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With the return of the Great British Bake off last week you could easily be forgiven for thinking the UK is in the grip of a bake-at-home frenzy.

However, figures released by Mintel suggest our love affair with wooden spoons, mixing bowls and oven gloves is in fact edging into decline; the market has contracted by five per cent in the past year.

To put this in context, during 2007 and 2012 the market for home baking grew by a whopping 59 per cent as consumers reached for their pinnies. Picking up the rolling pin for the first time were a nation of would-be bakers looking to save money on their groceries while also struggling with reduced budgets for entertainment and leisure.

The good news is baked goods haven’t been abandoned altogether; a huge number of people are still baking, many even more seriously than ever, and consumers are also treating themselves to baked goods outside of the home too.

Emma Clifford, Senior Food Analyst at Mintel, explained:

“Consumers’ tendency to spend more time in the home to save money during and after the recession provided an ideal climate for home baking to thrive in.

Nowadays there are a vast number of sources for bakers to get inspiration from – with The Great British Bake Off proving to be a runaway hit. However, with the economy rebounding, consumer confidence improving and people more willing to go out and have fun, home baking faces intensifying competition for people’s free time.”

This matches with the most recent YouGov survey conducted on behalf of Horizons, which shows that more people are eating out compared to the same time last year. Examining the same two weeks in June and July 2013 and 2014, 71 per cent of respondents said they had eaten out during the period compared to 67 per cent the previous year. And while most people are eating out at dinner time and lunch time, there’s again good news for bakeries and coffee shops as the number breakfasting outside of the home rose from ten per cent to 12 per cent.

Returning to the home bakers, the Mintel research did identify several strong baking trends for the year ahead, so we’ve decided to give our own take on what they mean below.

Grab a sticky bun and a cup of tea and read on to find out what’s currently big in baking…

Brits really like cake

Those who are baking know what they like and that’s cake, cake, cake! Simple sandwich sponges are made by 66 per cent while small cakes like cupcakes are the signature bake of 57 per cent. Bakes that use batters such as pancakes are in the mix of 53 per cent and 46 per cent make cookies and biscuits. Perhaps surprisingly given the popularity of a great number of cookbooks released on the topic recently, only 33 per cent reported baking their own bread.

Decorating is the new baking

One area of the market expected to enjoy growth is the decorations sector. Mintel predicts that sales of cake decorations, cooking chocolate and cake coverings along with culinary aids will rise up to 80 per cent on 2009 figures, growing from £98 million to £176 million. Potentially driving this growth is the development of skills who started baking when the recession hit. After mastering the basics, this group is likely to be looking for more adventurous challenges and showing more creative flair. In fact, this year food blogs and celebrity chefs seem to be engaging a lot with the art of patisserie.

Sugar can be scary

Another potential reason behind the slight drop in interest in baking may be the recent sugar scares. Over the past year many a cookbook has been released urging us to fight our sweet tooth and it’s possible some consumers are taking heed. In the Mintel survey, one third (35 per cent) said they limit how frequently they bake sweet things for health reasons and one in ten look for swaps to make recipes healthier. With this in mind, there may be potential for producers and independents alike to cater to the less sugar-hungry sector.

Have you noticed more people purchasing baked goods in your café, restaurant or coffee shop? Is baking best left to the professionals? And should we shun sugar? Please share your thoughts below.


Lockhart Catering on 12 August 2014 10:52 AM

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