Bakery is more recession-resistant than other food, because consumers are unwilling to trade down, according to Irish food board Bord Bía.

Bord Bía identified bakery as one of the few categories that did well during 2008. It stated that a resurgence of the packed lunch and reduction in eating out has helped high-quality bakery pro-duct sales in Ireland.

In its report Performance and Prospects 2008-09, launched last week, Bord Bía stated that exports of bakery products from Ireland increased by an estimated 4%, with the UK remaining the principal market. Par-baked product and speciality items, such as Irish soda bread, were among the top exports.

"The bakery category is only a small part of overall food exports, but is a sector that has resilience," Aidan Cotter, chief executive, Bord Bía told British Baker.

However Bord Bía sounded a word of caution, saying the rising production costs and currency fluctuations continued to put pressure on margins.

=== Consumer study ===

Bord Bía undertook consumer research in Ireland and the UK under the heading ’Feeling the Pinch’. The study found that, in these recessionary times, one in four Irish consumers have decided to cut back on socialising and eating out in restaurants and cafés.

The research devised an anxiety index with four categories of consumers - The Placid, The Perturbed, The Pressured and The Panicked. The Panicked group has the highest anxiety levels, which can be alleviated with offers, deals, coupons and vouchers.

The higher-income people are in the Placid group and price cuts and promotional-based activities may not be required for these.