There was a very positive view reported in British Baker recently from Investec that consumers value premium plant bread and I think that applies to baked goods generally.
There is a bit of doom and gloom out there that the multiple grocers are the bad guys. I think there is a big opportunity for the craft baking industry – the trends in the marketplace are actually going in our favour. There is a rise in affluence and bakery fits the megatrends of health, convenience and indulgence. It’s a really positive place to be right now.
My hope this year is that the key players in the industry really grasp that opportunity and we can continue to accord the value to our products that they deserve. That’s true demonstrably of bread and Warburtons are leading the challenge. But within the craft sector there is a great opportunity to create that point of difference, to be proud of the products we make, and, importantly, to charge the consumer a full price for them.
The craft sector needs a wee bit of confidence. It needs to look to its customers in 2006 and ask how it can create a point of difference and actively market these products. There are some cracking people out there doing great things with bread.
The drivers of the high street are the likes of Pret A Manger, Starbucks and Costa. And what are they selling? Baked goods! This may be about creating ambiance, point of sale, or just putting a ticket next to the product.
Connected to that are the continued fears about the erosion of the high street. I hope that the various industry associations help raise awareness and momentum picks up on
Health could present big opportunities this year. But when you hear things like half the population don’t understand what a percentage is, then I think the government has a responsibility to address the issue.