With cost and health front of mind for consumers, more people are firing up the ovens and baking products at home. Dr Oetker marketing director Gill Davies says that an increase in the number of baking programmes on TV has meant that home baking has become more popular.

“Baking has become more fashionable; there is lots of stimuli out there with plenty of home-baking TV shows and plenty of cafés and pâtisseries now thriving,” she says. “In the independents sector cake decoration products showed a 22% increase in value sales last year (IRI data December 25, 2010). This shows that baking is booming.”

Cakes: nostalgia value

Even though the ambient packaged cake market has been flat over the past year at -0.9% (IRI value sales 52 weeks ending January 23, 2011), smaller-size formats of cakes have undergone a massive resurgence. Kantar Worldpanel reports that total sales of scones have jumped by 42% over the 12 months to the end of January this year, while sales of mini-rolls have almost doubled. 

This increase in popularity has been attributed to a combination of consumers looking to save money and their desire for nostalgia. 

Premier Foods’ Mr Kipling brand has recently jumped on the retro bandwagon and the smaller sizes trend with the release of the great British pudding range that includes Spotted Dick Slices, Trifle Bakewells and Rhubarb & Custard Pies. 

Own label ambient packaged cake represents 42% of the market in value sales (according to IRI value sales, 52 weeks ending January 23, 2011), appealing to those on a budget looking for a low-cost option. As such, Bestway has recently released a range of own-label luxury cakes. There are 15 varieties of cake in the range, including traditional favourites such as Victoria sponge and iced sponge cakes.

She adds that the figures illustrate that consumers aren’t just relying on the multiples to buy their home-baking products, but also their local convenience stores. “Baking has become more impulsive and consumers are realising that they can get ingredients at their local store, allowing them to pick up items quickly and not have to go to the supermarket.”

Davies says this growth isn’t a flash in the pan. “There’s a buzz around baking now and there’s been double-digit growth for two years in a row,” she says.

Even though the sector is proving popular, Davies feels that sales could be even better. “Home baking might not be maximised to its full potential,” she says. “Retailers need to get a core range of SKUs that cover as many bases as possible.”

Vhari Russell, sales and marketing executive at ingredients company Image on Food, says that the increase in popularity of home baking offers opportunity for retailers to provide their own cake and biscuits.

“The convenience sector is the perfect channel to offer customers something regional and different,” says Russell. “Variety is the key, offering traditional favourites with a twist while at the same time offering high-quality products.”

Davies advises any retailers considering selling home-made cakes and biscuits to market their proposition strongly. “People need to be prompted and reminded about home-made products,” adds Davies. “Set up a stall in the store and tell as many people as possible about it. There’s a great opportunity out there for retailers as consumers are looking for contemporary products and some prepacked items can look quite boring compared with home-made goods.”

HIM research also shows that 62% of customers say that home-made cakes would make them visit a store more often. Simon Biddle of Biddles in Webheath, Redditch, offers home-made cakes in his store and it has become a unique selling point for him. “Home-made cakes are very popular here as there are a lot of busy people who don’t have time to bake, but would like an inexpensive treat,” he says.

Kitson says that there is room for both home baking and prepacked products in convenience stores, and that the growth of home-made items can complement the major brands.

“The growth in popularity of home baking has not replaced biscuit purchases,” says Kitson. “In fact, it has proven beneficial for the sweet biscuit market by reinforcing the British love of bakery products, including all kinds of biscuits. We have seen that where consumers bake their own biscuits at home this has actually led to an increase in habitual biscuit purchases.” 

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