I’m hoping for a more buoyant economy, encouraging people to spend more, and for that spend to be on premium bakery products, whether they be healthy or indulgent. The issue with the UK food market is that we don’t eat more or less calories depending on the economy – we eat more or less premium. Hopefully, people will spend on that extra bakery treat rather than foreign holidays, drinks or restaurants.
The seeds are already sown and the growth will continue in premium quality breads, but more in the wholemeal seeded area rather than in standard whites. We are beginning to see real growth in premium confectionery and we think there will be new products launched in the premium patisserie and dessert areas this year. Products such as super-indulgent banoffee pies and really rich chocolate, caramel or toffee sauces are getting a lot of interest. These would typically be for larger craft bakeries looking to exploit their wholesale or home consumption markets, supplying into retailers.
I’d like to see a year free of ‘events’, such as business failures or food safety scares. If we could just have a boring year, I’d be very happy. If I were to be a super-optimist, I would seek a common sense approach on issues such as salt and trans fats, not media hype or retailer rivalry, where retailers attempt to gain a health moral high ground, and which may or may not be based on good science.