Economy loaves just don’t cut it for most shoppers these days and they are increasingly willing to pay more for posh bread. Consumers are trading up but they’re also more familiar with ethnic and speciality breads and are happy to eat seeded loaves for breakfast, wraps for lunch and naan for dinner with a curry.
And brands are on to the trend. Kingsmill, for example, recently relaunched Soft White with a new image and premium packaging in a bid to appeal to older, more affluent shoppers.
It has also relaunched Kingsmill Gold, which Allied Bakeries’ commercial development team leader, Lawrence Trist, says appeals to consumers who like its farmhouse, rustic image.
Says Trist: “There’s a definite premiumisation in the category, which is benefiting both manufacturers and retailers.”
Meanwhile, Hovis’ Super Premium range is being relaunched under the new Hovis Enjoy sub brand. The range includes two new products: Hovis Enjoy
White Granary, with added seeds and grains, and Hovis Enjoy Country Sandwich, a superior-quality loaf.
More upmarket brands also do well by linking celebrities to their products, such as Irwin’s Rankin Selection, produced in conjunction with celebrity chef Paul Rankin. In June, a further two products will be added to the range - Sour Cream & Chive Potato Bread and Cinnamon & Raisin Loaf.
Loyd Grossman recently teamed up with Rivermill Foods to produce a range of hand-baked traditional Italian and Indian breads, including Tandoori naan
bread, ciabatta, and focaccia with caramelised onions and Gruyere cheese, while Gary Rhodes has just come out with his Passion for the Classics bread mixes, developed with Kerry Foods in four flavours: Crusty White, Multigrain, Wild Mushroom & Garlic and Sweet Red Pepper & Basil.
According to Ken Glennon, sales and commercial director for own-label speciality bread supplier La Fornaia, consumers are getting more adventurous and are willing to try spicy topped breads from around the world. “They’re using them as an accompaniment or as a meal in itself - they like variety and want to try new products.”
Mintel reports that four in five shoppers buy speciality or Continental bread, with Indian or ethnic bread the most popular.
The tortillas, wraps and pitta bread sectors have been buoyant. Discovery Foods marketing director Paul Vita says their appearance in sandwich fixtures proves their popularity.
“The market for tortillas and wraps is worth £25m and growing 16% in value [TNS, 52 w/e February 27, 2005] and they sell particularly well at evenings and weekends when people eat ethnic food at home.”
Patak’s recently introduced Flavoured Indian Wraps and Mini Naans. Marketing manager Neil Gibson says: “We’re now looking at other developments in the area of fresh naan breads and promoting them as good for barbecues.”
Craig Leach, Sainsbury’s bakery buying manager, supports the notion that Continental and speciality breads are an area that is showing promise.
“Our customers welcome premium bakery lines and this is a big growth area for us. European breads such as ciabatta also do well. As people travel more, the popularity of breads of the world continues to grow,” he says.