Sugar suppliers are hoping to reverse declining category volume sales by tapping into the home-baking boom.
Tate & Lyle is launching the Taste Experience range of eight brown and golden cane sugars - including one inspired by its Golden Syrup - while Silver Spoon is spending £3m supporting lines such as its Billington’s premium sugar.
Taste Experience, which rolled out to Waitrose, Ocado and Tesco this week, would bring a wider choice of specialist products to the growing number of home bakers, said Tate & Lyle.
The company is hoping to encourage trial with the launch of smaller, lower priced packs (rsp: £1.19 for 325g or 350g) alongside larger packs (rsp: £1.79 for 700g/750g).
The new sugars had been graded by flavour and strength to make it easier to select the right sugar, said Tate & Lyle Sugars senior brand manager James Whiteley.
Smaller crystals made the sugars smoother and better to bake with, he added. “We are trying to demystify sugar and show people it is about more than just sweetness,” he said.
Meanwhile, The Silver Spoon Company is ramping up support for its Billington’s brand and Nielsen-Massey vanilla flavouring with a £3m press campaign and online activity around its Baking Mad website.
“Although growth has slowed, home baking is still a growing market,” said The Silver Spoon Company marketing director Tony Lucas. “The biggest growth is from bakers aged 35 and under - although older bakers are baking more.”
Overall sugar sales have risen 12% by value year-on-year but this has largely been driven by price hikes, with volume down 0.4% [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 20 January 2013]. Sales of white caster sugar, popular with home-bakers, rose 6.1% by volume over the same period, volume sales of brown sugar fell 1.4%, and golden granulated fell 8.2%.
However, specialist baking sugar lines remained a significant potential growth area, said Mintel analyst Emma Clifford, “as there are not many brands targeting home bakers”.