Anuga 2017

It’s the bun that makes the burger, says Lantmännen Unibake exec

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hamburger

Lantmännen Unibake is geared to capitalize on the premiumization trend going on in fast food service with operators customizing offerings to encourage consumers to spend a little more on nice looking products.

“We see a trend with people photographing their food every time they eat it, so eye-catching products are very important,”​ Chris Houston, group market intelligence manager, Lantmännen Unibake, told BakeryandSnacks.

It’s all about the bun

“We always say the first thing you see with a hamburger is the bun.”

The Danish-headquartered company was at Anuga in Cologne, Germany, earlier this month, to showcase its range of offerings across all the channels, but particularly for the fast food sector.

Britain’s taste for burgers – especially gourmet versions – has grown exponentially.

According to Mintel, the UK burger bar market was worth £3.28b ($4.3bn) in 2016, up 22% from £2.7b ($3.5bn) in 2011, with premium burger chains like Smashburgers, Byrons, Meatliquor and Honest Burger expanding rapidly.

Consumers are demanding and willing to pay more for a better burger, including the bun, and Mintel data showed that 31% of UK fast food eaters are interested in artisanal and high-fibre options.

“We’ve also seen an increase in interest in premium items in traditional pastries, like traditional Danish pastries and Viennoiserie,”​ Houston told this site.

Packaged bread down, bake-off up

He noted that, while packaged bread may have stagnated in many countries in the past decade, the gap has been filled with fresher, bake-off products.

“We’ve seen a growth in bake-off particularly in the retail and now even the discount sectors where retailers like Lidl and Aldi have brought in store bakery offerings of their own,”​ said Houston.

Lantmännen Unibake is part of the Lantmännen Group, a cooperative owned by 27,000 Swedish farmers with interests in agriculture, machinery, energy and food sectors.

The division is the second largest bakery company in Europe, producing 585,000 tons of bakery products annually, with 37 bakeries in 13 countries.

The company has undergone a number of acquisitions recently to further its international footprint, including Northern European bakery operator Vaasan, Romanian company Frozen Bakery Products, and Swedish baguette producer Anderson Bakery.

Lantmännen Unibake has a turnover approaching €1.2bn ($1.4bn) and employs 6,000 people in more than 20 countries.

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