There is a significant opportunity for packaged bread producers to enhance the freshness and taste attributes of their products, at an affordable price, to better replicate the quality available via the artisan channel.
Premium ranges of speciality breads are certainly an option to elevate the packaged offer. In the UK, for example, speciality breads have been the star performer of the category with value sales growth of 8% between 2010 and 2011, against overall bread market growth of just 2%.
It is also worth noting that mass produced food with artisanal qualities is not a misnomer. In a world where automation and mass production are simplifying life, there is an increased role for products and services that deliver a ‘human touch’. In recent years the artisan concept has transitioned to machine made food through small batch production and natural ingredients. In North America and the UK, in particular, major manufacturers are co-opting the artisan term to mean higher quality food for the masses.
In bakery, speciality products that promote the use of premium ingredients and packaging, authenticity and naturalness can appeal to supermarket shoppers seeking artisan bakery qualities.