Vegan growth and consistent innovation driving British bakery

A new report from The NPD Group’s Bakery Tracker says the popularity of savoury and sweet bakery in Britain is helping to boost the entire foodservice sector.

13 November 2019
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  • Over 40% of all off-premise visits in British foodservice include the purchase of a bakery product.
  • British consumers spent £7.9bn on bakery in the year ending (YE) September 2019, accounting for 14% of the entire industry’s value.
  • Out-of-home/eat-out foodservice visits were up only 0.3% last year, with Britain’s eat-out market experiencing the slowest growth of the top five European markets (France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Great Britain).
  • However, foodservice visits that specifically include purchases of bakery products have increased three years in a row: +5.7% YE September 2017, +3.5% YE September 2018 and +1.8% YE September 2019.
  • Overall bakery visits are up 3.5% to YE September 2019, with bakery now representing over 21% of all OOH servings in Britain – an increase of 2.5% to a total of 6.2 billion.                                 
  • Savoury bakery products are growing slightly faster (year-on-year servings up 2.5%) than sweet bakery (year-on-year servings up 2.2%).
  • Servings of sandwiches represent 2/3 of all savoury bakery servings, and just over half of total bakery servings, with sweet bakery items seen as less of a habit and more as an indulgent pleasure.
  • Almost 300m visits and £500m of spend are driven by a desire to eat a light or healthier bakery product out-of-home, with consumers seeing bakery products as an opportunity for a light or healthier meal – for example, through the consumption of artisan bread, which also has premium appeal.
  • By 2022, bakery visits could increase by as much as 10% (or 470m visits), led by savoury bakery products (12% visits), while sweet bakery visits could increase by 8% (108m visits).

The rise of seasonal bakery

“Bakery is outperforming the total eat-out market in Britain for three key reasons," said Peter Linden, insights manager for foodservice at The NPD Group.

"First, breakfast on-the-go is popular with consumers who want baked products such as croissants or savoury baps for their first meal of the day.

“Second, bakery taps into the fast growth in delivery, drive-through and work-related food-to-go purchases – the ‘off-premise’ side of the industry that is growing seven times faster than ‘on-premise.’

“Third, sandwiches and wraps meet the need for convenience and represent an affordable way of buying quality, variety and often healthier bakery options."

Linden noted that while more old-fashioned items like toast and sausage rolls are struggling, artisan breads with new flavours and contemporary twists are attracting consumer interest.

“The growing trend for ‘seasonal bakery’ is helping to drive visits and revenue in the all-important final ‘golden’ quarter of the year,” continued Linden.

“As well as seasonal limited-edition hot drinks themed around Halloween and Christmas, more vegan seasonal products are being introduced, for instance vegan roast dinner panini and vegan mince pies.

“Although much of the innovation is happening in London and the major cities, in time vegan bakery and artisan bread will reach every high street in Britain, bringing more choice and with it the chance to continue expanding the sector.”

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