Brand owners must invest heavily in product development and target niche consumer groups to have a slice of the lucrative UK home baking pie, an analyst says.
Britain has seen a surge in home baking over the last four years, fuelled by a media flurry on baking and ignited by the recession, according to new research from Mintel.
Findings in its new report showed that the UK’s market for home baking soared by 59% between 2007 and 2012, hitting £1.7bn ($2.69bn).
Volume growth has occurred across all products, it found, but mixes have performed the strongest – up in value by 26% for 2012.
“Within the sector own label is prevailing. Brands are present but own labels are very dominant by comparison,” Emma Clifford, senior food analyst at Mintel and author of the report, told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“When consumers are faced with a lot of raw ingredients such as flours and sugar, people do not perceive a difference in something so simple; prompting them to choose on price,” she said.
However, Clifford said this weighting spelled opportunities for brand owners, but that manufacturers must invest in adding value to get consumers to trade-up.
She suggested recipe inclusions on packs and on social media channels, with online baking competitions where consumers can post photos of their baked creations. “Efforts like this are still quite new in the sector but it’s something we will start to see a lot more of.”
Tapping into the health trend with wholegrain, high oat and fiber content and low-sugar mixes, is also an avenue for brand owners, she said.
Premium also has a chance as consumers focus on purity amid worries of additives and ingredients in foods, she added.
New on the shelve and set to soar
Clifford observed one new product development that she said has great potential – chilled baking mixes. “This is a one-step product – all you have to do is pour into a baking tray and bake it. It takes convenience to a completely new level.”
She said these new chilled mixes add an element of luxury and quality when compared to a dry mix sachet.
“There is definitely the mentality that using mixes is the cheap option and doesn’t give real satisfaction, but convenience will play a role in people’s purchasing decisions for this sector in the future,” she said.
Targeting the right consumer
Report findings showed that women baked more than men and more frequently – 90% of women have baked in the last year, compared to 68% men.
“Enticing more male non-bakers to try their hand at baking, and encouraging those who do to bake more frequently and expand their baking repertoires, has potential to spur further growth in the market,” Clifford said.
“I think an area for growth could be the savory mixes, for bread and pizzas, because this is one area that men are just as engaged in as women. If there was a push fromindustry on savory mixes, it could drive more male consumer involvement and thus drive the overall market,” she said.
Similarly, targeting younger consumers (under 25’s) will prove lucrative as they are the most enthusiastic, she said.
Clifford added that convenience would continue to be a key driver for these younger home bakers.
Jump on the events bandwagon…
Clifford detailed that 2011 and 2012 had been very strong years for the home baking sector, namely because of prominent events like the Royal wedding, the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics.
“It is very profitable to jump on the bandwagon for significant events,” she said.
Seasonal holidays are also key drivers – like Christmas, Easter and Pancake Day, she added.
A flash in the oven?
Mintel has worked on growth figures for UK home baking up until 2017, but Clifford said there would be a slow over this period.
“It’s really hard to tell how long this trend will last. It’s very in fashion and on trend at the minute, but how long that is going to last is very hard to tell…Long-term growth will depend on young bakers,” she said.