There’s good news for bakeries—after a 45.5% decline in 2020’s food-to-go market, it looks set to take off this year. Lumina Intelligence is predicting the sector will soar by nearly a third, topping £15.3billion in 2021 and hitting £22.6bn by 2024. The changing landscape of a post-Covid world means portable food will be in demand—either to enjoy with friends in the local park or for home workers to feel like they can still treat themselves to lunch. Bakeries are perfectly poised to help lead this revolution too. In this article, we look at the trends to look out for in the baking industry, the technology that can revolutionise your workspace and the new openings already making waves.

The trends to watch

Unsurprisingly, some of the key trends we’re going to be seeing this year are borne from the Covid-19 crisis:

Local focus

The provenance of your daily bread is going to become ever more important to customers. Shopping locally is an important topic and will provide significant opportunities to bakeries looking to tempt new customers in. A survey from Craft Bakers Association (CBA) found that 76% of their baker members believe local products or those with a local provenance will be in demand this year. The shop local focus also ties in with the idea of bakeries as the heart of the community. Bakeries can expect to thrive if they build partnerships with other local food providers to build a more complete service for customers.

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Health is a key consideration

Consumer awareness of the link between our health and what we eat was never higher than in 2020 and will be a lasting side effect of the pandemic. Mintel research found that high fibre content in bread appeals to 31% of consumers, while 20% are interested in foods that support their immune system and 41% want their diet to support their digestive health. Bakeries will need to ensure that they can meet the needs of their health-conscious customers, through offering seeded breads, healthier snacks and on-label messaging. They may also explore alternatives to sugar, but importantly they’ll need to find solutions that don’t affect the taste or mouth-feel of their products.

2020 saw the expansion of the Country Oven range of speciality bread mixes by Bakels, with the addition of 4 tasty concentrates, all delivering great taste and an array of nutritional and health benefits. Fibre and protein claims across most of the range from the base bread and roll recipes give bakers the tools they need to appeal to the health-conscious consumer.

Bakeries As Community Enterprises

This is a trend we’re expecting to see grow, particularly in more rural areas. During the Covid pandemic, many bakeries could provide invaluable support to their customers by adapting their business model to ensure they could provide more than just a loaf of bread. This flexibility and ingenuity are likely to have won bakeries new fans and is something we suspect will remain through 2021 and beyond. Above all, customers value convenience so if they can pick up their bread, cakes and milk in one visit they will.

Baking kits

Many bakeries were quick to pivot during lockdown. If their customers couldn’t come to them, then they’d come to their customers. Meal kits are nothing new, but the idea of expanding them to reach other mealtimes and snacks and treats really took off. Despite ‘makeaway’ boxes only being available from April 2020, according to Lumina Intelligence, by January 2021 one in five people had purchased one.

The artisan baker, Gail’s began delivering their DIY baking kits in London, Oxford and Brighton and Hove for those who were missing their cinnamon buns or chocolate and pecan brownies. Similarly, Blondies Kitchen was delivering nationwide for their ready-to-bake cookies – or for those who just want the taste without the mess, their ready-baked cookie boxes were also available.

Online movement

With bakeries affected by the loss in footfall at bricks and mortar stores, many turned to online shops to meet the demands of the customers. Creative bakeries were making deliveries, organizing takeout orders and even putting together baking kits. It turns out that your customers love the convenience of this so we expect to see this trend continue well into 2021. According to the Craft Bakers Association, 63% of bakers predict that home delivery will be the favoured choice over physical stores for customers. For large chain bakeries, it could be making your produce available via delivery mechanisms like Deliveroo or Just Eat, while even small stores can benefit from click and collect or local deliveries.

Al Fresco mealtimes

In line with Covid regulations we’re going to be seeing a surge in the Great British picnic, as people flock to green spaces in their droves in order to meet up with friends and family. Again, convenience is king, if customers can pick up everything they need with no need for any food prep they will. Morrisons supermarkets is offering a selection of picnic packs to pre-order, packed with baked goodies like scones, quiches, and pies as well as charcuterie and cheeses. Companies like Supper or Get Stuft are delivering a feast direct to your picnic rug in a London park. 

New technology

Innovations within the baking arena are continuing apace.

Protecting your Bakers

While many technological advances have focused on the end product, Arosa Instruments is focusing on the bakers themselves. Using technology originally developed for the military, its lightweight, wearable monitors can monitor the levels of breathable flour dust in the baking environment. The breakthrough is set to replace the bulky equipment currently being used to protect workers under the Health and Safety Executive’s Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).

Expand your Bakery offerings

Small bakeries looking to expand into new areas can now also offer customers a hot drink with minimal effort. La Cimbali has recently showcased the S15—an entry-level hot drinks machine. Crucially, its compact design is ideal for bakeries where space is at a premium, yet it can still deliver up to 150 hot drinks a day in either self-serve mood or courtesy of a barista. Research suggested that in the first four months of 2021, 50% of all hot drinks came from takeaway markets.

New openings

Despite 2020 decimating the UK’s high streets, some bakeries are spotting opportunities to open up new stores and reach new customers.

Freshly baked bread

This summer will see Bluebird Bakery expand into a new store on Acomb Road in York. The retailer already has shops in Leeds Kirkgate Market, Malton and another in York after starting out as a market stall. As well as enticing people with its freshly baked goods, it is planning to use the space as a gallery for local artists, and will introduce a rolling apprenticeship scheme.

Go mobile

It’s a busy year for fan-favourite Jolene. The Newington Green bakery is opening up more branches at Angel and Shoreditch. It is also invested in all-electric vehicles and is taking Jolene mobile. Customers will be able to get their freshly baked loaves – and further down the line, fresh pasta too – brought direct to their door if they’re lucky enough to live in the right London borough.

Everyone needs good neighbours

Ole & Steen opened a new bakery last month in Hampstead High Street. The Danish chain has recognized that there is a demand for local, neighbourhood bakeries and so has been steadily opening new stores with carefully considered locations.

Food to go

Crossmyloof bakery will initially be opening up with a takeaway menu at The Glad Café, Glasgow from the summer – which they say is great for picnics in Queen’s Park. Its pizza takeaway service, run from the Shawlands cafe, has received rave reviews since opening at the start of the year.

Team British Bakels

It’s our job to keep up to date with the industry so that we can share our knowledge and expertise with our customers. So whether you’re looking for high fibre bread concentrate or ingredients to meet the demand for low-sugar options, we can help. Please get in touch to find out how we can help your bakery attract and retain new customers.