If you type The Great British Bake Off (GBBO) into Google you get a staggering 21 million hits. There can be no doubt the show is a media phenomenon.
But the question of whether it is good for the baking industry is one that still remains unanswered.
Not a week goes by without one claim or another, saying that it is beneficial or detrimental to the bakery trade.
You can imagine my shock then, when Radio 4, on a piece on GBBO, said recently that British Baker had claimed we were buying fewer cakes and biscuits.
British Baker made no such claim and had merely reported the findings of a market report by intelligence provider KeyNote.
The 2013 winner Frances Quinn then joined the programme to discuss the rise of the BBC programme and whether it has “really had such a huge effect”.
Quinn said: “Certainly the number of people having bake sales and creating bakes while watching the show has absolutely exploded.
“You’ve got the baking, but have also got the whole clean eating thing going alongside, so people are doing gluten-free and free-from baking. It’s about balance – a little bit of what you want is good.
“I think it’s great if people are making more from home. It’s knowledge and awareness of baking that is making them more interested in what is in their local bakery and when they go abroad as well.”
To be honest, as a leading B2B magazine and website, the consumer-focused Great British Bake Off has always posed a conundrum for us.
In editorials I have personally spoken about the chances the show, and its popularity, have afforded the industry. And we have always tried to cover the show through a professional lens. We ask an expert about what is going to be covered on each week’s show, and last week it was the turn of Joakim Prat, a master patissier who owns Maitre Choux in Kensington.
This is the reason we have decided to ask you, the industry, about your thoughts on the show.
When we asked last year, 45% of you said yes, the show was good for sales. But what about 2015? Have we reached saturation point? And is the public being put off by The Great British Bake Off?