Families are "trading up" and returning to the dinner table when it comes to indulgent occasions, according to Rich Products, following extensive market research provided exclusively to British Baker.

TNS Worldpanel, which conducted the research, asked 11,000 individuals to compile a two-week food diary twice a year. Participants were asked to comment on food consumption and meal occasions in and out of home, including eating from lunchboxes and snacking throughout the day.

Growth in morning goods, that the family can eat at the table, is up by 13%. Products include waffles, crumpets, fruit malt, scones and muffins. Numbers of customers shopping for indulgent treats were up by 39% in Marks & Spencer, 25% in Waitrose and 18% in Tesco.

The research identified five "mega-trends" driving the market: healthy eating, convenience, growing food culture - or local provenance, ethical consumerism and empowered consumers. Purchases made by "empowered consumers" are driven by price consciousness, growth of the internet and brand-led consumption.

"Consumers want good ingredients in their products and they want to know that the company they are purchasing from is ethical in its business approach," said Rich Products sales and marketing director Simon Richardson.

"Instead of buying two muffins of average quality in one week," the research said, "consumers are more likely to save their money for one occasion." Indulgence has risen by 14% since last year, with biscuits accounting for 814 million treat occasions, up 6% since 2004, and confectionery accounting for 563 million treat occasions, up 3% since 2004.

’Healthy eating’ remains important, but the rate of growth in indulgent products has overtaken health for the first time.