New products? and celebrity chefs were already helping to draw consumers back to their ovens and manufacturers' efforts to target convenience were slowing the market's decline of previous years. ?It fell 3% in the year to 2001 to a value of £428m, according to TNS data, as opposed to 5% the year before.

Home baking was once again gaining status as a fashionable activity, with cake mix kits responding to busy consumers' demands for easy-to-use products, as well as creating a much more contemporary image for the fixture. Cadbury-branded mixes were doing well, Victoria Foods had launched the upmarket Jane Asher range and Betty Crocker had brought muffins and brownies across the Atlantic.

Character licensing, in the form of kits from Kerry Foods' Green's range, featuring Pokémon, Bob the Builder and Scooby-Doo, was big news too. Suppliers were also waking up to seasonal opportunities, with cake mixes aimed at Easter and Hallowe'en baking.

Iconic brand ambassador the Pillsbury Dough Boy was still around, backing the Jus-Rol brand and helping to boost sales of ready-made frozen pastry.

Breadmakers were having a significant impact and bread flour sales grew by a third year-on-year. McDougalls and Hovis capitalised on the growth in bread machine ownership by adding pack notes deeming the products 'ideal for bread makers'.

There was a trend towards premiumisation in this sector too, with organic flour sales increasing by 70% .

Health concerns were beginning to make their presence felt.

Sugar sales were in freefall, and fruit, nuts and peel - regarded very much as traditional products five years ago - were also performing poorly.

However, there were signs that growth was coming from snacking formats in this sector.