Sainsbury’s has seen an 8% rise in bakery sales value over the last year, driven by growth in in-store bakery sales, according to trading director Mike Coupe.

Speaking at the Federation of Bakers’ (FoB) conference in London last week, he told British Baker the supermarket has seen surging demand for in-store bread combined with a moderate rise in sales of plant bread. He said: “The cream on the cake, as far as we’re concerned, is our in-store bakery products. Within that we’ve been amazed at the level of growth in the Taste the Difference premium brand and organic. A lot of these products have inherently high premiums, but people are prepared to pay if products are made and marketed well.”

Bakery is one of Sainsbury’s top five fastest-growing categories, Coupe told delegates at the conference. It is at number four, behind clothing, which saw 45% growth in sales over the last year, fruit which saw 9.4% growth, and dairy where sales grew 9.2%. Home and toys is in fifth place, with 7.5% sales growth.

Coupe told delegates that convenience is one of the big trends that suppliers could get behind. They should look at concepts including smaller packs, no- or easy-preparation products and on-the-go products, he suggested. Sainsbury’s has just launched a single sandwich wedge under its premium Taste the Difference brand in line with convenience trends.

The retailer is also focused on health across its range and is taking out artificial ingredients to “clean up” products, he said.Products with health benefits, or ones which are indulgent should also be the focus of new product development activity, he added.