When the leaves start falling, you know the Home Baking season’s approaching fast. People bake all year round of course, but the peak is the autumn, when home baking products sell like hot cakes (what else?!) At this time of year cash ‘n’ carries and delivered wholesalers should take steps to help the neighbourhood retailers they serve to capture the profit opportunity with a strong product selection. The ideal Home baking product range includes baking from scratch, covering baking ingredients; part-cooked dough products; frozen and chilled pastry; cake mixes; and more.

According to research experts Mintel, the home baking revival during the recent recession has encouraged 28% of Brits to bake from scratch using raw ingredients at least once a week. Sector sales grew 13% in 2007-2009 to £523m, and in 2010 reached £576m.

With tightening budgets and less disposable income, Mintel’s data shows half (50%) of UK consumers are baking at home to cut down on their personal shopping bills, with only 19% saying baking from scratch takes too much time. Nearly half (45%) of Brits say they like to show off their baking skills to friends and family.

Almost all consumers have bought some kind of baking ingredient in the last year, over two thirds (69%) having bought raw ingredients. Despite commodity prices rising, the flour category has been helped by consumers’ desire to bake from scratch using raw ingredients, and has grown 19% between 2007-2009 to £75 million, from £67m in 2008. Meanwhile, the home baking revival has also seen cake decorations enjoying a boom, up from £53m in 2008 to £58m in 2009.

Despite a trend towards smaller cakes, the top item baked at home is a standard cake, baked by 42% of consumers in the past year. Cupcakes follow with 39%, batters such as Yorkshire Puddings with 37%, biscuits/cookies 29% and sweet pies, tarts and puddings baked by 28%. Brownies come bottom with just 14%.

A great deal of the home baking revival can be attributed to consumers becoming increasingly frugal and baking in a bid to save money, but the recent media exposure making baking fashionable again has also been a key driver. While it’s easy to wonder if home baking’s popularity will fall once the economy starts to recover, the rediscovery by the Great British public of the simple pleasures of baking should enable the category to sustain growth as consumers become more appreciative of the higher-quality baked items. Good news for neighbourhood retailers, and the wholesalers supplying them.

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