Baking in the home in the UK declines, Mintel

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 8th September 2014
Baking in the home in the UK declines, Mintel
Baking in the home in the UK declines, Mintel

Despite the popularity of ‘bake off’ television shows in the UK, the number of UK consumers baking in the home is falling, according to new findings from market research organisation Mintel.

While over five in six (85 per cent) UK adults baked at home in 2013, this figure has dropped to just over three quarters (77 per cent) in 2014.

Baking mix sales dropping

Furthermore, Mintel found that although 80 per cent of UK consumers baked from scratch in 2013, in 2014 this dropped to 73 per cent. Meanwhile, whilst 72 per cent baked partly from scratch in 2013, in 2014 this declined to 67 per cent. Following this fall in consumer demand, retail value sales of baking mixes are predicted to drop from £59 million in 2012, to an estimated £52 million in 2014.

Overall, home baking sales are expected to reach a soggy bottom by the end of the year in comparison to the healthy rise in previous years. Although home baking value sales thickened from £1.41 billion in 2009 to £1.79 billion in 2013, sales are expected to fall by 2 per cent to £1.76 billion in 2014, according to Mintel.

“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,” said Emma Clifford, Senior Food Analyst at Mintel. “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,” she said.

Cake decorations buck the downward trend

Defying the downturn however, retail sales of cake coverings, decorations, culinary aids and cooking chocolate are expected to rise to the occasion, with 2014 sales of these products predicted to be up 80 per cent on 2009 with sales growing from £98 million to an estimated £176 million.

Health concerns contribute to baking drop

Indeed, Mintel’s research shows that consumers may be turning away from the calorific side of baking and taming their sweet tooth, with a third (35 per cent) of UK consumers who have baked at home in the past year saying they limit how often they bake sweet goods for health reasons. A further three in ten (31 per cent) agree they often look for ideas to make recipes healthier. For those that have baked partly from scratch, a quarter (25 per cent) say they choose products low in sugar or sugar free, or low in fat or fat-free (24 per cent).

“Furthermore, while concerns about health are nothing new, the escalating debate surrounding the dangers of sugar in 2014 is likely to have been particularly damaging to the home baking market,” Ms Clifford said. “Home baking brands can do more to ensure they appeal to health-conscious consumers, emphasising that there are many ways to experiment with healthier baking,” she said.

Who is baking?

Mintel said that while women were more likely than men to bake from scratch at least once a week (33 per cent compared to 26 per cent of men), men were marginally more likely than women to bake partly from scratch at least once a week (24 per cent compared to 20 per cent).

When it comes to star bakers, consumers who bake at least once a week were most likely to be 25-34s, parents with under-16s and large households of five or more people, emphasising the family appeal of baking.

UK consumers aged 25-34 years baked at home the most, with two in five (39 per cent) of this age group baking totally from scratch once a week. Further to this, the research showed 86 per cent of UK consumers with children aged 6-16, and 83 per cent of those with a household or four, and 82 per cent of those with a household of five or more baked totally from scratch.

In comparison, just two thirds (65 per cent) of UK consumers aged 65 and over have baked totally from scratch in the past year. Despite this, three-quarters (73 per cent) of UK consumers aged 65 and over agreed that it was important for young people to learn how to bake, compared to just half (49 per cent) of 16-24s.

Finally, the research shows the most bakers who bake from scratch are found in the South West and Wales (76 per cent). Meanwhile, three quarters (75 per cent) of Londoners and consumers in the North West and Yorkshire and Humberside bake, 72 per cent in South East and East Anglia, 71 per cent in the East and West Midlands and 69 per cent in the North and Scotland.

What are they baking?

Judging the UK’s signature bakes, standard cakes (e.g. Victoria Sponge) were the most popular choice with 65 per cent of bakers making these totally from scratch in the past 12 months. By comparison, 57 per cent of consumers made small cakes (e.g. cupcakes) in the past year and 55 per cent made batters (e.g. Pancakes).

“In order to maintain the appeal of baking as people spend more on other leisure activities, brands can focus on the importance of baking as a life skill, and one which should be handed down through the generations,” Ms Clifford said. “In this way, they could encourage the older generation to teach their grandchildren how to bake. As well as a learning activity, this can also be positioned as a means for them to spend quality time with their families,” she said.