The proof is in the pudding: sweet baking up 29 million occasions

Monday, February 19, 2024

The proof is in the pudding: sweet baking up 29 million occasions

As consumers continued to keep an eye on their spending, home baking proved popular in 2023 as a cost-effective way for people to enjoy treats like cakes, pizzas and muffins.

AHDB's latest baking report explored the shift in cooking behaviours in 2023. After a prolonged period of growth, ready meals slipped into decline, and consumers opted for cheaper choices such as assembled cooking rather than scratch cooking (Kantar Usage Panel, September 2023).


Overall, baking occasions increased by 1% compared to the previous year, however sweet baking occasions were up an impressive 29 million occasions, driven by consumers baking more often, especially among middle families (children 5-9) and older generations (Kantar Usage, 52 w/e 26 November 2023).



Delving into the different categories within baking, we can see differing performances; with some showing significant growth and others experiencing considerable decline. With rising prices across the industry, it’s no surprise that total spend on flour increased by 12.9% year-on-year to £124 million. Dairy is another key ingredient in many recipes, with 83% of sweet baking occasions and 43% of savoury baking occasions featured dairy in 2023 (Kantar Usage, 52 w/e 26 November 2023).

Chocolate cake was the star contributor with an impressive increase of 11 million occasions between 2022 and 2023, and pizza consumption rose by 7 million occasions. In contrast, savoury pies fell by 20 million occasions over the same period (Kantar Usage, 52 w/e 26 November 2023).


Becky Smith, AHDB Dairy Analyst, said, said:

Increased occasions of sweet baking dishes, such as cakes and muffins, are likely to support demand for dairy essentials such as milk and butter.

AHDB's recent 'THIS and THAT' campaign champions the art of balanced eating, blending a bit of this with a bit of that to showcase the role of meat and dairy in a well-rounded, healthy and nutritious diet.

Looking forward, it appears we are seeing a new normal level for baking post-pandemic. Movement away from scratch cooking would suggest that savoury baking is likely to continue to suffer. On the flip side, sweet baking fulfils the consumer desire for a treat and maintains its appeal as a relatively low-cost yet fun activity, so may hold its share in the coming year as consumers look to minimise their costs.


To read the full AHDB baking article visit:

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