The in-store bakeries (ISB) seem to have Viennoiserie and Danish wrapped up this year.
The Danish pastry category is worth £45m and is growing by 10.4% (IRI 52 w/e 5 September 2009), year-on-year, making it the second fastest-growing sweet bakery sector in ISB behind a resurgent muffins category, and outstripping croissant sales. In contrast, Warburtons’ recent Bakery Review pointed to a 20% drop in wrapped Danish pastries value.
Andy Clegg, head of bakery at Morrisons, says there has been no great push on promotions, but sales are soaring nonetheless. "We’re seeing a small growth in packaged croissants," he says. "But ISB Viennoiserie has seen a market growth of 6% and we’ve got a growth of 38.9% (Nielsen, 12 weeks to 10 October), mainly driven by ISB croissants. Both the Bakery and Cake shop at Morrisons are performing beyond expectations this year."
So why is Danish, in particular, performing so well? "There is more promotional activity in Danish than croissants, but it also comes back to affordable treats, which people want at the moment and which is really helping ISB in general," says supplier Bakehouse’s brand manager Claire Warren. "NPD has been a little more cautious, but people still want to see new things out there and it’s really important to deliver that to help grow the category.
"We’re seeing more NPD being generated than in other categories, such as Danish crowns with seasonal flavoured fillings, which helps maintain interest in the category. Traditionally, Danish pastries are popular with men and older consumers but lighter flavoured variants, such as lemon Danish, which is new to the category, are being aimed at younger consumers."

Commoditised goods
While wrapped sales have suffered, another casualty has been the coffee shops. Costa Coffee’s head of food Beverley Phillips says the success of sweet pastries in the ISBs has, in effect, "commoditised" them for consumers. "You can walk in and get the product, which makes it more accessible, but less special to buy in a coffee shop," she says.
"What we have to find now is a product that brings back the customisation and out-of-home special feeling, because a croissant, for example, is almost a commo-ditised product. That’s why sales aren’t growing in the coffee shop market. We need suppliers to premiumise that category for us again to make it different from the in-store bakery."