Bread shelves throughout Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) are changing, said Tom Kennedy, current president of the Australian Society of Bakers, and senior technical specialist, AB Mauri Global Group, Hunters Hill, Australia.

Mr. Kennedy and Ken Hall, senior vice-president, business development, AB Mauri, Hunters Hill, Australia, a third-generation baker, briefed Baking & Snack about trends there.

“Over the past 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,” they said. “Bread is still popular with older Australians, but younger Australians are more adventurous and looking for other options, particularly when it comes to breakfast on the move.”

The bakery market is alive and well in this market, sprouting at or just above 5% (compound annual growth rate), said Mr. Hall and Mr. Kennedy. Increases in bread are just slightly lower, and cake a bit higher. The 2013 bakery market was estimated to be $5.5 billion.

“The largest growth area is in artisan breads, which are strongly supported in the in-store bakery and retail street bakery sectors,” they said. “This is due to the consumer’s desire for authentic taste and a perceived better freshness.”

Euromonitor’s research agreed: “As a result, 2013 was be the first year in which unpackaged, artisanal bread outsold packaged, industrial bread in Australia.”

Specialty goods do particularly well.

“There is constant and active replacement of white breads by a number of healthier options of whole grain, variety grains, ancient grains, fruits, etc.,” Mr. Hall and Mr. Kennedy said. “And there is steady growth in Asian-style bakeries … based on the changing and growing Asian demographics in Australia, particularly in regional areas.”

Like other Western countries, Australia has a weight problem: An estimated 80% of its population is considered overweight. The concern has, however, strengthened the position of flatbread and wraps, as well as better-for-you, on-the-go breakfast options such as healthy breakfast biscuits.

Gluten-free has entered the scene in a big way. Mr. Hall and Mr. Kennedy described it as the “inspirational leader in this field,” with 21% of all 2013 new product launches making gluten-free claims. Additionally, ANZ’s baking industry is active in voluntary salt reduction programs for packaged bread. They noted that salt in baked foods is a big source of salt intake for children.

Although feeding the growing cafe culture in Australia means more volume for indulgent baked items such as macarons, the news isn’t so good for stand-alone pastry shops.

“The growth of donut and muffin specialist shops has virtually stopped over the past five years,” Mr. Hall and Mr. Kennedy said.