In the US, almost any occasion is an excuse to bake, with major sales uplifts at Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo, Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Halloween. And more.
But we British tend to be, well, more British about it. Baking sales peak around Christmas, and although there are uplifts around Easter, Pancake Day and in the school holidays, other occasions are “more an excuse to make a noise in store than times when consumers buy more,” says Edward Otero, marketing manager for home baking at Kerry Foods.
National celebrations such as the Queen’s jubilee, however, are a different matter. This year’s Diamond Jubilee brought out a frenzy of red, white and blue ingredients, recipes and accessories.
Sainsbury’s, a sponsor of the Jubilee, went big on the occasion, with in-store displays as well as promotions, such as a three-for-two deal on branded ingredients to make the retailer’s exclusive ‘Elizabeth sponge’. “The UK baking ingredients market grew by almost 50% in the four weeks to the Jubilee weekend,” says Moji Forde, Sainsbury’s home baking category manager. “There was a really strong uplift in Jubilee-focused products.”
Limited-edition icing packs went down well, confirms Renshaw head of marketing Ruth Stead. “Icing saw an uplift of 127% versus last year and marzipan was up 34%.”
Other suppliers also report big gains from the Jubilee fever. Whitworths, which rolled out a Jubilee cake kit, reports penetration “was up about 50% compared with a year ago,” according to marketing director Clinton Orchard. And General Mills “saw a great uptake from the Jubilee, with an 80% uplift in sales across the board,” says Mark Brown, marketing manager for baking.
But, he adds, suppliers should not think of the Jubilee in isolation. “The issue is how to develop and build on this in the future.”
Home baking: Selling like hot cakes
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Suppliers hoping the Jubilee spirit catches on