While bread products once dominated the bakery shelves, the company claims that the 80/20 split is now evenly divided, with consumers opting for muffins, cookies and doughnuts as much as bread-based foodstuffs.
"Cookies is a dynamic area, muffins continue to grow as well as doughnuts, cake-bars, shortbread," Kerrie Hampson, head of marketing at Bakemark UK, tells FoodNavigator.com.
The merger of the UK bakery ingredients and finished foods firms, under Dutch bakery firm CSM, was officially sealed earlier this month. CSM bought Readi-bake, a subsidiary of Country Home Bakers with annual sales of €22 million, last year for €28 million, giving the firm a step up into American-style cookies and and sweet treats in the British market.
On the ingredients side the new firm said it is trying to avoid commodity ingredients areas - currently undergoing 'flat' times for ingredients companies - and instead is using innovation to push the 'added-value' concept with products, such as dough conditioners and bakery fats. "About 12 per cent of products we sell are new," said Hampson, adding that a decent slice of the 600-strong workforce is involved in R&D, an absolute necessary for gaining market share. Low-fat bakery products as well as fortification with fibre and vitamins are both areas seeing growth as the bakery sector tries to cash in on the burgeoning trend for health-promoting foods.
"On the ingredients side we are seeing a lot of innovation going on at our industrial customers and artisianl high street clients," added Hampson.
With powdered ingredients facilities in Manchester and frozen ingredients at Milton Keynes, the firm confirmed last week that it had just acquired some equipment from Big Jaw, a UK bakery firm in receivership. We bought depositers, tins, denesting equipment and goods for cake and muffin production, said Hampson.
Carving a bigger slice of European bakery ingredients market CSM went on the acquisition trail last year buying in June the bakery operations of Coberco Dairy Foods, outside The Netherlands, that had an annual turnover of €11 million. In May, CSM reached an agreement to acquire the bakery ingredients business of Unilever in Hungary. The transaction, valued at €5.1 million ($5.9 million), took effect 31 May.