Bread dips on health concerns but pastries and cakes offer silver lining, Euromonitor analyst says

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

Consumption of bread may be down in developed countries, but cake and pastries show potential for manufacturers.
Consumption of bread may be down in developed countries, but cake and pastries show potential for manufacturers.

Related tags Baked goods Baking

Bread has seen a drop in popularity across developed countries due to health concerns, but pastries and cakes offer manufacturers a silver lining, according to a Euromonitor analyst.

Pinar Hosafci, Euromonitor International packaged food analyst, told that there’s a slight decline in the bread market in places like the UK, the US and Germany. This is mainly due to low carb diets and a notion that “gluten-free” is healthy, she said.

However, in emerging markets, such as the Middle East and Eastern Europe, bread is either on the rise or still rising.

“That’s because it’s still a main staple. It’s affordable and traditional part of their diets,”​ Hosafci said. “There’s less of the health concern. Health is not a priority for the majority of consumers in those regions.”

Globally, the total baked goods market will reach $339bn this year, even with volumes likely stagnant for another year. The stagnation may be due to bread, making up 84% of baked goods sales, in decline across the world

China on the rise

China saw the biggest growth across the world, which is slated to leapfrog the US in as the world’s fourth largest baked goods market in volume terms.

Pastries, with 6% growth and 5 million metric tons in sales, have become the most popular baked good in China. In total, China will see a nearly $600m growth in sales for 2015. By 2020, she said the country will become the second biggest market for baked goods in the world.

According to Hosafci, rankings for baked good by volume in 2015 are:

  1. Mexico
  2. Egypt
  3. Turkey
  4. China
  5. US

Hosafci wrote in a Euromonitor blog post​ that baked goods is not a “one-size-fits-all” category that is reliant on bread, and manufacturers could fall back on snack products like cakes and pastries and frozen baked goods, which are all forecast for growth.

Bread down, pastries up

Even though breads are bringing baked goods down a bit, Hosafci said pastries are going the opposite direction.

Pastries are more of an “impulse product, for indulgence,”​ she said. This means customers won’t necessarily look for a healthy pastry, as indulgence and affordability are likely much bigger drivers.

Pastries are the fastest growing segment in this most recent report, with more than a 3% growth across the world. Cake comes close as well, with nearly a 3% growth.

In the pastries market, its artisanal products that are helping drive sales, according to Hosafci.

“What attracts people to cake and pastries is their smell, the freshness and texture,”​ she said. “In the package it’s hard to see that. Usually packaged products have less of a fresh image. Because people buy products like this as more of an impulse, [buying] from a bakery or freshly baked place plays an important role.”

What’s next?

What’s the next big trend for the bread market? Hosafci said the US will likely see artisanal varieties of bread start to grow, such as freshly baked bread in grocery stores and markets.

“That’s something that’s huge in the US and growing very well,”​ she said. “We would probably expect a decline in packaged toward value added artisanal products. This is tied into the store baking experience.”

Regarding cake and pastries, she said the US will likely see single serving packages and more hybrid snacks, such as the cronut (a croissant/doughnut hybrid pastry).

“This experimental approach to baking, or coming with something new to this product that basically appeals to younger consumers or normal consumers, is something to watch out for,”​ Hosafci said. “Variety and taste [are the reasons]. That’s really something where people can indulge.”

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