Breakfast continues to be a key occasion for shoppers when picking up something on the go.

In fact, 17.8% of all eating-out occasions happen at breakfast time (Lumina), which means it is vital for retailers to include a selection of convenient options, such as pastries in grab bags, to help drive incremental sales in the morning.

What’s more, shoppers are spending more on breakfast – an average of £5.61 per occasion, which is a +1% growth on the year – as choice and variety increase (Lumina).

Pastries are seen as a staple breakfast option, with over half of Brits eating Danish pastries and croissants weekly, so they should be a key consideration for any food-to-go offering.

In fact, 84% of retailers that sell sweet bakery goods agree that Croissants and Danish pastries are crucial in driving sales, meaning they are a must stock for retailers to remain competitive.

“However, it is worth bearing in mind that shoppers consider pastries a snack to enjoy throughout the day,” says Paulina Gorska, Marketing Manager, Lantmännen Unibake UK. “With 66% of adults snacking at least once a day and 57% of consumers saying that they eat Danish pastries as a treat between meals, retailers would do well to make them available for shoppers to choose at any time of day. When it comes to deciding which pastries to include as part of a food-to-go range, retailers should ensure they stock the UK’s bestsellers in both Danish and French pastry, with the top three selling Danish pastry SKUs delivering 62% of the total category value sales.”

The Schulstad Bakery Solutions Maple Pecan Plait, Cinnamon Swirl and Vanilla Crème Crown are the top sellers in the Danish pastry range (IRI), while must-stock French pastries include the All Butter Croissant, Pain au Chocolat and Pain aux Raisins.

Earlier this year, Lantmännen Unibake UK created its first consumer product range under the successful Schulstad brand to attract incremental growth into the frozen aisle. The Schulstad ‘Bake at Høme’ range has been launched to help revolutionise retailer freezers with two classic Danish Pastry products, Cinnamon Swirls and Maple Pecan Plaits, provided in a frozen format for shoppers to bake fresh at home.

“Impulse purchases continue to drive growth, as retailers give more consideration to the location of on-the-go products and sweet bakery within stores. Pastries are increasingly placed at the front of store, as the aroma of fresh baking as well as the visually enticing selection of products help to encourage sales,” suggests Gorska.

“Retailers should provide grab bags that shoppers can fill with their pastry selection and use point-of-sale material to promote the quality credentials of their product range. They should also communicate usage ideas such as ‘a breakfast treat’, ‘this week’s special’ or ‘freshly baked,’ as well as considering running cross-category link deals. This will increase the likelihood of impulse buying as consumers are spontaneously tempted to pick up a tasty treat.”

With more than half of sweet bakery occasions featuring a hot drink, offering baked goods as part of a meal deal is likely to increase overall basket spend.

Charlotte Hulbert, Retail Sales Manager, Brioche Pasquier. comments: “Sustainability and waste management are becoming increasingly important issues for consumers, and together with a focus on health, these issues are likely to be an enduring trend. Sustainability is something that all suppliers, producers, wholesalers and retailers should be working on, however, this is not just a responsibility it is also good business. With consumers demanding change, many are choosing to buy brands that are making efforts towards sustainability.”

Bakery is no exception, and waste is a particular area of concern when it comes to bread and bakery products. Consumers are trying to buy responsibly and reduce waste in the home, but bakery is a difficult area. Products without artificial preservatives have a very short shelf life, and those with them can be seen as undesirable and unhealthy. With clean labelling also being a concern for consumers, this is a conundrum for them.

“This is one of the reasons why we have seen keen interest in our brioche products which have a 21-day life without any artificial preservatives,” adds Hulbert. “A long shelf life is one of the key benefits of our preservative free brioche products and it is a desirable virtue for every part of the sales chain – from wholesalers, to retailers to consumers.”

Whilst baking from scratch has been popular, families are also looking for quick recipes that are fun to make and include ready made products used in a different and innovative way.

