Conservative British shoppers still generally prefer a branded, sliced loaf to fresh-baked offerings, which means sales of plant bread far outweigh those from in-store bakeries in the major supermarkets.
Plant bread, which accounts for 85% of wrapped bread value sales, has grown by 8.5% in the past year, while in-store bakery has grown at 3.5% [TNS 52 w/e February 27, 2005].
However, convenience stores are now key players in driving in-store bakery, especially with branded offerings, and concessions in symbol groups and independents are really starting to grab share.
Convenience shoppers increasingly appreciate their just-baked products, while suppliers are also getting more adventurous in response, evolving their standard baguette and crusty roll offer to sandwiches made from fresh bread and hot food-to-go such as pasties.
And it helps if the offer has separate branding, according to Country Choice, which supplies retailers including Somerfield,
Londis and forecourt stores with its Bake & Bite brand. It says that consumers want to see a concession in-store, as it gives an air of professionalism and means staff aren’t handling products as well as money.
Stuart Tanner, commercial manager at pastry supplier Brittons of Devon, says that there has been a significant increase in the popularity of the in-store bakery, which is capturing the food-to-go market. “The trend has resulted in a much higher quality of products on offer, as well as an increase in the ranges as manufacturers aim to get a higher share of the market.” Budgens’ category buyer for bread, Nick Hill, has introduced Cuisine de France fixtures to all stores as they meet the demand for ultra-fresh bread. “The key products are white crusty rolls, baguettes and speciality breads such as with rosemary or cranberry,” says Hill.
A spokesman at Cuisine de France says food to go is a key driver for the convenience market, especially hot snacking and ready-to-eat products.
“We have been developing a new range of seven handheld savouries, including handheld savoury bars, which feature flavours such as Breakfast and Chicken Tikka Masala.”
Country Choice’s marketing director, Raj Tugnait, adds: “In-store bakeries are now entering the realms of foodservice.
“Just doing bread and a few confectionery lines is old hat. The major growth is coming from hot food, so that outlets now have bread, hot pastries and hot breakfast products.
“Chilled sandwich fillings have been the real driver for us as they add value to fresh baked bread.”