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australian artisan

Australian artisan bringing in the dough

BusinessesForSale looks at the rising demand for speciality baking in Australia

Australian consumers are switching their tastes to artisan breads and sophisticated bakes despite price drops in the bread market.

While Australian supermarkets such as Woolworths and Coles are cutting prices on 'white-sliced' in a ‘tug of war,’ customers are still finding appeal in more bespoke loaves.

This lowering of bread prices by the chains has nevertheless worried independent bakeries. Woolworths recently announced that their homebrand bread would be cut from $1 to 85¢.

Bill Rose, owner of the Old Fernvale Baker in Queensland, expressed real concern about the bread price wars between supermarket retailers : ‘It is threatening the future of 8000-10,000 small bakeries around the country’ he told the Gatton Star.

The battle for a slice of the bread production market has intensified in Australia, according to Australian Food News. Growth of supermarkets with in-store bakeries has piled the pressure onto independent bakeries, with research from IBISWorld suggesting that customers’ main concern is value.

However, despite the fact that consumers do want cheap, daily bread, there is significant demand at the other end of the spectrum for different, good quality baked goods.

IBISWorld’s recent research on the market suggests that the baking industry is going through a major period of change, which has opened doors to the world of artisanal baking.

Artisan bakers

The word ‘artisan’ is thrown around a lot in the food world – but what exactly does it mean?

The Artisan Bakers website believes it is best described ‘by thinking about the person who makes the bread. An artisan baker is a craftsperson who is trained to the highest ability to mix, ferment, shape and bake a hand crafted loaf of bread.'

'They understand the science behind the chemical reactions of the ingredients and know how to provide the best environment for the bread to develop.’

Although there has been a fall in per capita consumption in bread, there has also been an increase in expenditure on fresher, higher quality bread.

According to IBISWorld research, the artisanal bakery product manufacturing industry generated $4bn, with an annual growth of 2% from ’09 to ’14.

The report also reveals that there has been a shift from families buying a couple of loaves of generic white bread once a week to buying a variety of freshly baked daily bread, for example ciabatta and baguettes.

Rising health awareness driving demand

Over the last  five years, new studies and rising health awareness has influenced demand for healthier breads such as wholemeal, seeded and gluten-free .

The introduction of nutrient-rich or fortified functional breads has also acted as a contribution to the higher figures documenting demand for premium bakery products.

Less vanilla, more wasabi: trendsetting in baking

Formerly, bakeries were only expected to produce a few products and basic flavours, with vanilla being the constant.

However, competition from low-priced supermarket-branded  products appears to have split baked goods into two categories: the cheap and basic and the more expensive, luxurious and adventurous.

Trends now play a much larger part in the latter. Business in Focus regards it as a ‘baking revolution,’ with the industry responding to international trends for their Australian consumers.

The humble cupcake for kids is no longer the only kind, with adults buying them stylised by the box and topped with a variety of unusual frosting types.

To make a cupcake is now considered an art, with patisserie chefs dedicating hours on perfecting unique flavours and styles.

French macarons followed the cupcake craze along with a host of other baked good crazes from around the globe.

TV food competitions such as the Great Australian Bake Off and MasterChef have definitely contributed to consumer demand for more innovative bakes.

So what does the future hold for the Australian baking industry?

The increase in demand for artisan bread and the evolving trends in baked goods in general, shows that the whole industry is embracing innovation.

And a desire for wholesome ingredients and unusual flavours is fuelling the demand.

These changes have been regularly documented in the media, inspiring bakeries to produce innovative, delicious and handcrafted works of art.

Baking is a skill that is enjoying the limelight again - perhaps now is the time to invest in a bakery?


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