Baking chocolate cake

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Growing concerns about sugar are a major factor, especially for older shoppers

Brits may still be watching The Great British Bake Off in their droves, but rising concerns about sugar mean fewer are being inspired to make their own creations.

Shoppers bought home baking items an average of 13 times in the past year, down 2.2% on the year before, according to exclusive Kantar figures for The Grocer.

That saw the home baking market fall 1.7% to £694.8m for the year ending 24 March.

Kantar said the decline flew in the face of the trend towards scratch cooking, which grew 6% in number of occasions over the past year.

Sugar concerns emerged as one reason behind the fall in baking sales. Sugar sales fell 1.6% to £124.6m, and many brands suffered slumps in value. Tate & Lyle fell 6.5% to £63m and Silver Spoon was down 1.7% to £55.4m, according to Nielsen data compiled for the year ending 18 May.

Failure to rise: home baking category report 2019

By contrast, sweetener brand Canderel grew 2.6% to £13.1m, which Nielsen put down to consumers turning away from refined sugar “to alternatives such as non-refined sugar or sweetening products”.

Dr Oetker said these sugar concerns were making baking less of a snack option. It pointed to Kantar research that found older shoppers had turned to home baking for 19,000 fewer snacking occasions over the past year. “Older consumers, representing 33% of home bakers, are generally looking to cut back on indulgence for snacking and not engaging with the category as they once did,” said Jen Brown, head of marketing for cakes and desserts at Dr Oetker UK.

However, Brown said consumers were willing to splash out when they did indulge. “The decline in snacking is driving the trend for indulgent baking, as consumers want something delicious when they do treat themselves to a dessert. This also means they are willing to pay a price premium,” she said.

Kantar figures show premium own label lines have done particularly well, up 16.8% in value.