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What's New in Baked Goods in 2015?

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The global baked goods market is set to grow by 5% in current value terms, reaching US$339 billion in 2015, while volumes continue to stagnate for another year. This is to a large extent driven by bread, which accounts for 84% of total baked good sales, but continues to suffer from a decline (or at best stasis) in volumes.

While bread’s lacklustre performance exerts a downward bias to the overall category, there is more to baked goods than bread. In this edition of packaged food, baked goods includes desert mixes and frozen baked goods – recategorisation that adds a further US$10 billion to market coverage – in addition to its traditional categories of bread, cakes and pastries.

2015 sees a shift in top country rankings

Egypt is expected to overcome Turkey to become the world’s second biggest baked goods market in volume terms. This is in part due to the Turkish Government’s efforts such as the Preventing Bread Waste Campaign, which significantly reduced unpackaged white bread purchases in Turkey.  In part, it is the result of the ongoing subsidies given to bread flour in Egypt, which has kept unpackaged bread affordable for the masses.  At less than US$0.5/kg, bread prices in Egypt are among the lowest in the world, leading to over purchase of the staple.  With over nine million tonnes worth of sales in 2015, baked goods volumes in Egypt are more than France and Italy combined.

Perhaps the most surprising move comes from China, which will leapfrog  the US to jump into fourth position. In the absence of a potential hard landing, China is expected to become the world’s second biggest baked goods market by 2020, just behind Mexico, which in itself is quite telling given how non-traditional a staple food bread is in China. Pastries, on the other hand, paints a different picture. With close to five million tonnes worth of sales and 6% growth over 2015, pastries is not only the most popular baked goods category in China, but also the fastest growing.

Baked Goods Retail Volume Growth 2014-2015


Source: Euromonitor International

Note: The size of the bubble corresponds to the market size of the individual countries.

Pastries break the mould

It is not just China where pastries’ performance bucks the trend. With over 3% volume growth in 2015, pastries is the fastest growing baked goods category globally. Cakes comes next, with close to 3% growth. This is indicative of a larger theme within baked goods: Snack baked goods categories like pastries and cakes tend to outperform staple products like bread or desert mixes.

While health is key in adding value to bread, indulgence and affordability spur growth in cakes and pastries. Within pastries, artisanal varieties tend to do much better, not because they are necessarily cheaper (in fact in Western Europe and North America, average prices of unpackaged pastries seem to outweigh those of packaged ones), but because they lend themselves very well to innovation and culinary experimentation. The recent boom in hybrid pastries is a case in point. Initially launched in the US, the cronut, the epitome of hybrid pastries, has become a popular snack in South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, the UK and even France, within less than a year. Pastries also benefit from the spread of the third wave coffee movement, leading  to a surge of specialised café shops which have taken the Western part of the world by storm.

A rise in popularity of pastries has sparked business growth in a number of non-bakery companies, including the UK-based F Duerr & Sons. The company has expanded its business-to-business operations to answer a 20% surge in demand for its jams, honey, mincemeat and peanut butter, which are popular fillings for pastries such as doughnuts. The EU has also recently granted TSG (traditional specialities guaranteed) status to the Bramley apple pie, a popular traditional British pastry. This is likely to push prices higher, in turn resulting in higher margins for potential producers. Recognising the growing appeal of cakes and pastries, Mondelez has partnered with Premier foods for its upcoming  launch of Cadbury Amaze Bites, which the company views  as a “step-change product”, targeting to the adult snacking occasion.

Bimbo Power

Baked goods has also seen significant change in competitive activity. Mexican-owned Grupo Bimbo - baked goods’ unrivalled leader - has managed to boost its value share from 3.3% in 2010 to 4.4% in 2015. In actual terms, this represents an increase of US$6 billion, which is more than the total sales of Yamazaki Baking Co, the second biggest baked good player.

Bimbo’s growth is mainly due to the recent flurry of acquisitions in a number of important markets. In Canada alone, the company made three key purchases. Starting with the buy-out of Canada Bread in 2014, Canada’s leading baked good player, from Maple Leaf Food, Bimbo then added Saputo Inc and Italian Home Bakery to its portfolio in 2015. While the Canada Bread acquisition put Bimbo into the second place behind Weston Foods in 2014, the Saputo purchase made the company the leading baked goods player in Canada in 2015. Saputo, being Canada’s leading cake player, also gave Bimbo access to the growing packaged cake category, which fits well with Bimbo’s larger portfolio. Italian Home Bakery, on the other hand, enabled Bimbo to diversify into artisanal European-style products, and experiment with ancient grains, which are increasingly popular among health-conscious, novelty-seeking Canadian consumers.

Top Three Baked Goods Players in Selected Markets 2013-2015



Source: Euromonitor International

2015 has seen Bimbo’s ambitions extend across the Atlantic. The Mexican baked goods giant has recently purchased the cake and pastry arm of Panrico-Donut in Spain and Portugal from the private-equity firm Oaktree Capital Management. This acquisition places Bimbo into first position in both Spain and Portugal, where Panrico-Donut was the leading player up until 2014.  Through this buy-out, Bimbo aims to capture “substantial synergy opportunities” in the order of US$45-55 million in the next 30 months, and consolidate its position in the continuously growing modern retail scene. The modern grocery retailers channel, which includes supermarkets, hypermarkets and discounters, accounts for 42% and 54% of baked goods value in Spain and Portugal, respectively. The majority of modern grocery retailers have their own private label lines which are competitively-priced and exclusively promoted to attract the post-recession consumers, and only stock one, or at most two, leading brands in addition to this. Being the largest player in these markets is therefore very important, and often makes the difference between purchase or no purchase.

Baked goods is by no means a one-size-fits-all category. While overall baked goods sales might look down, snack products such as cakes and pastries or convenient variants like frozen (bake-off) are still showing healthy growth. However, the general shift away from carbs towards higher protein foods does not bode well for packaged baked goods manufacturers, currently battling it out to maintain profit in an ever-consolidating retailer space.


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