Retailers including Marks & Spencer (M&S), Asda and Waitrose have enjoyed booming sales of their sourdough loaves over the past year.
Demand at M&S almost doubled year-on-year – at 98%, Asda saw sales rise 50%, while sales of sourdough loaves at Waitrose jumped by a third, according to the retailers.
Tesco recently revealed that demand for its hard-crusted, rustic-styled bread soared by nearly 40% over the last year.
The increases come as supermarkets tap rising consumer demand for artisan-style loaves.
Jade Symonds, bread buyer for Waitrose – which sells 12 sourdough options – said customers were increasingly looking for “flavoursome breads” and added that the waxy and delicate taste of its loaves was the result of the sourdough-making process which takes up to 48 hours.
“Sales of the loaves have grown by a third in the past year at Waitrose, with our Waitrose 1 range of premium sourdoughs proving extremely popular, up 55%,” she said.
Maddie Munden, Asda’s product development manager for in-store bakery, which produces a Sourdough Basket Boule and a Sourdough Baguette, said there were plans for the retailer to launch a brown sourdough in June.
Tesco, which sells around 100,000 sourdough loaves a week and has just launched its first ever baguette made from the fermented dough, has almost quadrupled its sourdough range over the past five years.
The rising popularity of speciality loaves and brunches including avocado on sourdough are among the drivers for growth, according to Tesco, which offers baguette, roll, pitta bread and gluten-free varieties.
“Instead of seeing bread as just something to toast or make a sandwich with, more people are beginning to appreciate it as a food to savour, and one that can have many different flavours and complex tastes,” added Tesco bakery buyer Alice McConnell.
Supermarket sourdough loaves have attracted criticism in the past as some contain additives. Last year, the Daily Mail questioned the authenticity of certain ‘sourdough’ loaves in an article heavily quoting Chris Young from the Real Bread Campaign.