“As the most important meal of the day, it’s petit dejeuner not breakfast for Brits, as pastries, such as Brioche and Pain au Chocolat rise in the hearts of the nation – growing at a faster pace than traditional British baked goods. Indeed, according to the new Mintel report, Brioche sales rose a sweet 25% in 2011 – from £31 million in 2010 to a tasty £38 million in 2011. And sales of Pain au Chocolat increased a mouth-watering 14% over the same two years up from £22 million in 2010 to £25 million in 2011.

Today, French pastries are consumed by almost a quarter (23%) of all Brits, which compares to 24% of those who eat more traditional bread and baked goods. While a good old slice of toast remains the nation’s favourite breakfast, eaten by as many as 81% of Brits for breakfast, many of the more traditional bread and baked goods have posted slower growth. Hot cross buns, for example, have seen modest growth of 7% over the past two years – from £30 million in 2010 to £33 million in 2011. And it appears other baked items are losing their appeal amongst Brits. Indeed, the market for English Muffins has declined by 3% from £25 million in 2010 to £24 million in 2011. The only exception to this trend is the””cream tea favourite””- Scones – valued at £33 million in 2011, rising a positive 19% from £28 million in 2010.

Alex Beckett, Senior Food Analyst at Mintel, said:

“French baked goods such as Brioche have recorded impressive value growth, suggesting Brits are developing a stronger taste for sweet bakery goods. The fact that these goods can be eaten at breakfast could suggest that this growth is to the detriment of sliced bread. Bread brands can capitalise on this cosmopolitan trend by introducing a wider variety of sweet baked goods to their portfolios.””

Freshness is the number one priority for the nation’s bread eaters. Despite the tough economic climate, when it comes to choosing a bread product, more than eight in 10 (84%) look for freshness, while price is a priority for 67% of consumers. And as the nation’s waistline expands and obesity levels rise, just 29% consumers prioritise a healthy bread product.

Just as there has been a huge boost in demand for French pastries, Bagels have registered an outstanding performance in the UK morning goods market too – with a spectacular 48% growth in just two years, up from £33 million in 2010 to £49 million in 2011. Overall, sales of speciality bread (including Wraps, Naans, Bagels, Pittas, Baguettes, Chapattis and Paninis) have increased by as much as 8% between 2010 and 2011.

While morning goods have increased their share of the market – thanks in part to the overall market growth of certain sectors such as indulgent breakfast items and Bagels – the total market for bread and morning goods in the UK registered a slow annual growth rate of just 2% between 2010 and 2011, from £2.9 billion in 2010 to £3 billion in 2011. However, bread still holds its status as household essential as it was eaten by 97% of Brits in 2011, with the core segment the wrapped sliced bread – which was worth £1.9 billion in 2011.

“”Bread is a quintessential household staple food, eaten by the overwhelming majority of British consumers in the UK last year. However, annual sales partly reflect a slight decline in the share of adults who eat bread daily. Consumers are livening up their food regimes and giving themselves an affordable treat by switching to more diverse types of baked goods. It seems Brits are beginning to show an appreciation of Bagels that New Yorkers would be proud of!””Alex concludes.

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