White bread sales dipped last year as growing numbers of shoppers embraced brown and healthy loaves.

While still the largest sector by far, spend on pre-packed white bread fell from £208m in the 12 weeks to 27 December 2009 to £196m in the same period last year, according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel figures.

Healthy eating messages and new launches helped brown bread sales rise from £64m to £70m, half & half bread sales increased from £43m to £45m and bread with bits spend jumped from £43m to £46m. Overall spend on pre-packed bread fell slightly from £379m in the 12 weeks to £378m.

Allied Bakeries said the convenience channel’s focus on white bread would continue and that it was responding to retailer demand by launching three white loaves in the sector. It has launched Kingsmill Danish 400g the brand’s first Danish-style bread, Kingsmill Doorstep 800g its thickest sliced bread at 2.2cm, and Farmhouse Soft White as a 400g loaf, which has a more rustic feel with a round top, central split and flour dusting. Kingsmill Soft Malted Grain Farmhouse 800g completes the new line-up.

Category director Guy Shepherd said: "The new products tap into the convenience sector offering a comprehensive range of products to meet [consumers’] needs. Allied Bakeries delivers direct to convenience stores on behalf of retailers which means that on average, bread is 12 hours fresher than delivering first to a distribution centre."

He said the firm continued to push non-white bread with its Multigrain, Tasty Wholemeal and Seeded loaves.

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