Carbohydrates are having a moment, particularly mainstream luxury baking. The pervasive attitude that carbohydrates, in general terms, are bad for us, seems to be turning. The launch of a new cookbook celebrating the food category (factually titled Carbs) has been met with positive reviews, and the bread and bakery category is showing signs that things might be turning around, with bakery down just 0.3% (The Grover’s 2017 Top Products Survey).
So, what’s changing? How are bakery brands helping to reverse public opinion on a decaying category? Three words: diversification, premiumisation and convenience.
In recent years, low-carb diet trends (keto, for example) have had many reconsider bread, but brands have reacted quickly, responding with a variety of innovative new products that encourage audiences to buy.
Hovis have launched their Lower Carb bread, helping them to be the only majour bread brand delivering value growth in 2018. Another new product, the White Bloomer, has been baked with a 72-hour fermented sourdough loaf to produce a loaf with a greater depth of flavour.
At Warburtons, emphasis is being focussed on championing fibre. A growing category in the UK that is steadily increasing its intake 2.5% YoY, fibre is the second-fastest growing category in the territory after protein, fat, sugars and carbohydrates (Kantar Worldpanel figures 52 W/E Aug 18).
Darren Littler, Innovation Director explains “it’s a shame that nothing really gets said about the positive nutrients such as fibre” and that more emphasis is placed on salt and sugar.
At Kingsmill, the Kingsmill 50/50 is the best-selling SKU. Free-from is another increasing development, with Warburtons launching three new products which tap into the health trend, the protein and beetroot wraps, which are high in protein and fibre respectively.
Sales of luxury baking products have grown 8.2% YoY, with one or two-person households accounting for 65% of these sales (Office of National Statistics), especially given that this segment of the population will have greater disposable income and greater product flexibility.
Matthew Cullum, Director of Marketing at Allinson’s, says, “capitalising on the growth in premium, Allinson’s launched a delicious premium range of 650g loaves that are perfectly designed to meet the needs of smaller households.”
The brand also incorporated a new paper packaging which elevates the craft credentials of the brand, leading to a value sales uplift of 73% YoY and volume uplift of 55% YoY.
Allinson’s premium loaves that we discussed earlier are available in 12-slice loaves, which are a perfect fit for the average number of slices that smaller households eat in three days. Along the same lines, Soreen, the nation’s favourite fruit loaf brand have launched individually wrapped smaller loaves, providing a healthier choice for those in need of a tea time snack.
At Hovis, a new product called Half Loaf has the additional benefit of helping households to reduce their food waste. With waste being a hot topic among consumers, this benefit will likely generate some good will.
What this all boils down to is a category that is being reinvigorated. Driven by customers’ changing habits, bread is being diversified, premiumised and convenient. According to Darren Littler, Innovation Director at Warburtons, “providing shoppers with the products they want, but that are convenient and affordable can help drive added category value.”
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