LONDON — A new report from Candean, London, found that lifestyle choices are having an impact on German buying patterns when it comes to baked goods.  German consumers are opting for bakery products free from gluten, wheat and lactose to support their perceived nutritional needs.

The average German consumes 731 bakery and cereals items per year, which is one of the highest among the major E.U. nations. Bread rolls, which make up 49.8% of the German bakery market, are the most popular product among the Germans. There are more varieties of bread produced in Germany than in any other country, ranging from dark and whole grain bread to white bread, rolls and mini-bread.

Bakery goods that are free from various ingredients as well as those that offer benefits such as ‘organic’ and ‘vegan-friendly’ are increasingly popular in Germany. In 2013 the German bakery and cereals market was worth $17 billion. Of this, German consumers spent $3 billion on bakery products tailored to their personal dietary choices such as without gluten, wheat, lactose, eggs and milk. Although some consumers have to exclude certain items from their diets due to intolerance or other medical issues, more and more are discarding what they think of as 'unhealthy' or 'unethical' ingredients from their shopping lists by choice.

“In the last few years we have seen a wave of people in developed countries such as Germany wanting natural products,” said Catherine O'Connor, senior analyst at Canadean. “Lactose, gluten and wheat have become increasingly untrendy ingredients among the health-conscious, and products free from these have seen a rise in popularity. This development is directly reflected in the sales numbers.”

Organic products are most popular when they can be tied to other benefits such as fresher and better quality. For example, a product that contains no artificial colors and flavors or additives, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and e-numbers, may be marketed as natural and better for your health. German women, in particular, buy products that meet a variety of nutritional lifestyle choices, and this need is extending beyond weight maintenance and into concerns such as brain development and digestive health.

“Consumers see the products they eat as a reflection of who they are, and feel closer to brands that offer a choice that fits their lifestyle and food choices,” Ms. O’Connor said.