Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com, newly appointed Allied Bakeries sales director Matt Lee said taking quick business action can make all the difference in the “highly competitive” UK bread market.
“Consumers have a lot of choice in the UK with a number of different offers and promotions at any one point in time. Consumers are being tempted to be more and more promiscuous,” Lee said.
“The UK is a market where there is more production than demand. You have multiple branded companies and retail players too all competing for limited space.”
“…You have to be very fast. If we don’t understand and react quickly, there are opportunities for other to get into the market place.”
“We’re operating at pace all the time. It’s the fastest sector I’ve ever worked in because it’s competitive, the route to market with direct store deliveries is quick and the product itself has a short shelf-life,” he said.
Catching up with the speedy consumer
Lee said that as well as a fast market pace, consumers are operating faster too. “Consumers are changing habits quickly in terms of shopping behaviour. They are shopping in more ways than they ever have done and doing so more frequently, even online and on their mobiles.”
Allied Bakeries must continue to adapt to these consumer shopping patterns, Lee said.
The sales director said that over the next five years, the biggest growth will be seen in convenience and digital.
“Given the pace of change in the market, making sure we deliver on value to our customers and consumers is a big challenge,” he said.
Innovation versus tradition
Allied Bakeries has a strong innovation pipeline for 2013 for all three of its brands – Kingsmill, Allinson and Burgen, Lee said, but the company is conscious of not straying too far from tradition.
“We are operating within the bread category, to which there is a great tradition. So it’s about bringing new innovation but protecting the core category,” he said.
The sales director said the firm sees growth opportunities across the board in all categories, even in sliced white bread that is currently stagnant.
“Sliced white bread is still the number one product in the UK. It’s not in growth because other areas are like seeded and wholemeal...Just to say white isn’t in growth, doesn’t mean we can’t grow it,” Lee said.