The largest growth area is in artisan breads, which are strongly supported in the in-store bakery sector and retail street bakeries such as with Bakers Delight and Brumby’s.

In this exclusive Q&A with Baking & Snack International, Ken Hall, senior vice-president, business development, AB Mauri, Hunters Hill, Australia, a third-generation baker; he and Tom Kennedy, senior technical applications specialist, AB Mauri Global Group, and current president of the Australian Society of Bakers, described trends among bakers in Australia and New Zealand.

Baking & Snack International: What are the most important trends that affect the market for bread and baked snacks in Australia and New Zealand?

Ken Hall and Tom Kennedy: The bakery market in Australia and New Zealand continues to grow at or just above 5% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) with bread being slightly less than this and cakes slightly higher with the 2013 markets estimated at A$5,9 billion ($5.5 billion).

The largest growth area is in artisan breads, which are strongly supported in the in-store bakery sector and retail street bakeries such as with Bakers Delight and Brumby’s. This is growing due to the consumer’s desire for authentic taste and a perceived better freshness in their bakery choices.

There is significant growth in the food service cake market due the ever-growing cafe culture in Australia, and this is being satisfied by the introduction of many new or more upscale finer flavor indulgence bakery products such as French macarons and specialized chocolate products. Smaller portion sizes have also helped this sector’s growth.

In terms of health, the most significant consumer consideration is still “carbs” based around weight concerns. With an estimated 80% of Australians considered overweight, it is important. This has seen the strengthening in the position of flatbreads and wraps and many better-for-you, on-the-move breakfast options, particularly healthy breakfast biscuits.

The gluten-free bakery market continues to grow, being an inspirational leader in this field. Of all 2013 new product launches, 21% had gluten-free claims.

The bakery industry has been and still is very active in voluntary salt reduction programs, particularly in the packaged bread sector. It is well recognized by bakery industry and groups like AWASH that salt in bakery is a big source of salt levels for children. Also, there is consumer push for removal of E numbers and for the use of ethical palm oil in bakery products.

The packaged bread sector is declining, particularly with white bread, and there is constant and active replacement of the white bread by a number of healthier options: whole meal, variety grains, ancient grains and grains with fruit etc. This extends to the rolls as well.

Baking & Snack International: How has this changed in the past five years?

Ken Hall and Tom Kennedy: Over the five-year period, the change in bread has been the significant move away from white bread and rolls, particularly pre-packaged to the artisanal, healthier and gluten-free bread and rolls.

Bread is still popular with older Australians, but younger Australians are more adventurous and look for other options, particularly when it comes to breakfast on the move.

There is a steady growth in Asian-style bakeries with companies such as Bread Top becoming a little more mainstream and simply bigger based on the changing and growing Asian demographics in Australia, particularly in regional areas.

The variety of cakes and cookies being offered continues to grow in variety and flavors. The traditional cake shop items of pastries have become specialized and have their own position in the market as demonstrated by the Pie Face franchise success.

Interest and understanding of what goes into the makeup of bread and health alternatives are and continue to be a very strong area of consumer interests.

The growth of donut and muffin specialist shops has virtually stopped over the last five years.

Baking & Snack International: What are the reasons for these changes?

Ken Hall and Tom Kennedy: Consumers in Australia and New Zealand like much of the rest of the world have over the past five years become much more quality food conscious. This has been driven by the very rapid growth in television, radio, supermarkets, etc., not just selling food ingredients but selling meals and food ideas.

This has also reflected onto the bakery industry where flavor, taste, appearance and tradition are important choice decisions.

Added to this is the concerns of weight issues, so healthy eating choices — low carb, calorie controlled, low fat, low salt, low sugar — are important. With all of this are the underlying and growing trends of concerns about artificial ingredients and colors. Concern over genetically modified foods and “let’s eat natural” products have made these changes.

Finally, there is slow but growing trend to eat outside the home that has always been strong in ANZ. This helps the cafe culture and the desire for different sweet bakery indulgences.