To save money, more consumers are packing sandwiches and choosing natural breads with fiber, whole grains and vitamins.
Consumers are paying more attention to the ingredients in the foods they buy. “They want to know exactly what is in their food, and where the food or the ingredients it contains come from,” says Sherry Harper, director of marketing, Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Ga. “There is even a growing interest in knowing how the foods they buy impact the environment. That is one reason we continue to see interest in organic foods.”
In line with this trend, consumers continue to demand better-for-you breads that deliver a specific health benefit or offer beneficial ingredients, such as whole grains and fiber. In response, breads are offering more natural, nutritional ingredients. Nature's Own, for example, is encompassing this trend with its Double Fiber Wheat Bread with omega-3 and new breakfast breads made with good sources of calcium, and vitamins A, C, D and E. Rudi's Organic produces better-for-you organic breads that are free of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial chemicals, two ingredients that concern many consumers.
While rising food costs have forced food companies to increase their prices, bread sales continue to remain strong. Fresh bread sales were up 6.9 percent compared with last year, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI) data for the 52 weeks ended April 20, 2008.
“With the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service claims that Americans eat approximately 122 lb. of wheat flour — used for breads and other grain foods — per person per year, bread continues to be an American staple,” says Doug Radi, vice president, marketing, Rudi's Organic Bakery, Boulder, Colo.
Rising food prices are actually sending more Americans into the bread aisle as they try to save money by eating more meals at home and packing homemade lunches, instead of eating out. “This shift should benefit the bread category since sandwiches are delicious, quick and inexpensive meals that can be enjoyed by anyone on a tight budget,” Harper says.
According to Mintel's product news database, consumers are demanding more natural breads with nutritional ingredients. Premium breads that feature quality ingredients and artisan breads are expected to increase in sales. Traditional grains, such as amaranth, quinoa, sorghum or spelt, are predicted to become more popular, especially for wheat-intolerant consumers. In addition, whole grain breads are expected to remain strong.
Still, white bread continues to bring in sales. Sunbeam, for example, made the top 10 bread brands list for the 52 weeks ended April 20, 2008. “Sunbeam and our other regional white bread brands continue to perform well. There are very loyal white bread consumers who enjoy the soft texture and mild taste of white bread,” Harper says.
|Brands||52-week dollar sales||% change prior year||Dollar share||52-week unit share||% change prior year||Unit share|
|PRIVATE LABEL FRESH BREAD||$1,564,565,000||2.4||24.5||$1,150,628,000||-5.1||37.0|
|NATURES OWN FRESH BREAD||338,583,400||16.9||5.3||148,806,800||9.0||4.8|
|OROWEAT FRESH BREAD||316,339,000||6.1||5.0||91,412,680||1.6||2.9|
|WONDER FRESH BREAD||247,689,100||-4.1||3.9||108,916,200||-12.6||3.5|
|ARNOLD FRESH BREAD||229,956,400||18.0||3.6||81,472,350||12.0||2.6|
|SARA LEE SOFT & SMOOTH FRESH BREAD||179,498,600||33.3||2.8||78,784,300||21.5||2.5|
|SARA LEE FRESH BREAD||119,758,500||-15.7||1.9||46,969,120||-21.7||1.5|
|SUNBEAM FRESH BREAD||112,477,500||3.0||1.8||59,644,300||-2.6||1.9|
|PEPPERIDGE FARM SWIRL FRESH BREAD||101,503,200||-14.0||1.6||39,455,440||-19.4||1.3|
|PEPPERIDGE FARM FRESH BREAD||96,906,030||14.3||1.5||33,600,660||8.8||1.1|
|Source: Information Resources Inc. statistics for the 52-week period ended April 20, 2008.|
|52 Weeks Ending April 20 Dollar Sales||% Change Prior Year||52 Weeks Ending April 20 Unit Sales||% Change Prior Year|
|Cakes (excl snack/coffee)||54,338,810||0.4||131,156,800||-6.0|
|Pies (excl Snack Pies)||35,170,640||-6.1||45,063,160||-12.8|
|Frozen Bakery Products|
|Sweetgoods (excl cheesecakes)||50,131,760||2.1||56,808,330||3.4|
|Refrigerated Bakery Products|
|Cakes (excl Snack/Coffee)||15,298,980||-2.8||9,245,238||2.8|
|Pies (excl Snack Pies)||4,716,267||-20.2||4,429,334||-17.9|
|Source: Information Resources |
ADG May 14, 2008