STORY: BSB and Mintel: How Covid-19 will change the future of the industry

In a live webinar given this morning (11 November), The British Society of Baking (BSB) hosted Emma Clifford, Mintel’s Associate Director – Food and Drink.

The subject was ‘How Covid-19 is changing the future of bread and baked goods’. The aim was to help bakers be better prepared for the future, by tapping into trends created by the pandemic.

Because Covid-19 has been the catalyst for major changes in the bread and baked goods market – it has created key challenges though also opportunities.

How Covid-19 is changing the market

Bread winners…

  • The bread category is expected to be up 5% year-on-year
  • Speciality breads in particular are up 11%
  • There are concerns over unpackaged goods and the health implications of that, so pre-packaged breads have seen a huge boost
  • White bread has been the star performer, as it’s seen as a comfort food
  • ‘Bread with bits’ has also done really well, as it’s seen as healthier
  • Indian breads have also done well, as there as been a sharp rise in preparing Indian meals at home

Next year and looking forward

  • Next year, volume sales are expected to remain up, and decline much more slowly – so the positive effects of the pandemic and the habits it has created will be long-lasting
  • Bread will continue to have a comforting appeal going forward
  • Changes to our working habits will benefit the retail section over OOH
  • There will be an ongoing desire for variety, so the competition will still be tough
  • New trends will for the most part give way to the enhancement of existing trends, which will continue to gain momentum. These fall into three main categories, as follows:

Health, Diet and Wellness

  • There will be a renewed focus on health and perceived healthy options
  • This will be most prevalent amongst women
  • Bread still has to overcome the perception that it is not healthy/good for weight management, so this continues to pose a challenge
  • There is a ‘positive nutrition’ mindset – so healthy fortifications and inclusions will be well received
  • Immune boosting claims in particular stand to do well – but beware any false claims as the consumer watchdog is very hot on this

“Brands need to do more to set themselves apart from the market when it comes to health”

Value Focus and Savvy Habits

  • 30% are cutting back on non-essential spending
  • This will likely bring about a boom in packed lunches (even when work becomes less home-based)
  • There are opportunities for innovation here – as sandwiches can be perceived as unexciting
  • There is also an opportunity for world breads, as these have been steadily on the rise in pre-prepared lunches and can offer a different ‘more interesting’ flavour profile
  • The surge in popularity for home-baking has created a huge opportunity in bread mixes that few have taken up so far. This is a market waiting to be tapped

Ethics, Environment and Localism

  • The sustainability focus has shifted from anti-plastic, as packaging is now perceived as cleaner/more sanitary, offering greater protection
  • It has instead moved towards provenance of ingredients – anything with British flours and ingredients should take the opportunity to shout about it
  • Sustainable farming practices are at the forefront of consumers’ minds, as is supporting British farmers
  • There is a real sense of patriotism that could be capitalised on by those not already shouting about the local/British provenance of ingredients/production

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