Bread GettyImages-1371981368

It’s been one heck of a year for bakery. And not just because bread loaves are back in the black, following a £52m loss in 2021. The category has been home to a whirlwind of activity, from NPD to boardroom changes.

Take Hovis. Having secured a third consecutive year of value growth with a £1.1m gain, it named Jon Jenkins as CEO in October. The former boss of Allied Milling & Baking and Müller Milk & Ingredients replaced Nish Kankiwala just in time for the launch of Hovis Simple White.

The 800g NPD, unveiled this month, is a value loaf that landed in Booker and Tesco with an rsp of £1.19 – 21p cheaper than a standard Hovis white loaf in Tesco.

While the supplier declined to comment on the rollout, it looks like an attempt to dissuade consumers from switching to own label as inflation bites.

That certainly makes sense. As NielsenIQ senior analytics executive Janette Chow notes, the bread market is already experiencing “shoppers trading down to private label to manage rising grocery costs”.

The budget line comes in contrast to many other Hovis innovations this year. Among them are seven products for the posh Hovis Bakers Since 1886 sub-brand. New additions include Granary Cob, Premium Hot Dog Rolls, Premium Teacakes and a three-strong Home Bakes lineup.

A Hovis spokeswoman points to “good levels of repeat purchase” for Bakers Since 1886 lines. “Those who try them, love them.”

Allied’s Kingsmill has also been focusing on premium innovation, as it works to claw back a £19.3m loss. On one hand, the supplier axed its higher-end Bürgen brand in light of a long-term decline. Its value had dived 59.8% to around £771k in its final 12 months, after 25 years on the UK market. But in October, it unveiled two posh bloomers: Great White with Sourdough and Malted.

Not to be outdone, category leader Warburtons went posh too. In April, it launched Seeds & Grains, a trendy range of loaves in recyclable paper wrapping (see Top Launch, below). The NPD was one part of Warbies’ investment in long-term sustainable growth, says a spokeswoman.

“This year we have invested in new manufacturing capabilities, which has helped to drive category growth in crumpets, Thin Bagels and Pittas,” she adds. “To further support category growth, we also invested in marketing campaigns and, in October, launched the first-ever National Crumpet Week with amazing retail execution.”

Britain’s biggest bakery also saw chairman Jonathan Warburton’s return to the helm  in September, following MD Neil Campbell’s departure. That whirlwind of activity shows no sign of stopping – for now, at least.

Top Launch 2022

Seeds & Grains | Warburtons


This range of 700g loaves from Warburtons is on-trend in every respect. Aimed at health-conscious shoppers, it comprises three variants: The Big 21, featuring 21 varieties of seeds and grains; Plant Power, made with a blend of pulses, grains and seeds; and Make It Grain, containing Maris Otter barley. Each premium SKU (rsp: £1.85) is wrapped in paper – marking a packaging first for Warbies. The stylish, eco-friendly bread bags can be recycled domestically with newspapers and cardboard.

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