Opportunities in the bakery market

New data from MCA shows the most popular baked goods among different age groups, while the NPD Group looks at how this segment is moving further into food-to-go.

19 June 2019
image credit: Getty Images


  • A slump in snacking has seen the number of bakery occasions fall by 2% year on year to 5.7bn.
  • Sweet bakery is declining faster than savoury, with a dip in all day-parts except breakfast. Women make up the majority of sweet bakery consumers at all times except breakfast, with coffee shops/cafes the most popular channel for sweet pastries.
  • Women are also over-represented among sweet bakery consumers and make up the majority of cake slice, muffin and brownie sales.
  • The growth of savoury bakery has seen an increase in the number of breakfast and dinner occasions involving bakery.
  • The popularity of bagels, baguettes and sandwiches is growing at breakfast, driven by the rise of food-to-go occasions.
  • Sausage roll and toasted sandwich are most popular among over-50s, while bagels and wraps capture the under-35s.
  • Bagels are strongly skewed towards men while women are the primary purchasers of wraps. The majority of sausage roll buyers earn under £40k, while bagels are most popular among the highest earners.
  • Younger consumers are particularly prevalent consumers of brownies, shortbread, cupcakes and cookies.
  • Ringed doughnuts are mainly bought by those on lower incomes, while cheesecake is popular among high earners.


“As a whole, out-of-home bakery occasions are in decline. However, when split by day-part there are positives. Breakfast and dinner visits are in growth, but it is the significant decline in the snack occasion that is cause for concern,” said Greta Glaveckaite, data analyst at MCA.

“An overall decline in sandwich carriers being purchased as a snack is the main catalyst for a decline in savoury bakery. However, it is sweet bakery that has suffered the biggest decline. Each of the top five sweet bakery items purchased as a snack have declined year-on-year. Overall, fast-food outlets continue to be the most popular channel for savoury bakery and sandwich items and coffee shops/cafes are the top choice of consumers for sweet bakery items.”


NPD Group

Bakery outlets have the strongest growth in on-premise business among major British quick-service restaurant (QSR) channels, with sales and visits up more than 19% and nearly 18% respectively in the year ending April 2019.

Eight out of 10 bakery purchases are consumed on the move.

But bakeries only account for £1.2bn or 5% of Britain’s £22.5bn food-to-go business annually, up from £1bn five years ago.

Bakeries service 3% of the total click-and-collect market.

Delivery volume is up nearly 63% in the past year and the value of delivery sales has increased by over 47%.

Bakery outlets boosted sales by 6% in the past year and increased visits by 2.2%, outperforming pizza and chicken outlets, which saw visits drop.

There was success in servings, with bakery outlets recording a 9% jump to 1.17bn servings – the strongest servings growth in the past year of any other QSR channel.

Around 1.46bn visits to bakeries involved a deal or promotion, up 16% over the past year.

Among the 16-24 age group, bakeries have achieved a 15% growth in visits and a 5% growth in the 50+ age group. Bakeries were the fastest-growing segment among the 50+ age group and the second fastest for 16-24s.


“Many businesses – small and large – are moving away from their traditional bakery offering to a sharper food-to-go focus. This involves putting on good coffee, offering new food choices such as pizza, salads, pasta, hot sandwiches, croissants, pasties and much more, and meeting the demand for click-and-collect and delivery,” said Peter Linden, insight manager at The NPD Group. “Bakeries can secure more growth by increasing their share of the food-to-go market from their current level of just 5%, and by bringing their food-to-go appeal to dayparts they don’t normally service, such as dinner. They also have scope to provide delivery, especially at breakfast time and at weekends.”

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