The major trends within the category are the decline of plain white sliced bread and the growth of premium lines and healthier segments, such as wholemeal and grains or healthier white products in the style of Hovis Best of Both.

As a brand, Hovis is doing well across the total market and the launch of Best of Both a couple of years ago has helped drive growth. It is a very large part of the growing healthier white segment. Its granary loaf is also doing well, reflecting the trend for grain-based products.

Warburtons has traditionally been a very strong brand in its northern home territory, although it is still relatively unknown in the southern parts of the UK. However, the company is likely to become an even bigger player and threaten the market share of Hovis and Kingsmill during the next 12 months. It is expanding production at its Enfield plant and establishing a truly national network of bakeries, with direct distribution

to southern stores.

The bakery occasions sector is showing similar trends to bread, with consumers moving to healthier lines such as wraps, pittas and bagels.

In bread overall, there are only three major branded players as well as own label, and all pretty much duplicate each others' offerings. Because of the increasingly intense competition for shelf space, it may become impossible to keep all these similar products on the fixture, so we may see some retailers stocking only two brands alongside own label, to ensure they can maintain on-shelf availability for the customer.