Keep your profits baking

With the nation’s infatuation with all things bakery  seeing more consumers indulging, stocking the right range is crucial to make sure you’re taking full advantage of growing trends


While many wholesalers wouldn’t consider an Iberian delicacy for their bakery line-up, Lantmannen Unibake’s Marketing Manager Kate Sykes reveals that pastel de nata are now becoming a must-stock treat

The UK can’t get enough of the latest on-trend Portuguese sweet treat. With sales of Portuguese custard tarts increasing by a staggering 458% since.2016 (IRI Sales Data, Oct 2016–18), wholesalers can’t afford to miss out on the hottest trend in bakery.

“Dating back to the 18th century, the Portuguese custard tart, or pastel de nata, has long been a staple of Portugal’s sweet treat offering, but now the UK is taking a slice of this lucrative tart too.

“As major multiples report a sales revenue of £1.5m for 2018 (IRI to 29th Sept 2018, Grocery Mults) the Portuguese custard tart is breathing new life into the in-store bakery category. Sales to October 2018 are already up 89% on 2017 (IRI Unit Sales data 52 w/e 6th 2018), making it the ideal time for wholesalers to take advantage of this profitable opportunity.

“From grab-and-go street food to traditional cake shops and afternoon tea menus, the pastel de nata is everywhere, with whole stores dedicated to the sale of these iconic Portuguese custard tarts in London and beyond. Its small size, light pastry and sweet creamy filling, combined with its easy-to-hold shape makes it the perfect treat for any occasion.

“Global flavours and formats are inspiring consumers and influencing their purchasing decisions. The Portuguese custard tart encapsulates current consumer demand for  authentic flavours in an easy handheld format which can be eaten on the go at any time of the day.

“This has led to their popularity skyrocketing in the past 24 months, a trend which shows no sign of waning, providing wholesalers with an unmissable opportunity to capitalise on the UK consumer demand for this iconic sweet treat.”



Market share for traditional favourites may have dipped, but Pan’Artisan’s Business Development Director, Chris Dickinson, says that creates even more chance to stand out

At Pan’Artisan, we’ve experienced traditional white and brown bread recipes being replaced with more elaborate flavours, with the addition of seeds and grains supplied in a variety of interesting shapes and sizes. Quality artisan breads are hugely popular as customers seek premium authentic produce – sour dough, for example, is now considered more mainstream.

“The influence of world cuisines on flavours and styles is prolific, with breads such as Lebanese and Turkish flatbreads appearing as sandwich carriers and meal accompaniments with and without inclusions. The use of pre-ferments, such as Poolish, made with a one-part flour to one-part water ratio, is a traditional method known to improve the dough’s extensibility and can be critical for great-tasting breads. We passionately look at traditional methods with consumer trends when developing our innovation portfolio.

“Caterers are now requiring healthy premium products, those that work harder and add value with fortification, protein to differentiate their offer and attract the health-conscious consumer. Menus now feature a variety of vegan offerings and breads with less or removed unhealthy ingredients, and for those with food intolerances, wheat or gluten-free options – which is why Pan’Artisan provides vegan, low sodium, gluten-free and sourdough products alongside wholemeal.

“Consumers, especially millennials, seek clean labels and transparency of ingredients, so this is top of mind when developing our range of products.”



The baking bubble is only going to get bigger in 2019 and Stuart New, Head of Sales at Rich Products, believes there are five key trends that wholesalers should be aware of

1: A return to retro: Waffles make waves

“We’re set to see a return to retro in 2019, with waffles leading the way. Appealing to younger consumers who are keen to try something new, waffles are officially the third most popular sweet breakfast eaten out of home,[1] up four spots from a year ago.”

2: All about artisan

“Consumers increasingly want to see the skill that goes into the bakery they buy. Whether that’s hand-piped icing or an intricate cookie decoration, this trend is all about artisan. Our new state-of-the-art production facility in Andover – due to open in May – will feature a dedicated area where smaller batches of artisan lines will be produced, catering for the growing demand for bespoke, artisan products.”

3: Let them eat cake!

