Sourdough in a cloth bag

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Recyclable packaging, animal welfare and responsibly sourced palm oil are among the priorities for consumers when purchasing baked goods, new research from Dèlifrance has revealed.

The report, entitled ‘Prove it: the sustainable future of baked goods’, saw 2,000 consumers polled as part of a deep dive on sustainability trends, priorities for consumers and how these affect buying decisions. It also highlighted opportunities for food operators and retailers to tap into.

Polls found that younger generations are more influenced by sustainability, with 54% of 18-24-year-olds and 43% of 25-34-year-olds saying they were always or frequently influenced. However, looking at all of those polled, the report showed that only 11% claimed the sustainability credentials of a bakery product affected whether or not they would buy it, with 50% stating they frequently or sometimes took it into consideration.

Notably, 71% of consumers said they would like to know more about the sustainability of their baked goods, with the same percentage highlighting packaging which is recyclable and uses minimal or no plastics as a credential important to them. High standards of animal welfare followed closely behind, being selected by 70% of consumers, followed by dairy products that meet high standards of animal welfare and free-range eggs (see table below for full results).

Which of the following sustainability credentials are important to you in baked goods?

Packaging, which is recyclable and uses minimal or no plastics


Meets high standards of animal welfare


Dairy products that meet high standards of animal welfare


Free range eggs


Created using minimal food waste


Free from insecticides / pesticides


Responsibly sourced palm oil, which doesn’t lead to deforestation


Locally sourced ingredients


Fairtrade ingredients


Minimal or no additives


Created with minimal use of resources


Seasonal ingredients


Contain fewer ‘high carbon’ ingredients


A promising result in the report saw a third (33%) claiming to be aware of the carbon footprint of baked goods. However, only 15% said it affected their purchasing decision.

The research also explored shoppers’ willingness to pay for sustainability credentials, with 28% saying they would pay more for baked goods with a strong sustainability message, and 29% saying they could maybe be persuaded. Notably, 80% of those willing to pay more will also choose one operator over another due to their sustainability strategy.

“Almost a quarter (22%) of respondents said they’d choose one operator and be willing to pay more – great news for bakeries introducing sustainability measures, which can be costly in the short term,” said Délifrance marketing director Stéphanie Brillouet.

“It also shows the value in communicating what you’re doing – on packaging, online, and at POS – when it comes to responsibility, and that more than a third (38%) of those polled believe bakeries should drive progress.”

When it comes to which part of the supply chain should take responsibility for the sustainability of baked goods, 38% said they believed all of us have a role to play. However, another 38% thought the bakery that produces the items should take responsibility.

“Sustainability is becoming less of a ‘nice to have’ and more of an ‘essential’ for food operators and retailers,” added Brillouet. “Fortunately, many respondents also showed a strong understanding of shared responsibility and indicated that they’ll pay a premium, showing a willingness to support proactive operators. This is great news as we work together as an industry towards our common goal of carbon neutrality.”