The European branded coffee shop market has weathered the economic downturn and is set to grow steadily over the next three years, providing UK bakers with a potentially lucrative export market.

According to a new report by Allegra Strategies called Project Café10 Europe, the market is predicted to grow by 6.3% to exceed 13,000 outlets by 2013. During the past year, the number of outlets increased by 4.6%, bringing the total number to 10,951 in October 2010.

The buoyancy of the market is good news for bakery manufacturers that have experience in supplying British coffee shops. "There’s a lot of interest in products like muffins, brownies and millionaire shortbread in countries such as Germany and France as their coffee shop markets grow," said Simon Law, sales director at The Handmade Cake Company, which exports its frozen cakes across Europe. "We supply a German chain of 15 coffee shops in Eastern Germany with around half a dozen of our products, which are delivered frozen and sell really well. We are also looking to grow sales with other European coffee shops."

The Allegra research found that while the UK market is most developed, with 4,498 outlets representing 41% of the total European market, Germany and Spain also have well-established coffee shop sectors.

"In countries such as the UK and Germany there is an established coffee culture, which is responding positively to a wide variety of influences and continuing to grow. In younger markets such as France, Austria and Poland we are seeing exciting changes as consumers relinquish their traditional coffee-drinking habits in favour of new espresso-based beverages," said Allegra MD Jeffrey Young.