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Big Brands > Premier Foods

Hovis eyes 'untapped potential' of part-baked bread

By Jane Byrne , 21-Jun-2011
Last updated on 21-Jun-2011 at 14:25 GMT

In a bid to unlock the potential of the part-baked market in the UK, Premier Foods said it is launching a new range of Hovis branded part-baked loaves and rolls, the first bread brand to do so.

The manufacturer said the new line has been developed in line with existing Hovis bread recipes to ensure the quality is consistent across the range and added that the loaves and rolls will be made from “flour milled from 100 per cent British wheat.”

The ambient part-bake category is currently growing by 1.8 per cent year-on-year in the UK, according to April 2011 data from market research from IRI.

But citing the results of recent consumer surveys, Premier Foods said over 60 per cent of UK households do not currently buy part-bake largely “due to a lack of awareness” and those who do only purchase six times a year.

Ian Harris, category controller for Hovis says: “As the first major bread brand to step into the market we believe we can double the value of this sector by meeting consumer demand through our new range.

Unlike plant bread, the £67m ambient part bake market is often bought as an incremental purchase. By simply getting current buyers to buy it once a month versus once every two months, we’d be adding £67m to the sector.”

The new part-baked consumer orientated range, which is due to launch in September this year, will comprise a white bloomer, a granary bloomer, a pack of four white rolls and a pack of four granary rolls, said the manufacturer.

Harris commented that as granary dominates the malted wheat market and outperforms wholemeal within in-store bakery, it fits with consumer demand for healthier and tastier products.

UK retail bread trends

According to new figures from Kantar Worldpanel revealed in April, sales of sliced white loaves in UK supermarkets fell by 1 per cent in 2010, while brown bread sales increased by 6 per cent and seeded batches by 9 per cent.

Mahinthan Kathirgamanathan, analyst at Kantar Worldpanel, said that nearly 65 per cent of brown bread was bought by people over the age of forty-five.

The declining sales figures for white bread are an indicator of the extent to which shoppers are studying nutritional labelling and how this is having a significant impact on buying behaviour, argues Michael Hughes, an analyst with market research firm Datamonitor.

However, Hughes points out that while sales of white bread have declined, revenue figures are still considerably higher than the brown bread market, “meaning it will be sometime until brown bread sales surpass those of white."

This is borne out by the Kantar data, which shows that brown bread still only accounts for around 27 per cent of the 12 million loaves sold each day in the UK, compared to 66 per cent (or 7.9 million sales) for white bread.

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