The report - Bakery Products: A Global Strategic Business Report - also says that in Western Europe and the US, major retail chains in the past have used bakery products as loss leaders to increase the volume of their overall sales. This has prompted manufacturers to adopt price discounting in key baked goods categories such as bread. As a result, profit margins per unit diminished said the report, published by US market research company Global Industry Analysts. To counter this, manufacturers developed new varieties of value-added products that attracted premium prices, such as organic goods, breads and biscuits enriched with vitamins and breakfast cereals. Such products were offered in single serve and portable packaging to provide convenience for customers. In North America, demand for bakery products that contain soluble dietary fibre, such as wholegrain bread and oatmeal cookies, increased sales in the sector. Dietary fibre is believed to reduce the risk of certain cancer types and heart disease. Marketing strategies were adapted to promote such items. Global figures The report, which analyses the worldwide markets for bakery products by segment and geographic region, predicts that by 2010 the world bakery products market will be worth about US$407 bn. A compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.93 per cent is projected over the period 2001 - 2010. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to demonstrate the fastest growth, with a CAGR of about 6.93 per cent. Segments According to Global Industry Analysts, the bread and rolls segment formed the largest product category in the global bakery products market, with an estimated 48.15 per cent share in 2007. The fastest growing segment in 2001 - 2010 is forecast to be the morning goods market, which includes breakfast cereals. This is anticipated to grow by 5 per cent over the period. With the increased emphasis on breakfast foods, there has been a rise in single serve portions. Baked goods such as bread, rolls, pastry and doughnuts have seen a growth of about 3 - 4 per cent per year. Product appearance The appearance of the product is seen as significantly influencing impulse purchases. How the product is displayed is important, said the report. For example, garnishing products with extras enhances their perceived value and helps capture customers' attention. After appearance, aroma and price were also identified as important factors. Spending trends According to the report, over the past five years customers are spending more on deli and in-store bakery items and less on meat and packaged bakery products. Company trends The report says that the bakery industry has seen marked changes in recent years. Large bakeries have acquired many unproductive bakeries and have heavily invested in automation, cost control and brand development. Productive bakeries have developed niche markets, so exploiting the consolidation of bigger companies. The report says companies are working hard to satisfy evolving tastes and preferences and there is constant innovation. "The companies which anticipates changing consumer tastes and preferences and introduce new and enhanced flavours, are bound to gain significant mileage in terms of competitive edge and market share over other industry counterparts." The report profiles 934 companies including key players such as Groupe Danone and Bahlsen GmbH.