakery. To wow the Instagram cohort, suppliers and operators will search for new ways to achieve that ‘colour pop’, delivering on the key trends of artisanal, healthy and indulgent – all at the same time! Of course, authenticity and storytelling elevate these experiences too, as provenance, clean-label recipes, seasonal themes and ingredients intrigue consumers who are looking for something unique.”