British appetite for bakery products is sweet spot in British foodservice

Over 40% of all off-premise visits in British foodservice include purchase of a bakery product £7.9 billion spent on bakery accounts for 14% of the entire industry’s value

London, November 13th, 2019 – Nearly 10 years on from the start of the Great British Bake Off, is British foodservice benefitting from a growing appetite for bakery products as consumers increasingly appreciate the healthier, more adventurous aspect of bakery? Global information company The NPD Group says the popularity of savoury and sweet bakery in Britain is helping to increase eating out visits in an otherwise sluggish industry. For the wider out-of-home (OOH) or eat-out foodservice market, overall visits were up a meagre +0.3% for year ending (YE) September 2019, and they were down -0.3% the previous year. Britain’s eat-out market has the slowest growth of the top five European markets (France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Great Britain).

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. In fact, with a growth of +3.5% to YE September 2019, bakery visits are helping to drive traffic to Britain’s beleaguered high streets and shopping centres. 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 Britain. Savoury bakery products are growing slightly faster (year-on-year servings up +2.5%) than sweet bakery (year-on-year servings up +2.2%).

Bakeries on the rise

British consumers can 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 Britain 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 Britain 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.”

Savoury for work; sweet for a treat

The NPD Group’s Bakery Tracker reveals that the British public has a growing appetite for both savoury and sweet bakery products; with each enjoying clear growth in visits and spend. When people are at work, they think of savoury bakery products, and this accounts for around one in five visits to an outlet selling bakery products. The ongoing dominance of sandwich servings in the bakery market lies behind such figures, with servings of sandwiches representing two thirds of all savoury bakery servings, and just over half of total bakery servings. 

In contrast, sweet bakery items are seen as less of a habit and more as an indulgent pleasure, with purchases motivated by the desire for a treat or when out socialising. And with the foodservice industry bringing endless variety to fillings for sandwiches, baps, wraps, pitta bread, fajitas, pasties and much more, many consumers see bakery products as an opportunity to find a light or healthier meal. Almost 300m visits and £500m of spend are driven by a desire to eat a light or healthier bakery product out-of-home.  

Top Savoury and Sweet Bakery YE September 2019 SOURCE: NPD Group
Sandwiches 3.1 billion/up 3% Cake 352 million/flat growth
Wraps 569 million/up 7% Croissant, pastry, Danish 275 million/up 4%
Toast 312 million/down 6% Cookies 225 million/up 5%
Bagel 152 million/up 12% Brownies 142 million/down 2%
Sausage rolls 132 million/flat growth Doughnuts 124 million/down 1%


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.”

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Press Contact

Lucy Green
Greenfields Communications
07817 698366

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