‘Most expensive bread’ may reflect consumer resilience

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Baker

Sourdough bread combining Roquefort cheese and almonds has become the UK’s most expensive loaf in uncertain financial times, though the product may yet reflect consumer resilience for higher value baked goods.

According to UK-based news reports, the bread, which is to be sold for £15 (€17.20) exclusively at famous London department store Harrods, is expected to be a strong - albeit niche - seller for big spending consumers in the run up for Christmas.

Baker Paul Hollywood told UK-based newspaper the Daily Telegraph that the bread, which has been officially classed as the country’s most expensive, was targeted to meet the needs of consumers looking to splash out on a product.

Last month, Richard Perks of market analyst Mintel said that there were already some concerns that the ‘credit crunch’ was forcing some consumers to trade down from supposed ‘luxury’ products like organic bread to lower priced bakery items.

Great expectations

However, the launch of such an apparent niche product may benefit from a touch of Christmas spirit across the EU amidst wide-spread fears from bakers over consumer confidence, according to some industry experts.

One leading European baked goods association said earlier this year that it expected demand for more expensive added-value baked good and confections to remain strong over the festive period.

Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com in late September, David Zimmer of European trade group CAOBISCO said that goods ranging from cakes and biscuits to confectionery had been showing resilience to the market downturn for foods in the run up to Christmas.

The comments originally followed the release of research by market information group TNS, which suggested that the increased costs of producing finished products could lead to flat and even declining demand in the US during the last three months of 2008, the so-called holiday period.

TNS senior economist Frank Badillo said that the figures for consumer spending across the entire food chain were likely to fall, though particularly in the case of higher priced 'luxury' goods.

Higher-end strength

However, Zimmer said that from an anticipatory view point, certainly in Europe, and to his knowledge in the US as well, consumers interest in the more high end luxury goods remained undimmed as yet.

"Despite the recessionary trend, the markets appear to be holding up well so far,"​ he stated.

Related topics: Markets

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