Food and DrinkNews

British Appetite For Bakery Products Is Sweet Spot In British Foodservice

Research from The NPD Group says the popularity of savoury and sweet bakery in the UK is helping to increase eating out visits. For the wider UK out-of-home foodservice market, overall visits were up a meagre +0.3% for year ending September 2019, and they were down -0.3% the previous year.

The UK’s eat-out market has the slowest growth of the top five European markets (France, Italy, Spain, Germany and UK).

In contrast, figures from the NPD Group’s new Bakery Tracker Service reveal that foodservice visits that specifically include purchases of bakery products have increased three years in a row: up +5.7% YE September 2017, up +3.5% YE September 2018 and up +1.8% YE September 2019.

With growth of +3.5% to YE September 2019, bakery visits are helping to drive traffic to the UK’s beleaguered high streets. Bakery servings increased by +2.5% YE September 2019 to a total of 6.2 billion with bakery now representing over 21% of all OOH servings in the UK. Savoury bakery products are growing slightly faster (year-on-year servings up +2.5%) than sweet bakery (year-on-year servings up +2.2%).

UK consumers find bakery in most foodservice channels: not just the top high street bakery outlets, but also in quick-service restaurants, supermarkets and pubs, as well as travel hubs such as airports, railway stations and petrol forecourts. Over 40% of all off-premise visits in the UK include the purchase of a bakery product. The £7.9 billion spent on bakery is around 14% of spend across the entire industry.

Peter Linden, Insights Manger Foodservice, The NPD Group, said: “Bakery is outperforming the total eat-out market in the UK for three key reasons. 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-thru 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.”

Vegan and artisan bakes among new trends

Vegan bakery is a well-established growth area that seeks to replace butter, milk, eggs and meat with plant-based alternative ingredients such as coconut cream, nuts, pulses, vegetables, fruit, tofu and meat substitutes. Many bakery and coffee shop chains already offer vegan cookies, brownies, cakes, doughnuts, wraps and sausage rolls. In addition, the growing popularity of artisan bread – made using traditional methods and natural ingredients – taps into consumer demand for premiumisation and healthier alternatives.

New concepts and ongoing innovation will ensure bakery continues to thrive, encouraging consumers to increasingly include a bakery product during an eating out visit. NPD’s Foodservice Outlook service predicts that while overall eating out visits will struggle to grow (less than +1% growth in visits is expected by YE September 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) by YE September 2022.

Peter Linden said: “British bakery is full of innovation so perhaps it’s no surprise that servings of old-fashioned staples such as toast and sausage rolls are struggling. At the same time, artisan breads with new flavours and contemporary twists on traditional recipes are enjoying a renaissance.

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