Pies continue to go from strength to strength, but a growing number of manufacturers are using their loaf to boost their share of the single-serve market… quite literally.

Over the past year, there has been an explosion of microwaveable snacks that are bread rather than pastry-based.

Wall’s moved into microwaveable breakfast baps in September Global Fine Foods launched Naansters in March, the same month Ginsters relaunched its microwaveable soft dough Cornish Bara and French supplier Sapresi Traiteur is currently looking to bring its microwaveable paninis to the UK.

Much of the NPD is targeting on-the-go consumers who want a quick and easy alternative to the pastry-based products. “People have been looking for something new and a bit different,” says Naansters sales director, Naynesh Karia. “All they’ve had is pies, pasties, sausage rolls and paninis. This offers greater variety.”

Not just in consumer choice, but in NPD opportunities, says John Armstrong, marketing director of Kepak, which makes the Rustlers, Feasters and Zugo ranges.

“We very much see ourselves as operating in a new category that we’re calling ‘hot, quick and tasty’,” he says.

Sales growth of Rustlers alone have leapt 25.2% in value and 23.8% in volume [Nielsen 52 w/e 15 September 2012], suggesting he’s onto something.

As a new category, however, it does require some careful communication, notes Ginsters head of brand marketing, Andy Valentine. That’s why the Bara was rebranded.

“Bara was replaced by Stuffed Subs to help make the product more instantly understandable to consumers,” he says. “Categorising Stuffed Subs into a ‘subs category’ also helps retailers identify where to stock the range for optimal sales.”

Nothing humble about it