“Inspired by the return of artisan and the growth of ‘instagrammable’ bakery, cake is set to make a comeback next year. In fact, cake was eaten on 139 million out-of-home visits in Q3 2018, a rise of 16 million from one year ago.[2] Mini cakes are set to see the strongest growth, as consumers look for smaller treats to satisfy their conflicting desire for indulgence vs health.”

4: Accidentally vegan

“Plant based is now firmly established on the baking scene, but you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy it. Accidentally vegan is on the rise as consumers don’t consciously de-select it from their choice. [3] The sticky toffee cookie we recently launched for a leading coffee shop chain is a good example of this trend – it’s vegan, but has wider appeal.”

5: Freshly baked

“Freshly baked will continue to entice consumers in 2019. Bake off is one option – at Rich’s we offer cookies for bake off, which means customers can bake what they need and manage portion size effectively. However, for those people who don’t have space for ovens, we’re seeing growing demand for thaw and serve – buns and pastries that are bought frozen, then heated up and served warm.”


[1] MCA Bakery and Sandwich Tracker, July–September 2018

[2] MCA Bakery and Sandwich Tracker, July–September 2018

[3] The Food People, 2018 bakery trends report



Country Range’s Group Trading Director, Martin Ward, credits innovation for the changing face of the bakery category and says there’s plenty more to come

“The bakery sector is alive with creativity and innovation, and isn’t being overlooked by operators anymore.

“Consumers now expect the best in quality and variety, and operators have realised how important bakery products are. Although attitudes are changing towards healthy eating, programmes such as The Great British Bake Off show that consumers still love an indulgent treat, whether that’s cakes, biscuits, breads or pastries.

“However, consumers want stand-out flavours which excite the eyes and palate as opposed to the usual flavours being offered. Ways to achieve this include switching to vegan or gluten-free options, or by offering a twist on a classic. Consumers are willing to pay a premium price if the quality warrants it, so stocking products made using the best ingredients is a big plus.

“We bolstered our range in time for Christmas with a quartet of quality desserts, which are a twist on retro classics but still offer operators that premium touch, as well  as a trio of gluten-free cakes. We also improved our pastry selection with the addition of a Three Cheese and Onion Roll, which is perfect as a handheld snack for breakfast, brunch or lunch.

“Like with much of today’s food, the rise of other international cuisines has played a huge part in what consumers want. This combined with the trend for indulgent breakfast and brunches has thrust a variety of new products to the forefront. I can only see this increasing as people travel further afield, bringing back different flavours and tastes from around the world.

“Consumers will search out the new and the interesting, so operators must make sure they don’t stand still and must evolve with the trends. It also needs to be remembered that health continues to be a key trend for consumers so offering healthier options and smaller portions will be important.



It’s not enough to simply offer up a load of loaves to consumers nowadays, according to Leathams Trade Marketing Executive Chloe Salt

 “The Merchant Gourmet range of lentils, grains and seeds can be used to make exciting bread creations with added nutrition benefits. Demand for ancient grains is on the rise due to the health benefits, but also due to their appeal to those following free-from, vegetarian and vegan diets. Other options to appeal to those new diets include our Puy Lentil & Freekeh bread, Tomatoey French Lentil and Basil Loaf recipes.

“Our SunBlush tomatoes can be used to lift a focaccia to new heights. Usually flavoured with herbs, such as rosemary, our range of SunBlush tomatoes can bring an intense, delicious flavour to a traditional focaccia.

“Marinated in our unique blend of herbs, oil and garlic, and available in red, yellow, cherry, wedges and plum, these tomatoes make a mouthful of bread go that little bit further with a fantastic punch of flavour.”



With the growth in healthy eating, CGA’s BrandTrack research shows that the trend is seeping into the bakery world

  • 37% of gluten-free consumers consider the sugar content when choosing a meal out of home to be very important
  • 4%  of consumers are now dairy free
  • 3.7% of people in the UK now follow a gluten-free diet
  • 36% of gluten-free consumers consider the fat content when choosing a meal out of home to be very important versus 17% of consumers in the UK
bakery cake caterers Country Range desserts food trends Foodservice Lantmannen Unibake Leathams Pan'Artisan retailers Rich Products