As The Great British Bake Off begins another series, many amateur bakers across the nation will be donning their aprons in anticipation. However new research from Mintel reveals that the number of Brits baking in the home is falling. Whilst over five in six (85%) UK adults baked at home in 2013, this figure has dropped to just over three quarters (77%) in 2014.

Furthermore, although 80% of Brits baked from scratch in 2013, in 2014 this has dropped to 73%. Meanwhile, whilst 72% baked partly from scratch in 2013, in 2014 this declined to 67%. Following this fall in consumer demand, retail value sales of baking mixes are predicted to drop from £59 million in 2012, to an estimated £52 million in 2014.

Overall, home baking sales are expected to reach a soggy bottom by the end of the year in comparison to the healthy rise in previous years. Although home baking value sales thickened from £1.41 billion in 2009 to £1.79 billion in 2013, sales are expected to fall by 2% to £1.76 billion in 2014.

Defying the downturn however, retail sales of cake coverings, decorations, culinary aids and cooking chocolate are expected to rise to the occasion, with 2014 sales of these products predicted to be up 80% on 2009 with sales growing from £98 million to an estimated £176 million.

Emma Clifford, Senior Food Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Consumers’ tendency to spend more time in the home to save money during and after the recession provided an ideal climate for home baking to thrive in. Nowadays there are a vast number of sources for bakers to get inspiration from – with The Great British Bake Off proving to be a runaway hit. However, with the economy rebounding, consumer confidence improving and people more willing to go out and have fun, home baking faces intensifying competition for people’s free time.”

“Furthermore, while concerns about health are nothing new, the escalating debate surrounding the dangers of sugar in 2014 is likely to have been particularly damaging to the home baking market. Home baking brands can do more to ensure they appeal to health-conscious consumers, emphasising that there are many ways to experiment with healthier baking.”

Indeed, Mintel’s research shows that consumers may be turning away from the calorific side of baking and taming their sweet tooth, with a third (35%) of Brits who have baked at home in the past year saying they limit how often they bake sweet goods for health reasons. A further three in ten (31%) agree they often look for ideas to make recipes healthier. For those that have baked partly from scratch, a quarter (25%) say they choose products low in sugar or sugar free, or low in fat or fat-free (24%).

Whilst women are more likely than men to bake from scratch at least once a week (33% compared to 26% of men), men are marginally more likely than women to bake partly from scratch at least once a week (24% compared to 20%).

When it comes to star bakers, consumers who bake at least once a week are most likely to be 25-34s, parents with under-16s and large households of five or more people, emphasising the family appeal of baking. Brits aged 25-34 bake at home the most, with two in five (39%) of this age group baking totally from scratch once a week. Further to this, the research shows 86% of Brits with children aged 6-16, and 83% of those with a household or four, and 82% of those with a household of five or more bake totally from scratch.

In comparison, just two thirds (65%) of Brits aged 65 and over have baked totally from scratch in the past year. Despite this, three-quarters (73%) of Brits aged 65 and over agree that it’s important for young people to learn how to bake, compared to just half (49%) of 16-24s.

“In order to maintain the appeal of baking as people spend more on other leisure activities, brands can focus on the importance of baking as a life skill, and one which should be handed down through the generations. In this way, they could encourage the older generation to teach their grandchildren how to bake. As well as a learning activity, this can also be positioned as a means for them to spend quality time with their families.” Emma continues.

Judging the UK’s signature bakes, standard cakes (e.g. Victoria Sponge) are the most popular choice with 65% of bakers making these totally from scratch in the past 12 months, with 57% making small cakes (e.g. cupcakes) in the past year and 55% making batters (e.g. Pancakes).

Finally, the research shows the most bakers who bake from scratch are found in the South West and Wales (76%). Meanwhile, three quarters (75%) of Londoners and consumers in the North West and Yorkshire and Humberside bake, 72% in South East and East Anglia, 71% in the East and West Midlands and 69% in the North and Scotland.

Mintel’s Home Baking – UK – 2014 report is available to purchase from Mintel priced £1750.

Press review copies of the report and interviews with Emma Clifford are available on request from the press office.

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