Europe-based bakeries come out on top

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bakery Nabisco

Japanese firm Yamazaki Baking is the world's largest bakery firm,
heading a list dominated by Europe-based food groups, according to
a new report from industry analysts Leatherhead Food International

The LFI report, entitled 'Key Players in the Global Bakery Industry' examines the top 30 bread, cakes and biscuit firms, looking at factors such as corporate structure, activity, financial performance and new product development for the 2005-06 period.

According to the research, 14 of the 30 firms profiled are headquartered in Europe - a key market for competitive bakery firms.

The top 10 however is dominated by US food groups who do not specialise solely in bakery but encompass a wealth of different food and drink sectors.

Yamazaki had an estimated bakery turnover of $5,117 million (€3,764m) in 2005-06 while Kraft Foods was the second largest firm with $5,016 million (€3,090m).

Bakery accounts for just 15 per cent of Kraft's overall business.

Kraft is an important player in the European market through its biscuit subsidiary Nabisco which owns the brands Oreo and Ritz.

At the end of last year, United Biscuits sold its Southern European operations to Kraft, giving the US food giant 26 per cent of Spain's biscuit market and 36 per cent of the Portuguese market.

European companies have also made their mark on the global market with two UK firms and France-based Danone each taking a substantial share.

Danone is the seventh highest bakery business with a $2,759 million (€2,029m) turnover compared to a total firm turnover of $17,676 million (€13,003m).

Bakery makes up 16 per cent of the company's portfolio which relies more heavily on the diary sector.

UK groups RHM and Associated British Foods (ABF) also make the list with the former coming in at ninth position and the latter, tenth.

RHM, who own the Hovis and Nimble bread brands, took an estimated $1,820 million (€1,338m) from its bakery operations last year.

ABF followed with around $1,788 million (€1,313m) with its relatively small bakery sector making up just 16 per cent of the company's business which relies mainly on sugar-based operations.

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