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Kennedy's Bakery Production Magazine | April 1, 2020

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Puratos reports UK growth potential for sourdough

Puratos reports UK growth potential for sourdough

Puratos UK believes there is huge growth potential for sourdough consumption in the UK following a new international survey, conducted by Fedima¹ on behalf of Puratos, of over 5,000 consumers from nine European countries.²

The survey examined consumer perception of, and interest in, sourdough, as well as any gaps in knowledge, in order to ascertain how best to communicate the health, history and flavour benefits of sourdough.

Nearly half (47%) of the UK population buy sourdough and these consumers are also more likely to look at food labels, have a food allergy and follow a specific diet. Sourdough is bought by all socio-demographic groups and Puratos believes that, with increased awareness and knowledge about sourdough, the UK can reach the higher consumption levels enjoyed in Spain, Italy and Poland.

Supermarkets currently dominate sourdough bread sales, with 82% purchasing their sourdough bread there. Twenty seven per cent of consumers will buy sourdough from an artisan or high street baker and 16% from the local convenience store. In addition, 22% of UK consumers bake bread themselves and almost two thirds (62%) use sourdough to do so.

The main reasons for UK consumers to buy sourdough bread are: taste (55%); thinking it is more natural (32%), considering it healthier than other breads (28%) and that it stays fresh for longer (25%).

Sourdough also appears to be considered a quality option, with 64% of those surveyed saying they think of it as an artisanal product, 60% considering it a premium product and 55% feeling that sourdough stands for tradition.

While there were no fundamental barriers to buying sourdough bread, 42% said they didn’t buy it because they are not familiar with sourdough, 30% said they always buy the same bread, 26% believed it to be more expensive, 21% didn’t know how to recognise sourdough and 11% cited lack of availability. One in five people (20%) said they did not like the ‘acid’ taste.

When it comes to recognising sourdough in bread, 58% of people say they would check the product label, 43% would recognise the taste, 25% would ask and 21% would recognise the texture and bread crumbs. However, UK consumers have a less clear idea, than other high consumption countries, on exactly what sourdough is or does. Sixty eight per cent knew it is a way to make bread, 60% knew it as an ingredient in bread, 54% knew it as a fermentation agent and 47% knew it replaces yeast. 12% of UK consumers say they have never heard of sourdough.

Lee Burnside, Sales Director at Puratos UK comments: “In addition to exploring sourdough consumption habits both in the UK across Europe, this is a very positive piece of market research in terms of showing the growth potential for sourdough in the UK. More investment should be made in communicating the benefits of sourdough in order to boost sales”

¹ Federation of European Manufacturers & Suppliers of Ingredients to the Bakery, Confectionery & Patisseries Industries.

² Survey of 5111 adults from 9 European countries (UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Poland) commissioned by Fedimar in 2019.