With consumers actively seeking convenient, tasty yet healthy food solutions, how is this impacting the bread market and what are the latest trends bakers can capitalise on?

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Consumer attitudes to bakery

Bread is a staple within most UK households, so unsurprisingly, ‘bread & bread rolls’ drive weekly consumption of bakery. 70% of consumers eat a fresh bread/roll product at least once a week, vs 73% consuming packaged bread1.

However, bread is not just seen as a convenient way to add substance to meals, but a way to add flavour, texture and nutrition. With the growth of in-home baking during lockdown came a greater appreciation for artisanal bakery, leading to a greater demand for fresh, unprocessed and well-crafted bakery products. And the appetite for healthy alternatives continues to grow – for example, multigrain/seeded breads, protein enhanced cookies – with many also experimenting with breads that have interesting ingredients and flavours, such as sourdough or pizza breads.

Research conducted by Aryzta segments bakery consumers into six distinct groups based on their engagement with the category.

● Of these, the Fresh & Healthy fans are the most engaged. Although only accounting for 6% of consumers, they punch above their weight in both bakery and in-store bakery (ISB) consumption through the day. For this group, bakery is about natural ingredients and freshly baked, enjoying the likes of sourdough and seeded breads. Don’t be fooled by the name, however, as this group are into sweet as well as savoury, but like to have a balance of the two in their diets. They like new and different products and actively look out for them.
● The next most important group to fresh bakery is the Taste-First Enthusiasts, with this group accounting for 24% of all consumers. For these consumers, life is for eating. Health plays little relevance in their bakery choices, led instead by taste and the experience. Bread plays a key part in their diet, with 71% of them eating ISB bread /rolls in an average week and 31% of them eating it daily.
● Making up 21% of consumers, Treaters like to indulge themselves with bakery products. They manage this with an ‘all in moderation’ approach. They would rather have something they really enjoy than to eat bakery more often and compromise on taste. Bread & bread rolls are staples for Treaters, and they generally eat these at mealtimes, both in and out of home.
● As the name suggests, bakery is not a staple part of the diet for Limiters. Accounting for just 10% of consumers, their measured consumption of bakery reflects a certain health consciousness, as they prioritise health and strive for a balanced diet, allowing for the occasional indulgence.
● Bakery has a key role in a Price-Sensitive Staple’s diet (12% of consumers), but what and when they eat is shaped by a focus on value, opting for packaged bakery over fresh, which they feel is less accessible at a higher price point.
● Over a quarter (26%) of consumers are Compromisers: they continuously tread the line between eating what they love and making healthy decisions. However, they love to try new products and have an appetite for the authentic. As a segment highly engaged with the category, they make sacrifices in other areas of their diet to be able to enjoy bakery.

Speciality loaves

Bread 2

The Speciality Loaves category is in growth.

Looking at on-trend flavours, Olive is seeing strong growth, up 28%. Cheese-Plus (cheese with another ingredient, such as jalapeño) currently holds a 2% share but is in phenomenal growth, rising by 46%.

Sourdough has the highest share of Speciality Loaves accounting for almost 45% of all spend in the category.

With such a variety of attitudes to bakery, it’s important that your offering talks appropriately to your target consumer segment. It’s just about finding the right products and the right messaging.

For example, ISB loaves are more likely to appeal to those for whom health is important as these are freshly baked and contain fewer ingredients than some of packaged loaves so, in terms of Aryzta’s segmentation, this is appealing to Fresh & Healthy Fans in particular.

Bread 1

Moreover, when you look at Speciality Loaves, this offers new flavours and loaf types – for example, sourdoughs, olive, or cheese breads. This appeals to those who are looking for something new/different (Taste-First Enthusiasts and Compromisers). Highlighting new products is likely to pique the interests of these groups.

Sometimes it’s all about the taste and experience and how ‘insta‘ the serve is – can you whet consumers’ appetites with your imagery and messaging? That is how you get the attention of the Taste-First Enthusiasts and the Treaters. Merchandising the occasion near the bakery can help conversion rates and increase basket size.

What about the Limiters and Price-Sensitive Staples? Both groups do not reject in-store bakery products, they are more likely to consume these during special occasions/parties, so bringing this into your communication is more likely to get these groups to consider ISB.

Sourdough – The Star Performer

● Sourdough has the highest share of Speciality Loaves accounting for almost 45% of all spend on the category
● White Sourdough is the most popular, accounting for 27% of all Speciality Loaves and 61% of all Sourdoughs, and continues to see a steady growth.
● Brown Sourdough accounts for 6% of Speciality Loaves and 11% of Sourdough sales. This flavour is seeing strong growth (+6%) and is driving the growth of the Sourdough sub-category.

Sourdough has been seeing strong growth over the last few years and now accounts for almost £1 in every £2 spent on in-store bakery speciality loaves2. This was boosted during lockdowns as people baked more at home and tried to make their own sourdough starter. However, with restrictions easing and busy lives becoming the norm again, the time to bake bread and look after the sourdough starter has faded, but appetite for sourdough has remained.

Sourdough already has a healthier image, this is boosted further when made using brown or rye flours. Adding in seeds brings a new texture and mouthfeel which adds a new dimension to the occasion. 

International bakery company Aryzta specialises in sourdough, made using a perpetual live starter which has 30 years of heritage in the business. It recently invested in a new speciality bread manufacturing plant to double its capacity for premium sourdoughs, allowing the company to create high-quality sourdough at scale to help its customers meet the growing demand for artisan-style products.

To find out more about Aryzta, visit https://www.aryzta.com/

1 Aryzta Bakery Segmentation Research: January 2022
2 IRI data for 12 w/e 07.05.22