The Brioche Pasquier website includes a recipe page which has lots of simple and clever ideas for creating sweet and savoury dishes using the brand’s Brioche Rolls, Croissants and Brioche Loaf. “With over 30,000 people on our mailing list, interest in our recipe emails has increased by 23% over the last 6 months and we have every part of the day covered,“ says Hulbert. “Creating a delicious brioche based Strawberry Cheesecake, Macaron Mousse or Banoffee Brioche Pie is easy with the recipe page and there are also a host of savoury recipes that are just perfect for feeding the family.“ One result of the pandemic has been an increased incentive to make more use of gardens and local outside spaces, whatever the weather. BBQ brunch has become an increasingly popular outside occasion, and it is a good way to bring people together for a more relaxed and less demanding outdoor offering.

Karen Dear, Director of Operations, Craft Bakers Association (CBA), comments: “Indulgent and nostalgic flavours, along with provenance, will be key bakery trends for 2021 and beyond. The events of the past year have, unsurprisingly, been challenging for many, and as a result, consumers have increasingly sought sweet treats to help cheer themselves up.”

This trend is expected to continue, with a recent CBA member survey predicting that nostalgic (83%) and indulgent (75%) flavours, which have the capacity to comfort and reassure, will be popular. We have also seen a growing trend towards shopping locally over the past year and this is predicted to remain through 2021, with products that have proven provenance or that are made locally, expected to be of consumer interest by 75% of those questioned in the CBA member survey.

“Our members have benefited from the shopping local trend of the past year and the demand for products with provenance,” adds Dear. “As a result, 38% of craft bakers produced more bread, 30% increased their savoury snack production and 28% made more cakes.”

It’s not just indulgent flavours that have increased in popularity. The pandemic has also prompted many people to pay greater attention to the impact that food can have on overall wellbeing and, as a result, interest in perceived healthier options has increased. Speciality bread featuring added value ingredients, such as ancient and sprouted grains, is a growing category, with spend increasing by +18.5% year on year.

Although the pandemic has bought with it significant challenges, the craft bakery sector has successfully adapted and innovated in a number of ways. According to a recent CBA members survey, 45% of those questioned said they had added new products to their range since the start of the pandemic and 33% reported making more product than usual.

Stéphanie Brillouet, marketing director, Délifrance, comments: “While the core trends towards classic white, brown and wholemeal bread remain strong, people are increasingly looking to bread for variety, indulgence and health or functional reasons.”

Délifrance research shows that, to satisfy the demand for variety, we are seeing sourdough and alternative flours such as spelt, rye and buckwheat being used. While items such as premium baguettes and Italian-style breads tick the indulgence box, functional breads are typically fibre-rich with inclusions such as added vitamins & nutrients, cereals, dried fruits and gut-friendly probiotic or fermented grains.

The Délifrance Nordic Loaf, for example, is made from three different types of flour (wheat, rye, and barley) and packed with seeds (sunflower, linseed, and sesame). It is also high in protein, fibre and omega-3 as well as being a source of vitamin B9, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc.

Since Covid struck, the number of lunches eaten at home has increased by 195% while the number of grab-and-go lunches have decreased by 51% (Source: Rabobank). As offices reopen, the expected new hybrid model will mean consumers are looking for continuing choice when eating at home, as well as treating themselves out of home on the days they are working in the office. Lumina predicts that grab-and-go occasions will recover to more than 74% of their pre-pandemic value in 2021.

“Wholesalers should consider these expectations in their communication to customers, remembering that today’s consumer is also looking for sustainably sourced items and is more hygiene conscious than before Covid, preferring individually sealed products,” suggests Brillouet. “Don’t forget to include the ‘trusted favourites’ that play a key role in boosting core sales.”

Délifrance’s frozen bake-off ranges not only provide a variety of indulgent, functional and premium breads, but also ensure that a store’s offer is always fresh, and waste is minimal.

Kim Hartley, Executive Business Development Chef, Mission Foods, comments: “British consumers continue to look for convenient and exciting meal options, so offering a competitive menu range is essential in boosting sales. You need to create on-trend options to provide your customers with tasty and colourful choices. In combination with improved quality and a wide range, sales of bakery products overall have risen by 23%, so it’s clear that this presents an opportunity for operators of every size.”

