Great British Bake Off. Homebaking drops

By Bronya Smolen

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry: GBBO returns tonight at 8pm, BBC 1
The Great British Bake Off hits TV screens tonight for a fifth series, but a new report has suggested the number of Brits who are baking at home is falling.
Research from Mintel revealed that 85% of UK adults baked at home in 2013, but this figure has dropped to 77% in 2014.
Predictions for the year get soggier compared to a healthy rise in 2013, despite reports that whole cake sales have dropped in line with home baking trends.
Home bakers using baking mixes have also dropped from 72% in 2013 to 67% this year. This has caused a relative drop in sales of mixes, from £59 million in 2012, to an estimated £52m in 2014.
On the other hand, retail sales of cake coverings, decorations, culinary aids and cooking chocolate are expected to rise, with 2014 sales of these products predicted to be up 80% on 2009, growing from £98m to an estimated £176m.
Rebounding economy
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.”
Health trends have caused one-third of bake-at-home Brits to limit how often they create the sweet treats, according to Mintel’s research. A further 31% agree they often look for healthier recipes. Twenty-five per cent of those who baked partly from scratch said they choose products low in sugar or sugar-free, or low in fat or fat-free (24%).
Victoria Sponge prevails
The report showed standard cakes, such as the Victoria Sponge, were the most popular baking option, with 65% of people making these totally from scratch in the past 12 months, yet 57% making small cakes like cupcakes.
Clifford said: “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.”
The research also showed a variance in baking from region to region, with most home bakers who baked from scratch being from the south west and Wales (76%). Meanwhile, 75% of Londoners and consumers in the north west and Yorkshire and Humberside baked from scratch, with 72% in the south east and East Anglia, 71% in the East and West Midlands and 69% in the north and Scotland.

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