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Health Trends in the UK’s Bakery Market

Health Trends in the UK’s Bakery Market

24.06.2019 Blog

Today, the UK bakery market is one of the ten largest globally. As reported by the Euromonitor, the average annual increase in the volume of bakery sales in the UK for the period 2016-2018 amounted to 2.7%, retail sales value in 2018 almost reached £ 7 billion.

Using information from the upcoming Vimes Consulting’s ‘UK Bakery Market Report 2019’ and other sources, we would like to share some thoughts with regards to the UK’s bakery market trends.

What is healthy?
While the overall focus on ‘healthy eating’ in the UK has undoubtedly grown the understanding of what ‘healthy’ is, not easy to pinpoint. TV, Media, internet, food companies, government advertising campaigns all have contributed to the public’s shifting perception of what ‘good food’ is.
According to Vimes Consulting 2019 ‘UK Market Healthy Snacks Report’, Instagram and YouTube are now some of the most influential channels especially amongst the younger consumers with tastes and preferences changing at a record pace.

Shifting Trends
According to Mintel’s 2017 report, usage of white sugar almost doubled as a primary ingredient amongst new product launches 2012-2016. At the same time amongst the claims made during product launches of ‘Low’ or ‘Reduced Fat’ have grown almost five times over the same number of years.
Fast forwarding to the 2019 and the preferences have shifted yet again. With the overall perception in the bakery, segment moved from ‘fat is evil’ to ‘it’s complicated’ with sugar, salt and gluten being targeted by the ‘free-from’ conscious customer.
For example sale of reduced-fat cakes in 2018 have declined in the UK as consumers are generally moving away from reduced-fat products in favour of healthy fats.

These often conflicting and changing tastes push Bakery producers like no others to adapt, change and innovate. Arguably the UK’s bakery industry is now amongst some of the most agile sectors in the entire economy.

Free from
Term ‘Free-from’ is now frequently used as a handy shorthand for ‘healthy foods’. UK Free-From food market estimated at £837 million in 2018  with a very impressive growth of 133% over the past five years. A food package can now proclaim any number of things that are not included in a given product  (Artificial Color, Flavor or Sweetener, Preservatives,  Sugar, Starch, Corn, Soy, Egg, Lactose, Gluten, Wheat, Yeast, Fish, Sodium, etc.).

In the category of free-form, gluten holds a special place the favourite missing ingredient. Interesting to note that only 2/3 of the total free-from consumers have no allergy or other gluten intolerances.

For the worried that the UK’s bakery sector is about to succumb to the free from ‘everything’ removing all joy from cakes and biscuits, relief comes in the form of yet another strong trend – Premiumisation.
Referring to the fast-growing premium segments including the coffee shops, artisan bakeries and high-end retail, premiumisation embraced quality and taste the first attitude. While difficult to quantify due to the exact definitions of what the premium product is, anecdotal evidence points to 10%-15% growth giving hope to all of who not quite ready to give up the sugary goodness.