With Americans cutting back on their spending and brown-bagging their lunches more frequently, bread sales have increased nationally. Driving the growth are the expansive varieties of breads preferred especially by at-home gourmets who incorporate rustic breads and wraps in their meals instead of the typical loaf of white or wheat bread. Supermarket in-store bakeries are capitalizing on the trend for bread variety, according to the most recent sales report provided by the Perishables Group for Nov. 30, 2007 through Oct. 25, 2008.
National bread contribution to in-store bakery sales was 19.2 percent in the timeframe, with an increase of 1.2 percent from the previous year. The bread category includes hot or hearth breads, artisan or specialty breads, breakfast or sandwich breads and other bread types. Nationally, bread averaged $1,740 per store per week, a 14.1 percent increase from the previous year.
The holiday season has a large impact on bakery items as households open their doors to entertain family and friends. The bread category saw its highest sales nationally the week of Dec. 29, 2007, with $2,175 per store per week and 17.7 percent growth from the previous year. The category had its lowest sales growth from a year ago during the week of Dec. 22, 2007, with a 0.3 percent increase, only to rebound the next week during the Christmas holiday. The second highest peak was the week of Easter, March 22, 2008, with $2,015 average sales per store.
Average bread category weekly dollar sales grew in all regions compared to the previous year. The East region had the highest average dollar sales with $2,762 per store, well above the national average of $1,740. The East region also had the highest contribution to department sales with 20.9 percent, higher than the total United States, which had 19.2 percent. The West region's average weekly sales of $1,756 were slightly higher than the national average and accounted for the second highest contribution to department sales of 20.1 percent. The West region had the largest dollar sales percent change compared to a year ago with 16.3 percent.
Hot or hearth breads accounted for 38.7 percent of the bread category nationally for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 25, 2008, followed by artisan or specialty breads with 34.7 percent. The other subcategories included breakfast or sandwich breads (18.7 percent) and other breads (7.9 percent).
Nationally, the other breads subcategory had the largest growth (18.6 percent) among the subcategories. Items included in this subcategory are pita bread, corn bread, tortillas or wraps, flat bread and bread dough. Tortillas and wraps had the largest growth nationally with 42.4 percent. Growth in tortilla and wrap sales can be attributed to the U.S. Hispanic population growth as well as increased use among non-Hispanics.
This sales review is provided by the Perishables Group Inc., Chicago, an independent consulting firm focused on the fresh food industry. Results represent 62 percent of national supermarket ACV share. For more information, contact the Perishables Group: Kelli Beckel, 773/929-7013; e-mail: KelliB@perishablesgroup.com.