As UK consumers continue to be more adventurous with their food choices, reflecting a more sophisticated and global palate, speciality breads or bread alternatives have never been more popular. Therefore, getting the right product to reflect the demands of the market is of the upmost importance for foodservice operators.

The Mission Naan Wrap, one of the latest Mission innovations, has been created to be a versatile menu edition and provides a perfectly adaptable foundation for a range of global cuisines. Not only are they soft & flexible, some of the stand-out characteristics of Mission tortillas, but are also specifically designed for handheld & on-the-go menus.

Mission Foods UK also recently launched an all-new Durum Tortilla – an authentic and versatile canvas specifically created for kebabs and other grilled meat or vegetable applications. Combining a traditional Middle-Eastern taste profile with added strength and flexibility, to ensure no unsightly cracks or breakages, this on-trend menu solution from Mission Foods provides the perfect combination of flavour quality and performance.

Paul Baker, Founder of St Pierre Groupe, comments: “The bakery category has hit double digit growth over the past 12 months for the first time in years. We’ve seen sustained and consistent growth across our brands over the past year, largely as a result of them meeting ever-changing consumer needs.”

Consumer behaviour has altered as we’ve spent much of the past year in lockdown. That has resulted in a number of new trends as people seek inspiration from different avenues, such as social media, to keep their mealtimes varied. Some of the lockdown trends are also likely to remain, such as shoppers trading up on their usual staples to something more premium, like freshly baked bread or brioche.

All three of St Pierre Groupe’s brands have enjoyed increased sales over the past year. St Pierre Brioche Burger Buns are one of the company’s best-selling products, as they offer consumers a simple way to elevate their everyday at home, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The company is also seeing significant growth across the whole of the St Pierre brand, which is up 58 per cent year on year, and is growing five times the category.

The Baker Street brand, as a whole, is up 30 per cent year on year. The traditional sliced loaves, which are packed to stay fresher for longer, are performing well as they meet consumer needs around convenience and variety, whilst also helping to reduce food waste. Baker Street Sliced White Loaf is up 31 per cent in comparison to last year and Baker Street Sliced Brown Loaf is up 27 per cent (Nielsen). This is the result of customers continuing to look for staple products that can cater for the whole family and for multiple meal occasions. However, growth is being driven by burger buns and hot dog rolls as both consumer and trade audiences embrace extended-life options that allow for impromptu takeaway classics.

With a MAT growth of 102 per cent (Nielsen), the Paul Hollywood Ready to Bake range has exceeded expectations during the first quarter of the year. The Crusty Rolls and Rustic Rolls have been particularly popular owing to their high quality and great taste. The Crusty Rolls, which are up 263 per cent year on year, and the Rustic Rolls, which are up 205 per cent year on year (Nielsen), can be used for a variety of dishes.

Due to recent changes in the market, as a result of the pandemic, extended-life brand, Baker Street, is expanding its range to include Soft White Bagels. Increasingly, bagels have become a recognised part of the UK bakery repertoire – even securing a spot on last year’s Great British Bake Off. Pre-pandemic in 2017, the UK was eating more than 300 million bagels a year, and between 2015 and 2019 the number of bagel sandwiches being eaten in or out of home increased to 73 per cent (Kantar). Now we’re returning to ‘normal’, the market is expected to grow even further.

Data from KWP also highlighted that 52 per cent of shoppers buy bagels for the breakfast occasion, whilst the increase in at-home lunch has created 6.6m new opportunities for the category.

“Shoppers are looking for products that offer versatility to help minimise waste and cater for multiple meal occasions as we slowly return to normal,” adds Baker. “They want foods that offer taste, convenience, versatility, and good value, so there is an opportunity for bakery brands, with long-life multi-pack formats, like those from St Pierre, Baker Street and Paul Hollywood.

“Products that offer an extended shelf-life will be a must-stock for wholesalers, as they have become increasingly popular with consumers since the beginning of the pandemic. They also enable wholesalers to provide a strong bakery offering throughout the year, minimising the risk of wastage.”


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