The Great British Bake Off: How cake brands can enjoy a slice of the action

October 10, 2014
3 min read

With the more than 12 million people watching the 2014 final of The Great British Bake Off, it is clear that despite the drop of 8% in Brits home baking between 2013 and 2014, people are not ready to hang up their aprons and wooden spoons just yet. There are many opportunities for brands to engage with fans of the show.

Mintel research shows that nine in 10 British adults (89%) eat cakes or cake bars and almost as many (86%) buy them. The value of the overall cake and cake bar market in 2014 is estimated at £1.1 billion; or 263 million kg in volume terms. To put it simply: UK consumers eat a lot of cake.

It is no surprise that cooking and bakery shows remain so prominent and successful in mainstream TV schedules, with The Great British Bake Off credited contributing to the home baking craze which has swept the nation. Three in 10 adults bake from scratch at least once a week, and retail sales within the home baking market rose an impressive 27% between 2009 and 2013 to £1.8 billion.

Here we examine three areas in which brands can rise to the occasion in the UK cake market.


Not only do Brits love cakes, nearly a quarter (23%) of them who buy cakes would be interested in purchasing cakes made using recipes featured on TV shows, and 12% are inspired to buy kitchen homewares that they have seen on television. As a result, there are countless opportunities for cake and baking companies to tap into the popularity of these shows, not just in terms of the edible end result, but the equipment needed to make them.


Thorntons has become the first chocolate confectionery brand to gain a slice of the action in the home baking, potentially finding a captive audience among the 23% of UK chocolate confectionery consumers who would like to use their favourite chocolate for baking or decorating cakes. As well as this, 31% of those who baked partly from scratch in the 12 month to March 2014 said they would choose one product (either baking mixes, cake coverings or decorations) over another on the basis of it being from a well-known brand.


Families are the most important demographic to the cakes and cake bar market. Purchasing of cakes in the UK is highest among parents and people living in households of three or more people.

It is surprising, then, how few products explicitly target children, with just 3% of all cake and cake bar launches in 2013 carrying the “children (aged 5 -12)” claim, according to Mintel’s Global New Product Database (GNPD). This lags slightly behind chocolate confectionery (8%) in this respect and is a long way behind the sugar confectionary category, which saw 14% of new launches specifically target children in 2013.

Encouragingly, despite the reputation cakes have for being high in fat, sugar and calories, a third (32%) of parents deem them to be a suitable treat for children. Agreement is highest among those living in large households of five or more people (40%). There are significant opportunities for more brands to tap into the strong family appeal – success among this demographic really would be the icing on the cake.


Emma Clifford
Emma Clifford

Emma is Associate Director, Food & Drink. She provides insight on the UK F&D market with a special focus on healthy eating and is regularly featured in the national media.

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