Bread has seen demand bolstered by an increase in consumers eating breakfast and lunch at home in 2020, as businesses and schools have been closed in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 and more people have worked from home. Leavened bread, a typical breakfast option, has been a notable beneficiary of this rise in demand.
Within baked goods, dessert mixes has seen the most dramatic rise in sales driven by home seclusion. The category witnessed a surge in sales during the spring months when the strictest social distancing measures were in place and this growth has been strong enough to have a major impact on sales for the year as a whole.
Yamazaki Baking Co Ltd remains the largest player in baked goods in Japan, with its strength supported by a long-established presence in the market and an extensive distribution network that includes its own convenience stores. Moreover, the company continues to target key evolving trends, particularly the rising demand for products with a health-orientated positioning and, in the context of COVID-19, pastries targeting demand for affordable basics.
Bread is expected to see value sales fall in 2021 as social and economic activity returns to some kind of normality and the significant sales seen during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic drop off. However, working from home, which used to be rare in Japan, is likely to gain more widespread acceptance as a result of the experiences of the pandemic and to continue for many even once the threat from COVID-19 has diminished.
Cakes is expected to witness a return to growth in 2021 as the threat from COVID-19 diminishes and opportunities for travel and socialising resume. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, rescheduled for 2021, should provide a further boost to growth depending on the level of inbound tourism the event manages to attract, as inbound tourists represent a key consumer group for souvenirs.
Rising consumer health-consciousness and increasing interest in nutrition were already exerting a growing influence on demand in baked goods prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this trend is set to continue during the forecast period. However, while the rising consumer interest in health and wellness contributed to a notable premiumisation trend during the review period, the economic impact of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 has significantly undermined consumer confidence and spending power.
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