According to new figures from Kantar Worldpanel revealed this week, sales of sliced white loaves in UK supermarkets fell by 1 per cent in 2010, while brown bread sales increased by 6 per cent and seeded batches by 9 per cent.
Mahinthan Kathirgamanathan, analyst at Kantar Worldpanel, said that nearly 65 per cent of brown bread was bought by people over the age of forty-five.
The declining sales figures for white bread are an indicator of the extent to which shoppers are studying nutritional labelling and how this is having a significant impact on buying behaviour, argues Michael Hughes, an analyst with market research firm Datamonitor.
He told this publication that consumers are increasingly demonstrating a willingness to cut down on groceries previously considered a part of the staple diet in the country.
However, Hughes points out that while sales of white bread have declined, revenue figures are still considerably higher than the brown bread market, “meaning it will be sometime until brown bread sales surpass those of white."
This is borne out by the Kantar data, which shows that brown bread still only accounts for around 27 per cent of the 12 million loaves sold each day in the UK, compared to 66 per cent (or 7.9 million sales) for white bread.
Meanwhile, a recent report by IBIS World, evaluating the bread manufacturing industry in Australia, predicts that sales of breads that have been enriched or fortified with nutrients are growing by 10 to 15 per cent a year.
Traditionally, most Australian consumers based bread purchasing decisions on taste, quality, packaging, price and use-by-dates, but the report outlines how shoppers there are now making bread choices based on health properties.
The research also reveals that the increase in demand for specialty breads including focaccia, sourdough, panini will be an additional growth driver over the next five years.