Adjusting to lockdown life has seen many changes to consumer shopping behaviour. The latest HIM PULSE UPDATE highlights a change in shopper purchases as home baking rises in importance and ‘top up’ missions increase sales for chilled dairy and wrapped bakery products.

As local stores benefit from this increase in shopping visits for the ‘top up’ mission, so too do wholesalers as convenience retailers react to consumer needs and pull through the latest products in demand.

“With more time at home, consumers can enjoy more leisurely and adventurous breakfasts, encouraging the whole family to get involved,” comments Charlotte Hulbert, Sales Manager, Brioche Pasquier.

Brioche Pasquier supply a range of wrapped bakery products to the wholesale and retail channel and have been working continuously to maintain supply.

Jeremy Gilboy, founder, St Pierre Groupe, comments: “In March, we reported an increase in sales across all our brands including St Pierre, Baker Street and Paul Hollywood. We believe this is due to consumers looking for foods that are frequently eaten, that are comforting, versatile, convenient and good value, during these unprecedented times.”

To help meet this demand, where possible St Pierre Groupe has streamlined its offering to ensure its most popular products are readily available for customers. The company has also simplified logistics by sending out full pallets and full truck loads where possible to help customers get their orders.

“We understand the need to be agile and are regularly adapting to the changing situation by liaising more frequently than usual with our bakeries, haulage companies, warehouses and customers,” adds Gilboy.

Baker Street’s core range of wrapped bread has performed well with double digit growth for three consecutive years, making the brand worth £24.2m in 2019. This trend has continued over the last few weeks with sales value growing by over 40% in March (vs. previous year). Packed to be fresher for longer, Baker Street guarantees a minimum life of 35 days from delivery to depot to help ensure on-shelf availability and reduce the risk of wastage. This is a feature that has never been so relevant, as more than ever consumers are looking for food items that have a generous shelf life, and which bring both comfort and familiarity, convenience and versatility – all benefits that wrapped bread offers.

“We believe that the unprecedented demand we are seeing for Baker Street and our other brands indicates that consumers are focused on buying staple food products that help them reduce the frequency of their shops, so they can have the food they want and need at home whenever necessary,” says Gilboy.

Bakery alternatives are also performing extremely well during this time. As people can’t go out for a meal, they are finding new ways to help make their home cooking more interesting by introducing quality ingredients, such as brioche.

As the UK’s number one brioche burger bun brand (Nielsen), St Pierre offers simple indulgence and a versatile base to elevate ‘everyday’ meals to something special. Made in France, St Pierre boasts authenticity and, as a result, delivers brioche with a rich, buttery taste, yet light in texture with a subtle sweetness. St Pierre is growing rapidly, up 34% year on year and provides a premium offering of authentic bakery goods.

This spring, St Pierre Groupe revealed a new look for St Pierre. The new look, which is designed to celebrate St Pierre’s rich French heritage, retains the familiar orange colour but with a new eye-catching logo and pack design, for maximum stand out on shelf.

“Whilst we realise that this refresh and launch comes at a challenging time for both the industry and the wider world, with rebranded packs heading into stores in May we felt the time was right to share our news,” explains Gilboy.

In addition to bakery alternatives like brioche, part-baked bread is also increasing in popularity as consumers look for both quality and convenience in their bakery products. Paul Hollywood’s Ready to Bake rolls are a great alternative for consumers who are looking for the aroma of freshly baked bread in their homes but don’t necessarily have the time, ingredients or desire to make it from scratch. Paul Hollywood is the biggest brand in the part baked category in the UK, showing 35% value growth year on year against total market growth of 5% (Nielsen).

“We have streamlined our SKUs and our supply chain process, where possible, to help ensure ongoing supply. However, we do feel that it is important to continue to offer consumers a variety of products, as well as our best-selling essentials; as consumers are seeking out exciting and interesting products to try at home,” adds Gilboy.

Hovis, the UK’s 134-year-old bakery brand, is launching Hovis Fabulous Fibre, a new loaf that delivers a quarter of the daily target for fibre intake in every two-slice serving.

With more than one-in-three consumers (34%) calling for bread to have more nutritional benefits, Hovis is answering the nation’s call and providing a fibre packed, tasty loaf through the launch of Hovis Fabulous Fibre. Prior to the UK lockdown, nearly a third of consumers (29%) said that they were making more effort to eat healthily. With health now very much at the front of the nation’s mind, nutritious ingredients and products are even more relevant to consumers than ever.

The launch of Hovis Fabulous Fibre aims to directly answer consumers’ needs providing a loaf with fibre and the benefit of being good for a healthy gut, to drive reappraisal of the pre-packaged bread category with the more health conscious consumer. Hovis is well placed to champion this area for consumers based on their perception of Hovis being the most traditional, more natural and wholesome bakery brands.

Hovis Fabulous Fibre has been developed to make it easier for consumers to get more of their target daily intake of (30g) of fibre without compromising on taste or requiring complex and time-consuming recipes.

Hovis Fabulous Fibre is a light and tasty loaf that has been baked with a natural prebiotic fibre and contains no artificial preservatives. Eating two slices every day provides 8g of fibre which is 1/4 of an adult’s daily target intake.

The launch follows research that has shown that nine out of ten adults are not eating enough fibre every day. Fibre is an important part of a balanced diet and whilst research conducted by Hovis shows that 89% of UK adults say they recognise that eating fibre each day is important, only 38% of UK adults say they ensure their diet is high in fibre.

Jeremy Gibson, Marketing Director for Hovis, commented: “We are excited to launch our new Hovis Fabulous Fibre loaf which will help consumers boost fibre in their diet at a time when wellness and good health are at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Consumers want more nutritional products that are tasty and convenient which is exactly what this loaf delivers. Consumers shouldn’t have to change their lifestyle or meal choices to get more of the fibre they need for a balanced diet. We think this is a winner all round and something which the whole family, health seekers, and those with traditional tastes can enjoy.”

Rebecca Rayner, Director of Glebe Farm Foods, comments: “Home baking has stepped up as Brits in lockdown look to create tasty and nutritious meals, and Glebe Farm Foods has just the products to help to make delicious oaty treats and wholesome mealtimes.”

The recent Pulse Update from HIM indicates that ingredients such as sugar and flour have been increasing in popularity, with retailers struggling to keep their shelves stocked. Glebe Farm Foods has also seen a significant increase in business as customers look to source locally for their pantry staples. Making food at home signifies a return to a more natural approach to food, where the ingredients are easy to pronounce and cakes and bakes don’t contain artificial ingredients. At the farm in Huntingdon, Cambridge, the gluten free oats that go into the range of granola, muesli, porridge and PureOaty oat milk, are grown, milled and produced on site in line with the seed to shelf philosophy of the farm.

With more time to create leisurely breakfasts, recipes such as oat based muffins or banana and maple oat pancakes are a great start to the day and really quick and easy to make, as well as delivering a nutritious meal high in vitamins and minerals.

Glebe Farm Foods has a range of gluten free porridge, granolas, muesli and flour that can all be used in recipes to dial up delicious breakfasts. PureOaty oat milk is also a great alternative to use in home baking and has only 4 natural ingredients: British gluten free oats, water, sunflower oil and salt. PureOaty contains no added sugar and never, ever comes from concentrate. Unlike many oat drinks which are made from a concentrated oat syrup base.

“As families are looking for activities to do together, home baking is an easy win,” adds Rayner. “Teach the kids some classic recipes such as an Oaty Tiffin or Flapjacks and as well as a delicious treat, they’ll also be learning some great new skills (without even knowing it) and have an appreciation that baking together can be fun.”

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