Although most Americans don’t necessarily think of bread as a seasonal purchase, the category tends to follow a seasonal trend. Sales typically peak around holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, and level off during the early months of the new year as a result of post-holiday dieting.
Contribution to bakery sales stable
The national bread contribution to the total in-store bakery was 19.1 percent in the 52 weeks ending Oct. 29, 2011, which remained stable compared to the previous year’s number. Historically, breads have continued to boost sales. From 2006 to 2010, breads grew 22.7 percent, which equates to an average of 5.2 percent each year from 2006 to 2010. The bread category includes crusty or hot hearth breads, artisan breads, sandwich breads, flatbreads and other bread types. Nationally, bread averaged $1,964 per store per week, a 2.9 percent increase from the previous year.
The holiday season has a large impact on the bakery department, as many items are purchased for office and family gatherings. The bread category saw its highest sales nationally the week of Dec. 25, 2010, with $2,465 per store per week, a 0.1 percent decline from the previous year. The second highest peak was the week of Thanksgiving, Nov. 27, 2010, with $2,307 average sales per store. The category had its lowest sales during the week of April 30, 2011, with a 2.4 percent decline compared to the previous year.
Sales growth in most regions
Average bread category weekly dollar sales grew in all but one region. The East region had the highest average dollar sales with $2,993 per store per week, well above the national average of $1,964. At 20.5 percent, the region also had the highest contribution to department sales, which was higher than that of the total United States, which had 19.1 percent. The East region had the largest dollar growth, at 7.1 percent. The West region’s average weekly sales of $2,053 were slightly higher than the national average; at 20.3 percent, the region also had the second highest contribution to the bakery department. However, the West region experienced a 0.8 percent decrease in sales.
Crusty or hot hearth breads accounted for 39.2 percent of the bread category sales nationally for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 29, 2011, followed by artisan breads with 33.2 percent. Sandwich breads accounted for 17.2 percent of sales, flatbreads 6.3 percent and other breads 4.1 percent.
Nationally, sandwich breads had the largest growth among the subcategories, with 8.8 percent. Sandwich bread items include rye/pumpernickel bread, grain sandwich bread, wheat and white breads, egg/Challah breads, other sandwich breads and panini. Rye/pumpernickel and grain sandwich breads drove overall sandwich breads growth.
This sales review is provided by Nielsen Perishables Group Inc., a Chicago-based fresh food consulting firm. Reported results are for Nov. 06, 2010, through Oct. 29, 2011, representing 61.4 percent of national supermarket ACV share.
For more information, contact Nielsen Perishables Group: Kelli Beckel, 773/929-7013; email: KelliB@perishablesgroup.com