Pasi Hannonen, senior research analyst in Scandinavia for Euromonitor, spoke to BakeryAndSnacks.com last week about a growing preference for low-carb diets in Scandinavia.
He said that this trend combined with the growing popularity of artisanal breads will impact industrial bread sales in the coming years.
The changing landscape could mean some small companies go bust and large companies may need to make redundancies, he said.
“We have some part of the population which avoids bread because of the low-carb trend. Say, 6% of Finns maintain the diet and would therefore be eating less bread,” he said.
Some firms, such as Finnish bakery Perheleipurit have introduced low-carb breads to seize on the trend and Hannonen expects more to follow suit.
However, he emphasised that the low-carb trend would not affect all bakery sectors.
“On the other hand, what apparently is also happening is that sales of pastries for example are not that much affected by the trend, as contradictory as it seems,” he said.
According to Hannonen, segments of the population in Finland and Sweden are turning to premium bread from smaller bakeries and many are simply preferring to bake at home.
In 2011, the retail value of the bread industry in Denmark stood at €864m (6.4bn DKR), according to data from Euromonitor. The current market is split almost equally between packaged industrial bread and unpackaged artisanal bread, while the market for bread substitutes is marginal.
Euromonitor forecasts that the retail value for industrial packaged bread will fall 16.8% between 2011 and 2016, with consumers moving towards bread substitutes, which see a 27.3% climb.
Hannonen said the industrial bread sales decline is Demark was less to do with the low-carb trend but more a result of intense competition.
In contrast, the low-carb diet in Sweden has been growing in popularity and impact bread sales, he said.
The 2011 retail value of the bread market in Sweden according to Euromonitor was €1.1bn (9.9bn SEK) with industrial bread by far the most popular.
Forecasts for the next five years see a fall in industrial bread sales of 2.8%, however Hannonen said that the forecast was made before the newest stage of the financial crisis started in early Autumn and a forecast made today might be even less optimistic.