Pasi Hannonen, senior research analyst in Scandinavia for Euromonitor, spoke to BakeryAndSnacks.com about a growing preference for the low-carbohydrate high fat diet (LCHF) in Scandinavia that emerged following a butter shortage in late 2011.
Who can profit?
Hannonen said it would be domestic bakery firms that could profit most from this trend, and the only real prospect for large multinational to profit was through the acquisition of a local business.
“They might have a chance, but transportation and brand name make it hard for them to get involved,” he said.
Authorities in Scandinavia continue to promote a more traditional diet as a posed to one low in carbohydrates causing some experts to view the low carb preference as mere passing trend.
However, according to Hannonen, it could be worth manufacturers while to test the market with low-carb bakery offerings.
He said that competition was currently low and production could always be stopped if a trial proved unsuccessful.
He gave the example of Finnish bakery Perheleipurit which launched a low-carb bread called Karppinen in June last year called Karppinen, a play on the Finnish word for the low-carb diet (Karppaus).
Sales had reportedly exceeded a million units by October 2011, making it a unique success, he said.
Low-carb market players
There are currently few domestic players in Scandinavia that have launch low-carb bakery products.
In Sweden, where the trend originated, Hannonen said there was only a very small company called CarbZone that produces low-carb bakery products and its market share was very marginal.
Perheleipurit is probably the largest low-carb bread maker in Finland, according to Hannonen, followed closely by Vaasan a larger player in the overall market that launched a mini-carbohydrate bread in response to Perheleipurit success.
Hannonen expects others to serve up low-carb offerings in the near future.
“Fazer has the capacity to do this well. I wouldn’t be surprised if this company does go into this market,” he said.
Meanwhile in Norway, where the trend is slightly weaker, market leader Bakers dipped its toes in the market with the low-carb bread launch Ingers Lavkarbobrød in October.
Origins of the trend
Hannonen explained that the low-carb dietary trend had started in Sweden a few years ago and spread later to Norway and Finland.
He said the trend was strongest in Sweden and Finland and had received media attention throughout 2011 after people began reading opinions from alternative experts on what foods should be avoided.
He added that the trend had never quite taken off in Demark.
According to Hannonen the low carb trend is exclusive to Scandinavia.
In Baltic countries there is a preference for all natural products, but a low-carb trend is nowhere near as visible as in Scandinavia, he said.